a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Feb, 2014

Spider public relations

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

We have spiders in our house. They’re everywhere right now! I’m not sure if they’re just slowly making their way back post-renovation or if we’re in the middle of spider birthing season.

Our household spiders are small and beige, a relatively inconspicuous shade of neutral that seems to blend into every shade of paint we’ve used in our entire house. I was in the shower earlier and noticed one hanging around in there (a peeping tom spider!) and it got me thinking about the presence of spiders in our lives. Spiders have a bad rap, but are actually quite beneficial when you think about it.

1) Spiders are helpful around the house. All spiders are carnivorous: they eat flies and other insects such as mosquitoes, and apparently, baby cockroaches. (!)

2) Spiders make good literary subjects. Charlotte’s web, for example, featured a pretty smart spider. At our house, spiders are all given the name of Rosie because of a story the girls and I wrote together when they were small.** This used to make the spiders hard to kill when they were in the room. (“Noooo! Rosieeeeee!”)

3) If you look past their creepy appearance, spiders are actually pretty cool. You could always consider each visit by a spider to be a science lesson.

Here’s a question for you. If you see a spider at home, what do you do? Leave it? Kill it? Or get someone else to deal with it?

**Edited to add: I found the story we wrote! Copied below:

Rosie finds a new home

It was wintertime, and Rosie the spider was cold. She had spent most of the season snuggled deep in a pile of leaves underneath the front steps at [our address] but then a curious squirrel came along and disturbed her cozy nest, so she had to find a new place to live.

She crawled out from underneath the porch. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight … all eight legs were getting cold and snowy.

“Brr,” said Rosie. “I need to find a new home, and fast!”

Suddenly she felt a warm breeze. Where was it coming from? She looked around, and there, holding a door wide open and letting all the warm air out of the house, was a little girl with blonde curly hair.

“Ah,” thought Rosie. “That’s the place I want to live!” So she snuck up to the edge of the doorway and waited. She didn’t have to wait too long, because a second little girl with curly hair soon came along and held the door wide open a second time.

This gave Rosie ample time to scurry inside. But once inside, she didn’t know where to go. She’d never been in a house before. Should she crawl into a boot? Into the mittens drying near the heating grate? Find a spot inside the hat lying on the floor?

Just as she was considering her options, Rosie heard a big scary sound coming from behind her.


There were two giant winter boots! Look out Rosie! She hurried away in the nick of time. She almost got squashed! And just when she thought she was safe, the smaller curly-haired girl crouched down to get a closer look.

“Look mom!” she shouted. “A spider!”

 The little girl’s voice was so loud that it made the spider shake. Luckily the girl walked away (no doubt to find her purple lanky) and so Rosie the spider took the opportunity to climb up up up the wall to a safe place where no one could reach her. Not even a dust mop.

She stayed there for a while and decided that even though the two curly-haired girls were a little loud for her delicate spider ears, they were awfully cute, and very nice and very funny as well. So she decided to live with them until the spring. 

Tags: ,

10 Responses to "Spider public relations"

1 | Mary @ Parenthood

February 4th, 2014 at 2:26 pm


If they are sac spiders? We kill. Having been bitten by one as a teenager and finding that no joke I do not ever want another. We also ruthlessly vaccuum and get rid of places spiders might like. Inside, we tell our kids that the spiders are “not invited”

PS have you ever read Harry the Poisonous centipede? Hilarious set of stories about creepy crawlies.

2 | Lynn

February 4th, 2014 at 3:28 pm


Here’s what I do: SHRIEK, scream for help, generally run around like we are being ATTACKED BY ALIENS, then squish it by pounding on it with whatever shoe/slipper is handiest. Sorry to say, my spider phobia has not been kind to the spiders of the world around here. Your story about little brown spiders who can hide in plain sight is FREAKING ME OUT.

3 | andrea tomkins

February 4th, 2014 at 3:38 pm


Am debating whether or not to Google “sac spiders” … :!

4 | Mary @ Parenthood

February 4th, 2014 at 7:56 pm


Lol.. If you do, don’t look at sac spider bite pictures. Keep in mind they don’t bite often (they are found in 80% of Ottawa homes, but your average ER doc can’t identify the bite in my experience). But I am firmly convinced spiders belong outside!

5 | Lynn

February 4th, 2014 at 3:45 pm


I LOVE the story you wrote – so charming, I bet your girls adored it. Will never, ever, ever let my own children read it because spiders are still DEAD TO ME FOREVER. :)

6 | Sarah McCormack

February 5th, 2014 at 9:44 am


no no no no no no no no no
just no.

7 | Misty

February 5th, 2014 at 1:21 pm


If they’re in my way (i.e. they’re about to drop into my hair), I dispose of them outside using a cup. If they’re not in the way, I just leave them! Haven’t seen many around for the past few months. They start to make their way in when the snow melts :)

8 | Arachno-joy

February 5th, 2014 at 3:13 pm


Love spiders. Never kill them unless someone is having a melt-down and begs me to remove them from their sight. Thought my daughters would never get over their fear of spiders but they eventually did. They mostly ignore them now – which is great. Having said all that, I do react if a big enough spider is crawling on my skin. Like dock spiders. Canada’s tarantulas.

9 | C Williams

February 5th, 2014 at 4:55 pm


That’s such a cute story! It reminds me of stories I used to write with my friends when I was a kid. We don’t have spiders in my house, but we DO have palmetto bugs (big flying roaches). I don’t know if these are good guys or bad guys but there sure do startle me when I see them!

10 | Something new. Starring Piper! >> a peek inside the fishbowl

February 14th, 2014 at 10:48 am


[…] undertaken some creatively kid-friendly projects here at Casa Fishbowl. We’ve written stories about spiders, composed tandem stories on long car rides, constructed our own mini books, made stop-motion […]

comment form:


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive sleep and worry - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] advice reminded of my coronavirus chronicle (a.k.a. my paper diary) in which I describe our comings and goings and family updates. I […
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive The importance of chocolate - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] Earlier this week we placed an order for grocery pick up at the Superstore. I had figured we might not get the toilet paper we wanted, or th
  • andrea tomkins: I watched a whole video that was sent to me about this... how to deal with groceries when you bring them home. The problem is there is so much conflic
  • andrea tomkins: It is true that things are changing so fast. It's hard to keep up. Strangely, I am a PC client and didn't receive the email everyone is talking about
  • Lynn: It's Thursday now, and this just goes to show you how fast things change - we got an email from PC Optimum yesterday letting us know that a) they will
  • Lynn: I just got back from a Costco run and this kind of thing was in my mind the whole way, and when I got back home. I washed my hands before unloading th
  • Amy: The quandary about grocery bags and where the contagion ends was concerning me the other day. Every item in the grocery order has been touched by mu

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


E-book alert!

Shopping Embargo e-book promo

My right hand is actually a camera

Connect with me at these places too!

Piper is on Instagram

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter