I rarely remember my dreams. I’m convinced I don’t have any. Like even my subconscious is exhausted at the end of the day and screams, “I’m tired!” and just wants to watch reality tv and not talk to anyone.
But last night I had an epic dream about spiders. (I’m using a loose definition of the word epic here. The dream was probably seven seconds long, but doesn’t everything seem longer when you’re asleep?)
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See, a few days ago I found what can best be described as a vehicle of a spider in my bathroom. This thing was literally the size of an SUV. (It was probably the size of a silver dollar, but SUV is much funnier.) This thing was black with spots on it. And it looked hungry, fast, and mean.
There are few things I have a “thing” about. I don’t like stickers on the inside of clothing. It’s a weird sends-me-into-an-unexplained-tailspin thing, but I don’t like when you buy a new shirt and it’s got one of those stickers inside that shows some woman in Wisconsin approved your JCrew t-shirt. It grosses me out and makes me a little nauseous. Weird, right?
Justin thinks it’s just about the strangest thing he’s ever seen, me looking at a new shirt and wincing, “Oh, a sticker.” Needless to say I’m one of those who always washes new clothes before wearing them. Though if I find a sticker on the inside of clothing post-wash, there’s a chance I’ll throw it out. The clothing. Not the sticker.
Okay so yeah, it’s a little weird.
I also have a thing about having a wet face. Justin thinks this is weird, too. It is, but I don’t like the feeling of having a wet face. It’s a sensory thing. I can’t stand it.
This is only an issue when I wash my face in the morning and then get in the shower because I DRY my face after washing it before getting in the shower where chances are it will get wet.
“Wait, you’re drying your face to get in the shower?” Justin has asked for the past 16 years like that somehow puts me in the category of crazy person who has 97 cats or a collection of Marie Osmond dolls in my house (If you have a collection and you’re reading this, I’m not judging.)
Incidentally, Margaux is 5 and I saw her get out of the pool and dry her face before getting in the shower. When I asked her why she did that she said, “Because I don’t like to have a wet face.” I high-fived her. Preach, girl! I felt totally vindicated, though it did make me concerned that I had genetically passed on only my bad qualities to my innocent child. When we have kids we never think we’re going to give them our weird quirks. We just think we’re going to give them our long eyelashes or thick hair. We’ll see if she turns into an inside clothing sticker hater as well. Though she does have long lashes and so do I, so I didn’t completely genetically screw her.
I also have a thing against spiders. Seriously if it were legal to call 911 to have the police come kill a spider, I’d do it. Tax dollars at work!
I’m scared of spiders in a that-tiny-little-bug-could-kill-me-with-its-bare-8 legs kind of way. Growing up, my mom was always the spider killer in our house. She always seemed fearless about it. I even recall a time or two when she took one out with her bare hands. Now I wonder was she traumatized inside, but didn’t want to show it to her young, terrified, daughters? Moms really are heroes.
And I’m definitely not one of those people who could see a spider in her home and say, “Hmm, spider,” and go on about her business like there’s not a potential killer in the house. No, there will be no co-habitating with wildlife in my house. Once I’ve had proof of life on a spider inside my residence, it must die. Or, I must move or burn down the house. (I wouldn’t say I’d really burn down my house, but I did consider going to a hotel once because I lost a spider in my room at midnight.)
So the other day I was drying my hair in my bathroom. Justin had gone to work. The kids were at school. And there I saw it. It was a HUGE, black, angry, spider. It peered over a cabinet and rested on the ledge, clearly exhausted from stalking me.
I screamed the kind of scream that should be reserved for a horror film or a real human intruder. I think I also screaming, “FUCK!” but I don’t remember because I blanked out a little. The spider immediately stopped when it heard me scream. I didn’t move either because I needed to collect my thoughts and make a plan.
See the spider was on the top of a cabinet. If the spider somehow creeped into the door of the cabinet and got inside, where I keep things like makeup and hairbrushes, I could lose the spider forever. Plus an angry insect inside a cabinet means there’s only one way for it to get out, which means it’s coming back out in my direction. Just in case it could fly or punch, I couldn’t take that risk.
And I knew if the spider got inside the area where I keep things like make-up, which has to touch my face, I’d probably want to throw everything in the cabinet into the trash. And that could get very expensive.
After a quick rest, the spider began moving again. It crawled back up the top of the cabinet, an area I couldn’t reach without a ladder. And then it made it’s way down again toward the front of the cabinet. It was getting close to squeezing itself inside the cabinet and I knew I had to act fast.
This was a problem because the plan I had come up with for eradicating this beast from my home was to call Justin and ask him to come home from work to kill the spider. Not later, but now. But this spider was clearly the Usain Bolt of the insect community. By the time Justin got home from work, this thing could have been missing and then I’d have to sell my house Or, leave the state.
My problem with killing spiders is that you have to get close to the spider to kill it. There’s no selfie stick equivalent of a spider-killing device that allows one to be far away, but still do the job. You have to get close. And close means a spider could touch you. I can’t have water touch my face so you can imagine how I’d feel about an insect. (Remind me to tell you about the time a rat crawled up my leg while I was sleeping. I still have PTSD!)
But with no other options, I decided to lean in and kill the spider myself. I just needed to figure out how.
First: I knew I had to keep a visual on the spider at all times, which meant the only resources I had at my disposal were the ones in the room. Spiders are tricky, fast, and small. So if you take your eyes off of them, they could disappear into the cracks and crevices of your house and come out when you’re sleeping and crawl in your ear or something equally awful.
So I couldn’t go downstairs and get a ladder. The spider had perched itself on top of a cabinet. I’d have to stand on the counter to reach it. But the way my counter was set up, standing on it would not allow me to get to the spider if it lurched or lunged in the other direction.
That’s when I got resourceful and grabbed a bottle of hair spray. Honestly, this was a MENSA worthy idea. Hair spray, of course! I could disarm the animal by dousing it in hair spray, but still not have to get within two feet of it.
So I grabbed the hair spray and sprayed some toward the spider. But instead of immediately dying or apologizing for invading my home, the thing kept moving as if nothing was wrong. This is when my competitive side. I’m fairly certain I said aloud, “Oh, it’s on,” which I’m not particularly proud of, but I when you’re close to death you don’t always act your best. I lunged and doused the thing in hairspray.
It retreated and tried to run in the other direction, before finally dropping down the front of the cabinet via a very quick web it built. (Honestly, it is pretty miraculous how a spider can just instantly make a string out of its body and use it as an escape route. I wish I could do that when my kids tell a really long story.) While it was mid flight, I sprayed it again which neutralized the thing. That’s when I took a WAD (okay the entire box) of tissues and went in for the kill.
Once a kill had been confirmed, I decided to save the carcass just in case I needed to show it to animal services or insect control should an infestation be discovered. Then it creeped me out to have a spider carcass in my house, even if it was in a Ziploc bag. I flushed it down the toilet and tried to shake it off.
But I had no idea the spider would reincarnate itself in the first dream I’ve had in about a decade.
In my dream, my house was infested with vehicle-sized spiders. And when I said in my dream voice, “Justin, the house is infested with spiders!” he just rolled over and went back to dream sleep.
I can’t figure out if that means he’s not a supportive spouse in my dreams, or if I need to have a pest control person come and spray the outside of my house. But either way, that was one tough spider. It’s alive and well in my subconscious.
My best friend Kitten says that the reason I’m a good writer (questionable, but play along) is because I’m a good listener. (Justin would probably beg to differ, but it’s my blog not his so I get to be a good listener in my mind and in my blog.) I don’t know if I’m a good listener or not, but I think I’m good at hearing stories. I can tell what would make a good story.
A while ago, a friend told me a “can you believe this” story about a friend of hers. My brain exploded while she was telling the story because I thought it would make an amazing TV series. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story. For months, it danced in my head as if to unfold itself more everyday.
Professionally, I’ve been at a tipping point for a while which has me both grateful for a career as a writer and stuck because I want more, new, and different. I want a bit more relevance and permanence in my work. And I don’t really want to have to create a meme or tweet. I just want to write stories that don’t require me to also be a graphic designer.
This year was meant to be my year of getting to the next step. Challenging myself. Setting goals. Reaching them. Basically, this was the year of finally living up to my potential, something I’ve worked hard to avoid for most of my life.
I told Justin the can you believe this story and he said, “That would make a great TV show.” He works in TV, which doesn’t mean he knows everything, but doesn’t mean he knows nothing either. He asked if he could help set up a few meetings for me. (He’s really good at that. My hubs may not wash all the dishes, but he can network like Taylor Swift in a room full of single guys. He suggested I pitch it as a digital series, which would be a great foot in the door for me. And a potentially easier sale as a new writer.
And while this year was my year to reach that next level, it’s also the year I’ve decided that my career philosophy is “stay in your own lane.” If something’s working, do that. If something’s not, don’t do that. Can’t get work as a writer despite trying your hardest? Maybe writing’s not the thing you’re supposed to do.
Me, I was a perfectly capable and (maybe) talented actress that couldn’t get arrested for a really long time. Did I want it badly? Yes. Did I work harder than anyone? Yes. Did I get work? No. The minute I started writing I got work. All that time chasing my acting dreams, it turns out I was in the wrong lane.
So while I wanted to professionally branch out, I also didn’t want to experiment. I wanted to expand into an extension of what I was good at and what had given me success, not have a full on professional crisis that had me going to culinary school or getting my real estate license. I just wanted to write bigger things and get paid more to write them.
Because Justin is a networking boss, and a relentlessly supportive spouse despite his lack of support in my spider dream, he set me up with a bunch of meetings to pitch my show idea. This presented a problem for me. See when you have a good idea and you have people willing to hear it, the only reason it could fail is you. (Me.) The opportunity to fail at something I’d dreamt of scared me. I wondered if it was easier to keep my dreams just that.
I considered cancelling the meetings, but figured I’d never hear the end of it from Justin. Worse yet, he’d break out all his favorite encouragement speeches like the inches speech from “Any Given Sunday.” Even worse still, I feared he’d make me watch “Patton.”
And the truth is, selling this show, writing this show, was something I really wanted. I wanted to stay in my own lane. I just didn’t want to stall in it. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to live up to my own potential.
So I figured I was going to pitch like I pitch, write like I write, and tell a story that I believed in. Nothing more, but nothing less.
I went to meeting after meeting and pitched my idea. How? I just had a conversation, like we are now. I didn’t worry about the right way to pitch, or even if they wanted to buy the show. I just told them my story and said, “Can you believe it?”
Today, I closed a deal for the sale of my idea. It’s going to be a digital series, which means it’ll live on the Internet rather than your favorite TV network.
Monday I start working on the pilot. I’m excited and nervous, but mostly I’m just proud. I sold a show. I killed a spider. I guess it’s never too late to start living up to your potential.
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