It was not a good job for someone with arachnophobia.
The fear of eight-legged creepy crawlies can be terrifying at worst (and at best actually, because I really do hate spiders.)
Nothing in this world ― not a visit from the inlaws, a trip to the dentist, not even other bugs, scare me as much as a spider.
So with that manhood-shriveling fear in mind, you can understand why I was so reluctant to clean under the back deck of my humble home.
When we moved in to the house, the space under the deck was open and really not good for anything, so I put my vast array of carpentry 'skills' to work and enclosed the area with two-by-fours and plywood.
The first thing I needed was tools and thanks to a watchful eye, I spotted several much-needed pieces of equipment in local flyers, the discount section of hardware stores and yard sales and soon I had an arsenal of mass construction.
All of this was purchased with my wife's consent – more or less anyway.
Eventually I had everything I needed from a compound mitre saw (my favourite new tool) to a framing-finishing-gun-air-compressor combo (my second fav tool.)
Feeling like a real carpenter, I even bought one of those little pouch thingies carpenters wear to hold their hammer, nails, pencil, measuring tape, sawdust and what ever else happened to land in all those pockets.
The job didn't take long, and before I could say 'Why won't this stupid board fit, I measured it three times,' the job was done.
I was pleased with my mastery over wood products and the prowess I possessed in building such a fine enclosure.
Three walls, two doors and a window were all done by someone with marginal carpentry experience.
Next came filling the newly created enclosure with stuff I wanted to store. First were the kid's bikes that could finally be kept under lock and key. After having three bikes 'liberated' from my yard it was becoming rather tiresome, but since I completed the addition to my home not a single bike has wondered off.
As time crept along, more and more items ended up under the deck, some of which had not been moved for years.
But along with the structural addition to my home came another addition: a breeding ground for spiders. At first it was not too bad, but after a few years there were more spider webs in that little space than moustaches in Mexico.
It was also getting full of leaves and dust and clutter, so I decided it was time to charge in and clean it out.
The first task was to move everything out of the area. Actually that was the second task, the first was to get a good pair of leather work gloves so I would not run the risk of my skin coming in contact with an arachnid.
When I moved a box and saw a wolf spider – that was actually larger than a real wolf – scurry away, I knew it was time to call in the heavy artillery: my shop vac.
With the longest tube extensions I possessed, my peak 5.5 horsepower spider killer was ready to go. I would move items with one hand and vacuum with the other. I sucked up roughly 2,347 pounds worth of spider webs, or something in that range anyway.
I also caught up to that wolf spider and I actually heard it make a clunking sound as its enlarged body entered the cold chamber of my shop vac.
I am still shuttering.
It took a while, but a decade of spider build up has been cleaned out.
I also learned a valuable lesson that day: when doing a job that involves spiders, webs and other forms of ickyness – make my son do it.
copywrite 2014 Darren Handschuh