This could be the most awful thing I will write. Honest.
So, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about some of my more interesting spider encounters, but, I forgot to include one. My youngest suggests that I do that now.
This week is for her.
My family has what we call a sicky-cup. This is a water bottle that my children would use to drink out of when they were sick. It has a large base, a wide straw, it is a pleasant blue color, and is shaped like Ruff the dog (Dennis the Menace fame).
We used it because it would hold a decent amount of water (for a small child) and the cartoon dog made the kids feel better. It is also hard to accidentally knock over and easy to drink out of. It is a good water bottle. And, it is around this bottle—or more accurately, in this bottle, that my tale takes form.
M.R.E.’s have all kinds of goodies inside them. Some of which never get eaten. Some of which return from the field to be consumed at a later time. One of those items for me was the beverage base powder mixes.
The beverage base powder is just a packet of flavored drink mix designed to flavor 12oz of water into something more palatable than plain water. Oh, joy. Well, it works. Not well, but, it works. When you’re drinking nothing but water all the time, flavor, any flavor (even weak/bad flavor), is a game-changer. Now, some of you may be thinking, “But, I love water and could drink it all day.” Good for you. I had a period of time where I was drinking five gallons of water a day just to stay hydrated. That’s just a base-level hydration. To function, I was drinking about eight gallons of water a day. I hate water now. I need flavor.
So, anyways… I used to save my beverage base powder mixes, then, on my downtime, I would mix up a batch of Lemon-Lime or Orange (preferred), Fruit Punch (not bad), or if I had to, Grape (also not bad) drink mix. Then I would fill the aforementioned sicky-cup and just lay in bed to read or watch television.
I feel that at this juncture, I need to point out that I was single. And, that I bought the Ruff the dog water bottle of my own free will. It came with a Dairy Queen kids meal (you read that correctly). Also, at the time I bought it, I was twenty years old (you also read that correctly).
Back to the story: So, yeah, I would often just fill the Ruff bottle with water, add some beverage base powder and then casually sip away while I read, napped, watched t.v., or played a video game. Simple pleasures. Well, a downside to that last one is that I could—on very rare occasions (twice)—forget I had it filled and then let it sit. For too long. One time mold grew. Oops. The other time…
The other time I was not as fortunate to accidentally consume a grape-flavored beverage with a penicillin booster. The second time I had a little bit of a start.
The second time I had forgotten about the Ruff water bottle I had filled it with the Orange beverage base powder (my personal favorite as it reminds me of a poor man’s Tang) and set it next to my bed while I played a Jurassic Park themed Nintendo game. Eventually, I placed it on the ground, beside my bed, and stopped drinking it. And there it sat.
The next day as I sat in my bed, reading, I felt slightly parched. This prompted me to wonder if I had any beverage base powder packets left to mix up. I did have one packet left, so now, all I needed was to locate Ruff the water bottle. As I looked about, it didn’t take long before I spied it accidentally tucked just below my bed frame. Upon lifting it up I realized that it had a slight heft to it which meant that it still had some fluid in it. Actually, it was almost completely full. A win.
Knowing I had mixed it in the evening of the day before, I knew it wasn’t that old and that I wouldn’t be repeating the grape-with-some-extra fiasco of last time. I wanted to see what flavor it was and so I looked down into the straw and spied orange liquid down below. Perfect. Orange. My favorite. So, I lifted the straw to my mouth, took a drag, and placed the bottle back down. Still good. Kinda like with the Strawberry Quick scenario, the extra hours of sitting out had improved the flavor. Another win for me.
I continued to read and eventually, took another sip without really looking at the bottle or straw.
After about fifteen minutes of reading, and on my third drink, it was now that I decided—for no real reason—to look down the 1cm in diameter straw (big, open straw). Maybe it was chance. Maybe it was because the flavor was just slightly off, suddenly. Maybe it was because I didn’t seem to achieve the same amount of liquid on this pull as I would normally have had. So, I peered down the straw expecting to see orange liquid. I did not.
Inside that tunnel—and about halfway down it—were eight eyes attached to a body big enough to almost completely block the entire opening. It was the biggest wolf spider I had seen. And, it was in my Ruff water bottle! More specifically, it was in the straw of my Ruff water bottle!! Even more specifically, it was in the straw of my Ruff water bottle while I had taken a drink!!! I had just almost drank a spider.
I had just almost drunk a spider!?!
How long had it been there?!? Had it been in the water bottle and coincidentally began to climb out the straw while I was drinking? Had it just climbed into the straw while I began to drink from it that day? That last one was probably incorrect as the spider was looking straight up at me when I discovered it. And, given his overall bulk, I don’t think he could have turned around inside that plastic tunnel—that doesn’t mean it didn’t, I just don’t think it did. That probably means that that wolf spider had recently moved into my Ruff water bottle, tried to set up shop, got upset when his new residence began to move about, came to the surface to see what all the hullabaloo was about, and then was almost consumed by me.
I almost drank a spider!