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My Terrifying Experience With a Wolf Spider

This is a story of how I nearly had to hand in my man-card a few years ago. It came up in conversation so I thought I’d write a post on it as sort of an archive. It happened when my wife and I moved into our new place and we had no idea that we were invading a spider colony.

This was I guess because the neighborhood was a bit new and our house was about a year old and had been left vacant for a month after the previous tenant moved out. Because of this, we had the everyday run-ins with the spiders as they were used to living free of humans.

Personally, I do not like spiders, much as they help us get rid of other pests, I think they could do this better outside. Anyway, most of those we’d seen were small harmless beings. Or so we thought…

When we first moved in we saw a couple of the wolf spiders and thought we had seen the last of them. A wolf spider looks like a small tarantula and I am generally not one who minds killing pests in the house, but large spiders are where I draw the line. This was confirmed on our last trip to Hawaii where large insects love to hang out. It is also highly unlikely that I’ll trap one and take it outside.

My wife is a workout enthusiast. The kind who never misses a day, she works out including holidays and even gets up early during tax season when accountants are doing overtime. One morning, while I was still sleeping and probably dreaming of the latest episode of Vikings, I awoke to my agitated wife yelling about a big hairy spider on the floor. When I finally woke up, she pointed at the wolf spider almost as big as Texas on top of her gym shirt.

It was then that I realized that we might have to burn the house down and move. It also occurred to me that my wife was waiting for me to do something about the huge monster in the room. She must have realized that I had no intention of dealing with the spider in the closet in the near future.

Upon realizing this, she had the brilliant idea to call her dad to come and deal with it. In that instant I couldn’t help but think of how I would have to hear for the rest of my life the story about how my father in law had to wake up in the middle of the night to save us from a horrid monster while I hid under the covers. This would reinforce the idea that I did not have a real job as writing and psychology are not ‘real men jobs’.

I realized I had no choice but to face my fears. I dragged myself out of bed and looked into the closet. Then I saw it, huge, hairy and imposing… daring me to come any closer. I could feel a thin trickle of sweat down my back. I even considered letting her call her dad. They wouldn’t even miss us at the family functions. But that wouldn’t work.

My wife trusted me to deal with the beast and I was not going to let her down. I picked up the first thing I saw which turned out to be a shoe and suddenly wished I had bigger feet. Just as I was about to end the spider’s life, my wife yelled that it was a wolf spider and they jump (oh c’mon!).

Note: Since the incident, I found that wolf spiders are pretty much harmless according to but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get one as a pet.

This must have scared the spider because it decided to run and hide further in the closet. We both breathed a sigh of relief before we realized that we now had to look for it. By now I was very spooked out and did not trust a shoe to help me kill the monster.

I had with me the arm of our vacuum cleaner. This would ensure that I did not have to get so close to the spider to kill it. Once we had located the spider, I turned the vacuum cleaner on and sucked the spider up like our lives depended on it. We then put the vacuum cleaner in the garage for a couple of days to make sure the spider wouldn’t come back.

Luckily, we have not had any other spider related close-shaves. While I still hate spiders, I’m educating myself a bit more on the RMC site I mentioned above and their Facebook page.

My Personal Bucket List

(Updated 7/9/20) A few years ago, a started writing up a “bucket list” of things I would like to do while on Earth. It started off with about ten items and I’ve been gradually adding to it. It’s to the point where I’m not sure it’s doable but I’ve got a few things checked off which I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Here we go…

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Essential Safety Tips for Garage Doors

garage-door-safetySomething that can be overlooked so many times in many homes is not only the regular maintenance of garage doors, but the overall safety of them as well. This is a factor that can be unfortunate due to the fact that approximately over 30,000 individuals are injured every year in incidents related to garage doors, some of which can result in death.

Personally, installing a garage door in my first home caused me to slip off a ladder and literally fall on my head. I fractured a vertebrae in my neck and suffered a ruptured disc. It wasn’t until 3 surgeries and years of wearing a home cervical traction device that I started to not notice the pain.

Want to have to use one of these because you wanted to install a garage door yourself?


Image courtesy of: Back Pained.


So, take it from me, if you’re considering installing or performing regular maintenance on a garage door (which is generally done every year), these are processes that are best completed by a pro rather than attempting the job yourself.

Here are some general tips to make note of regarding garage doors that will help to keep you and your family safe.


As previously stated, the installation of a garage door is something that should always be completed by a professional. Many times, homeowners (especially non-coordinated ones such as myself) will try to complete the jobs on their own in an attempt to save money, only to find that they will have to contact a professional anyway when they discover just how difficult the process actually is. Additionally, if you were to install the door incorrectly, you run the risk of becoming injured, as well as causing the door itself to operate in a faulty manner.


Professionals should be contacted for two reasons when it comes to garage doors: installations and repairs. While there can be the instance of a faulty garage door operating if you try to install it yourself, the exact same exact risk also exists if you attempt to make any repairs on your own. While contacting a professional to make any necessary repairs is generally the best option to take, it can also be more cost-effective at times to outright purchase a brand new door.


It’s important to always take the opportunity to test your garage door on a regular basis in order to ensure that it’s working properly. There are a wide variety of doors that come with motion sensors, which are designed to detect objects that are underneath the door itself. Whenever any object is detected, the door will not be able to close, which is important due to the fact that it will prevent all sorts of accidents from taking place, such as small children accidentally getting crushed. The best way to test the door’s sensors is to simply slide a piece of wood under it, then close it. If the sensors are working properly, the piece of wood will be detected and the door will not close.

safety-releaseEmergency Release

Another aspect of importance regarding garage doors is the emergency release feature, more specifically how to use it. In the event that something occurs with the door and you need to manually open it, the emergency release will need to be activated in order for this to happen. One great example of this would be if someone were to accidentally become pinned underneath the door.

Garage Door Opener

Under no circumstances should any children be permitted to go anywhere near any part of the garage door’s operating features. All buttons should be installed at a decent enough height that will not enable children to be able to reach them. Furthermore, parents should take the time to teach their children about basic garage door safety.

Electric Wires

It’s important to keep in mind that all garage doors are powered by electric wires, which can obviously cause a great deal of injury. This makes it even more important to always hire a professional to complete any and all installations and repairs because if you make even one wrong move, not only can you potentially injure yourself, but you could also injure someone else in your home. Additionally, be extra careful around the spring that is designed to control how the door itself moves, as this spring is heavy and has the ability to cause a great deal of injury and/or death in the event that it pops off. If this spring does pop off, never attempt to repair it on your own.

A New Healthier Me

high-cholesterolWhen I retired last year, my wife and I decided to move away from the cold Wisconsin winters, and closer to our young grandchildren in southern California. As an active couple, we were excited to enjoy all that California had to offer.

Things were going great. We took every advantage of the temperate weather in our new home and spent time walking through area parks, taking the grand kids to the beach, and even learning to sail. I’d never felt healthier.

The Not-So-Good News

That’s why the results of my first physical with my new doctor took me completely by surprise. When I went in for the follow up, to find out the results from my lab tests, my doctor informed me that my cholesterol was dangerously high. With numbers like mine, I was at increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and I needed to turn things around.

Knowing that I was already physically active, my doctor suggested that I meet with a nutritionist to look at ways I could help lower my cholesterol through dietary changes. I’ll be honest; I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Always have been. Changing up my diet didn’t just sound unpleasant, it sounded scary. I did some research on nutritionists and what exactly they do.

Time for a Change

I didn’t know if I could make the kinds of changes I figured I would have to make, but I knew I wanted to be around a long time. I was loving retirement, spending time with my wife, with the grand kids, enjoying all life had to offer. I made the appointment.

Meeting with the nutritionist (don’t confuse nutritionist vs dietitian) actually turned out to be one of the best things I could have done. My wife went with me, so we could learn together about the healthy changes we’d have to make in my diet.

coconut_oilThe nutritionist showed me several ways I could improve my cholesterol quickly. Ideas like cutting back the saturated fat in my diet and changing the kinds of oils and spreads we were using could make a lot of difference. I didn’t know a lot about different types of fats, and we’d used the same margarine for years. I had no idea that there were buttery-tasting spreads that not only didn’t raise your cholesterol, but contained ingredients to help lower it.

She also advised me to increase my fiber intake. I learned that fiber rich foods are important in managing cholesterol levels, and they help maintain colon health, too

Finally, the nutritionist convinced me to try more fresh fish, and even provided us with some great recipes. Living close to some of the best fish markets in the world, we had no excuse not to add more of these powerful cholesterol fighting meals, full of omega-3 fatty acids, to our menu.


In the weeks and months following my physical, I’ve seen a lot of positive changes. My cholesterol has come down significantly and I even lost some stubborn abdominal fat. As great as I was feeling before I found out about my high cholesterol, I am feeling even better now.

Changing my diet wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be. My wife cooks with olive oil now, and we’re choosier about the spreads we use, saving butter for special treats. I grill more fish than steaks, having found several selections we enjoy. And we’ve really increased the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables we eat, visiting farmers’ markets together and enjoying the bounty of the local growers.

If you have high cholesterol, or better yet, before you have a problem, see a nutritionist and see what healthy changes you can make. I know you’ll be glad you did.

Why You Should Change Your Own Oil

I’m by no means comfortable with doing my own major car repairs but there are a couple things I always do myself: wash my car and change the oil. Something I learned early on in life is that in order for a vehicle to run properly, it must be well maintained. If you want your car to run well for as long as possible, you will need to have the oil changed regularly. You may want to consider changing the oil in your car on your own. It is not overly difficult to do and there are many benefits to doing the work yourself.

Save Yourself Money

Changing your oil on your own will save you a lot of money. You can compare the cost of the filter and oil to be sure that you are getting the best price possible. There are times when you can find oil on clearance and save yourself even more money. If you plan on doing other maintenance and repair, I’d highly recommended investing in a floor jack. A good 2 ton floor jack will literally last you a lifetime and save a bunch of time and effort.

Another thing that will save a bunch of money over its lifetime is a small air compressor. According to this site, not only will you not have a to pay a couple bucks at a gas station each time you need to top off your tires’ air pressure, you’ll extend the life of your tires when it’s easy to inflate them yourself (as opposed to driving on under-inflated tires).

Save Yourself Time

Changing the oil yourself will save you time because you can do it whenever it is convenient for you. You will not have to spend hours on end waiting for a mechanic to change the oil. Many mechanics have numerous oil changes to do in a day and this can cause you to have to wait two to four hours just to get an oil change.

Get Peace of Mind

Mechanics are often in a hurry when changing oil. They want to get as many jobs done as possible to ensure that they are able to make as much money as they can. By doing the oil change on your own, you will be able to rest assured that the job was done the right way, that no plugs are missing, and that the filter was put into the car the right way. Don’t be like my friend who went into one of those speedy oil change places and the attendant there forgot to fully tighten the oil pan bolt. By the time he got home, there was no oil in the car and the engine was smoking. Now he’s fighting them to get reimbursed for the damage.

Changing your own oil will take less than an hour, once you get used to doing it. When you consider the time and financial savings that come from changing your own oil, you will realize that it is well worth the effort.

Building a Kids Bunk Bed

Let’s face it… any kid would love to have a bunk bed in their room. I still remember when my dad built my brother and I our first bunk bed. It was nothing fancy but to us kids, it was the coolest thing. Bunk beds are actually quite easy to build although a bit time consuming. If you decide to do the job yourself, then you can save quite a bit of money. For a very inexpensive way to please your kids all you need is a few basic tools and pinewood. Using pinewood would make the bunk very durable, solid and safe.

bunk-bed-safetyIt’s important to remember that the top portions of bunk beds should not be used by very young kids. It should be reserved for those at least 4 years old. Younger kids can be on the bottom. My grandkids are 5 and 3 so obviously, the younger one will be on the bottom. He still loves sleeping in his favorite toddler sleep sack so it’s much safer if he’s on the bottom. BTW, if you’re looking for one, I’ve been told that Woolino makes the best toddler sleep bag.

Materials and Tools Needed

  • 6/4″ pine
  • scrap wood
  • 4×4 pine
  • 1×2 pine
  • 1×4 pine
  • plywood
  • screws
  • table saw
  • miter saw
  • circular saw
  • router
  • pencil
  • chisel
  • jigsaw
  • flush cut router bit
  • drill
  • drill bit
  • screwdriver
  • measuring tape
  • safety glasses

Instructions For Building A Kid’s Bunk Bed

  1. All boards must be sanded smooth with power sander.
  2. Four 2x6s must be cut down to 39 inches.
  3. You can use the same blade to cut 8 2x6s down to 78 inches.
  4. The 2x6s should be glued and screwed together.
  5. The box should be placed on the plywood so you can trace outline with pencil.
  6. The plywood should be cut to the size of traced box.
  7. The plywood piece should be glued and screwed to the bottom of the box. Now the mattress should fit in the box.
  8. The lower bunk is ready to be set up. Spaced four feet apart, place the 4×4 pieces of wood on the floor. Make a line and this will give you the lower mounting point for the box.
  9. The mattress box should be placed so that it is even with the line. It should be 18 inches from the ends.
  10. Now the points for attaching the lower bunk must be set up. Using the line as a guide, drill 2 3/8 inch holes in the 2x6s and in the 4x4s making sure not to come through the other side.
  11. The drill hole must be counter synced to 3/4 of an inch. Use the 3/4 inch spade bit.
  12. Glue and screw lag bolts into holes using socket and ratchet. Do this on both sides of the box.
  13. Place other 2×6 mattress box 12 inches from top of 4x4s. Attach the box same way as the lower box.
  14. Place legs in place. 4x4s should be placed on the ground 4 feet apart. Flip edges of box over on 4x4s. Glue and screw legs to bed.
  15. Stand the bunk upright. Lift the bed onto its 4×4 legs.
  16. Stabilize the bed, attach 6 foot 2x4s to front and back. Glue and screw them to boxes.
  17. Build a ladder by cutting 2x4s 24 inches long and set at 12 inches apart starting from the ground. Glue and screw the 2x4s to the ends.
  18. Safety railings should be built and should measure 3 inches up on the side of the 4x4s on the top bunk. Glue and screw the rest of the 2x6s to the sides.