It can be said living alone is one of the greatest joys in life, but having to kill the creepy crawlies tormenting my home has completely smothered any romanticism that comes with it.
Up until February, I’d either had a housemate or my mother there to kill any spider, cockroach or centipede in sight.
My shrill scream in the middle of the night became known as the house alarm and their tired animosity towards me afterward was worth not having to bash the creature to death myself.
But for as long as I’ve known, I’ve been afraid of bugs, spiders especially, despite days spent in our old shed or climbing the fruit trees in our backyard.
It may have something to do with the image of my mother screeching about a huge huntsman in her wardrobe to a six-year-old me standing on her bed as I watched her attempting to whack the tiny body which zigged and zagged between old jumpers and summer tops.
So, while she was always there to kill the critters, her irrational response is something which has caused me, a grown woman, to want to avoid bugs completely, and burn everything I own if I see one.
The childhood conditioning is certainly something that hasn’t benefited my life for the past eight months, particularly while living in an old house which has multiple cracks and openings in its walls and windows.
Living alone does have its perks, such as being able to have a shower without finding stray bird feathers in the soap dish because you have a socially backward housemate who likes to shower with his pet cockatiel.
But there are a few downsides, too, and one of those includes walking into the toilet to find a huntsman on the wall, or in the shower, or on your bed, or near your bed, or crawling across your bedroom floor near the fireplace, and also finding dead ones under the kitchen sink.
My skin is crawling as I say this, but yes, that is every single place I have found a huntsman spider in the past six months, before I proceed to find a shoe, mop or book and bash the living out of them.
I spent the week before last wearing socks around the house, sleeping with one eye open, stomping around and peering my head slowly into each room before entering.
And I can tell you now, it’s tiring.
Three days in a row I killed three huntsmen in three different locations and, as I saw a fourth creep across the lounge room floor the night after, I wasn’t mentally capable of killing another.
There are times where I have contemplated knocking on my neighbour’s door to ask for help, but that would mean I would have to make friends with them, when I just want to not do that.
The last week has been spider-free, but I don’t know if that’s because the ones in the nest I seem to have are too small to see, or they’ve now found hiding places inside my shoes and pillowcases.
What this experience has shown me is that it doesn’t matter whether you have a full-time job, a home to yourself, and a plush couch, killing spiders will always prove how strong you are — or aren’t — as a person.
Rhiannon Tuffield is a News journalist.