Great story Mike. My brother-in-law fears spiders as much as you do. He also happens to be my work partner. When we had to enter man-holes for high voltage cable splicing. I had to clear the thick layer of webs from all around and make sure nothing moved. Not all vaults were bad, but the ones that were, you could feel his fear.
I fear snakes in the worst way. I had a bad encounter with a Michigan Rattler. I guess you inspired me to write a story.