Category Archives: Spiders

Give and Take – A Love Story of Sorts

A little over three weeks ago, I promised my 12 year old son something I was sure I never would. A pet tarantula. A few years back, I blogged about this very subject: a promise I made to his dad before we got married – no matter how many boys we have NO SNAKES OR SPIDERS EVER. Ummm, we have 5 boys.

My son was obviously very excited about the possibility. I thought surely I’ve lost what was left of my mind and sane decision making. 

This week we ordered a Mexican Red Knee from an online store. The next day we went anxiously to the Fedex store to pick it up. I announced to the lady behind the counter that we were there to pick up a tarantula. She got very excited, as the employees had all been curious about the box labeled “Live Harmless Reptile.” So much so that she asked if we could open it right there so she could take a peek. I agreed because I was guaranteed live delivery and should probably ensure it was still alive! Within a moment, there were a few other eager onlookers. So we opened the box, removed the Styrofoam lid, then the few pieces of newspaper and then… a small plastic container. 

“Did we get scammed?!” I asked. No way was a giant, furry creature in that small container (the container also had a few squares of toilet paper). We carefully poked around until we saw a tiny spider, no bigger than a child’s thumbnail. I was not expecting a baby, but I was secretly glad I was now going to grow with the spider, so to speak, instead of diving head first into eight, huge legs.

We took it back to my parents’ where we were staying for the night… and also where it promptly escaped. We found it by some miracle and put it back into its habitat. We wrapped that up for extra precaution, but again he escaped. I looked for HOURS. Needless to say, my son was very sad the next morning when I had to tell him. 

But then something happened. He found a small garter snake and was very happy with it, as were the other kids. Each took turns washing their hands before and after holding it. Crazier still, I let him bring it home in the container that was supposed to be for the spider.They made him a little habitat, collected some bugs and fed it. This morning they decided to release it. 

After church today, we went to an exotic pet shop. I had spoke with the owner for quite awhile the night before about which spider was best, and he told us that babies are very difficult to care for. So today we saw their collection of rose hair tarantulas, and my son picked one out.

I admit that while we were in the store, I was having some SERIOUS second thoughts about this all. And again questioning my sanity. But we got the spider and she is now adjusting (I think) to her new home. 

Yep. I must have lost my mind… but hey, the kids are happy!

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The Black Widow… Part Two

I have blogged before about my extreme loathing of spiders, big and small, and I still stand by this feeling.

However…

I have a confession to make…

This morning my 11-year old was standing over my shoulder while I aimlessly surfed the internet.  After a few moments he announced, “Well, off to go on a black widow hunt!”  And I was secretly excited.  Why?  Because I knew he would find one.  And it would probably be huge and disgustingly terrifying and hopefully still alive!

Maybe there is something perverse about me… maybe that’s another thing I need to get off my back.  But I waited inside rather anxiously until he called me out to see it.  It took him less than 10 minutes to find another Texas-sized black widow.  As a side note, I should really start taking pictures of these things.  They are impressive!

But my secret, perverse excitement did not last too long… she was already dying.  Pest control had beat us to it.  How could they steal my joy?!  They were only supposed to spray the nests of flying things!  You know, the bugs that aren’t near as deadly but are equally wicked because of their dive-bombing capabilities?

But wait!!!!  He is calling me back!  Another black widow has been spotted.  I am only half excited this time, because he says it is tiny.  They are no fun when they are smaller than the size of my grown-out thumb nail.  Oh well… maybe it will still be alive so we can kill it.  Hehehehehehe.

So we went out and studied the smaller widow together.  He told me that I am not allowed to kill it because he wants to keep it.  I  firmly reminded him that spiders may not be kept as pets.  But what does he tell me?  He doesn’t want to keep it… he wants to transport it in our car all the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house!!!  I bet they will LOVE that!


Why Pre-Nuptiual Agreements are Crucial

I hate spiders and snakes. My kids have asked if I like little, tiny, barely-visible-to-the-naked-eye dust spiders. NO. What about spiders that don’t hurt you? Hate them, too. The bottom line is, nothing should have eight legs and eight eyes. And for my smart-ass 10-year-old son, and anyone else who will point out that brown recluses only have six eyes… THEY STILL HAVE EIGHT LEGS! And they do wicked damage to their victims. Hate, hate, HATE them all.

Similarly, nothing should have no legs and eerily slither around. Yes, dear children, that goes for non-venomous snakes, too!

When my dear husband and I were still engaged, it came to my attention that he was once a snake and spider owner. Meaning, he willingly caged both a python and a tarantula, kept them in his room and fed them LIVE creatures!  A few times, the snake escaped and was found coiled up in the laundry basket by his mother (ahhhhhhh!!) and once slithering down the hallway for his parents’ bedroom (clearly, the snake had it out for the poor mom).  His mother also told me there were a few occasions when dear hubby would FORGET to put away the nasty spider before falling asleep and she would have to do it for him.

There are a few comments I would like to make before continuing with the meat of the story (hahaha I made a pun!). First: in the laundry basket…. Are you freaking kidding for me? Secondly: who plays with a spider?!  They are not cute.  They cannot play catch or roll over.   Thirdly: how can one go to sleep with a giant spider on the loose??  Something is wrong with my husband…

So I heard these stories with great horror, but the wedding invitations had already been sent out…  But truth be told , I was quite disturbed! So I made him promise and swear in blood to me that no matter how many boys we have, we would never EVER let them have a pet snake or spider.  Of course he agreed.  The wedding invitations had already been sent out.

We now have four boys.

A few days ago, the oldest boy came inside with 3 baby orb weavers. These grow into the huge spiders commonly called banana spiders. He actually tried to run upstairs with them!  He then thought I was naive enough to buy into his story that he was putting them into an escape-proof bug jar for observation purposes.  HA!

But the day I knew would come finally did yesterday.

Out of the blue, the 7-year-old asked, “Mommy, can I have a pet tarantula?”

“Nope.”

“Why, because you hate spiders?”

“Yep.”   The 10-year-old then said,

“Yeah, and if you get one, she will just kill it anyway.”  Hahaha!  I didn’t try to defend myself.  He was right.

“You would kill it??”  I felt not one ounce of pity for the boy when I nodded my head.  After a few minutes,

“Well, can I get one when I’m a man?”

“Sure, kid.  When you are a man and NOT living in my house, you can have whatever pet you want.”

To which the 10-year-old replied, “but she won’t come to your house for a visit.”  I didn’t try to defend myself. He was right.


Black Widows

Kids can be VERY helpful sometimes.  Take yesterday, for example.  The 10 year old came in very calmly from playing outside in what is supposed to be a garden (it’s really just some raised weed beds with some exotic things like onions and garlic pushing through).  “Remember I told you about that orange spider that I thought was an orb weaver?”  I nodded.  I lied… I didn’t really remember.  He has the most amazing capacity for the names and habits of all creatures under the sun, and I have the most amazing capacity for not remembering any of the names and habits of all creatures under the sun.  It’s a perfect relationship.  I’m impressed constantly.

“Well,” he continued, “I was wrong.”  I was shocked.  This never happens.  Really.  I’m not being sarcastic right now.  “It’s actually a black widow.  AND she has an egg sack.”

I hate all spiders.  A black widow is a spider so I hate it.  It’s also creepy looking and very poisonous (OMG, I guess I DO remember some things!!), so I really hate it.  I immediately followed my son to our beautiful gardens, in which ANY spider would want to stake his/her claim to a piece of its paradise.

I did not see the spider, but my boy got his head real close to where one bed raises into the next, and a mess of webs and leaves was.  He said he could see it, but I still couldn’t, and commanded that he get his head out of there, lest the little lady waiting decided to give him a good bite.  This kid is fearless (he poked at a rattler one time, but that’s a story for another day).  I decided the best thing to do was poke at the webbing, naturally, and get the spider to show its flashy red butt.  So I went inside to find something.  I could have used a skewer or pencil, or many other things, but I grabbed my youngest son’s baptismal candle and some matches and went back outside.  This was a brilliant idea… in my head.  I would BURN it!!!!  It sounded so much fun, one might mistake me for a fifth grade boy!  The 10 year old was not amused, and also did not think it was a good idea.  Fortunately, the wind decided for us, and so I was left with just the candle and my original idea to poke around until it crawled out.  I did this for a few minutes, pulling webbing out and poking around.  Finally, out she came.  And she was huge.  I’m not saying she is huge because I hate spiders and want to make them seem more evil than they are, but she really was a well-fed, Texas sized black widow.  She must have feasted on 20 husbands by now.  Oh, and by the way, this is the SECOND giant, well-fed, death deserving black widow this boy has found!!

Back to the story.  She sat there, not moving at all.  Not at all upset that I had ripped up her web mess and now exposed her.  Next step – I told the boy to watch the spider and make sure she didn’t go anywhere (not sure what I wanted him to do if she actually DID attempt a getaway).  I ran inside for the bottle of Raid.  Back to my lush gardens I came and began spraying that thing.   It was fun.  It wiggled and writhed, so I kept spraying.  Eventually the bottle was empty, and her movements had slowed.  I was beginning to feel satisfied.  We left her alone to have some pre-death moments to herself, and then came back after a bit to check on our corpse.  I then instructed my boy to collect her relics in a specimen viewing jar, carefully, and with gloves, just in case she had one last bite in her.

She is now proudly on display outside for all to see.