My first and only experience with a tarantula was from a Brady Bunch episode many years ago. (I learned so much from those Brady kids back in the day!) Anyway, the Brady family was vacationing in Hawaii and somehow ran across a bad luck tiki idol (because of course they did). I don’t remember the exact turn of events, but Peter was sleeping with the supposedly-evil tiki idol and then the tarantula crawls on him.
Now that I look back on it, Peter’s expression is not really that of a scared-out-of-his-mind boy, but maybe more of a he-just-found-a-fly-in-his-soup kind of face. Regardless, I remember that episode to this day, and I have been petrified of tarantulas (and I suppose tiki idols) ever since.
Other than this image forever emblazoned in my mind, I have never seen a real live tarantula. Until yesterday.
We live in an area just outside of Austin where foxes, coyotes, scorpions, snakes, and spiders are fairly commonplace. However, most of those things tend to lurk in the shadows in the daytime so we don’t often see them, and I’m usually in denial that they actually exist. (Side note: I almost burned down the house at the first sighting of a scorpion on our wall a couple of years ago, but that’s another story altogether.)
Since we have a young puppy, we are constantly letting him in and out of the backyard. Without really paying much attention, I opened the back door last night to let the puppy back in, and in walked the largest and fuzziest spider I have ever seen. To be truthful, he didn’t really “walk” in, he charged at me like an angry Spanish bull.
To say that I just “screamed” would be an insult to everyone’s ears around me. I caused my oldest daughter to start sobbing and then she leapt on a tiny cheap table next to our Betta fish. My poor mother-in-law came running out of the bathroom a little frazzled, and my two boys just stared at me in complete confusion. I’m pretty sure my husband had to tell me to stop screeching, or else I would’ve continued for hours on end. The worst part of it all was that during all of my wailing, the charging tarantula decided to hide in one of our couches (not under the couch– IN the couch).
Since I had unintentionally scared my sweet 7 year old daughter into terrified sobs, I had to change my tune super fast. I knew that if I didn’t, we’d have a whole house of terrified and sleepless children for nights on end.
So, the husband and I gathered up all of the necessary spider-hunting equipment (a broom, bowls, flashlights, shoes, and a strainer) and went to work. Don’t ask about the strainer- that was my husband’s addition to the arsenal.
Watching my husband deal with the hairy spider was like watching a Matador with an angry bull. This is what I was envisioning in my head as my husband was trying to coax the spider out of our couch:
In the end, both the Matador and the angry tarantula won. The tarantula lived and was placed back in the greenbelt behind our house. The Matador (and his lovely wife) also lived, although not without a lot of screaming, panic, and a pretty good story.