The only wildlife I see more than my dogs are spiders. Tarantulas, to be specific. They are very much like Winston: big hairy lugs, kinda slow moving. Actually, Winston is slow-moving unless you have one of his toys in your hand – he’s agile for a big hairy lug. I’ve never tried to toss a rubber toy for a tarantula so I have no idea if they can move fast. And, no, I’ve never tried to toss one AT a tarantula. As hideous as they are, my Buddhist mother would kill me if I killed one. I don’t tell her about all the dead ants in my dark past…

Here’s a REALLY CREEPY TRUE story. If you have arachnophobia, read no further because you will be comatose by the last sentence.

The other day, we were going to the gym. I put on my sneakers. Fortunately, I had on socks. My nice thick cushioned socks. As I was bending down to tie my shoe, I realized that one shoe had a rock in it. A nice sized rock at that.

OK, I just let out a scream because the memory is so creepy. Which brings my three boys racing to my side – they are so sweet! OK, only the two young ones show up. The old one instant messages "What’s wrong?" Still sweet. When they realize there is nothing wrong, just a creepy memory, they stroll away. Ryan said to Mo, "She’s dramatizing." Hey. Everybody has to be good at something. Sadly, I got drama instead of something that will get me a paying job. And isn’t their vocabulary grand?

I pull my foot out of the shoe and a tarantula unfolds itself into the bottom of it. Of course, I drop the shoe. I do not scream because I am speechless. How did that huge spider a) live through my big foot smashing it into the toe of said sneaker? And b) squeeze up into a ball that only felt like a small rock? It sure didn’t feel anything like that big spider I was now eyeballing.

THEN I scream. Then I gingerly pick up the shoe and race outside and bang it on the ground, ready to run at the appearance of the T-Ran. It won’t bang out of my shoe. It must have a death grip on my innersole. Now what. This whole thing is really creeping me out. On the other hand, I’m fat. I need to get to the gym… so I get a stick and coax the thing out. Eeeeeeeoooooo. It’s big. It strolls away. I hope they eat mosquitoes or do some other useful thing. ‘Cause, God, they are ugly.

Last week, Xavier came downstairs kinda all excited and creeped out. He had a T-Ran trapped under his big black trash can. Under his desk. Where his feet are. He said it was at least 6" across. Of course, I know he is exaggerating because they ALL look as big as your head. I do my best to calm him down, but the guy is hysterical. Not with fear, of course. With excitement. Guys think big bugs are cool and not disgusting. He wants to poke it with a stick. (Despite what he says in the video. I know he does.) I just want it to live a long and happy life somewhere else.

He gets a glass jar from the kitchen and we go upstairs. He removes the trashcan, ready to set the glass jar on top of the spider before it runs away. But, of course, it just sits there, waiting for the new trap. A big hairy lug. I filmed it. It is indeed 6" across… It’s now living in our yard. Somewhere. Alive.

P.S. Did you notice how when Hal said these aren’t web spiders, I contradicted him like I knew something and informed him that he was wrong? "They weave incredibly huge webs," I say with authority. According to Wikipedia, tarantulas are indeed NOT web spiders. They catch things by AMBUSH. So there must speed in there somewhere…. The downside to thinking you know everything is that you are likely wrong 50% of the time. Not that I am. But I’ve heard some know-it-alls can be.

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