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Thursday, December 02, 2010

It's the ones you don't see...

Aaaand the hits just keep on coming. I'm not sure how Zahava's nerves will hold up under the strain... but at least this stuff makes for good blog fodder.

Here's a recap of the latest adventure at chez treppenwitz:

Last night I was feeling sleepy around the time we'd finally managed to wrestle Yonah into his bed, so I said good night to Zahava and left her in the living room watching TV.

My bedtime routine goes something like this:

  1. Brush teeth (yes, topless... Zahava is my style guru!)
  2. Wash face
  3. Clear accumulated clothes, books and dogs from bed
  4. stretch out in newly cleared bed and check email on iPad
  5. Set my iTunes onto the 'bedtime' playlist which has all the relaxing stuff
  6. Surf the news sites (I know... sort of undoes the relaxing music, but I must...)
  7. Set Alarm
  8. Roll over and go instantly to sleep

Last night went exactly according to plan... except with the addition of an additional step between #5 and # 6. We'll call this step 5.5

Step 5.5 consisted of Zahava coming downstairs to our bedroom, glancing at her side of the bed (yes, she had her glasses on at this point) and letting out a blood curdling scream.

My initial reaction wasn't what you might expect. I simply glanced over at her and said "What? What now?"

She shrieked that there was a huge hairy Tarantula on her pillow... but I wasn't convinced. You see, Zahava's eyesight is not what one might call 'good'. She sometimes mistakes common household items for snakes, lizards... spiders.

In short, it's often easier to ask her to take a closer look than to actually investigate for myself. In this case, it would have meant rolling over from my comfortable position and lifting myself up on one elbow in order to see what all the fuss was about. I love my wife... but that's a lot of exertion for something that was almost certainly a false alarm (admit it ladies... you've never wanted me more!).

As I continued to read my iPad I realized that the shrieking wasn't going away as it normally would if Zahava had mistaken, say, a belt for a cobra. So I rolled over, lifted myself up on one elbow and damned if there wasn't a tarantula on her pillow! It wasn't huge, as tarantulas go... maybe as big around as the bottom of a large water glass. But I had to admit I wouldn't want to sleep with it on my pillow.

I don't know how it is in other families, but the division of labor in our household goes something like this: I grill meat, unscrew balky jars, assist the children with vomiting (and the clean-up of same)... and kill bugs. Zahava does pretty much everything else.

Since this clearly fell into my area of responsibility, I sent Zahava back upstairs so I could contemplate my options. I suppose I could have let her stay in the room, but this sort of operation requires a certain zen that is impossible to achieve when someone is shrieking every time the spider - or the person trying to capture it - makes the slightest move.

After a few moments I decided I needed some tools, so I yelled up for Zahava to bring down a couple of paper cups, bowls and plates. I still didn't have a clear plan, but I knew that picking the thing up with my bare hands was not in the cards.

A moment later Zahava came tip-toeing down the stairs with the paper goods. When she glanced over at her pillow she gave out another involuntary shriek and began begging me to tell her what I planned to do. I still wasn't sure... except for the part where I needed to get her the hell out of the room to keep from catching her jumpiness.

Zahava's parting request as she scampered back upstairs was "Promise me you won't get tarantula guts on my pillow". I told her I'd try not to, but stopped short of a promise.

The truth is, nothing could have been easier. I put a paper plate down next to the spider... gave it a good smack with waterlogged issue of National Geographic (left over from Zahava's water pipe adventure)... and the thing accommodatingly rolled belly up onto the plate. I put a paper bowl over it, carried it into the bathroom... and in one swift movement, gave it a Tidybowl burial at sea.

I made a check to make sure there were no other furry arachnids on the bed, climbed back in to rejoin my bedtime routine where I'd left off, and gave the 'all clear' to Zahava.

I have no idea what time Zahava actually came to bed, but I'm guessing she was pretty rattled. I say this because when I woke up this morning, most of the upstairs lights were still on, and the front door was unlocked. Both of these are 'no-nos' in Zahava's book... up there with running with scissors and going outside without sunscreen. For Zahava, forgetting to turn off the lights and lock up would be enough to substantiate a temporary insanity defense... which, in a way, is probably an accurate description of her state of mind last night.

It was only while I was riding to work this morning that a creepy thought occurred to me; Are tarantulas solitary creatures... or do they run in packs?


Posted by David Bogner on December 2, 2010 | Permalink


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Google sees all: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/tarantula-care-guide.html

"Tarantulas are solitary creatures that come together only when they mate. If two of them are kept together then one may end up being the meal of the other."

Sounds to me as though you did a complete job of it.

Posted by: Russell Gold | Dec 2, 2010 2:00:17 PM

Zahava, my heart is with YOU! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG. I would NEVER be able to sleep in bed right after something like that.

David, bravo for relieving the house of that thing. My husband has the exact same job description as you with an addition. He also gets to remove stinky stuff from the fridge. :D

Now I feel all buggy!!!

Posted by: Maya | Dec 2, 2010 2:37:37 PM

It wasn't huge....

I'm sorry, but I am going to have to call the "liar, liar, pants on fire! card here.....

The thing was so big that my first horrified thought was,"Is that a rat?" [shudder]

Of course, that thought was almost instantly tossed aside as soon as my brain processed "Noooo, that can't be rat 'cause they don't have 8 legs!", [shudder x2!]

Let's just say that it is a good thing you were home. I don't know how I would have dealt with that thing alone... probably would've shot it....

Posted by: zahava | Dec 2, 2010 2:46:23 PM

Oh! And Russell! THANK YOU! for the utterly reassuring news that these guys don't travel in packs.... I might actually remember to turn off the lights and lock the door tonight.... :-)

Posted by: zahava | Dec 2, 2010 2:47:46 PM

IICCHH!!! (written with feminine screach).I wouldn't sleep there either....
I DID NOT KNOW that we have these in Israel......

Posted by: rickismom | Dec 2, 2010 4:39:45 PM

Tarantulas don't bother me, scorpions don't bother me,
even snakes don't.

But, David, brushing your teeth topless, now that's shocking!

Posted by: quietusleo | Dec 2, 2010 4:40:35 PM

yeh- beth once tried the old tarantula on the pillow trick so she'd have an excuse not to sleep next to her snoring husband

Posted by: roberti | Dec 2, 2010 4:59:01 PM

You *killed* it?? You had a paper cup and a plate - scoop it into the cup, cover it with the plate and set it free into the great outdoors. If your backyard is still beautifully au natural, it would never have found its way back in. ;) And besides, you had to move from your comfy position to do the whack-n-flush, what's a few more steps?

Ah, well. At least Zahava can turn off the lights now! AND no tarantula guts, to boot!

Also? I had no idea there are tarantulas in Israel.

Posted by: Alissa | Dec 2, 2010 5:01:11 PM

"It wasn't huge..." and "...lock the door..."

I'm reminded of two things. First, a story a friend of mine, who is also has a thing about spiders, told. The report of the incident later was the spider kicked in his door and knocked him off his couch to crawl underneath it... Second, that episode of Gilligan's Island where the castaways are trapped in the cave with a giant spider, which is scared off by the homing pigeon they'd gone in there to get. Hmmm, maybe you could get David to give up on the apiary and take up homing pigeons?

You really should probably make sure the door's locked tonight, those tarantulas can be pretty unfriendly.

P.S. not laughing, that Gilligan's episode still creeps me out and I know (now) that the spider wasn't real...

Posted by: Jethro | Dec 2, 2010 5:21:14 PM

o dear Zahava!
(hmm, i may have to get me one of these husbands... i will discuss this with my wife tonight)

Posted by: weese | Dec 2, 2010 5:44:21 PM

Oooh. Zahava -- my sympathies!

A long time ago, I found one of 'em on the wall when I brought a friend home. She disposed of it while I screamed and shuddered.

These days I tend to trap and release outdoors... but one that big and hairy -- I probably would have fainted.

Posted by: Rahel | Dec 2, 2010 6:03:12 PM

It was probably displaced by the flood and was just looking to camp out on high ground.

Posted by: Yossi | Dec 2, 2010 6:19:25 PM

The itsy bitsy spider was just trying to climb up the water spout.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 2, 2010 7:51:31 PM

I would've made Ami get up and help me change the sheets before getting into bed... Then he'd fall asleep and I'd lay awake making sure I don't feel any creepy things on me... Itai probably would be upset he didn't see the tarantula!

Posted by: Aviva Infeld | Dec 2, 2010 8:17:09 PM

Thank you for reminding me of one of my major reasons for never having emigrated from the UK!

Posted by: chairwoman | Dec 2, 2010 8:38:45 PM

I recently saw a juk here. It was freaking huge. I told Isaac we should sell the house and move somewhere safe.

If I saw that thing, I'd give the house away for free.

You're very brave, Zehava.

Posted by: Baila | Dec 2, 2010 8:43:55 PM

If it had been the recently discovered
Cerbalus aravensis, it would have caused a truly memorable freak out!

Posted by: Yossi | Dec 2, 2010 9:48:49 PM

Its about time you got a cat. :-)

Posted by: Rami | Dec 2, 2010 10:43:17 PM

I'm with Chairwoman. That story just put me off making Aliyah;-)

It's also the reason we've never shifted to Australia. The spiders there are gargantuan and ride Harleys

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Dec 2, 2010 10:58:23 PM

Think this spider is creepy? You have not been so creeped out until you've come across one of our (in)famous South Florida Palmetto bugs. They are as large as Pterodactyls. Especially when they fly.

Posted by: Allan | Dec 3, 2010 1:41:55 AM

tarantulas,even spiders and snakes are creepy.

Posted by: business legal advice | Dec 3, 2010 4:28:59 AM

Answer to your final question:

They're solitary, except for when they're in a group. The only non-mating time I know of them being in a group, though, is migration. (several relatives have been caught in them in Nevada-- amazingly, no deaths. I don't mean from the spiders, I mean from heart attacks....)

Posted by: Foxfier | Dec 3, 2010 8:35:38 AM


Posted by: Elisson | Dec 3, 2010 6:54:26 PM

Ehhhhh....no big deal. Think of this as a business opportunity.


You can trade 'em for bourbon. Just don't get caught. :)

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 4, 2010 12:24:38 PM

I think its universal - I get bug duty here too. I can't identify them but the females of the household are universally freaked. My 2 year old son doesn't really care....

Posted by: Aharon | Dec 5, 2010 7:21:02 AM

Not universal....I'm the designated pest control spouse in my household. Snakes, spiders, filed mice....I don't know how I'd handle a scorpion, though. I'm a catch-and-release person, but not sure if I could safely catch a scorpion?

David, WHERE were your dogs? We've added two Canaanis to the household and between them and the cats, nothing dares to intrude!

BTW, tarantulas are big and hairy looking but far less dangerous than Black Widows or Violin Spiders.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Dec 5, 2010 8:45:06 AM

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