January 2, 2010

Spider, Spider... Pants on Fire!

(This shot is of a light-weight I found outside our house in November.)

Household 2009 Death Toll
By my calculations, and I’m being conservative, the household death toll for 2009 is as follows: 90 Tarantulas; five pairs of shoes; three handbags; a $22 dollar bottle of eye drops; one snake; a pair of trousers; and one small yapping dog...almost.

During the two month stay in our attached apartment, I killed, on average, one to two Tarantulas a day. Every… single… day. But it wasn’t so bad, because, with the exception of one juicy and hirsute whopper I stumbled across in the garden (not shown, but about the size of my hand to my first set of knuckles), most of the spiders were smallish in size, between the size of a quarter and a silver dollar.

But, after last night, I’m ready to pack up and move to Maine.

As Larry and I settled on the sofa in the semi-dark, quietly watching TV, Penny-the-Cat suddenly chased a super-high-speed Tarantula — the size of Rhode Island — right up Larry’s arm.

It happened at lightning speed. (Contrary to popular belief, Tarantulas, when peeved, are not sluggish)

Frantically, Larry flicked the thing hard off his body and up into the air it was flung. Even in the dim light it looked like a low flying bat. Then … it disappeared, somewhere, in my house.

Oh, God. “Okay. That’s IT!” I huffed with exasperated determination. “We’re not going to bed with that thing alive in our house!” No argument from Larry as we started pushing away furniture.

Eureka! There it was, on the floor, between 5 and 6 inches in diameter (yes, run and take a gander at your ruler.) I quickly handed Larry the cover of one of our I Love Lucy DVDs and WHAM! Dead as a Doornail...just the way I like my Tarantulas.

Ok. Killing Ginormous spiders definitely brings instant relief. But, it's also an enormously anticlimactic experience because, once squashed, the thing that looked like it belonged in your old Godzilla movie suddenly shrivels to a pitiful fraction of it’s original freakish size, leaving you not only feeling entirely unsatisfied, but with no one really understanding what all the fuss was about.

Milder Carnage

The shoes, handbags and eye drops were courtesy of Petey, our family pet-turned vicious Killer Watchdog who, when not attacking small children (no kiding, and not always the children you wish he would go after), happily chews anything in his path.

(The snake, which appeared one afternoon on the street and which was rapidly heading to my neighbor Olga's yard, was swiftly dispatched with the machete our fish guy, Miguel, keeps in his truck. What kid of snake was it? Was it a savage and deadly Fer-de-Lance? A Bushmaster? I don't know... but Who CARES? This is Panama, for heaven's sake! My half hearted apologies to the purest "Creature-loving-hippie-Buddhist-Taoist-Meditating Vegan" who wants to capture it in a cup and release it in the wild. God love you, but I'm not taking any chances, my Karhma be damned.

So this leaves us with one pair of pants and the matter of that small dog I mentioned.

The Pants
I'm feel fairly secure that after suffering another year in the goofy and frustrating Panamanian school system (where all boys take a hit, no matter what), I can't go straight to hell for allowing my kid to set afire a pair of old uniform trousers... a happy and sacrificial graduation ceremony.

Still, the flames of Hades stretch to lick up to snatch me to my eternal damnation.  Because, there remains the small matter of one teensy dog ...(story to be featured in the next post. Also coming soon, if I dare!)


Gnightgirl said...

My heart literally raced while reading this, I can't believe I didn't just sign out! I hate spiders, I'd have to get some sort of spider whomper that I could kill them with from 10 feet away. Grahhhhhh.

Maine. Yeah.

Zendoc said...

My theory is: The smaller the life form, the easier it is on our conscience to kill. I swat flies and stomp on spiders daily. However, our one and only encounter with a tarantula found me capturing it in a pot and relocating it out-of-doors. (We are hippie-buddhist-taoist, etc.)

We live on a hillside in Palo Alto where it is cooler and wetter than downtown. It is, I think, for these reasons that we are less plagued by critters. Ninety tarantulas! That's just freaky!

Elizabeth Ballard Slagle said...

I can't believe people I don't know are following this blog! What a compliment! E

News About The Boys

Mrs. Bliss told us there is a caterpillar here that is pink and fuzzy, and, if you touch it, its fur will stick in your skin and sting you! This happened to her daughter, Aylana. It was very painful and they had to pull the fibers out using tape! There are also scorpions and snakes, but I think there are more poisonous snakes in Florida.

William is busy, busy. In the morning he does his home schooling (Dad is his teacher!). Then, around 9:00 he rushes happily off to the local, Catholic, Spanish-only school where he audits the 4th grade! He's been doing some skim boarding but we are seriously missing the skating. Surfing looms in the near future. For a change we finally have kids on our street to play with, (not to mention dogs and roosters, snakes, toads, etc.) and it is wonderful making new friends. Still, William really misses his friends and family back in Sarasota. It's wonderful to get messages from the folks back home.

We send a special "Hello How Are Ya?" back to Nolen, Max, Connor, Emily W. and Teah!

Larry is Mr. Handy! Between homeschooling and making repairs on the house, he is never without something to do. And we have gone from never seeing him, to having him around all the time. Hmmmmmm.....

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