this is NOT a halloween post

I’ve seen my share of fucked up since moving here to Texas. Aside from the wild obsession Texans seem to have with their own state (etching the state’s shape into the windows of their homes, outfitted with a burnt orange longhorns flag), or the star spangled cell phone holders, or the roadside jerkey–I’ve seen scorpions in my house (in my makeup drawer!), had a coyote in my backyard during daylight, have heard of rattlesnakes being on the trail in my backyard, but this, this I didn’t think happened anywhere but in the Brady Bunch Hawaii episode.


I was startled for a moment when I saw a Halloween gag on my window. “Ha, ha,” I thought to myself. “Norma got me this time.” There, outside my window, she stuck a pipe cleaner tarantula. Then I looked a little closer. HOLY MOTHERFUCKER. It was moving. Right there, on the window, beside my front door. A TARANTULA. Where the fuck am I living? Seriously. Who sees tarantulas?! Pictures of my window and our guest, who decided to be fashionably late for Halloween:


Slightly less troubling, I then googled this creature to see what people were saying about it’s death factor if you’re jabbed by one of these buggers. Guess what I found? People touting them as great “beginner spiders.” As in, what a great pet these guys make. They’re totally underestimated. Yeah, I don’t know who these people are, these exotic pet owners who prefer reptiles to puppies, but a tarantula is NOT a goddamn pet. Look at it. From this picture, it looks like it has one cyclops of an eye, with a gaping hole in the middle, that I can’t help but think of as an ass instead of a mouth. It looks like one of those anal sex porn DVD covers, where they show some gaping ass action as an enticement to buy. Then I watched this video on tarantulas, watching a man who looks like he’d be the type to have a tarantula as a pet, fondle his friend, telling us all about the tarantula nemesis. How thoroughly disturbing. And yes, I’m judgmental. One of my closest friends in college had a pet snake in her dorm room. She once showed up at a judge’s house wearing nothing but a trench coat, heels, and her pet snake. He asked her to leave. So would I.




  1. I would have to move. Seriously. I am so arachnaphobic, that I obsessed about going to New Mexico for a family bar mitzvah because I heard there were tarantulas there. I remember you writing about the scorpios and was a bit weirded out by that. But… this spider? On your house? Near you and your babies? My heart rate is still up from just seeing the picture. Are there remedies for tarantulas in Austin? Pest control? Yuk.

  2. Excuse while I shudder.

    Ick. I hate spiders and just the picture of that thing is making my skin crawl.

    As for having them as pets, yea, well my ex had one many years ago when we first started to date. His name was Terry, the spider, not the ex. In retrospect that should have been my first clue.

  3. OK. I'm still obsessed about YOUR tarantula more than 1,000 miles away from me here in DC… I have questions – did you kill it? Did it go away? Is it still there?

  4. Good grief! What part of Austin do you live in? I've lived in Texas my entire life have never seen any of those critters outside of a zoo!

    Yeah, definitely call pest control. Pronto.

  5. tarantulas may be creepy to look at, but don't waste your terror. they're pretty harmless, typically only move around like that when they're looking to mate or if your house was recently visited by an exterminator. save the angst for something that could really hurt you, like the snakes and scorpions! He's (yes it's a boy, he has hooks on his legs–(third photo) growing up in AZ you learn these things!)kinda cute in a halloweeny kind of way :)

  6. I always thought I might want to live in Austin – well this and the scorpions definitely put Texas in the NO category for me! seriously? in your house? ewww!

  7. I actually had to use a coaster and a pizza doorknob hanger to cover up parts of my computer screen so I could read your text without seeing what I call "the bad things". If I'd been in that situation, I probably would have run screaming and hyperventilated until passing out. Seeing those things and even talking about them makes me feeling itchy and paranoid. Do I have arachnophobia? Yeah…just a smidge.


  8. This is so disturbing. I scream when I see a daddy-long-leg spider. I would have a heart attack if I saw this on my wall. Move back to NY. Get out while you still can!

  9. I am so with you on this post, Stephanie as well as with those folks commenting ahead of me -most especially the first one. We'd probably still be cleaning up the mess if we ever had a visitor here of the arachnoid variety in that size range, all furry and such -what with my daughter and I both being extremely arachnaphobic! (How the hell do you spell that any way?)
    ARRGH. I'll be shivering and shuddering here all day now between that picture and the fact it's a bit on the chilly/dampish side here today too!
    Hope you found someone to lay that fellow really low for ya!

  10. Ooh, that's a beastie. They're scary as hell but pretty much harmless. I live deep in the desert of southern Nevada and I've seen tarantulas cruising across the highway, I've had scorpions in the house and vultures circling my backyard. I've had friends and neighbors who've had to bash rattlesnakes to death and I see coyotes almost daily. Shaking your shoes before sliding your toes into them should become second nature after a while. Make sure you teach your little ones to do this. You may never get used to sharing your space with these critters but the stories are always so much fun to tell to city-dwelling friends!

  11. So…what did you do? Just leave it to mosey around? I'd be creeped out it would get inside. I'm a big fraidy cat when it comes to bugs and spiders!

  12. So, wait – what did you do? (Aside from Googling it.) Did you kill it? Scoop it up and put it outside? I can't not know what one does in this situation!

  13. Stephanie- I love reading your posts- today I needed to comment. I think I remember from previous posts that you kinda live near the Hill Country, 360ish area. I know you said before that you have a few acres. I know you have a fancy schmancy house, but even fancy schmancy isn't immune to local "wildlife" here in our lovely state. I'm not a tree-hugger, just getting a kick out of the city girl freaking out about her surroundings. Thanks for the chuckle.

  14. Hmmm,excuse my language for a moment, but, where the H#LL are you living? In some remote, tumbleweed strewn, no town for miles, corner of Texas?

    Tarantulas on the window, scorpions in the drawer, coyotes in the yard???? Hello? Is there a Wal-mart within 100 miles of this place?

  15. I adore spiders, especially tarantulas. My hubby, however, despises them. I had them as pets when I was in college. They are fairly harmless, a bite is like a bee sting. Still, not fun, I get it. Anyway, think of it like this, spiders eat lots of nasty critters that are far grosser and creepier.

  16. Stephanie, did you find out which particular species of spider it is? I'm curious…

    I used to be an arachnaphobe, but then I got hypnotised. By the end of the day (yes, just one day of treatment), I held a tarantula in my hands. Shocking, to say the least, given I've moved out of apartments due to their having house spiders in them, prior to that. Still don't like 'em, really, but at least I can (just about) cope with removing them from my home now.

  17. Oh oh, fuck that! Scorpions were one thing but I'd definitely have to move after that, and I wouldnt care if people said I was a big fat puss either. *shudders*
    I don't think I'd ever get a good night's sleep. And you're right, that eye looks, ugh, like a gaping hairy butthole, not just a butthole.

  18. Stephanie, I have been reading your blog for some time, and while I think you are a brilliant writer, I sometimes find myself disagreeing with you. On this one . . . "Hi pot! I'm the kettle!" I was raised in Texas. I now live in beautiful Colorado. And people bashing us for our pride in Texas is not new to me. But having read your many blogs about being from New York, shopping in Manhatten, wearing designer shoes and eating snooty falooty food, you expose yourself as being just as fanatical and proud of where you come from. But because you have money and are a character right out of Sex and the City, you come across as looking down on us and being better than us "redneck" Texans. You are kind of a snob. Don't knock the jerkey till you try it.

  19. I had to keep peeking at that bad boy because YIKES it scares me…in the "I'm so glad I live downtown Chicago and thank God I have never seen one of those!" ways.

  20. I got a kick out of this one. I have to agree with Amy about the double standard on state pride going on in this post…
    But back to the tarantula…I lived near the Houston ship channel until my thirties, and I would rather see a tarantula and even a scorpion in my underwear drawer than a cockroach anywhere in my house. I still wouldn't want to touch them or..yikes!…have them as pets, although when Daddy-Long-Legs sneak into the house, I pick up them up by one leg and toss them back outside.
    And if you come across a centipede in the house (VERY poisonous, by the way and they are out here near Austin) – I don't recommend smashing them – their little legs go everywhere…voice of experience…)

  21. suzanne….do you own a globe or ever thought about expanding your mind before posting idiotic messages! The remote, tumbleweed strewn, no town for miles, corner of Texas she lives in is THE CAPITOL OF TEXAS!! also known as the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 16th-largest in the United States of America, as well as the third fastest growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. Ive lived in Austin all of my 22 years of life and I thought closed minded people like dear suzanne were extinct! or maybe she was just playng dumb! Becasue we all know playing dumb is super cute, God bless her!

  22. And they can flatten themselves like pancakes and get under a door like you WOULD NOT BELIEVE. Check your shoes before putting them on, especially boots. They like the inside of a loosely stored sleeping bag, too. Don't reach up on a shelf without checking what's up there first. I'm just sayin.

  23. didn't you once find some kind of fetus looking creature in the corner of your house?

    FROM SK: Yes. It was a baby scorpion. So goddamn disturbing. I still have to send you a picture of my dining room. There's a fireplace that we can't sit by. I need to make it more loungy, where we can sit and drink near the fireplace. How to combine the room as lounge/dining room. I need so much help, not to mention what to do about decorating the mantel.

  24. I've lived in Texas for 6 years now and I have never seen any of the things you have. I've lived in Austin for almost four too and still nothing. Its totally just where you live. Hill Country welcomes those kind of animals and insects and new neighborhoods being built out there aren't going to stop them from showing up. If you moved more into the city, into neighborhoods not so far out you wouldn't have those problems. Did you guys not think you'd see anything like that when you bought your house? Look at the surroundings next time, that's all I'm saying.

  25. OMG.

    Ps – sorry if off-topic and people will probably jump on me for even asking this — but— do you have anything to say about the election? I know Austin is pretty blue- but still, experiencing this campaign and election in Texas must have been pretty different than in NYC (or, in my case, Chicago). Would be interested in how it has affected your life (if at all). It took over all aspects of mine and caused me to contribute to a campaign for the first time and go canvassing in a swing state. I think I experienced it more emotionally due to the fact that I have young children whose futures I often contemplate. So… any comments?

  26. ok this is nuts! not ten minutes after reading this scary spider post i took my dog out for a walk (in central london!) and was CHASED by a fox! well, stalked really. i saw him about a half a block away, turned and walked the other way and peaked nervously over my shoulder several times. he was stalking us slowly for three blocks (so we ran!). ay yi yi! what's with these ballsy creatures? maybe it's thursday's upcoming full moon that's making them so gutsy!!!

  27. I give you a lot of credit because I could NEVER stay there. I would never sleep. Hope he stays away :O(

  28. I feel your pain. We have them in California too. I have a childhood memory of walking past the kitchen in my pajamas one night (I was young enough that they still had feet attached.) and seeing a tarantula walking across the kitchen floor. I screamed for my life and my mom came. You know what she did? She scooped it up in a tupperware and put it outside. I had nightmares about spiders for weeks, but to this day I follow her example and just put spiders outside. If my husband finds a spider in the house he'll come and get me so I can get rid of it.

  29. Oh my God, I laughed my ass off. We moved to Tucson 2 years ago and tarantula's, scorpions, and all manner of giant, creepy, crawlies have actually become normal. Did you those things can live for like 15 years?

  30. I need closure Stephanie!!! What did you do with this beast??? Is it gone???

    Hey Foxgirl – I saw two foxes tonight (I was in my car)… Maybe it is the full moon.

  31. I can't even look at that….Weren't you afraid it was gonna jump off the window and attach itself to your face?

  32. I'm in Austin and keep hoping to see one of these … I'd much rather have spiders and scorpions than roaches or giant waterbugs.

    I hope you didn't kill it!

  33. Seriously? I can understand you being scared. But why do you always feel a need to trash Texas? Yes, Stephanie, we are proud. I really wish you would take your elitist attitude and go back to New York. But Phil and the kiddos can stay.
    But kudos for being home long enough to snap a picture of the spider.

  34. Good lord! I'd be out! I'm no baby, I live in the burbs. I've had a mouse and a bat in my house, but hell…scorpions, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and now that furry monster? GET. OUT. NOW.

  35. I can't look at that thing! Holy moly! It almost makes me thankful when I walk into work and find a cockroach the size of a small cat in the kitchen (Thanks NYC!) and not something like that. I don't know how you deal with the spiders and scorpions and coyotes! Good grief! Did Phil kill it? We are all dying to know!

  36. I feel the urge to defend the spider a little. They do eat a lot of things that are grosser than they are (as someone already said). People all over this country build new houses that disrupt the natural habitat that was there. where I live, people build on beautiful, secluded wooded lots with street names like "White Tail Court" and then complain all the time about the damn deer.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.