This is Dennis, the new Montanez family pet and yes, I’m going to keep that picture up there until I write a new post and you’re going to probably get all [shudder] about that and I’m going to be all MWAH-HAHAHAH about that.
Dennis gave me heebie jeebies the entire first week he lived in the house. I’d obsessively check his terrarium to be certain he couldn’t lift the lid off and scurry away in the cover of night to crawl up on my sleeping person and into my ear canal where he would lay eggs (dare you to click that). My husband is convinced Dennis is a female. I don’t know how he could know that. Maybe Dennis got bitchy with him and then refused to tell him what was wrong, instead answering with the dreaded, “I’m fine,” or the even worse, “I’m going to my mother’s.”
When we first got Dennis, the lady at Petco said, “And be sure to latch the lid because they often crawl up the glass–” and I said, “HE CAN CRAWL UP THE GLASS?!” The Petco lady looked at me like a tarantula just crawled out of my ear. My husband said, “Did you not get the Spiderman movies at all?”
I had nightmares about Dennis regularly. Dennis escaping. Dennis crawling up my chest like that episode of the Brady Bunch where they go to Hawaii and a tarantula crawls on Peter’s chest. That’s all I remember about that episode. The tarantula. And the screaming. Oh god, the screaming.
I gave myself several feet of leeway around the terrarium every time I entered my son’s room to clean. His room would be spotless except for a three-foot radius around the tank. A rat could have made himself a nest in that three-foot radius and I’d have been all, “Well, maybe we’ll luck out and Dennis will eat the rat. Otherwise, welcome to your new home, rat.”
I couldn’t make direct eyes-contact with Dennis. I only looked NEAR Dennis. To his left. To his right. Over his shoulder. At his feet. Looking Dennis in one of his eight eyes meant Dennis would see my fear and find a way to burst through the glass of the terrarium and eat my face off like he was on bath salts.
I couldn’t be in the room during feeding time. Dennis likes to stalk the crickets. Lets them get away at first to give them tiny cricket hope, and then when the cricket says to itself, “Whew. I think I lost him,” Dennis leaps across the tank with the element of surprise and the cricket looks up and is like, “Motherf–“.
Dennis is an asshole to the crickets.
Now that it has been two weeks and forty shots of tequila, I kinda like the little guy. He’s cute. Fuzzy. I care that he has the right humidity in his tank and so if it gets low, I give his tank a little squirt of water and Dennis comes out of his log to feel the rain and he smiles at me … his Goddess That Brings the Rain.
I check on him each night, not to make sure he hasn’t escaped, but to make sure he seems healthy and happy. AND to make sure he hasn’t escaped.
I remind my son to feed him because I don’t want Dennis to be hungry.
I no longer run from the room when Dennis decides to do something terrifying, like move one of his legs.
I’m not completely over my fear of him though because yesterday I went to check on him and when I walked in the room, there resting on the carpeted floor in front of his terrarium was a giant rubber spider my daughter had left there and I thought Dennis had escaped and that he was lying in wait for me so that he could leap up and eat my face off. I screamed and I did not stop shaking for a good thirty minutes and then I was like, “I’m going to my mother’s.”
I still haven’t looked him in the eyes. Or the mouth. [shudder]
And God help me when he molts. (I double dare you to click that link.)
Because there will be screaming.
Oh, God. the screaming.