I had already figured out which species I wanted, but I wanted to be sure that I was ready for a 30-year pet commitment before actually getting one. I started checking around for tarantula availability in our area. I called every pet store in every surrounding town. I found a few other species, but only one Brachypelma smithi (Mexican Red Knee), which is the species on which my heart was set. I had decided I wanted a spiderling, the younger the better. I took the kids to see it and it was larger than I really wanted... and much more expensive than I was prepared to spend.
Nearly three weeks had gone by when an opportunity to go to OKC arose. The closest tarantula breeder happens to be based in OKC. My dear friend Lisa took me, even though she has a spider phobia. I got the spiderling I wanted and she was even smaller than I had imagined.
She'll be my new model. I won't actually know the sex of the tarantula for 2-3 years, but on the advice of the breeder I've given her a girl name in hopes of her actually being female. Females of this species live three times as long as males and are also worth three times as much.