Friday night I worked until 9 pm, but opened a really nice bottle of Pinot Noir to ease my pain. Texted the teenage queen’s now ex-boyfriend’s mom (who I will never ever break up with) to check in. And the bean went off to the neighbors’ for a mystery dinner birthday party. Work finally managed and in a holding pattern, I fully embraced my inner TGIF thoughts while watching some rando-show the TQ insisted upon.
In the garden. Just moments before the lice hit the fan.
Saturday morning the birds were chirping/the butterflies were flitting by while I admired my dahlias and picked butterbeans and cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. I was settling in to this weekend shaping into near perfection when—WHAM. Bean started itching her head. “Why are you scratching?’ I asked, ever-so-innocently as I shelled beans and thought about the cocktail I was going to have later with Chad in her kitchen.
“I have some mosquito bites.” “Well, no. Not this time of year. Let me see.”
Bean pulled up her hair and I thought, well damn. Spider bite. Then she says, “I have a lot.” So then I pull up her hair some more and see what looks like a rash. All. Over. Her. Neck. And Upper. Back.
I call the hubby in. He says, “We’ll have to keep an eye on that.”
Then, I’m all. Wait a damn minute. She looks like she has dandruff. Then I’m all, doesn’t lice look like dandruff? The hubby is all, no. And I’m like, I’m calling people. So I start dialing. And then the hubby panics and runs next door.
I’m still dialing for dollars when he comes back with Jane. Who walks in pinning up her hair. Smart woman. And proceeds to look. And dig. And damn. They see a live one. Right out of the gate.
And there it is. After years and years of dreading this day with pure, white-knuckled terror. Our number was up. We. Had. The Lice.
Her first suggestion was to call in the big guns. And all I could think of was Purse Girl, teetering on the brink of sanity, maniacal laughter ricocheting across her backyard, as she combed nits for like two solid years. And had to go into neck brace traction for the rest of her life after it was all over. So I say, “Gimme the number.” And I run straight to the Rockwells to pilfer trash bags.
Hubby has a plan. (It didn’t work.)
The hubby goes ahead and calls the LiceDoctors while I spin in circles in the living room with the newly acquired pile of trash bags in my hand.
Then. It hits me. Birthday party. Night before. Lots of little girls with long hairs in dress up clothes. Humbling call #1: Oh god. I am SO SORRY, but…
Then #2: So. Yea. I know Teen Queen and your sweet boy (who I will love forever) just broke up. Yea. Still so sorry about that. But there’s this other thing too…
Then #3: Hi. I know you have already so much on your plate. What with teacher conferences and all. But. Remember that lice email from Labor Day weekend that the school sent? Yea. A whole month ago. So turns out…
Then #4: It’s me. I know your girl has chemo this week and is bald and can’t get it (hee-hee-hee). Well. We were over there a few times this week and…What’s that? Her twin is itchy? NO. No. No000. Okay. I’ll let you go….
And this is all before the beans were even shelled and the hubby had hung up the phone.
We were ifyouseekamy-ed.
The lice patrol wasn’t due to arrive until 5 or 6 and I had to think of something. So I took bean outside, poured our nicest bottle of EVOO on her head, covered her with a shower cap and forbade her to set foot in the house. Ever. Again.
“Mom? Can I come in? I need to go to the bathroom?” “Okay. But don’t touch anything! And then go: Right. Back. OUT!”
Then. We bagged up all of our shit. Separated throw pillows, bedding, stuffies, towels and washables from dryer-only-a-bles. Colors from whites. Upturned all of the hampers and pulled out every loose piece of fabric that could have skimmed a head hair, and put it all into the huge plastic bags that the Rockwells and Matthews had obviously been hoarding since the flood of 2013.
I said, we are going to need some alcohol. So while I packed laundry essentials, laptops so we could work while we waited, chargers and such, the hubby grabbed his growler. And we loaded up and headed to the neighborhood brewery to fill up before we sudsed up. (And, yes. In Boulder, everyone has beer being brewed on the nearest corner. And probably in their garage too.)
I started trying to do the math on quarters needed as we loaded all of our lice shit into the two, massive 6-load capacity washers and four of the huge dryers at the laundromat. Then pretended to ignore the stink-eye we were getting from the college dudes when they saw our pile.
Turns out laundromats in Boulder take Apple Pay. (Thanks, Obama!)
We settled in with our beers and free Wifi connections and some laundry-regular whose Saturday routine we’d rudely interrupted walks up. “Uh, excuse me? Are you the ones using BOTH of the 6-load washers?” “Uh, yea?” “Well, you will be handing them over in 15 minutes then.” (Not a question.)
The hubby then ferried me home in time to meet the lice lady. It was getting dark, so she set up shop in the kitchen.
About then, J-Mac shows up with her anti-lice kit which included two bottles of wine and two cartons of Ben & Jerry’s. This is someone who clearly has her lice therapy plan dialed in.
She sat there with us as the nit-picking began. I went first. And did a decent job of trying-not-to-panic as nice lice lady confirmed my worst possible fear (besides snakes. I really, really, really HATE those) — I had live ones. Two in fact. I tried not to vomit as she combed those and their hopes and dreams from my hair shafts.
The TQ Mane
I kept hearing a distinct ‘ca-ching’ sound as the hours ticked by. Hubby had a live one. Teen Queen no – but the hope/promise of a future for a former tenant remained in the form of a nit or two who were being kept company by some glitter (!). Overall very minimal for her. Thank god with that mane.
Bean braves the comb
When it was Bean’s turn, we all held our breath. Poor baby had been outside in her plastic cap all day. And then on the floor crying as one-by-one, we joined her ilk. She was in a ball saying, “I’m so sorry,” over and over — by the time it was her turn.
Turns out she has really, really clean hair (lice tip: keep your kids FILTHY). Or some kinda tasty cake scalp. Those bitches had built apartment complexes and a full-on recreation center in her baby head and appeared to be hosting a wicked rave. It was godawful.
All I could think was, how in the HELL had she not been itching up a blue streak? She had given NO SIGN. Nothing. And it didn’t even occur to us to check. Her grade wasn’t even affected in the Labor Day Call Out. (Or so we thought.) And we’d never had it. Any of us. Even as kids. So we had no effing clue.
As the hours and dollar signs ticked by, we had THE LICE excavated and said buh-bye. We had our nifty new $20 lice comb and a bulk can of olive oil and we were good to go. We dug out crappy old sheets and towels and pillows and let the coated oil hair drip away. Suffocating any new fresh faces looking to procreate on our pillow.
Hubby oiling me up.
And bean got to live inside again. For now.
We even went out to dinner and pretended we were normal by Sunday. Then we got home, the power went out in a wind storm, and we were reduced to nitpicking with headlamps. Fershittinsakes.
Yesterday, the comb outs were all coming out clean. We were thinking we’re getting into the hang of it. Girls and I have a nice day together for the school holiday. Then. Purse Girl calls. She’s just landed and has an itchy head.
TODAY’S THEME SONG: Can you hear him scratchin’ at the screen door. Little bag a bones been out all night. Kitty. The Presidents of the United States of America.