The day before school was back in session, I discovered my daughters had lice. Not just a nit or two, but actual brown bugs running amuck in their long, blond tresses. Naturally, I freaked out. Like really FREAKED OUT.
“OH MY GOD WE HAVE LICE! GET IN THE CAR! WE’RE HEADING TO CVS! WAIT! DON’T MOVE. DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING!”
Four boxes of Nix later, I was on my way back home. Home—not the safe warm place it used to be, but the place of LICE! LICE, lying in wait, watching and waiting to crawl onto one of our heads. LICE, waiting to lay eggs. Lice, that had invaded our home from the local elementary school…Damn them! Lice, the little #@$*%#s!
To adequately explain to you the fear and panic that engulfed my clean-freak, type-A personality, let me paint this picture for you:
While dosing my girls’ hair in Nix and shouting, “Stay off of EVERYTHING!!” I began frantically dictating to Siri a text message telling my friend Erin about the lice “situation.” My kind but grateful-she-doesn’t-have-lice-in-her-family friend responded by texting me soothing words of encouragement:
“You got this, Anne!”
“It’s not like the girls are sick!”
But when the text therapy failed to quell my I-am-almost-going-to-hyperventilate state of mind, Erin knew what she had to do. With a mission impossible, top-secret, stealth mode plan of action, Erin swept into my neighborhood, left her car idling in my driveway, rang my doorbell and sped off. I opened my front door, weary-eyed, pale and suspicious. I found a note, a big bottle of chardonnay, and a bag of chocolates. Erin knew I was at the precipice of despair. God bless her.
The thing with lice is that when you attempt to get rid of them yourself, as I so naively thought I could, they actually laugh at you. I mean truly, they laugh. I heard them. They say things like, “You may have found those nits but I have hidden other ones on the billions of hair strands over there. BWAHHHHAAAHAHAAAAAA!”
And then the Mensa lice do crazy things like switch up their baby nits’ colors! Sometimes they lay their eggs white in color and then suddenly the damn baby nits are brown!
THIS IS TOTALLY NOT FAIR!
And the actual creepy bugs? Well, the grown-up, nit-laying ones are HUGE. They are so totally gross that you get all weirded-out and you start to feel terrible thinking that your own kids’ heads are gross. But they are. And you hate their heads. And you hate their beautiful blond hair that two days ago you loved and envied. And then you fantasize about shaving their beautiful blond heads just to be done with it all. But then you realize that these daughters of yours will truly hate you and probably end up on drugs and in a street gang and that you will be on the 5 o’clock Dr. Phil show or something, and so you continue picking out nits and using your boxes of Nix.
About three days in, when you realize that the four boxes of Nix have not worked? THIS. This is when the panic really sets in.
Olive oil. In between washing every article of clothing in the house three times each day and vacuuming every square inch of our home, I begin dousing my girls’ hair in goopy olive oil. I’d been told it “drowns them.” Drowns them? My girls had lived at the swimming pool the previous two weeks and nothing had drowned these bastards! I decide though, to give it a try, and since I won’t allow my girls to sit on the couches for fear of the lice crawling onto the cushions, I make them sit on towels on the hardwood floor and watch TV. Hours and hours of TV while I clean and cry. Cry and clean. Curse, clean and cry.
The girls have now missed 4 days of school and I 4 days of work, and I am seriously considering divorce from my husband who can barely contain his relief when he leaves for work each morning. And my daily routine now looks like this:
Wake up. Realize there are lice in my house. Want to shave everyone’s heads. Want to divorce my husband. Want wine. Want coffee. Get out of bed. Have coffee. Have daughter number 1 sit in chair for nit-picking operation. Daughter 1 cries and complains. Curse the school for the lice. Find nits but no more live lice. Feel hope. Feel despair. Fight desire to shave heads anyhow. Douse head in olive oil. Repeat cycle with daughter number 2. Wash everything in house again. Curse husband for having a job. Wonder if it is too early for wine. Wash out olive oil and do nit check again.
This cycle went on for 2 more days until finally, lightning struck! A miracle happened! Someone, through someone else, texts me about some sort of top-secret place in the neighboring town that gets rid of head lice for you! It costs about $200 a head but they guarantee their work!
WHY DID I NOT HEAR ABOUT THIS DAYS AGO?
I decide to call this mysterious lice killing place and a pleasant woman answers. I tell her about “the situation” and feel like a dirty, dirty scum ball. She tells me to come right over to their office as we “sound like an emergency situation!”
The office is located behind some storage units and I faintly hear a guard dog barking in the distance. A chain link fence separates us from an auto-repair shop, and I notice a questionable character picking food out of his teeth. I hurry my girls into a place that is aptly called “The Lice Slayers.”
Two hours later, I am told that I am in fact, the ultimate Lice Slayer! The woman compliments my superb nit-sleuthing skills and tells me that I have eradicated the entire lice population, including the nits on my girls’ heads. She practically hands me a medal of honor and only charges me the $20 head check fee. I walk out of the office feeling as if I have truly won a war.
Lice are no joke. They are gross and creepy and do more damage to a marriage than long hours at work or an affair (kidding!). So if a friend’s family gets lice, be a pal: bring them wine and chocolate.
Actually, just bring them the wine.