No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Well, life sans lice was nice, while it lasted.  On Friday, the morning after RM delivered my adorable, red Vespa, he checked my head—just for old time’s sake, of course.  It has been 48 hours since he last checked it, but I had been lice-free for several days prior to that.  Not expecting to see anything notable, we were shocked when he found new eggs.  Apparently, the time spent treating EW at her house caused a RE-infestation.

*Cue the tears.*

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Here I am riding along to the WA state licensing office to buy new tags for the Vespa.  It was about to close, so I had no choice but to go there with the lice serum on my head.  No, that’s not sweat glistening on my neck.  Great look for me, right?

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Wearing a helmet while Vespa-riding with lice?  No problemo.  I’ll just use this handy dandy shower cap.

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Lice Happens: Part Trois

We didn’t make it home from the lake until nearly 2:00 in the morning, following the infamous bat incident of 2013.  We were exhausted.  We were cranky.  We felt defeated.  Thus began a week-long event of daily 6-8 hour head checks/shampoos/mousses/nit combs and round-the-clock laundry.  The only saving grace during all of this chaos was when RM’s youngest randomly blurted out, “I love you” as I was treating her hair.  It wasn’t the first time she had said it to me, but it might have been the sweetest.  Here I was, stressed beyond belief, just praying to make it through the week, and she looked up at me with her big innocent blue eyes and said “I love you.”  That made it all worth it.

During the next several days, I continued to conduct several, and by several I mean at least 200, internet searches about lice shampoos, lice life cycles, natural remedies, cleaning your home, etc.  Obsess much, Christina?  You betcha.  When we started spotting newly-hatched lice nearly a week later, even after the second round of lice shampoo, we were at a loss.  Why couldn’t we kick this??

That’s when I found www.girlsgonechild.net’s post on her family’s experience fighting lice and finding Ladibugs Elimination Kit.  One word:  miraculous.  We haven’t seen any eggs or lice since treating.  We’ve done several more rounds of the mousse just to be sure we’re in the clear, but we’ve basically declared victory at this point.

While we’ve been in the clear for almost a whole week now (that is cause for celebration!), I’ve left out the culmination of the story.  There’s more?, you ask.  Oh yes, my friend.  You will be glad you’ve made it this far in my lengthy blog posts.  After our week from H-E-double hockey sticks, it was time to take the kids back to their mom (who from here on out I will refer to as EW for “Ex-Wife”) and her boyfriend.  Our biggest fear?  That EW would have lice and pass it back to the kiddies, therefore making all of our countless hours and hundreds of dollars spent for naught.  For this reason, I offered to check her head while we were there.  She said she had done three lice shampoos “just in case,” but that no one had actually checked her head.

EW graciously agreed and as she sat down under the light said, “Well, this is humbling.”  I assured her that we had all been in her position over the past two weeks, and therefore understood how she was feeling.  However, I suspected that her embarrassment was less about having lice and more to do with her ex-husband’s girlfriend picking the lice out of her head.  (What is it they say about Karma?)  I soon found that she was INFESTED with eggs, but thankfully, no live lice.  RM and I spent the next two and a half hours picking nits out of her hair, with me taking the lead and spending more QT with EW than I ever thought I would.  Next we were checking her boyfriend’s hair.  Let me just say, finding WHITE eggs on WHITE hair is equivalent to a needle in a haystack.  Thankfully, everyone was a good sport, and we all laughed about the awkward situation in which we found ourselves.  Although I can think of many things I’d rather do than shampoo my boyfriend’s ex-wife’s hair, I honestly think it was probably good for the kids to see all of us laughing together and helping each other.  Sure, the set-up isn’t your average, traditional family, but this will be our normal, and right now it’s working just fine.

Lice Happens: Part Deux

Just when we thought our plight could not worsen, we arrived at the entrance of the state park only to realize that RM’s mom was no longer behind us.  She had a tire blowout on her boat trailer and was waiting for a tow truck.   We opted to head to the boat launch where we would sail to our campsite before someone else snagged it and wait for RM’s mom there.

We treated RM’s oldest when we got to the lake, just for good measure—she was the one who had it a month prior, so we figured chances were high that she either still had it or had it again.  The next 48 hours were spent swimming, boating, relaxing, and pretending we didn’t have lice, to the best of our ability.  (I think this was easier for the kids than it was for me.)  We did countless, useless shampoos with tea tree oil in the lake, at my behest, thinking it might make a difference, only to find out we were probably just washing out the lice shampoo and making it less effective.  Apparently lice prefer clean hair.  Awesome.

We awoke the following day, eager to start fresh.  RM looked at me and said, “We made it.  Yesterday is over!”  There was no way it could get worse, right?  Little did we know…

We enjoyed a day at the beach—swimming, kneeboarding, and cliff jumping.  We went to sleep that night feeling fulfilled and happy, despite those bloodsucking buggers on our heads.  We awoke at 2:00 AM to three continuous hours of 30-40 mph winds, lightning, thunder, and hail.   I consoled the crying kids in the collapsed tent while RM held onto our sailboat for dear life, praying it wouldn’t tip over and break or damage the boats next to it.  We managed to get a few hours of sleep once the storm died down, but we awoke to a war zone, spending the next few hours sweeping sand out of the tent and collecting all of our belongings (and trash) that had scattered during the high winds.

After taking a peek at what that night’s weather report promised, we decided to hit the road.  But first, the kids and I would do one more lice shampoo.  I figured the house was safe by this point, so I didn’t want us bringing any of those suckers back with us.  What came next was a pre-teen breakdown from RM’s oldest, who couldn’t bear stripping down in front of me, followed by my own breakdown of feeling completely inadequate in my quest to take care of her.  Who was I fooling?  I wasn’t her mother.  I was soon comforted by RM’s mom singing James Blunt’s “So You Had a Bad Day.”  Boy, did I!

This brings me to the bat.  I know, I know—you were wondering when I was going to get to that, right?  After the girls were successfully shampooed by moi—we figured out a way to keep towels wrapped around them so no one was embarrassed—it was my turn.  There I stood, in those terrible hiking sandals, stifling back tears.  I was without a watch and alone in the bathroom, so I took a tip from the Friends episode, “The One with Ross’ Tan,” and counted.  One Mississippi.  Two Mississippi.  Three Mississippi.  Let me tell you, 10 minutes feels a lot longer when you’re counting by the second.

After my 10 minutes were up, I began to rinse when RM cracked the ladies’ room door open to ask me how it was going.  That is when he alerted me of the bat.

I slowly bent my knees and looked up cautiously.  Sure enough, I saw a bat, hanging upside down, only inches from my face.  Its furry little head nuzzling in its wings.  I proceeded to run out of the bathroom at full speed, carrying my towel in one hand, all the while crying, screaming, and laughing into RM’s arms.   What else could I do?

I was at the end of my rope.

Check back for the next post in the “Lice Happens” series to find out what we happened when we returned home and the experience in which RM and I never thought we would find ourselves!

Lice Happens: Part Un

Warning:  This post may cause completely unwarranted, unfounded itching on the scalp, which may spread to other areas on the body.  Do not be alarmed.  You do not have lice.  Err… you probably don’t.

“Sweetie, don’t freak out about what I’m about to say…” said my boyfriend from the half-cracked open door of the ladies restroom.  I stood as still as statue, anxiously awaiting his next words in the grimy, dock showers wearing nothing but my very unflattering hiking sandals and lice shampoo on my wet head.

“… but there is a BAT directly above your head.”

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One week earlier, my boyfriend (here on out referred to as “RM,” for “Renaissance Man”) and I decided that we would spend the following weekend camping for a few nights on a lake he had been going to with his family for as long as he could remember.  We planned to take his three little ones, their cousin, and his mom.  Although I had only been camping one night before in my entire life (unless we’re counting camping out in my fenced-in backyard in a Chicago suburb… No?  Okay fine, only one night then.), the fact that this locale promised a bathroom at the campsite, a lake I could jump into anytime for a “shower,” plus actual showers at the boat docks, seemed totally do-able to me.   What could go wrong?

Oh, silly Christina.  What couldn’t go wrong?

The drama began to unfold the morning we were set to leave for the lake.  We managed to get all three kids ready to leave by 7 am, which is no small feat, let me tell you.  RM’s mom was a little late, so we had some extra time—phew!  As we were fixing the youngest’s hair into a ponytail, that’s when it happened.  We spotted it.  A live LOUSE crawling on her beautiful, light blonde head of hair.

I kicked it into high gear, found a box of lice shampoo stuffed away in my closet that I had bought a month prior, when RM’s oldest had a case of those little suckers.  At the time, I feared they would jump from her head at their grandparents’ house an hour away and find their way all the way up the interstate to my house and onto my head.  (Hey, you never know how resilient those buggers can be, right?)  We immediately treated the youngest, but a cursory look (in hindsight probably too cursory) at the others yielded no lice.  Except for me.  I had eggs.  Fan-flippin-tastic.  RM treated my head as well.  We threw the sheets into the laundry room, vacuumed quickly, and hit the road, in hopes that a few days away from the house would be plenty of time for any lice that may have found their way off of heads and onto furniture to die.

As the day went on, I tried with all of my might to forget about the lice, but something in me knew that it was only the beginning.  Two hours into the drive, we stopped for gas.  As I was standing behind RM’s son waiting for the bathroom, that’s when it happened.  I spotted it.  TWO live lice crawling on his beautiful, light blonde head of hair.  RM kicked it into high gear and treated his son’s hair with lice shampoo in the gas station bathroom, while I stood with the girls in the gas station parking lot eating jambon on a baguette listening to RM’s mom tell me how it was perfectly normal in Europe to pull over on the side of the road to eat jambon on a baguette.  Somehow, I pictured it being a bit more glamorous in her native France, than our rendition of scarfing down our baguettes in between our spraying each other with lice repellant spray (which we would later find out did absolutely nothing to help our lice situation).

Check back for the next post in the “Lice Happens” series to find out how we fared once we arrived at the lake, which turned out to be a bit more complicated than we anticipated.