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.”
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.