Lice -- Breaking Down the Sanity of Our Society, One Mom at a Time

Knowing nothing about lice and not having time to look up any facts, I decided that the most efficient way to tackle this plague was to do all the cleaning, washing, vacuuming and nitpicking simultaneously -- or one lousy louse could start the whole cycle again.
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Last weekend was my first time dealing with lice. I say first time not because I'm expecting more, but to justify the level of manic lunacy that ensued. Look, I'm not proud of the series of events that unfolded or how I handled them, but I bet I'm not the only mom who's lost sanity over those little buggers.

Being the neurotic person that I am, I spent the first 20 minutes trying to convince the mom who found said lice that she was certifiable and that no child of mine would EVER bring such an unseemly infestation into my home. Her child had lice the week before and she explained that she noticed my daughter itching her head, which she thought warranted further investigation. Then she all but put a nit (lice egg sac) in my cornea, and I still claimed not to see it.

Crap, it's 7 p.m. on a Saturday night, my daughter is now crying over her lost sleepover. And I'm pretty sure there's no place or person available to rob me blind and comb out the lice/rid my house of them, in return!

This is when I made the shift from being your run o' the mill mildly annoying wife to a "We will get a freaking divorce if you don't listen to my insane rantings and follow my orders to a T" wife.

"If you leave one nit, just one, the cycle will start again." Those, the parting words of "the mom," echoed in my head. She said that as she drove off, like some weird gypsy clairvoyant, giving me a warning about my future. Also, she was shaking a finger at me, which is always a foreboding way to talk to someone.

Knowing nothing about lice and not having time to look up any facts, I decided that the most efficient way to tackle this plague was to do all the cleaning, washing, vacuuming and nitpicking simultaneously -- or one lousy louse could start the whole cycle again. To make matters worse, I had convinced myself that lice multiply rapidly and jump from head to head, eating away at your brain cells for sustenance and stripping you of your ability to do complex math problems, so time (and getting a prescription for Xanax) was of the essence.

I started barking orders at my husband, "Go to Walgreens and get medicated lice remover stat, and buy a metal lice comb, not a plastic one -- "The Mom" said those don't work -- IT MUST BE METAL!!! ... And we'll surely need a ton of detergent as I'm going to wash (and shrink) every item of bedding and clothing in our home on searing hot. Oh, and trash bags, because apparently, we have to bag up all her stuffed animals, decorative pillows and anything that can't be washed and store them in our humid Florida garage for like three weeks or until all the items collect a solid layer of toxic mold. (Whichever comes first.) Now, go go go!!!"

Fifteen full 300-gallon garbage bags of stuffed animals, Barbies, American Girls and throw pillows later, I called to see about his progress.

"I just got to Walgreens."


"Well, CVS didn't have it, so I had to go to Walgreens."

"You mean you're just getting to the place I told you to go to in the first place? Listen, you cannot be creative or lazy right now, the future of our family unit depends on you following my very explicit and not at all insane ramblings, um, directions."

Seventeen more full trash bags later, he arrived home with a lice kit, complete with a crappy plastic comb.

In a full sweat from packing up the house at lightning speed, and boiling all of the bedding in our home, I whispered: "Where's the metal comb?"

Men, please note that the quiet through the teeth whisper should never be taken lightly.

"The kit comes with a comb. I got a whole kit, see?" he said trying to impress me with his ability to think under pressure.


"I don't know."

"Well, it says: includes 1 plastic lice comb, right here on the box, so I'm guessing it's not metal, because I can read. Mother f'er." OK, the "Mother F'er" was silent, but it was clearly implied.

"I'll go get a metal comb."

"Do you have the detergent?"

"Nope, I'll get that too."

"The trash bags?"

"Um, nope, I'm on it. I wanted to get you the lice stuff fast, so I ran in and out."

"Why is our son eating a Drumstick ice cream cone then? Did you just buy a box of them?"

My husband made a run for it, but he clearly hates me and he hates our home, as he is forcing me to consider leaving him and burning the whole place down, so that we can make a fresh, lice-free start.

That or having it tented, like they do for termites -- and taking the risk of it becoming an undercover Meth lab.

When he returned, I gave him the job of vacuuming because I needed to keep him out of my presence, as I had grown angry snakes out of my head and I may have been spitting poisonous venom at everyone, but my sweet little girl whom I coddled and reassured, and shampooed with toxins ... that I combed out for two hours straight!

Then I re-vacuumed the house and added vacuuming the sofas, beds and maybe the driveway, I can't be sure.

Then I asked my husband to check my head, as I'd been itching ever since someone uttered the word "lice" and those snakes were irritating my scalp. Not having any clue how to check someone's head for lice, or what he was even looking for -- and clearly not remembering the popsicle stick days of our childhood, he smushed my hair flat in a couple of places and said, "It looks like a head to me." He may as well have been looking at my ass!

At 2 a.m., I toxically shampooed myself and combed out my own locks, stripping my scalp of any hairs that were not snuggly secure, and making it look like I had a mild to moderate case of alopecia.

I continued to do laundry, heated everything in our home in the dryer for 20 minutes (including our cat), checked for lice, and re-vacuumed -- for five days straight -- and all is back to normalishness.

P.S. I found out four other girls in her class had lice and next week, my daughter is supposed to have a sleepover party for her birthday! Do you think it would be weird if instead of a glitter tattoo gal, I hired a nurse to do fun lice checks? (What? I don't want that pestilence being reintroduced into my perfectly lice-free home/Meth lab.) Fine, not a lice lady, but maybe a woman to do braids (wink wink). A braid woman who wears a HAZMAT suit and while she braids, checks each hair because she's crazy thorough about braid perfection and also, she doesn't let you into my home until you've gotten the "all clear," I mean, a cute fishtail?

OK, last try: I hire a monkey. Kids love monkeys!!! They're festive and adorable and totally novel! Really, who needs another cliché glitter tattoo or balloon animal? But fun with a monkey and a cute picture of him picking parasites off your body = priceless. Yes, and if he can do braids it's a bonus.

Spill: Have you dealt with lice? Were you not "slightly" insane about it? Should I stay married to that crazy man? Will my Meth lab be a success? Who should I hire for this party?

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