Another summer’s in the books.
Buh, bye. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Don’t get me wrong, I love summer. But it’s time to look ahead to all that school year 2015-16 has to offer.
That’s right, Maryland’s been named fertile ground for a super, duper resistant strain of lice.
Are there non-resistant lice I don’t know about? Nits that wave the white flag when you douse yourself in RID?
Lice of all varieties take no prisoners. I know this because just one outbreak nearly institutionalized me. Just generic, run-of-the-mill lice. Nothing super about them or the experience.
The boys and I headed to the beach with my mother-in-law after school let out. Once we arrived, I took advantage of the extra adult and snuck out to get a haircut. If you are in Ocean City, Maryland, Hair Cuttery or the Barbershop are your only choices.
So, Hair Cuttery it was. I got a trim and a few minutes of peace.
But as I started the car engine, I noticed my stylist and the receptionist walking through the parking lot and I knew they were headed for my car.
I suspected I’d left something inside or had a problem with my credit card.
But lice? Lice came out of left field.
They were uncomfortable but composed enough to bring evidence on the comb they’d used. They also bolstered the claim by pointing to a white shiny nit near my ear, gleaming in the OC sun.
I stared into my side-view mirror in horror, then apologized and squealed wheel out of there, scratching all the way.
On the short drive home, I thought back to all the itching I had seen lately and ignored.
I rounded up my kids and checked Drew first. My recollection was that he had been the itchiest.
Bingo, nits all over the base of his neck.
I didn’t check the other two, I loaded them in the car and headed back to Hair Cuttery. On the way, I had the pleasure of calling the parents of kids we had been in contact with before we left.
If you’ve ever wondered what hell is like, that was it right there. When it comes to spreading lice, apologies ring hollow and fall on deaf, panic-stricken ears.
At the salon, I was suddenly Hester Prynne with a scarlet “L,” shunned by the townspeople. We were kicked to the curb where we scratched and pleaded with them to help us.
I finally hired my stylist to come to our place and shave the boys’ heads. We drove straight to Rite Aid, cleared the shelf of RID, picked out as much candy as would fit in the cart and checked out.
** I’m actually scratching as I write this, the memory is so vivid. If you’re scratching reading this, I’m sure it’s the power of suggestion, not real lice, right? I mean that would be too coincidental, right? **
I treated all three boys, letting them percolate and eat candy while sitting in the middle of the family room floor. At that point, I was contemplating making them sleep there, too.
I unpacked every article of clothing we had and began the endless cycle of hot water washing and high heat drying.
The stylist arrived just after I combed out the boys and shaved everyone but Mac. He’s proven over the years that he’s not lice worthy. I continued to treat him anyway because he was getting a little cocky. Nothing like RID burning your scalp to knock you down a peg.
I’ve never loved my boys more than in that moment. When it comes to lice, boys rule and girls drool.
And this girl needed to stop procrastinating, treat herself and get combed out. The stylist did the back of my head but then triple bagged her supplies; anxious to high-tail it out of there. I wrote her a check equivalent to a car payment and still felt like I owed her more.
Like a bottle of Dom or a vacation.
Meanwhile, Mark was back home, hot water washing and high heat drying. What he couldn’t wash he sprayed and wrapped in Ziplock bags.
This is the one time his obsessively neat side was not a total pain. Those lice didn’t stand a chance when Mr. Clean rode into town.
I comforted myself with the fact that lice die in 48-hours without live contact. So, the lice at home would be dead when we got there. The trick was not bringing live critters back with us.
I rewarded the boys with a round of miniature golf, one of the few places our contact with the outside world would be at a minimum.
The course only took cash not credit. All my cash went to tipping the stylist and buying supplies. My eyes welled up and I spilled our story to the teenager who really wanted me to pick a ball color and move on.
However, the owner overheard and not only let us play for free but gave us all t-shirts. I hugged those shirts like the uncontaminated gold they were and thanked him profusely; pledging undying loyalty to his Down Under Golf Course.
We slept in our Down Under shirts that night with all the pillows wrapped in trash bags. We slid around the bed and got no sleep but the next morning everyone’s head was almost clear.
My poor mother-in-law hid out at her place until we were no longer a bio-hazard. She rejoined us the next night at dinner after a trip to Walmart to buy all new brushes, hair accessories and duffel bags.
We even bought a couple of t-shirts not of the matching mini-golf variety.
Did we survive?
Which is why I hope we don’t spend the year focusing on science. In particular, the chemistry necessary to force Super Lice into extinction.