It’s throw back thursday, and I’m a virgin #TBTer.
You know those moments where people tell you, “Someday, you will laugh…”
It’s time to start sifting through those stories, as part of my throwback thursday contribution. Nothing insightful. Nothing informative. Just my stories, of survival.
Isn’t that what #TBT is all about anyway? A way to show the world how things have gotten much, much better? Here’s proof:
It’s not entirely true that I have not engaged in throwback thursday. I love throwing back.
This picture was taken a few years ago, in August, just a few weeks after moving to Connecticut.
We moved from a brand new home in the dry, dry air of Colorado to a green tunnel of humidity so thick, I swear it rained in my living room. Like the rain forest.
We bought a house that was slightly older than brand new, it was built in 1929. They didn’t have air conditioning in 1929. A factor I did not thoughtfully consider as I planned and arranged this move back in Colorado in the dry, dry air of my well conditioned home filled with vents that pumped deliciously cold air into the atmosphere.
We moved in during a New England heat wave. It was in the mid nineties, and everything had the texture of a wet tissue. You can tell by how often I have mentioned the heat so far, that IT WAS HOTTER THAN THE SURFACE OF THE SUN. A steam room, on the surface of the sun.
I linger on this misery because it was not the worst part of the moving experience, but it was the factor that I believed would break me. The level of stress I had been enduring was extreme, (moving across the country with 3 kids, leaving my family and friends, Lydia’s emerging misophonia). The fact that my bed sheets were sticky-damp before getting into bed and I sweat like a farm animal while I brushed my teeth were details that simply melted my coping abilities into a huge, slimy puddle of boob sweat.
My mom, who came to help us. Bless her heart:
But the heat, it turns out, was not the driving force in this miserable scenario.
It was so. much. smaller.
Three days into a truly nightmarish move, my saintly mother was taking charge of the place as I fanned myself in a corner and fantasized about this:
She was helping me unpack the kids’ bedrooms and sort their stuff. We were closing in on the final boxes of clothes and stuffed animals and blankets, putting them into drawers, order was being restored… until she noticed my two-year old scratching her scalp.
My mom parted her hair to take a look, and that is when this little bastard jumped out of Stella’s hair. Jumped. OUT. And crawled across her new bedroom floor.
I felt the last of my mental acuity begin to circle the empty bowl of my skull, flushing out my sanity….I lost my mind. I did what every parent would do first…
I googled LICE. Bad idea.
Then I called the Fairy Lice Mothers, who tried to reassure me that everything would be fine.
Yes, there is a Fairy Lice Mother.
She assured me, I just needed to follow these simple, easy steps.
1. Place all pillows, blankets, hats, stuffed animals that my child had been in contact with in plastic bags for two weeks.
2. Wash all bedding and clothing she has had contact with in hot water.
3. Comb out her hair with their special comb (not the plastic kind) using only detangling spray and water… the poison is just that. Poison. And it doesn’t work. Make sure to comb EVERY SINGLE STRAND OF HAIR from scalp to tip.
4. Comb her hair like this EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR TWO WEEKS…. and everyone else in the family too.
I literally went ape shit. The lady on the phone did not know what to do. I think I hung up on her.
If I had any real clue what lice was actually going to do to our lives for the next month, I would have needed a straitjacket and a hypodermic needle to subdue me… but I wasn’t far off.
You guys, LICE IS THE DEVIL.
I am serious. If you have not had to live in this particular nightmare, then you will simply shake your head in judgement of my melodramatic words, but I assure you, it is true. Especially when you have enough hair between the five of you to supply Lady Gaga with a years’ worth of wigs.
Lice is in fact, one of the ten curses in the bible, along with BOILS and LASTING DARKNESS and the DEATH OF YOUR FIRSTBORN.
I think our situation was made slightly more challenging, considering that Stella had been climbing in an out of boxes filled with ALL THE BEDDING WE OWNED for the past two days, and had recently found the dress-ups and put all of them on and then found the box of stuffed animals and set them up all around the house. And then rolled around in them.
When we found the LIVING BUGS crawling in her hair, she had just been burrowing like a small woodland creature, into a giant mound of all of the clothes that my three children owned. The movers had so thoughtfully crammed it all together into several big boxes, and we had been sorting it all out.
And we did not have the washer or dryer hooked up.
Rick had to leave his new job that day due to “a medical emergency at home,” meaning:
He swung by the local pharmacy, and picked up a bottles of poisonous pesticides to spread all over our children’s scalps (we ignored the Fairy Lice Mother and went for the kill). And drove across town to pick up the Fairy Lice Mothers special comb at Aldo.
We spent three hours combing through Stella’s hair. She was two years old at the time, and on a good day, I had to execute an elaborate hunt/stalk/animal take-down and then pin her in a wrestling hold to get a comb through her hair.
So you can imagine how things went. Outside on the porch in the sweltering, suffocating, steam room on the surface of the sun.
The instructions on the bottle said that Stella must wear the poison on her scalp for a few hours. So, shaking from the exhaustion of scaring our toddler for life for the past three hours, Rick and I put a shower cap on her to try to keep her from rubbing pesticides in her eyes and put her in the car, hoping she would pass out from exhaustion as we drove around in the air-conditioning.
That didn’t work of course. She screamed like the lice-potion was blistering her scalp the whole time, and I was terrified it was. We drove home, and while getting out of the car, one of our new neighbors popped over to say hello. He was in his scrubs, a doctor at the nearby hospital. Rick and I, drenched in sweat and lice-poison, holding our daughter on the driveway, shook his hand and introduced ourselves. We did not offer to introduce our daughter, and he did not ask about her. He must have sensed something was going on….
Welcome to the neighborhood.
I wish that was the end of the lice story, but it isn’t of course. Because those little bastards DO NOT DIE. They broke me, those blood sucking beasts. They were the curse that inspired this picture, and many, many, many more nights like this one.
I guess there is a lesson to be learned: Always Listen to Your
Throwback Thursday, indeed.
OMG, this reminds me of The Year of the Bedbugs… and I do mean a YEAR, literally. It was like a horror movie that never ended, and of course, I was the one in the family who was extra sensitive to them and was covered with new bites every few days. Fortunately, we hadn’t moved and weren’t intending to, although perhaps that would have made things a little easier in the long run. We also didn’t have small children, and they don’t bother furry animals, so the cats were safe.
Like lice, bedbugs just seem to go ON forever; they can actually live for close to a year without eating (or sucking blood, also like lice). Nothing is safe; If you can slide a credit card into something, they can get in, too. They love wood and walls, and come out only at night because they find you by the concentration of carbon dioxide you breathe out while sleeping. Some of the Fairy Lice Mother’s advice holds true for them, also. We washed or froze everything we could, and ran those things that couldn’t be washed or frozen in the dryer on Hot for 30-60 minutes. Most of our clothing lived in sealed plastic bags or boxes for months after washing/drying so they couldn’t hide in them. And like you, we did not get them because we were dirty or because we had a dirty house. We got them from someone else when they spread throughout our apartment complex.
Congrats to you for having survived the Time of the Lice without going completely insane! Although I’m sure it felt at the time as though you HAD…
Haha… Thanks for sharing your own personal hell… Bed bugs scare me to death after the lice incident! I’m pretty sure I did go completely insane for a while, and still flip out like I have PTSD if I scratch my scalp. My four year old has a tiny brown freckle on her scalp in her part line and when I look down and see it , my heart stops beating and I pick at it. Every. Single. Time.
Been there and done that, too! It took months for me to stop searching through the bed sheets before getting into bed, and the next time I found bite marks on my legs, I went into hysterics until I realized the cats were scratching, too… it was just fleas from the back yard!! I’ve never been so happy to see fleas in my life.
It occurred to me just now that there is ONE thing about bedbugs that is “better” than lice; at least they don’t live on you!
Last night Scott came home and didn’t know what why I was laughing hysterically at my iPhone. It was because of this post. Honestly, if you have survived this you can probably get through anything at this point. Please keep adding humor and gifs to your posts. You’re amazing.
Thanks Christal! Your feedback is meaningful to me… I am wondering if the gifs are getting a bit annoying for people… I am having soooooo much fun with them (to much fun!) and I can’t stop! And, the lice almost killed us all. 🙂