The Little Bastards Won’t Die

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:

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It’s not entirely true that I have not engaged in throwback thursday.  I love throwing back.

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Ha.

 

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.

Me:  200-13

Rick:  200-16

 

My mom, who came to help us.  Bless her heart:200-14

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:

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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.

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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.

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LICE.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Hmmmm.

 

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.

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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:200-3

 

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.

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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….

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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.

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I guess there is a lesson to be learned:   Always Listen to Your Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 10.39.33 AM

http://www.fairylicemothers.com

Throwback Thursday, indeed.

Clawing Out of the Hole

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There have been a few different times in my life where I have found myself at the bottom of a deep, dark hole.   A few of those dark times in my past, I have jumped on that “grateful journal” bandwagon in desperation to hoist myself out of the pit of despair. And guess what?  That whole gratitude journal thing works.

The one downfall to this magical method is that when you are in that dark deep well, the last thing you want to do is plop down criss cross applesauce on the slimey, rank ground and start ticking off the blessings showering down on you.  We like to wallow, or scream for someone to come and save us. I have been exploring some of my life adventures, like moving across the country, and lice, and humidity and surgery…things that recently had me wallowing in deep misery.  While the idea of revisiting the gratitude journal popped into my depression-fogged brain once in a while, I would snicker at the very idea.  Sunny skies and puffy clouds and giggles could not pull me from the shit hole I wallowed in, not this time.   I resisted.  I was saturated by my misery, consumed…depressed.

What I do know…  gratitude is the life line.  It’s simple. So simple, it is easy to angrily crush the idea between two fingertips.   Wallowing in the muck is so much more…available.  But the thing is,  you can force yourself to start with just one tiny thing.  And pretty soon, more tiny things appear.  And then you will find yourself actively searching for those tiny things, until the collection of beautiful things becomes more consuming than the collection of miserable thoughts that keep your ass bound in the mire at the bottom of that hole.  If you use those beautiful things to stand on, the hole will become shallow enough to climb out into the sunshine.

I write 5 things a day.  They must be unique and they must be written.  And I will share five things on sundays here on my blog.  I am going to start this practice with my three children at home as well, and report how it goes to you all.  I want my children to actively participate in collecting beauty and finding gratitude in their every day moments.  Gratitude must be more than a concept I angrily throw at them when they whine on the way home from the movies.

This is a big commitment for me, because I live in a wasteland of chore charts and jars half filled with “reward marbles” and potty posters with just a few random stars stuck to it.  I am abysmal at creating and consistently implementing great parenting ideas such as this…but since the gratitude journal concept has brought me from the darkest places into the lightest moments, and because I believe gratitude is essential to bliss, I will do this.  Now.  With my children.  And, with you.

I invite you to join…do it yourself, in your own household, or just post a comment on sundays with one thing in your week you are grateful for, and see where it brings you!

For my inaugural Sunday of Gratitude, I will use pictures too.  (A dangerous precedent).

ImageAn obvious one.  I  have no idea how I managed to turn this dude from a pen pal in my mailbox into a man willing to take on…ME for eternity, but it happened, and there is nothing more incredible on the planet than that.

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So, do you all know about Azaleas?!?!??  I just lived my first spring in Connecticut, and you guys from other places, it was RIDICULOUS.   I practically drove my car into a mailbox every time we went anywhere.  No one in my family could finish a sentence without me gasping and pointing it out, in every yard.  Look!  Look! At the hot pink bush!  That coral color!  Oh LORD can you see that purple bush!? Sometimes, I would randomly have to pull over and take a picture, it was just too hard to zip on by.   I still can’t get over it.  Crazaaaay.

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So, the last time Rick and I went into NYC, we finally made our way to the MOMA.  Whoa.  It was inspiring, and sometimes, a bit confusing.  What is NOT confusing is my joy at seeing pantyhose being stapled to walls and filled with sand.  This is a picture captures how I feel about pantyhose… I would rather be nailed to a wall than wear it.  And, since I used to be mormon, I have done my share of suffering their sausage-like suffocation.  I am truly grateful that I no longer own a pair of these wretched things, and I don’t feel the need to subject my little girls to this torture either.  It is true freedom.

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When my oldest daughter was cleaning out her backpack, I found this in a stack of papers.  She had written it at school, not for an assignment, but just because she felt like it, she told me.  It is framed and hanging above her bed now.  I hope she eats these words for breakfast every day for the rest of her life.  I am grateful that right now, her 9 year old self is captured in crayon, in the most breathtaking way imaginable.

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This is a picture of a bookshop in NYC.  I fell in love with this ceiling, and I stare at this picture as my wallpaper every day.  I wish I could remember the name of the shop.  But when I see these books, I am grateful for the sense that my spirit rises up to meet them, I can smell the pages of those books just looking at this picture, and let it fill my soul with a dream that is ever present within me.