Okay, back to the regular blog, and me offering up all my weirdness to make you feel like you’re normal. (P.S. You’re probably not, because none of us are, and I happen to like all my friends a little weird. But that’s beside the point.)
Where am I the weirdest, you might ask? Then someone who knew me well would say it. The L word. Lice. Lice and ticks are the two things that just freak me out. I don’t like things that stick on and multiply. (Stop laughing. Some people are afraid of house plants.)
So this week I found out that I (not my kids) had been exposed to lice. Not like sharing-a-pillow exposed. Not like rubbing-heads-together exposed. Not like we-used-the-same-headrest-in-the-car exposed. Meaning a little girl I was near ended up with a relatively mild case of lice.
I took the news well. I was calm, shrugged my shoulders, furtively scratched my head and said, "Well, it happens." The picture of maturity, right?
Mmm hmm. Until I got home. At which point all of my clothes and my jacket went in the dryer on high heat. Twice. I ran upstairs and threw open the door to the closet where I’ve stockpiled lice remedies for years, just in case. I found the sharpest, meanest looking lice comb in there, and I proceeded to remove my scalp. Literally. I combed every inch of my head and hair, looking closely for anything that could potentially be lice. I found nothing. Thank God I don’t have dandruff or I would have freaked out and chopped my own head off.
Whew. All’s clear.
But...what if I missed something? What if, right now, there’s an egg on my head and it’s hatching? What if I have bugs all over my head by the morning? What if they take over my whole house? I got itchy again just thinking about it.
So pulled out the Big Daddy of chemical treatments. The Whopper. The Be-Glad-You-Already-Got-Your-College-Degree-Because-I-Will-Fry-Your-Brain box of stuff. The Leave-No-Louse-Behind-And-Take-Brain-Cells-Too treatment.
And, in my defense, it was about to expire (I bought it three years ago) and I would have had to throw it away anyway. And I can be a bit frugal.
So I had a brief moment of silence and bid my brand-new blonde highlights a heartbreaking farewell, and then slathered the stuff all over my head.
The directions said not to leave it on for more than 10 minutes. At 25 minutes, Whit walked by. He saw my hair wrapped up in a towel turban, smelled the air surrounding me, and saw my eyes tearing like I had been pepper sprayed by renegade college cops.
"Someone mentioned lice to you, huh?"
Sniffling, I nodded. He just shook his head.
At 30 minutes, I couldn’t do simple addition in my head anymore. (Whit will argue this had nothing to do with the chemicals.)
Finally, I rinsed it off.
My head smoking like Chernobyl, I could finally rest, knowing I didn’t have lice. Especially because I didn’t think I had it to start with. But then I was sure.
Except this, because I'm wordy: Caroline went to a day of this rugged outdoorsy camp on a school day off in October. She came home and regaled me with stories of her day. At one point, she told me about a long zipline through the forest. She told me the counselors made the campers wear helmets.
"But Mom," she said, nodding wisely, "I pulled my hoodie up BEFORE putting on the helmet." She gave me a thumbs-up.
I was so proud. A chip off the old neurotic block. What more could a mother want?