Not only do I write posts for my very own blog (this one), but I'm also a restaurant reviewer for Uptake. Since I'm story teller and not a food connoisseur, I write my reviews in the form of fictional fables. As far as I know I'm the first and only food reviewer to do this. I did Fictional Fables with Food because writing food reviews is BORING for me, so I have to conjure up ridiculous stories about CIA agents, blind dates with British men, marriage proposals, and nudity in order to keep me entertained and, hopefully, you.
Uptake is having a contest for the bloggers. The prize is a Girls Getaway for Four at the Silverado Resort in Napa, California, but first I have to "deserve" it and it must be a family friendly story.
I do deserve it and its because I've had to deal with the worst family problem in the whole entire world. It's yucky and messy and humiliating. It's an issue that many of you have encountered but none of you want to talk about: Lice.
Early this week I discovered "them" and instantly started the phone calls to her three best friends, her gym, and the schools. I tried to stay calm and take an enlightened approach, saying to myself and others "hey man, it's not a reflection of bad parenting. It's just something that happens to kids with hair." But inside I felt like a peasant from the 16th century.
I kept both daughters out of school that day so that we wouldn't infect all the other "nice" children. Here are the things you have to do when your child comes home with lice:
1. Freak out.
2. Analyze your own head. Is it itchy because you're psychosomatic or do you have critters too?
2. Pick through your children's hair to identify "them"
3. Make mortifying phone calls to anyone who's come into contact with your family for the past week.
4. Go to the pharmacy and buy $100 worth of Nix or Rid or whatever.
5. Shampoo and apply stinky horrible medicine on EVERYONE's head for 10 hours. Do not just do a 10-minute treatment like the box says because now they are resistant to it.
6. Walk around in your house with shower caps on and pray to God that nobody comes to the door.
7. Wash every sheet, comforter, pillow, rug that you can. If you can't wash it, it has to go in a plastic airtight bag for four weeks. Bye bye down comforters!
8. Vacuum every single thing in your house: Mattresses, sofas, rugs, floors.
9. You know the box of hair do-dads? Well, they all have to be boiled for 10 minutes.
10. Nitpick. That means use a grid system to analyze every single hair on your kid's head and pick off the left-over eggs. This takes hours.
11. Continue nitpicking, vacuuming, washing for at least a week to catch any rogue critters.
As if this wasn't bad enough, we had just sold our house and the agent called and wanted to do a "walk-through". Oh perfect timing. This is about the time I had a complete mental breakdown.
Two days later was the youngest daughter's Open House. All of our friends and acquaintances knew about our new "pets." That's why when people kept commenting on how great my hair looked, I'd reply "I'm using a new shampoo. Perhaps you've heard?" and they'd laugh.
Katia's three best friends' moms and me have been in complete hell for four days and although we are completely lice-free and our houses are cleaner than they've ever been, ever, we are spent. In my opinion, having a child with head lice is worse than leprosy because at least with leprosy things fall off and you can just walk away.
Although the other three mommies have been my friends for years, nothing has brought us closer together. We are the survivors of the same shipwreck. We are going to make bracelets that say "Not a Lousy Mother" on them. We are going to start a support group for other moms because I'm sure we all have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
We are going to loose our minds if we cannot get away for a weekend of spa treatments, sleeping-in, pampering, no children. We can get away sometime this summer for a hard-earned Girls Getaway! And yes, Silverado, we will be sparkling clean guests. Promise.