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Lice Is in the Hizouse

Recently, HRH (Her Royal Highness) hosted a sleepover with two of her BFFs. Much to their parents’ dismay, we were also unwitting hosts to other guests.

Recently, HRH (Her Royal Highness) hosted a sleepover with two of her BFFs. Much to their parents’ dismay, we were also unwitting hosts to other guests. But I’m getting ahead of myself. (Haha… get it? Do you? Keep going. You will….)

Well into the late hours of the night, the girls frolicked. Face-painting until the several layers of poorly-removed makeup made them all look jaundiced; dress-up in princess gowns and my high heels that only they seem to be able to walk smoothly in; and sleeping arrangement switch-ups of all three 6-year-olds in a queen size bed…no, all on the floor in sleeping bags… no, two in the bed with one on the floor…no, two on the floor with one in the bed…

In spite of the crashing thunderstorms and sleepover-induced insomnia, the girls (finally) fell asleep – Thank you, Jesus… Buddah… Flying Spaghetti Monster. Benadryl. What? Oh, don’t pretend you haven’t been down that road. I’m not saying I administered Benadryl to anybody. I’m not… saying… anything…

Daybreak and BFF #1 emerges from HRH’s room.

“Miss Beth, my head itches.”

Not even 24 hours ago, at least two people had alerted me that head lice were making the rounds. Panic flushed my face. “Oh dear. Come into my bathroom where there is good light.  Lemme put on my readers.” (‘Readers’.  I’m 40-years-old, for chrissakes, and I’m already wearing reading glasses and referring to them as ‘readers’. What the…?)

“What is it, Miss Beth?  What do you see?”

“Oh nothing, sweets. Just…you know…Oh! Hey you girls! Get off my bed! No!!! No, no, no, no! Don’t lie down on my… NOOOOOOoooooo!!!!” 

Too late. HRH and BFF #2 had already made themselves comfortable in my bed just as I made the stark discovery on BFF #1.

Well. That was it. Time to make the call to my friend, the BFF’s mom. “Hey, girl! Listen… I just found lice in the girls’ hair.”

“WHAT?!?!?!  I’m coming over now!”

That woman must have a time machine, because she was at my front door before I could hang up the phone. The horror and embarrassment in her eyes were almost palpable. We had no idea how to proceed. Neither of us had dealt with lice, before. Was there an incubation period? Did HRH now have lice? Did my friend and I have lice? What do we strip and clean, first? Do we just burn both houses to the ground and start over? Did we just kick off a county-wide epidemic? Who else had our kids been hobnobbing with? And what on Earth does hobnobbing actually mean?!? 

But then I remembered another friend told me about a service that comes to your house, checks everyone in the family, treats everyone affected, and then helps you get your head around how to contain the issue. Thanks to the magic of texting, I had that service’s contact information locked and loaded into my smartphone: Helping Hands Lice Removal – Mobile Lice Removal Service (www.helpinghandsheadliceremoval.com). 

Now here’s where the real magic happens… both of our households and all inhabitants were free and clear of hair critters by 2:30 p.m. that same day. YES! You read that right. Let me recap that timetable so you get the full effect of the miracle: 

  • 8:30 a.m. – small girl’s scalp itches
  • 8:35 a.m. – discovery made w/ readers and high-intensity, energy-saving light bulbs
  • 8:40 a.m. – Google search of lice images for cross-reference purposes
  • 8:45 a.m. – check other girls' head to make sure I’m not about to throw up the red flag over donut crumbs
  • 8:50 a.m. – call girls’ mother using uber-believable (but totally staged) calm voice
  • 8:51 a.m. – girls’ mother at front door
  • 9 a.m. – appointments made for 11 a.m. (friend) and 1 p.m. (me)
  • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – head checks, de-lousing, consulting, nerve-calming
  • 2:30 p.m. – housekeeping details, maintenance debriefing, and all-clear
  • 7 p.m. – wine

I know! Right? I couldn’t believe it, either!! No internet searches weeding fact from fiction.  No wives tales and useless home remedies that turn our childrens’ heads into Mediterranean diet side dishes, no undercover runs to the drug store, no lighter fluid with matches and awkward explanations to insurance adjusters. One fast, discreet home visit and – voila! – our lives are restored to ‘normal’. Of course, there is a bit of follow-up (continued combing with an actual fine-tooth comb and a check-up visit from Helping Hands one week later). 

And so… that’s a wrap. All children involved are resting comfortably. My friend and I enjoyed a good “Phew! That was close!” high-five and a (couple) glasses of wine. And the house has never felt cleaner.

Funny how the power of suggestion can trigger psychosomatic responses, though, isn’t it?  Or is my head the only one that’s been crawling since this post began?

Check back, later. My next post will be the proverbial fine tooth comb that pulls lice fact from fiction and details more about Helping Hands Lice Removal service. 

-B(Sting)

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Tamara Brooking June 17, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Hey Beth! There is a line of Childrens hair care products at Ulta called "Fairy Tails" It is made with Rosemary oil and it repels Critters. Lice completely grosses me out; so I have had Anabelle on preventive treatment for years!
Beth Riedemann June 21, 2011 at 03:13 PM
You know, the day before this all went down, HRH and I were at Ulta and I saw that product line. I hovered over the bottles, smelling it all (cuz I happen to love the smell of rosemary) and wondered if I should buy some. But then I figured I probably really didn't need it and it was an expensive gimmick, anyways. Translation: I was too cheap to pop for the products. I had no idea Fate was standing behind me, laughing her a** off! BTW, Help Hands also recommends and sells the Fairy Tails product line. -B(Sting)
Julie Rivero Gosselin August 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Hopefully I NEVER need them, but if I do I know who to call. Thanks for the 411.

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