The most unabashed, screechy screams in our household are reserved for bug sightings. The one that sounds like a limb has been severed two rooms over, a spider. The one that connotes a wild boar sighting in the kitchen is probably a cockroach.
So perhaps I should not have been surprised when Kristen called me the other day with “I have some bad news.” In the pregnant pause that followed (this has nothing to do with pregnancy by the way, it’s just an excellent qualifier) my mind raced needlessly. Who died? She lost her job! They stopped making Fresca!!… until she interrupted with “Elliott has lice.”
Of course in her mind, this trumped everything else I had guessed anyway. It involved bugs, her first born child, his beautiful hair and something called nits. She was on her way to pick the kids up from day care but first she was going to stop at CVS and just compulsively buy some shit. I’d wager that never in her life has money been less of an object than in the face of this crisis.
We were going to boil hairbrushes, vacuum the rugs and the upholstery, wash sheets, towels, pillows, blankets, hats, car seats, stuffed animals and every article of clothing that has been worn in the past six months. But first we had to go see the Lice Ladies of Atlanta. Yep, they exist, and if I had to bet who might be the next billionaire in town I’d start with this woman.
We had met Jenny several months prior when Margo was sent home from day care for a Lice scare. Turns out she didn’t have any but it was clear that when it came to lice, Jenny was the real deal. We made an appointment for all of us. I was certain I had it too because I generally put Elliott to bed by way of falling asleep next to him. And he’s a total space invader, which is different from a snuggler. When he’s not just flopped directly across me he’s a lot of elbows and knees and a hard noggin insisting on sharing my pillow.
Elliott got in the chair first. Jenny pulled a small congressional district of bugs and nits from his hair and guessed this had been going on for two weeks or so. I went next and much to my surprise, I was clean. Turns out lice don’t much care for hair products and are less likely to take up residence in short hair. Never have L’Oreal styling gel and male pattern baldness been so richly rewarded.
Luckily, Kristen and Margo checked out too. The two of them have such thick manes they could be philanthropic hair donors. Lice taking up residence on their heads would be the gluttonous equivalent of the time share mogul and his wife who built a 90,000 square foot home in Florida. Jenny’s Salon may have had to double as a motel for a night. Phew.
Still, I think Kristen is in shock. Last night she disposed of a spider without even calling for me. This morning she said “this lice repellent shampoo is actually really great!” And then she went back to vacuuming the walls and putting children’s books in the dryer, turning the knob to the sanitize setting.