It took an act of God I tell you!
My husband likes to change locations about as often as he does his underwear these days. Think of him as a closet gypsy. One day there will a Gypsy Pride Parade in honor of him and those like him.
Then again, I think not because I was just in the middle of a brain flatulence
when I just had that thought.
So the celebrative (is that really a word?), day began with my finding a folder full of to-do's left by my husband before he went out of town to work. There was such an over abundance of joy upon finding the list of orders to be made, clients to call, and 154 insurance codes I had to stuff on one single sheet of paper.
Oh yippie - where are the stinking candles so I can light this shit on fire?
At least the kids were in the celebrating mood. Well..... kinda. My son is resting as he is getting over the remnants of an ear infection; so he and the younger girls and I have been just hanging at the house. At least my older daughter is getting to celebrate her one year anniversary of having a best friend, with her best friend today. They're swimming while we're in the house roasting with the A/C on 70. Kind of let's you know what the humidity factor is right now.
Temp 90 - Heat Index - 550 degrees! BURN BABY BURNNNNNNN!
I swear to God I live back in Phoenix again sometimes.
But as I sat and stared at the to-do list until my vision turned blurry from lack of enough caffeine this morning, I began remembering back to when we first moved here and the many "adventures" we have had since then. I finally decided to release a few favorites; one being from my "forbidden to talk about" file.
Let's just jump right to the big nasty first why don't we? It is what we brought with us that we had no intention of bringing with us when we left Ala-BAM-a. Leave it to those trusted children's programs at the end of school to completely screw up your summer plans.
"HUH!", you're thinking. Okay, I'll fess up the ugly truth now.
The twins had a May Day celebration at their old school in Ala-BAM-a that required the use of hats. My dear son's hat was knocked off his head by another boy, and that boy proceeded to wear it while taunting my son about it.
We didn't realized that the taunting would affect my whole family and last well in the the summer.
Fast forward to our new home.... here. Julian starts complaining of itching in his head and wants me to check it out. All I notice is a head full of dry skin since he's had this sort of issue since he was little. But then again, I wasn't wearing my glasses when I looked.
Major faux pas!
It wasn't until a little day trip to Mobile that it really dawned on my as I sat around a patio table full of seafood and kids constantly scratching their heads.
NO! It COULDN'T be!
"AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!", I remembered screaming so hard in my brain that I gave myself an instant migraine.
When I got home I finally put on some glasses and inspected everyone's head. Yep, there they were..... eggs - lice eggs everywhere on my clean little babies heads.
Gag, spit, barf, puke, roll eyeballs, fall on ground have tantrum, have a seizure, scream and die! ......
Okay back to reality and into quarantine mode. I forbade the kids to leave the house/yard until this situation was resolved. Not contained or "under control", but damn spanking resolved, gone, fi-NI-to.... you get the picture here.
I hit the internet to find something else besides putting a chemical on my children's heads that would leave them partially bald for life, or that resembled extra strength dog shampoo. My kids were NOT going to smell like St. Bernard's for the next week!
After a few hours of research as the kids patiently scratched and waited, scratched and waited, I found one that well, sounded a bit strange but all the comments were positive and everyone swore it worked.
But it didn't help to find out that lice actually thrive in clean heads. So much for thinking only skanky kids got this stuff.
Uh..... maybe I shouldn't have said that here. Uh..... nevermind.
But before anything, the kids had to wash their heads with a mixture of tea tree oil and shampoo. Which did a fine enough job so that I could have their hair cut with being "detected" while lice alarms went shooting off all over the city. I opted for shorter hair styles as I thought that if we all went home sporting a buzz cut, it would give us all away.
I don't think I would look too snazzy with the Sinead O'Conner look at 40-something either.
At least if there were any eggs left at the bottom of the hair shaft, they were best left on the floor where they were cut off and swept into oblivion. At least I HOPE that's where they went and not towards something like Locks of Love.
"Oh Dear God, What Did I Do?"
Pause, think, pause, think..... nahhhh - they went in the trash.
Afterwards, we went to the store to gather my recipe for a calculated lice extermination from the website I had visited before:
5 large bottles of antiseptic mouthwash,
1 gallon of white distilled vinegar,
2 bottles of extra-strength dandruff shampoo,
4 bottles of tea tree oil,
and shower caps for everyone.
Sounding bizarre? Good, cause it was.
The next day was a very long eight hour process of de-licing everyone's head. First it was to organize an assembly line in order to soak each one's head in mouthwash, then sit with it in our heads for two hours while wrapped in various shades of pastel colored shower caps. I started with the oldest child first, then ending with the adults. Worked pretty well till we got to Nia and then the protesting began. Nadia and I ended up bribing her with a few pieces of chocolate in order to accomplish this mission. Thank God for Ghiradelli!
The mouthwash was to kill the lice still alive.
There we sat; six pathetic souls in tacky shower caps stinking the house up with antiseptic, minty fresh mouthwash, and wrapped in towels cause everyone was afraid of leaking mouthwash and lice into their clothes, which by the way, were actually stacked to the ceiling in the laundry room while the washer and dryer heatedly danced all over the floor from working overtime during the day.
Oh then I started thinking about the fact that the mouthwash was blue and did I accidentally dye everyone's hair blue in the process of letting it soak in for two hours? My mind was racing about how I'm gonna be sporting the only blue-headed kids in the neighborhood, and that this was gonna cost me big bucks in the hair salon to get everyone's hair color back to normal.
Next came the methodical rinsing and massive soaking of the hair with white vinegar, then rewrapping the head with those lovely trailer park-ish shower caps. It was at this point that I kept calling the caps, shower "curtains" instead and it was just fucking everyone up at this point.
The smells were beginning to make me stupid.
We sat in this concoction for an hour praying that the endless of hours noxious fumes and funky shower curtains... I mean CAPS, would rid us all of these ghastly beasts in our heads.
The vinegar was to dissolve the glue that kept the eggs attached to the hair shaft.
Notice that I am explaining reason for this cocktail of insanity
because you know one of you out there is suffering from this shit as I speak
and you're wanting to know how we eliminated the little buggars.
Last, but not least, we were ready to rinse once again then wash our heads in dandruff shampoo mixed with 10-20 drops of tea tree oil; depending on the size of head we were working on at the moment. ALL heads were becoming a blur to me by this time.
Oh the smells in the house were nauseous at this point.
This final chemical compound was to finish off anything that tried to survive the first two attempts. Hell, we were all about dead from it all; how could it NOT kill what was in our heads.
And would we have any hair left when it was all over with?
Next came the comb. Stupid me took awhile to figure out that the longer comb was for longer hair, thus I spent a good half hour tangling the crap out of Nia and Toni's hair in the process. Thank God for the hair cut or it would have involved the fire department unwrapping me from two heads of hair with a lit comb stuck in the middle.
FILM AT 11!
Everyone was free of anything that resembled an unholy alliance laying in our heads. But as those who have been through this before know that it ain't over till the house has been thoroughly scrubbed from ceiling to floor, and anything remotely resembling fabric has been through the hot wash cycle about 50 times, steamed cleaned, dry cleaned, stoned to death, and then scorched for two hours in the dryer.
We won't even discuss what my electric and water bill looked like at the end of the month.
For weeks after that, I was still making everyone shampoo with tea tree oil and acid... I mean dandruff shampoo. But being the paranoid ninnie I am at times like this, I took it upon myself to "experiment". I actually bought a bottle of dog shampoo designed to kill fleas and lice and used it on myself. See, I have kinda long hair and I was so paranoid every time I "felt" something in my head (even though I was shampooing twice a day myself), that I thought I was going to infect everyone else again. So I started being the St. Bernard of the house. I never told anyone this until now.
"Dear World, I shampooed with doggie shampoo - ARF, ARF. Now where's my stinking biscuit"
Luckily I had done enough to end that little saga in our family history. But you won't ever find my family trying on hats at stores, much less off someone else's head we "know" either. I was so humiliated that it took months before I could actually tell my mom.
"Well I won't be coming to your house anytime soon!", she laughs at me over the phone.
"Uh, well thanks for the support MOM."
The rest of the year has been filled with "will we stay or will we go?", conversations that went on pretty much everyday. It didn't help that soon after we moved here, we noticed how stinking economically depressed it was. That was BEFORE the financial meltdown on Wall Street. Our fears hit us smack in the head when read a report put out by the folks who do those Mason Dixon surveys about how people feel about where they lived.
About 65% percent of the population surveyed here said it sucked - not just a little bit - but A LOT! The only one's who liked things the way there were, were retired military, and/or over 70. 2/3's of the population said they wanted to "get the hell out" within five years. The rest couldn't "afford" to leave because they got "stuck" here. It figures we moved ourselves into hell with a beach.
Shoot me - just freaking shoot me now and get it all over with!
But we managed (somehow) to stick with it and stay. Try to find the best of the place, instead of looking at the worse; and boy there was plenty of it. I can't tell how many times I got depressed over reading the Rants N Raves section of Craigslist here. I was convinced at one point that Armageddon was just around the corner and it was gonna start here first.
But the beauty of the beach kept us here. The fact that my son found such a love for fishing kept us here. The fact that my oldest daughter had found such a dear friend in Emily kept us here. The fact that their school really challenged the kids and helped them strived - really strive - to be their best kept us here.
Then Julian got stinking mono!
It wasn't just any case of mono. This kid was out of school for almost two months. He was in the hospital one day cause they thought he had some major abcess in his throat that needed surgery.. but he didn't and that was good. But they found instead that he had a big honking case of mono. He couldn't talk and could barely swallow.
The next two months was spent going back and forth between his teacher, Mr. Chavez (which by the way looks like McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy and is the most awesome teacher for kids I have ever met). We worked hard on keeping Julian on task without falling behind. He missed an awful lot at school, but his grades barely faltered. I have a lot to thank in Mr. Chavez for that because he put a spark under my son's butt about learning, making and keeping goals, and striving to be his personal best, more than I've never seen any other teacher do.
Julian made the honor role by the end of the school year.
And luckily Mr. Chavez's job was saved from the budget cut ax.
There were other weird times, but I'll have to shed myself of that same humiliation before I spill the beans on that one. It's been a funky, challenging, trying, confusing, crappy, wonderful, magical, busy, chaotic year.
But then I found a way to cope.... I made this blog. It took all those lemons that kept filling my living room up and helped me to turn them into lemonade instead. It made me look back at this year and actually laugh till I cried about all that we had been through as a family. I met wonderful, beautiful, life-giving friends like Tara at If Mom Says Ok, and Melissa at Rock and Drool.
Without this year and all it's experiences, I would never have the joy that fills my heart today.
Here's to another year of being stinking nuts and loving every minute of it!