she's fried

hard cooking, eating and living a life well-done

Sep 21

Lice lessons aka (she’s) fried lice

I bolted awake at 4:51am this morning, anxious and itchy. Literally. I could no longer ignore the intense, crawling feeling in my scalp, the same feeling Lev and, to a lesser extent, Amira, had been complaining about the past few days.

I pretty much knew for days what it was, but kept avoiding it, telling myself that the creeping at the base of my neck was just seasonal dry scalp that would go away.

I’d emailed my friend Geri, also my doctor as well as the mother of a 14-year old boy Amira used to go to school with. I knew it wasn’t bedbugs, but got myself stuck on scabies.

Sounds like lice, she said.

But I couldn’t see anything in Lev’s head, I said. Still, she fit in a time for me to come to the office, so I went. Just in case.

In case, in fact. Lice.

Luckily I am good under pressure. Don’t spill a glass of milk on my already dirty floor—that freaks me out (do I HAVE to clean now, DAMMIT??). But I’m nothing if not reliable in a clinch. Besides, I had dealt with lice before—almost a decade ago now, but I do remember that while it’s stressful and aggravating, there are worse fates. Bedbugs namely among them. Probably scabies, too.

kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk(This is what happens when you fall asleep over your computer while typing. Signing off for now. To be continued tomorrow)

[Cont’d] I called one of the Nitpicker ladies on the border of Kensington/Boro Park in Brooklyn. These women are all Orthodox Jews with 7, 8, 9, 11 kids. I don’t know the exact genesis of their preeminence in the field of lice extermination, but I imagine the story goes something like this:

"Have 9 kids? Must know how to get rid of lice. The End."

This woman’s name is Shayna Brown and I can’t recommend her more highly, if you happen to live in New York and are in need of a cleanout. It required Shayna and 2 of her daughters to manage Amira’s long mane of deeply-infested hair. Ucchhhh, I am nauseated just thinking about it. 

Which brings me to the key difference between my two kids. Most people would’ve complained long ago about the itching and discomfort, but not my daughter. It took Lev’s kicking into high drama and, subsequently, my own itching, to drive the point home.

Anyhow, $400 + about $100 more total on laundry and we’re rid of lice. I’m home today scouring my apt, washing pillows and stuffed animals and anything else that can be washed (so now we know what it takes to get me to clean my apt). Everything else: into a plastic bag for the next 2 weeks. Kids are where they should be: at school. Because as the NY Times points out: IT’S ONLY LICE, not the plague. The fact that this article comes out on the same day as our lice emergency is probably not an accident. Not only produce is seasonal, it turns out. According to our nitpicker, lice season hits a high after the summer, when kids are all head to head in sleepaway camp. This is likely where my little lice locavore seeded her bumper crop. 

Funny thing is, we had a really nice evening with Shayna the Nitpicker and her children. Her 17-year-old daughter was beyond wonderful.  This lovely young Jewish seminary student and Amira chatted engagingly about art and England (where she studies). Then another family arrived for a treatment as we were finishing up, around 7pm. They, too, were quite a friendly bunch. It turns out the eldest son, an aspiring rabbi, is a senior at Amira’s HS. More rich conversation ensued. By the time our livery car arrived to take us home, we were even a little sad to leave.

But leave we did, hauling our exhausted but far more comfortable asses home.

First, though, we stopped by the Popeye’s in our neighborhood for some perfectly respectable fried chicken, biscuits and mac & cheese.