Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Louse House

Ever played the game of hink pinks? A hink pink is a riddle whose answer is two rhyming words. For example, what do you call an overweight feline? Fat Cat.

Here's another one, a little more difficult now:
What do you call a home for people who are infested with insects that live in their hair?
Louse House.


Our home.

Yes, I realize that was not funny. Neither was the phone call we got from a daycare parent this morning, saying that their family has been infected with the little buggies. That meant her child had been here yesterday INFECTED and possibly left a few little "friends" behind. And I have no idea how many days before that too. We don't have a policy for this. In fact, I don't think it EVER entered the realm of possibilities for me. I mean, it's not even possible that our family could get Lice! Do you realize how much cleaning and chaos that would require? I do NOT like chaos. I like order. I was pretty close to panicking, and Mitch was contemplating what kinds of drugs the doctor might prescribe me if he had to call her. LOL.

We already had two daycare kids here. We met the next family at the door and gave them the option of leaving while they had the chance. They took it. Then we turned to research. We immediately combed the internet and desperately tried to come up with a game plan that would work. We checked heads. Good. No lice or nits spotted. We stripped the beds and took any clothing from the floors and put it down the chute. In fact, we took every blanket from everywhere that may have been used in the past couple days and sent them to the laundry room. Pretty soon we had an impassable pile. Then we began vacuuming the "safe" rooms. The rooms that daycare children don't go in as often. This would be the place where we would take blankets after they were clean. We moved every piece of furniture in these rooms and vacuumed everywhere. We even vacuumed the mattresses. Still no bugs spotted. We put tea tree oil in a shampoo bottle and everyone got a good head washing. We read that the bugs don't like the smell of tea tree oil, so it's a good preventative measure. At this point we considered ourselves still in "preventing" stage, though my head is itching uncontrollably. Next we proceeded to bag up every cloth toy that would not get a chance to be washed and put it in the garage. We also put all the unused blankets in the garage--if they hadn't been used in the past couple days, we can survive a couple weeks without them. At this point *I'm* actually praying for freezing cold weather! We continued to vacuum every inch of the house, moving toys and furniture and giving it a very thorough cleaning. And we get to do it all again TOMORROW! Yipee. Not. Well, we won't do all the washing again. But the vacuuming will happen for sure. I'm not done with the laundry yet. Here is a photo after I tried to make some sense of the mess that was in the laundry room. Oye Vey.

There are no less than 12 loads here. I've done 6 so far and there is still a mess to go. And let me tell you: 59 min on the washing machine does not mean 59 REAL minutes. It's actually longer than that. Sigh. Oh, we did make sure MJ didn't carry any bugs from the pile to the rest of the *clean* house.

It's 12 hours later now, and still no sign of any bugs or nits. Let's pray that it stays that way and none of us have to have more serious treatment. At least we'll all have clean hair for a change!! I'm still quite a bit paranoid. After supper I asked Mitch to check my head again. You know, just to be sure. It was too funny. He said my scalp was so pale. For whatever reason that made him sick to his stomach. Hahaha.


  1. OMG!! I am really trying not to laugh because this is a very serious situation but you sound hysterical!! Thankfully you did not actually find any at your house! We have been infested before and it is a nightmare!

    Since you do not feel or find evidence that you are the source of the you get paid for the loss of 'wages' for the other kiddos that choose not to leave their child that day?? And paid for the kid who was infected? Just wondering 'cause it sounds like it was not your fault they choose not to stay.
    That is a TON of laundry!!!!

  2. We will get paid for the kid who was infected, but not for the other kiddos who didn't stay. To be honest, it was a relief that the other kiddos didn't stay because we were able to focus more on cleaning. So we were quite encouraging them NOT to stay. The loss of income is a bummer, but it shouldn't cripple us...we have a little bit of a buffer to help handle that.
    Yes, the laundry is something else. When I first walked into the laundry room (our chute empties into the large sink), the pile was almost up to the ceiling and piled so far in front of the washer that I couldn't get it open. That's when I moved it out into the hallway. It has been a very challenging experience. :) I've always wondered how I would handle it. Now I know...or at least I'm learning.

  3. I'm sorry you are dealing with this.
    I had lice when I worked with abused children. My hair went down to my waist, and I had to chop it off to get the job done. Some of my coworkers were giving me old wives tales for lice treatment, but none of them worked. The only thing that worked was the real lice shampoo, Nix.

  4. Thankfully we still don't actually have an infestation here...we haven't spotted any lice or nits on us. It's funny that you say that--everyone I talk to says that the Nix and Rid shampoos DON'T work. Ah, at any rate we're still in "preventative" mode here. So far, so good!

  5. 2 years ago I was doing respite foster care for 4 little kids, plus I had my 2 foster (now adopted) and 2 birth kids. Well, my foster boys' MOTHER gave them lice at a visit! I didn't notice until I went to fix Peyton's hair and she was crawling with them! I just about collapsed! Here I am with 8 kids, 7 and under and 3 of my kids had lice. I used the chemical stuff and it didn't work, I'd never use it again. I shaved all 4 boys and put the other 2 girls' hair in pony tails with a braid. I also bagged up all the fabric toys and pillows and put them in big contractor bags downstairs (for 3 months, it was nice to have them gone,lol). I washed every bed and all clothes every day. The only thing that got them out of the girls' super long blonde hair was picking! I spent hours and hours with them sitting in front of the light of the window, picking each one out, for 10 days.
    One thing that did help a little (I think) was putting 1 cup vinegar with 20 drops tea tree oil all over the girls' heads and then letting it dry. I didn't wash their hair for several days because lice like clean hair. They don't like the oils.
    My suggestion to you would be to take a bottle of tea tree oil and put 20 drops in each bottle of shampoo that the kids use. Lice apparently don't like the smell (who does? :o). Lots of pony tails and braids keep hair from touching each other and picking them up. Be sure that your daycare child's parents remember to clean the car seat, or at least make sure it gets a good freeze.
    I seriously could've killed that woman! She knew she had it and she still came and gave it to them!
    I especially felt sorry for my daughter Peyton because she's a special needs child and didn't understand why we were holding her down and pulling at her hair :o( It was horrible!
    Sorry about my book, lol.
    Good luck!

  6. Do you remember getting doused with diesel fuel by gran when we were kids?? I wanted to kill you know who for bringing that stuff in on us too!!! Hope everything is going better there. See it is really cold up there. Maybe that should keep them quiet for awhile!! :) Love you all!! Carrie