I’m sitting in my little cube farm at work trying not to openly scratch. I lean my head down to below the partition to surreptitiously run my nails through my hair. I squirm to and fro on my chair, scratching the backs of my thighs. I slide my old-fashioned wooden ruler down my back under my shirt to provide delicious relief.
I know it’s all in my head. IN my head, not ON my head. All because I read the headlines in today’s Newsday:
BEDBUGS, HEAD LICE MAKE THEMSELVES AT HOME ON LI.
Oh, ew. Now I’ve been itchy for hours.
I ‘ve had this terrifying fear of bedbugs since I first heard about the epidemic in NY. Now I not only have to worry about touching anything on the subway, I have to watch who I stand next to. How far can bedbugs jump?
The minute I get home from work, I strip and throw all my clothes in the laundry basket. My work clothes are taking a beating being worn and washed constantly. I just can’t stand the feeling that I’m bringing home bugs (or germs) from the great unwashed masses on mass transit. If I could make my home a shoe-free zone, I would. Unfortunately, stepping in dog drool in your stocking feet is grosser than the thought of trekking in all those city germs.
This fear reached epic proportions a few weekends ago as I spent an hour on my knees scrutinizing my mattress, then the girl’s mattresses and the couches for anything round, brown and moving. Thankfully, only dustbunnies live where I sleep. The thought of these little homewreckers gives me more creeps than the scariest Halloween thriller. If I see you scratching, I’m running the other way.
And lice? Crap, not again. Our school was hit a few years ago with an outbreak that infected all of Z-girl’s friends. Thankfully, she was spared the nit-picking. The day my mother died, one of my soccer mom’s called and asked me to help pick through her daughter’s really long lice-infested hair.
(I think she wanted to take my mind off of what was going on. A nice thought, but I could think of 50 other things that could have distracted me AND not grossed me out.)
There we were, Soccer Mom, the kids grandma and I going through this mess of hair with three separate nit combs. I got so fed up (yeah, I was upset to begin with) I asked for permission to cut the kid’s hair. If she wasn’t so tired of us pulling and poking her scalp, I don’t think she would have let me take my electric razor to her. I cut around eight inches off, giving her a really cute cut, and that made it so much easier for us to see and pick. ( I felt so guilty afterwards I took her to Walgreen’s and spent a fortune in headbands and clips.) The mom and I took turns checking each other out. Friendships can’t never be broken when you’ve picked through each other’s hair looking for bugs…
God, now even my eyebrows are itchy.
The school nurse told me the outbreaks of lice occur mostly after the holidays when kids go to their native countries for visits. They bring back souvenirs, pictures and dirty buggies. Do the airlines fumigate after every flight? How can one not notice if your kid is constantly scratching his or her head?
In the Newsday article, they quoted Kathy Zappulla, the owner of DeLiceful in Hauppauge. She’s a professional nit-picker. She probably makes a fortune examining and treating lice-infested kids. Honestly, it’s a brilliant idea. Wish I would’ve thought of it.
On second thought, I don’t think that profession is right for me. I would never sleep again if I had to deal with buggies day in and day out. I’ll leave that to DeLiceFul.
I’m on a full-out assault to prevent the invasion of bedbugs. No one is trying on clothes in stores, no one is borrowing anything made of fabric from anyone else and sorry to say, Z-girl won’t be having any sleepovers for awhile. I want to disinfect Beena when she comes home since she works in a retail clothing store. AND student teaches. I feel we’ve been asking for it since our good-night mantra to Zombiegirl since she’s been tiny has been “Sweet dreambles. Don’t let the Bedbugs bite” and she would reply, “Whatever they are…”
I need one of those bug-sniffing dogs.