What do you like to bring back from your family vacation?
T-shirts from the boardwalk?
Sea shells combed from the sea shore?
Sand in your car?
This year we decided to add something else to the fold: head lice.
At one point during our stay at the Jersey Shore my son complained about an itchy scalp and how he had found a bug in his hair but I chalked it up to sand and told him to wash is hair a little better.
But after that I noticed he kept scratching his hair behind his ear like a dog.
Wednesday we took the ferry from Jersey to Delaware and made our way to Ocean City, Maryland, to see the in-laws. We crashed early and got up the next day and hit the boardwalk so the kids could do the whole skeeball-in-the-arcade and rides thing (which every kid must experience once in his lifetime) and then retreated to the condo to rest.
My wife took a nap while I entertained the kids by initiating some PS2 because even though me and the old lady were bushed, the kids took a cat nap in the car on the way back.
At some point Spencer scratched his hair again and pulled out a bug.
"Here," he said.
"These are the bugs I have been finding," he said.
It was as big as a grain of rice.
I took the bug into the bathroom, called my wife and mother-in-law in and we all looked at it and said, "head lice."
Then the mad scramble to delouse his ass began.
My wife darted off to CVS and purchased some lice killing shampoo. When she washed out his hair a good 60 to 75 adult lice floated down the drain. [The wife said I was exaggerating and should reduce the number in half - ed.]
After the shampoo (i.e. a pesticide) you are required to take a fine-tooth comb and comb out every possible strand of hair to remove the bug... only my son has a mop of hair.
It was painfully clear that he needed a haircut as we're talking total infestation.
And he acted like Samson.
I called Jersey and gave them the news but as we looked deeper into the how, why and where of it all it became painfully obvious that he probably had them before we left and that he probably had them for awhile.
The life cycle of head lice is about 40 days and you can't see an adult until after about 20 days.
Ad therein lies the psychological disturbance of it all: they could be everywhere.
Beds, blankets... you name it.
I've heard of people having head lice but never has the full scope of it been communicated to me: the three-times-a-day combing of hair to find nits and nymphs, the endless washing/drying everyday of everything your head has touched, and the overall pain in the ass of at least seven to ten days combating it just to wait and see if you have got them all.
Re-infestation is common.
So for the last day we have been delousing the homestead, the kids and ourselves.
What a way to end your vacation.
Somebody bring the good news, I've had enough of the bad...