The Not Nice

Hi.  Remember me?  I know, I know.  It’s been a while.

I don’t expect {or desire} that your world revolves around me or these words I write, but you might have noticed a bit of a lull around these parts over the past couple of weeks.  We started school, which has greatly decreased the amount of time I have to write.  But there’s more.  And I don’t want to keep it a secret.  We’re all friends here, right?

Several weeks ago we discovered a bit of…a…umm…well…ahem…you might call it…a… “problem” at our house.  Actually, it’s been more than a bit of a problem.  It’s been quite a large, disgusting, intrusive, repulsive, horrific, nightmare-ish type of problem.  It’s so bad I can’t even type it.  But I’ll give you a hint.  It starts with an “L” and it rhymes with “nice.”  But it’s absolutely not nice.  In fact, I have decided that I am going to call it the Not Nice.

Are you tracking with me yet?  Are you starting to feel itchy?  I won’t type the word, but I will tell the story.

We have four kids.  They all have hair.  My son {Jake} started complaining about his head itching several weeks ago.  I’m going to pause and let that important detail sink in for a second or two.  several. weeks. ago.  How many?  I’m not exactly sure.  At least two or three.  So, for maybe three weeks, my son has been scratching his head all day long.  What mother doesn’t think, “Hmmm.  Itchy head.  I wonder if maybe he has the Not Nice?”  Not me.  Didn’t once cross my mind.  I did check his scalp for dandruff, though, thinking that was the problem.  But I didn’t see a single flake.  Perplexed, I bought him some dry scalp shampoo and sent him on his way telling him the chlorine in the pool must be the problem.  several.  weeks.

Then the Husband and I went away for our anniversary {fun post coming soon}.  The Monday after we returned happened to be our first day of school {so thankful we homeschool}, and Annie told me her head was itching.  My response?  Wow, the chlorine must be really strong this year at the pool.  I told her to start using her brother’s dry scalp shampoo.  And then she told me right before she took a shower that she had itched her head so hard it was kind of hurting, and she wanted me to look at it.  So I did.

As I examined her head I realized that yes, as a matter of fact there was a kind of red irritated place on her scalp right behind her ear.  So I thought the best idea would be to put some calamine lotion on it.  There I am, parting her hair to dab on a bit of the lotion, and I saw one.  A speck of something black, no bigger than a pin head, and {gasp} was it moving?  And then I saw another one…and this one was definitely moving!  And then I hollered for Timm {who had literally just walked in the door}, not so much because of what I was finding in her hair, but because the room was spinning, I was seeing spots, and I felt like I was about to pass out.  My worst nightmare had arrived, and it all hit me at once…Jake’s weeks of itching…Annie’s itching…black things moving on her head.  The truth became obvious:  We had a full-blown case of the Not Nice.

I was horrified.  I was grossed out.  I was angry.

That Monday night {with the help my dear Husband} I started a new unexpected part-time job:  Not Nice Exterminator.  If you have any experience with the Not Nice then you know about how hard it is to get rid of the Not Nice.  Sure, you kill the first round with the shampoo.  But what about all the eggs still stuck tightly to their hair?  What about all the new ones that hatch?  What about all the sheets and towels and clothes and blankets and stuffed animals and pillows?  What about my hair?!?

Everyone I knew who had the Not Nice said they never got rid of it on the first try.  They told me it took several rounds of treatment, and sometimes up to three or four weeks to finally be free and clean from the Not Nice.  Pardon my French, but all I could think was, “Oh, hell no!  I am not dealing with the Not Nice for three weeks.”  So I learned everything I could about the Not Nice.  I learned how they live and breed and how many days it takes for them to mature and lay new eggs.  Annie pulled out our Animal Encyclopedia from last year’s science curriculum and found the chapter on pests where she happily showed everyone the picture of a Not Nice magnified hundreds of times so you can see it in full detail.  The image fueled my resolve.

I launched a no-nonsense, assume-the-worst, full-throttle campaign against the Not Nice and made it my focus to obliterate them from my house and from my children’s heads.  Every two days I treated all four of them.  Every two days I washed all of their bed linens.  Every two days I washed all of their towels.  Every two days I washed anything their heads had touched.  And then I doused us all in tea tree oil and didn’t wash my hair for seven days.

In addition to getting angry, I also got creative.  Here are a few photos I snapped to remember the positive memories along the way.

I gathered all my supplies and put together my Not Nice supply basket.

Everything I needed all in one location.  I mean, if you’re going to be dealing with something as filthy as the Not Nice, you might as well make the process as cute as possible, right?  Anything to keep my sanity.

We shaved Jake’s head.  His case of the Not Nice was the worst {remember how he’d been itching for several weeks?}.  We took advantage of his boy-ness and just got rid of all his hair to make the treatments easier.  Doesn’t he look different?  In fact, one of my close friends {who knows Jake well and sees him every week} literally did not even recognize him at a party this past weekend.  He’s still getting used to his new style, but we all think he looks great.

As for the girls, well, shaving their heads wasn’t really an option.

But pretending like we were at a salon every other day was!  And boy, did they eat that up!  Annie especially did such a good job making it fun for the little girls.  She told them things like, “Oh, Lillian, I just love your new hair do!”  And, “Norah, isn’t it fun to get a spa treatment?”  She would sit them down in their chairs and lead everyone in songs while we waited until it was time to rinse out the chemicals.  She’s so great, and I’m so thankful for her.  I’m also thankful for the gigantic bathroom in our house that the kids share.  We had plenty of room to set up chairs, bring in a fan to blow away the fumes, have story time while I combed out their hair, plus room for everyone to rotate in and out of the shower.  What a blessing.

So, did it work?  Yes it did.  If it hadn’t then I was going to have to be heavily medicated and admitted to the nearest in-patient recovery center because I can’t handle any more of the Not Nice.  I can’t endure seeing the Not Nice creeping around on my child’s head ever again.  That visual image kept me from being able to close my eyes the first night.  They haunt me.  One morning I started crying because I was so tired of the shampoo and the laundry and changing sheets.

So, there you have the honest truth about where I’ve been.  Are we still friends?

I know I just wrote a bunch of words about the Not Nice, but it feels good to get it all out.  Thanks for letting me tell you the details about this awful saga.  On top of everything else that’s been swirling around in our lives {posts coming soon}, this unwanted event seemed especially extra terrible.  But, then again, would there ever be a time when the Not Nice wouldn’t be especially extra terrible?  Probably not.

Needless to say, I’m a bit backlogged on my blogging.  I had so many posts brewing, ideas on my mind, things to announce, thoughts to share, and then the Not Nice showed up.  I just couldn’t find the time or the mental agility to put coherent thoughts together while my house was under invasion.  But, I think I’m ready to dive back in.  Hopefully we’ve turned the corner and we can pick up where we left off.  Check back soon to see what’s coming!!


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9 Responses to The Not Nice

  1. Pingback: Two Big Announcements | katherine sasser

  2. Stephanie Leggett says:

    Katherine, I love to hear how you can take such a challenging situation and make it a spa event! You totally rock! We had one incident with the “not nice” and it was tough, but only one of my kids had it and she was a teenager. Much easier than with little ones! (I heard to always wear a hooded sweatshirt to the movies, because it’s a perfect set up to get them.)
    God bless you and your amazing outlook on things!!!

  3. Amie says:

    Haha I really enjoyed reading this Katherine. I just love Annie! She’s such a blessing…and so are the others! Thanks for putting a nice spin on the “not so nice” unwanted things!


  4. Tammi says:

    I’m an expert with 4 kids in public school. I could have given you lots of tips and products that are the best. Not fun.

  5. Sandra says:

    Oh, I love Jakes’ hair too!

  6. Sandra says:

    Well, I DID wonder! If you have kids, you’ve been there, done that. If you taught kids, you for SURE have experienced it! One time I even took a day off school and went to the beauty shop to see if I had them…the only thing you didn’t mention was stuffed animals and couches…did you take care of those too, bc if not, you’ll see them soon again. CREATIVENESS is your bag…what a GREAT thing to call it NOT NICE….thanks for sharing!

  7. Charlotte says:

    Oh mercy, you have such a way of putting beautiful words into a horrific situation and actually making me WANT to come along for the reading ride! Of course, pausing several times to scratch my head and fret. Only you can make a Not Nice situation delightful. :) Thanks for not posting the magnified picture from the encyclopedia. ;)

  8. Nuria says:

    Oh, boy! I was reading and had to stop reading so I´d be sure the Not Nice had not jumped to my curled hair through the screen!
    This time, you knocked my head off, girl!!! So glad the nightmare is over and you´re back. . . missed you!

  9. rachel says:

    i think i love jake’s haircut. i can’t wait to see it in person!

    i KNOW i love lillian’s not nice hair-do and smile and belly laugh.

    love, yah-yoh

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