Otherwise occupied

September 18th, 2008

I’m breaking my silence for a bit of nitpicking, which I’ve gotten pretty good at.

Quick! Give me two words that unnerve you more than:

Great Depression

Terrify you more than:

President Palin

Paralyze you more than:

Hurricane Ike, Josie, Kyle or storms beginning with the letters LMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Nah! Bring on all those lightweights!

It’s HEAD LICE, the mantra of my week in the here and now. Should this catastrophe ever befall your household, smack dab in the middle of your self-imposed meditative solace, I will tell you what works (two treatments, four comb-outs, and ferocious use of scissors; spending eight back-breaking hours over two days peering through a magnifier at each of 100,000 hair strands; and doing five loads on hot at the laundromat because the WASHING MACHINE BROKE last week). Here’s what doesn’t work (anything less because believe me I tried).

Friends, I want to attest to the power of prayer, because little by little, things are looking up.

And my neighbor survived the train crash with the blessings of two broken ribs, a broken leg and a completely intact sense of gratitude. May we all be so rich.


  1. oh you poor sweet loves. You will come to chuckle about it, I promise. We had them last Dec. Once I got past the ick factor, the experience really did bring me to the here and now.

    There is a funny article on mamazine.com right now about lice.

    Glad to hear your neighbor is on the mend.

    Comment by nyjlm — September 19, 2008 @ 2:27 am

  2. oh karen, i’m thinking of you and your scratchy-head girl. can’t they just name them something else? would it be so hard to come up with a better name for the little nasties, so it didn’t sound so horrible?
    and many blessings to your neighbor, like nyjlm said.

    Comment by Holly — September 19, 2008 @ 3:37 am

  3. Holly yes I know: who doesn’t whisper the word? (pardon my shouting). But in the singular it is a louse and I think that is perfectly impeccably accurately lousy.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — September 19, 2008 @ 3:45 am

  4. I have one word for you: ivermectin. Trust me – it works.

    Comment by Shalet — September 19, 2008 @ 4:16 am

  5. NOOOOOO!! Lice sucks. (Or suck?)

    Thank God for the good news.

    xo Jena

    Comment by Jena Strong — September 19, 2008 @ 8:38 am

  6. I like the sound of President Palin has head lice, though.

    Maybe it arrives in a nice letter through the mail.

    Seriously, have you been silent during all of that? There’s no way it would happen in my household. Not that I’m practicing much Zen these days but still …

    Comment by Shawn — September 19, 2008 @ 10:24 am

  7. Oh what I would not do to go back to those days of my children’s lives! I agree the sheer idea of a President Palin scares me! The above comment is too funny – Palin has head lice LOL!

    Comment by Cat — September 19, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

  8. Ew lice! I work with a lot of kids and it seems about once a year a lice epidemic occurs. It is awful. That mayo trick doesn’t work, only nasty chemicals and the power of prayer.

    I had a dream about Palin last night. I think I need a news fast for a few days. Ew.

    Glad to hear your neighbor is doing better and will heal. You are right, may we all be so rich!

    Comment by Mambinki — September 19, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  9. Oh. Oh. I don’t even know what to say about head lice. It’s one of my greatest fears. (My head itches just reading your post!)

    I’m glad you’ve made it through. And very, very glad about your neighbor.

    Comment by She She — September 19, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  10. Oh, sending compassionate love and hugs your way today!

    The quote “These are the times that try men’s souls” has been running through my mind this week.

    It’s tough to practice non-attachment these days, huh?

    Found myself in a big funk earlier this week and had to go back to the yoga mat, the candles, the rituals, the breathing. Better now.

    Comment by Lisa — September 19, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

  11. Two words that leave me equally or more terrified:

    President Bush.

    And, oddly, these words also leave me both paralyzed and twitchy at the same time!

    Comment by Lana — September 19, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  12. President Palin would take her hair off her head and shoot the lice with an automatic weapon!

    You are living my mothering nightmare. My third grade daughter screams loud enough to alert the authorities with every post-bath combout of her fine, mat-prone, curly hair. If she ever brings home lice, I’ll want to shave her. Honestly.

    Comment by bluelikethesky — September 19, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  13. can i have four?

    sleeping through the night.

    since you mentioned great depression just wanted to share. this made me hopeful.


    now i have to go wash my hair, it’s itchy…

    Comment by latisha — September 19, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  14. I JUST got a voicemail from a mama whose daughter goes to school with Mia.

    “um, marybeth…i just found some head lice on us over here at home…”

    lordy, please. no.

    and then i though, lets go catch up with karen…

    hhhhmmm. excuse me while i go itch my head.


    (fortunately my girls are all staying up north with my in-laws fir 2 nights, so i will let them to the initial inspection.:-)

    Comment by mb — September 19, 2008 @ 6:20 pm

  15. A dear friend of mine had a head lice outbreak at her son’s preschool. The teachers made a big deal about showing kindness, no teasing, and not even *mentioning* the name of the child in question. Trouble was, only one child showed up at school the next day completely bald…

    My heart goes out to you,

    Comment by mykaylabee — September 20, 2008 @ 2:21 am

  16. Carol,
    Your comment reminded me of something that came up this week. Of course, among adults there is a hush-hush about this because we feel shame. But I don’t think the kids feel shame. No, that’s mostly for adults to impose! I told Georgia that I didn’t want the kids to tease her. She said, “Mom! The kids won’t tease me! We’re studying friendship!”

    Among kids, there may well be more stigma in having a shaved head than in having lice.

    Always learning something new about myself on this path.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — September 20, 2008 @ 3:20 am

  17. Ugh. Sounds awful. Welcome to the other side!

    Comment by Jen Lee — September 20, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

  18. One of my many jobs is as a mother’s helper to 4 boys under the age of 11. They rotate lice on a regular basis. I managed not to get them for over a year, then 2 months before my wedding I was hit hard. I tried everything from natural remedies to nuking the little pests. My hair is down to the middle of my back so to comb it was a very arduous affair in itself. Weeks went by and I couldn’t get rid of them.

    The bottom line: http://www.nittygritty.co.uk/ng/index.jsp

    This comb was the best thing to ever happen to me. I used it twice and they were gone. Just put lots of conditioner in first. I use it after I take care of the boys now, just in case.

    Comment by Lady Quercus — September 21, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

  19. sorry but president Palin and Great Depression are pretty heavy for me.

    been there with the head lice, however and the scissors do help a lot.

    Comment by Bridge — September 22, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  20. oy.

    may the little buggers leave your home quickly!

    Comment by Phyllis Sommer — September 22, 2008 @ 1:57 am

  21. Darn it! Those things are going around. A friend wrote to tell me her child has them, and my head has been itching in sympathy all day. I’m scratching on your behalf now too!

    Comment by Mary P Jones (MPJ) — September 24, 2008 @ 5:21 am

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