literally lousy

When we woke up this morning, the plume of smoke that had been rising steadily from the hills had dissipated, so we had breakfast and headed home. Things seemed more or less normal when we got back, save the seething smoke above us. We soon noticed, though, that the fire was not out yet.

There were four fires that started yesterday, actually, all around this area. Unfortunately, one of the fires was apparently close to a village, and destroyed people’s homes. In the papers, they say that arson is suspected. That is certainly the theory being bandied about on the porches and through car windows. There are theories about who might have started the fires, but for the moment it’s all gossip and speculation.
And while all of this has been unfolding, a smaller crisis has been brewing. I sat in the kitchen trying to get Baki to do his journal (his summer homework), and something about the crown of his head made me pull him closer and start rooting around in his hair.
I should mention at this point, that I had lice enough times as a kid to I remember it all in vivid, painful detail. I always had long hair as a school girl, and the dreaded metal comb was my mortal enemy. That, and the stinky shampoo poison. Lice is a pain, and with Baki now in school, it is never far from my mind. So as I went leafing through Baki’s hair, I knew exactly what I was looking for. To my chagrin, I found it; Baki has lice.
I immediately got Baki to wash his hair while I went to retrieve that very same metal comb that for some reason my mother never threw away and that I then kept as a grim trophy. (So in case you were wondering what it’s like to be a person who never throws anything away, there’s one answer.) Combing revealed irrefutable evidence. I hate the way lice look.
Ali and I immediately got creepy crawly itchy heads, of course. He read in the invaluable Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine that cider vinegar is effective against lice, so I doused all our head and we felt a little better. (Bartram’s also listed a traditional Russian remedy whereby the head is doused in vodka, which is then left to dry. This sounded exciting, but unfortunately, we didn’t have any vodka on hand.) Then Kaya and I went off to town to get something to kill the lice.
When we got back, and Baki was doused, we spent the rest of the afternoon watching the helicopters passing overhead.

They continued until nightfall, and the fire above us seems to be more or less out. We’ll see in the morning. The wild birds aren’t taking any chances; as I planted out some brassica seedlings, there were fleets of them descending from the hills above, stopping to rest in the big old pine in the middle of the garden before continuing downward.
And we read that tea tree oil is also used against lice, so I made a spray with cider vinegar and tea tree oil. The spray bottle I used had been holding eucalyptus oil spray to repel Lulu’s fleas, so we all smell like cough drops now.
Good night!

17 thoughts on “literally lousy

  1. Fleas, lice and ticks, oh my! When my grandson was here visiting, we learnt that a drop of olive oil makes the little beasties squirm right out. Particularly clove oil.

  2. The fires were bad enough. I certainly hope that arson wasn’t the cause or, if it was, that they find the culprit before he can strike again.
    Head lice. A sure sign that school is back in session. I hope this is Baki’s one and only run in with the little beasties. Good luck, Mom!

    1. When it rains it really does pour. Of you can believe it, Baki’s school starts next week. Who knows how he managed to get lice, but at least we won’t be kicking off the school year passing it around his class.

  3. Ugh…I remember going through that with my girls when they were in school in Florida. It seemed like an every-two-week ordeal for six months. Half of the class was out, then the other half. Wash, rinse, repeat – literally…
    Hope the fires are all out by the time you get up in the morning.

  4. Oh I hate lice, when we were kids my mum would cut our hair off and wash it in kerosene, then boil all our bedding, can you imagine, she was a bit obsessed about lice. luckily my hair grew fast. Weirdly lice love clean hair, it is easier to grip! now you have me scratching! c

  5. I must also say that it was lucky there were no forest fires at our beach with sparks or we would have all gone up in flames with kerosene in our hair! laugh! c

  6. Oh gosh. What a story! I hope that Baki is now lice-free . . . is it strange to think it’s kind of cool that he was deloused with a vintage comb?

    Glad to hear that you are all home!

    1. We only saw a few helicopters today, so it would appear that we’re in the clear. I wish we’d had some vodka for head dousing – I think it would have given us a sense of reckless adventure that would have fit in well with everything else.

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