Tag Archives: party

‘Tis The Season. Head Lice Season, That Is.

Did you just scratch your neck reading that blog post title. I did. Anytime anyone ever mentions these little buggers, I itch. And I scratch. And I itch some more.

They make my skin crawl.

Yours, too?

A week ago, we received the obligatory letter from the school that a case of head lice had been reported. I scanned the note. I  glossed over its suggestions and warnings. But didn’t pay much heed. I have boys. Boys don’t get head lice. (Not true.)  Besides, when are we going to come into close contact with these little critters? With my daughter, I’d search her head from time to time during lice season. But even then, I wasn’t worried. And, as luck would have it, we were able to avoid their invasion her entire school career.

Will I be so lucky this season?

Only time will tell.

Because we came into contact Monday night. Close contact. And I failed miserably when put to the test, as a mom and a hostess.

The guests began arriving for our annual Pre-Halloween-Trick-Or-Treating-Protein-Packed-Chili-Dinner. This year I was truly the hostess with the mostest. I sent out invitations 3+ weeks prior. I began collecting all the dinnerware and paper products. I set out serving platters and dishes days in advance. I prepared the chili the day before and prepped all the veggies, dips and toppings. The day of, all I had to do was warm the food and set everything up. I was finally going to be able to enjoy my guests, unfrazzled and unfazed.

And then the bomb was dropped.

So-in-so’s* child had to be picked up from school today because of head lice.

*So-in-so’s name has been changed to So-in-so, to protect her……well….to protect HER. Yes. She, So-in-so, was doing the actual telling of the story. No one was gossiping. We were all just standing there. Listening. Slack jawed.

And no, she hadn’t treated her yet but it’s ok because head lice doesn’t jump from head to head. It has to crawl and it’s not like our kids are sharing hats or anything tonight – they’re all wearing their costumes. But don’t worry. So-in-so bought the special shampoo at the drug store and she’s going to treat her daughters (Yes, plural. As in 3 guests at the party) as soon as they got back from trick-or-treating. No worries.

(Cue newly frazzled and fazed hostess.)

The other moms and I stood there dumbfounded. I had no idea what to say. I was taught that as a hostess, my job is to make each and every guest feel welcome and comfortable. But when all I wanted to do was cancel the party, shuffle my guests out the door, send my kids off to the shower, disinfect every last inch of my home — I just stood there. And smiled. (Yes. I actually smiled through the whole disgusting telling of events. I am so ashamed.)

Needless to say, most of my guests left early to trick-or-treat.

My sister called and when I told her the story she reprimanded me.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” she demanded.

“What should I have said?”

“You should have said…..you could have….well, I would have said…….Well, I don’t know. But you should have said something!” she stammered.

My sister nailed it. Yes. I should have said something. My thoughts were a jumble of stuttering and stammering. In the moment? I had no idea what to say. I only knew what I wanted to do. Kick her and every other guest out and disinfect my kids, myself, my husband and my home from top to bottom, from inside and out.

We have no signs. Yet. But I scoured the internet and am happy to share with you some things I learned.

1. Tea Tree Oil is a wonder oil. You can mix it in your shampoo, in a spray mister for pillows and couches, you can even add it to your laundry detergent (12 drops per load). It is a natural lice repellent and believe you me, my family and my home are doused in it, swimming in it even.

2. Head lice don’t jump. They crawl from head to head, looking for a tasty host. After about 48 hours with no yummy blood to feed on they shrivel and die. Create an unappealing environment (tea tree smelling head, for instance) and they’re not likely to stick around. While cleaning linens and pillows are a good idea, covering your home with a tarp and spray bombing (don’t laugh, I actually thought of doing this) is not necessary.

3. Tea tree oil has been found so effective that some studies suggest that it is more effective than the insect repellent DEET.

4. I don’t care what So-in-so said at my party, head lice is highly contagious. HIGHLY.

5. Save your energy for thorough lice/nit removal. They live on human blood, not carpet fibers. While vacuuming is a good idea to remove fallen hairs with nits attached, spraying your home with pesticides (or Lysol – which is what I did as soon as So-in-so left my home) is not necessary. I did spray everything with the tea tree oil solution, however, which is non-toxic, because I thought, hey. It couldn’t hurt. And it makes me feel proactive.

Yes, lice season is upon us.

Hopefully, an ounce of prevention will be worth the cure.

I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks.

(I predict at least 87 heads were scratched during the reading of this blog post.)


Filed under Lessons Learned

Jane Just Unfriended Someone On Facebook And It Feels So Naughty!

And oh-so-good!

You see, I decided I needed to walk-the-walk if I was going to talk-the-talk.

I’m in my forties. I’m older. Wiser. Life is short and I only make room in my life for the people who matter. You must surround yourself with people who nurture you, who feed your soul.

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

But Judy (names have been changed to protect the she-devil) was still my “friend” on Facebook. She’s a Queen-Bee-Wanna-Be in our neighborhood. She throws lots of parties. And I’m conveniently left off the guest list every time.

Two years in a row, she called me to apologize for inadvertently leaving me off the invite list, but I was still welcome to come. I came both times. (Pathetic, I know.) Even though I was invited after the fact and just a few days before the event. I wanted to go. She invites just about every woman in our neighborhood and many of my friends were going. Or women I wanted to get to know better. Plus, it’s a party. Who doesn’t like a party?

But then, I did the unthinkable. I dropped out of her book club. Well, not her book club. But she’s a Queen-Bee-Wanna-Be. She thinks of it as hers.

That year I was left off the guest list and that year I never received an after-the-fact-invite.

No biggie. Part of why I dropped the book club was my plate was very, very full already. I was mildly annoyed that I wasn’t invited (yet again) but only mildly annoyed.

I was left off the guest list again this year. No big surprise. But it bothered me more than last year. Why? I’ve been wondering the same thing myself.

Maybe it’s because last January, in our glossy, professionally printed neighborhood newsletter another neighbor gushed a huge thank you on the neighborhood news page to Judy and her husband for opening their gorgeous home not once but twice during the holiday season and they had so much fun and they’re such wonderful hosts and blah, blah, blah.

Wait. So I hadn’t been left off just one guest list but two?

Then, this past October, pictures popped up and gushy thank yous all over Facebook for the amazing time everyone had at her Halloween party.

Nope. Not invited to that one, either.

No one likes to feel left out. Many women that I socialize with attend her parties. She-devil or not, it hurts.

But how to make it hurt less……hmmmmmmmm……

I took her off my Facebook. But not without first scanning all of my other ‘friends’ on Facebook to make sure that I truly only had people who I wanted to stay in touch with. Ok. I admit. There are still about 6 people in my friends list I have no interest in forging deep friendships with but they’re neighbors and they’ve always been kind to me. As far as I know, they’re not throwing huge neighborhood bashes and not inviting me. (Just attending them.)

But She-devil, I mean Judy? She’s phony to me in public. She’s invited every Tina, Deb and Henrietta – new neighbors and old – to her home. And I’m an after-thought, or not even thought of.

Screw her.*

Wait. That sounds bitter. Well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. I am. But I forgive myself. Because I will get over it. I’ll be over it by the time I press “Publish.”  And quite honestly? She’s not someone I really want to get to know any better. I’ve seen enough. And from what I’ve seen? We don’t share many of the same values.

So, I unfriended her. My friends list is pretty trim. Some family. Lots of friends. Some former students. Some neighbors. But chock full of people who care about me. People I wouldn’t hesitate to call/email/text/write on their wall.

Those are the kinds of friends I want on Facebook.

Those of are types of relationships I want to nurture.

Life is short. Too short.

Time to unfriend the she-devils.

 *I hestitated/used urban dictionary/consulted my daughter about using this phrase. Nothing else would do. But it sounded so mean that I went to erase it and my daughter grabbed my arm and said, “Put on your big girl panties and say what you mean!”  So, it stays.


Filed under friends, Lessons Learned

Elevatin’ To Another Level – Not Higher, Just Different

I always wanted to be the party girl.

No. Scratch that.

I always wanted to be included.

But I wasn’t.

In high school, the guy I had a major crush on, and who I thought had a major crush on me, went to see Rush perform at the local university without me. I was disappointed and I asked him about it. He said, “I didn’t think you were the type.”

What type is that? Sure, I didn’t smoke pot. Yes, I was the one nursing a beer all night long, pouring sips down the sink when no one was looking so it would look like I was finishing my drink at an appropriate pace. I suppose he and his friends didn’t want me tagging along, judging their smoking and drinking and having a good time. But I didn’t judge. Not really. It just wasn’t for me. I still enjoyed their company. I still wanted to be included. And while we did a lot of things together, I still didn’t feel like I belonged.

That group I so desperately wanted to feel a part of was brilliant. I mean it. All were in Advanced Placement classes. One (my crush) went to MIT on full scholarship (but then got kicked out for dealing drugs.) One went to Berklee and his girlfriend went to Juilliard (she dropped out to become a psychologist.)  Another was in med school when he died of a brain aneurysm. His dad was a surgeon who demanded an explanation and rumor has it, a full autopsy revealed that it was from prior drug use. How they determined this, I don’t know – it is rumor, after all. Maybe it was to scare us straight. Maybe the family wanted to cling to something because Tony had been clean for years.

They were bright. They were funny. They were wild.

And I wasn’t.

Enter college, and I was married by the time I was 21. Still finishing college. But now I was an old married lady. Fellow students wanted to go out and celebrate after a big test but I had a husband to get home to. Pull an all-nighter with a co-ed study group? Too awkward with my husband at home who had work in the morning. With all the detours in my life – changing majors, schools, getting married – it took a little longer for me to finish college. My peers were only a little younger than me but they looked up to me, like some wise sage. Oh, the difference a few years makes when you’re young.

They were bright. They were fun. They were free.

And I wasn’t.

I had my first child when I was 29. Two more when I turned 40. That ten-year span puts me at odds again. The parents of my daughter’s friends are exploring new hobbies, going on more vacations, spending more time out with friends, experiencing freedom again. But we still have two small boys at home. Having a blast with them (with less energy than their friend’s parents) we’re a little more tied to the home front, still acutely aware of how much raising children costs, getting to bed early even on the weekends. The parents of our boys’ friends are the ages of my former high school students. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – but there is something to be said for those 10 years of life experiences.

They’re still interesting. They share in parenting joys and frustrations. But every once in a while, a comment will reveal that they’re still green.

And I’m not.

The paths I have chosen have always kept me out of the loop. I’ve never quite felt as if I belonged anywhere, really. And those choices have kept me from being included in things. Parties. Concerts. Study sessions. Play groups.

The odd one out.

Most of the time, I’m OK with that. Most of the time.

But some days, it’s lonely.

I’d like to think that, all my life, I’ve just been on a different plane, a different level.

Not higher, just different.

And some days, it sure would be nice to be dancing with everyone else – at the same concert, at the same party, on the same level.


Filed under Music, Ponderings