Fire and Lice


A few weeks ago I get done with hosting Rising and I have a voicemail on my phone from our boys’ preschool. Sick? Playground accident? Fight?

“We wanted to let you know that Chase has head lice and nits. If you could come and pick him up as soon as possible we’d appreciate it.”

That began the longest two weeks of my life.

I sprint out of work with no idea what this means other than that it’s bad. My wife and I connect on the phone; neither of us ever had lice as a kid so we had no idea what we were clueless to the whole thing.

Chase has no idea why I’m picking him up without his big brother but he’s excited to see me. The school nurse recommends getting a lice shampoo and washing his clothes, sheets and everything else we can in hot water. Any clothing or bedding that can’t be washed needs to go in a sealed plastic bag for 10 days. By the time I pick him up, get what we need at the pharmacy (Nix), get his hair treated and feed him lunch it’s time to pick up big brother. As soon as we get back home I plop both of them down in front of a movie.

At this point, it would have been simpler to torch the place and start over or move out. Instead I opened Derek James’ “I Swear I Bathe My Kids Laundromat” and cracked a beer (it was 5 o’clock somewhere). I know that everyone judges the parents of the kid with lice. Don’t. I stripped Chase’s bed, vacuumed his room and wiped down everything with disinfectant wipes. Decorative pillows and stuffed animals become even more annoying when you have to toss them in the dryer to de-louse them. Why are there so many?

When my wife got home she began to worry if we all had it. I hadn’t even gotten that far yet. Her head felt itchy the minute she walked in the door. Everyone used the Nix to be safe and then my wife dropped a bomb. “I think we need to shampoo all the carpets.” Now the idea of torching the place sounded really good. Yep, I was the guy renting a Rug Doctor at 7 o’clock on Friday night. I’m sure the Arboretum Harris Teeter folks must think I’m a real party animal.

The home laundromat and scrub fest continued all weekend long while my wife attempted to find nits with that crappy little plastic comb they give you with the Nix. She got the little buggers off of Chase, or so we thought.

The next week at school they find some more nits. We do the Nix treatment again, pull some more nits out and throw in the towel a few days later. We bought some $25 hair clippers at Target and gave Chase a classic buzz cut. The lice were gone and my sanity back. Plus my carpets are minty fresh.

WCCB News Rising Co-Host Derek James balances a full-time job in the glamorous world of television news (including a 2 am wake up and stale coffee) along with managing chaos every afternoon for 5-year-old Tyler and 3-year-old Chase. See more from Derek on Facebook, Twitter and on Vine (derekjamestv).