Sometime back in late Spring this year before school let out, I got a call from the nurse at The Dormouse's school, asking me to come pick The Dormouse up because they'd found lice in her hair.  

Um.... how many months do you have to leave them at the fire station without getting arrested again?

In our school district they have a bit of a drastic policy on this one:  if they find lice on your kid, your kid gets suspended.  Not kidding.  I went to pick her up and was handed her backpack, a sheet of paper about lice, her hand and a suspension notice.  Basically, your kid is medically suspended from school until you can come back with an empty box of chemical lice killer, proving you treated them (or at very least, least raided the dumpster behind the local pharmacy) and then they inspect your kid's head.  If they find even one nit, you have to go back home and do it all over again.  It was incredibly inconvenient and I lost a day of time at work on an important Big Work Thing I was drowning under the weight of at the time.  While it's probably a valid policy, I'd be much more in support of it if it didn't impact my schedule quite as much.

We pesticided the Shortlings and ourselves, washed every textile in the house, treated the beds and pillows, vacuumed the carpets and furniture, bagged up all the stuffed animals and basically upended our whole existence to deal with the little buggars (pun intended).  We were lucky in that either we got all the visible nits that first time, or (more probable) that the nurse's eyesight was not really that great, and got The Dormouse admitted back into school the following day.  But (and shhhh... don't say anything because I can't bear to go through another suspension event) we've had to treat the whole family at least four more times since then because we keep seeing nits or evidence of them. So we start the whole process over again.  We've used pesticides, natural remedies, lice repellant shampoos and sprays to avoid re-infestation, I talked to the day care (because by now, it was summer and they were both in summer camp) about washing their stuff and threatened the children within an inch of their lives if they take anyone else's hat or scarf or jacket and put it anywhere near their heads.  

Shortly after this first event, I had some work done on one of my violin bows and the luthier who looked at it suggested that I might have a mild case of case mites. (Case of case mites... bwa ha ha... that's... well... not even funny.)  This was entirely new to me, but apparently, there are tiny bugs that like to live inside violin cases and eat through the horse hair that makes up the bow, also called bow bugs.  I cleaned out the case, vacuumed it thoroughly and left it open in direct sunlight for several hours as I was instructed, then having no other safe place to put my violin - which is worth more than at least one of our cars - put it back in the case and hoped that did the trick.

Suffice it to say that I'm just a teensy bit sick of dealing with tiny little creepy crawlies.  

So on Sunday, when I noticed more nits in The Caterpillar's hair and The KingofHearts found a louse crawling on his leg after The Dormouse had laid her head on his lap, and then a few hours later when I pulled out my violin to practice and found that the case mites were not only not gone but they had eaten through the hair of two of my bows, I might have blown the smallest gasket.  I declared it a day that will live in infamy and The Great 2011 War on Bugs officially began.  If you think buying thirty bucks worth of lice treatment every two weeks is expensive, try rehairing two violin bows.  Goodbye, all the luxurious things I planned to buy with that $150 - like a tire or two on my car that aren't threatening to blow and wreck me on the Beltway - it was nice spending time with you.

At this point I'll consider just burning the house down with everything in it. 

I vacuumed out the case thoroughly for the second time and threw a bunch of cedar balls inside [inset male genetalia joke here] while I appealed to the FacePlace for suggestions, all of which my luthier today assured me would ruin the finish on my violin if not outright kill me the first time I put the violin up under my chin and inhaled the dust of whatever bug killing agent I chose to put in there.  

"What do you suggest people do when this happens?" I asked the luthier.

"Well, the best thing to do is empty the case, open it and put it in direct sunlight for a week or so.  That will kill them out and that's the only really safe thing."

"I actually tried that before," I explained, "but it doesn't seem to have helped.  And the real problem is I don't have a case to put my violin in while I'm not using the existing case.  Have you got any other ideas?"

"You could try putting your case in the freezer."

"In the freezer?"

"For a month."

"For a month."  


"Can I put my children in there too?"

He didn't laugh.  But then again, neither did I.