Before I started this family history blog I wrote interesting stories about family on my work blog (Spacecenterblog.org). I've decided to take them from that blog and post them to this blog so they are recorded in the right place.
So, gather around this digital forum here at the Fortress and let me share a story of horror and redemption. In it, you'll witness members of my family at their best and worst. We travel back to July 2009. This is what happened as I returned to the Fortress from a long week at Space Camp.
Saturday, July 25, 2009 ended our last full week of camps at the Space Center. I was ready for a nice lay down when I got home. I was shutting down my computer and gathering my things when the phone rang.
“Are you sitting down?” my sister Jilane asked. Jilane is one of my five sisters. She lives one block from me in Pleasant Grove.
“Who died?” I responded as I removed my lanyard and whistle. You’re not a real teacher unless you wear a Shrieker 2000 industrial strength whistle around your neck.
“Aidia has lice.” She said as a matter of fact. At first I didn’t comprehend the ramifications of such a statement. My first reaction was to say something like “And that means what to me?” After a moment’s reflection I realized why she wanted me seated for the news.
Perhaps a bit of a back story. My sister Lisa and her three children are staying at the Fortress for the summer. They return to California at the start of the school year. Aidia is her daughter. She has two sons, Draker and Caden. Many of you that work at the Space Center met Draker at camp this summer.
This last week The Fortress became The Fortress Discount Lodge and Home for the Elderly and Senile. The following extra guests checked in for a week’s stay:
“Lisa wants you to check Draker for lice but don’t make a big deal of it. It will embarrass him,” Jilane added.
- My sister Annette and her four children.
- My aunt and uncle from Arizona.
- Our permanent residents, my parents Charles and Luella whooccupy a small mother in law apartment in the dungeon. They are still able to function normally, drive and use the toilet but can’t be trusted with electricity and anything that is powered by it.
“Yes, I’m going out into the Voyager, take the microphone from Emily and announce to the crew and staff that I’m taking my nephew off the ship so I can check him for lice and other vermin.”
“Just do it.”
I found Draker wearing a Voyager’s engineering uniform ready to go out to the Bridge to check the ship for hull fractures. I motioned for him to follow me. Emily objected saying she needed him to do the acting part first.
“Spread the joy,” I mumbled to myself. “Send him to me when he’s finished.”
A few minutes later he walked up to my desk. I asked him if he knew what ‘unclean’ meant.
“You need to take a bath?” he questioned.
“Yes, in a manner of speaking. Do you understand what happens to little boys that never bath or wash their hair?” His eyes widened expecting me to accuse him of such a thing. I stopped him before he could continue.
“Little boys that refuse to apply water and soap to their bodies can develop diseases like leprosy, scabs, leeches, and lice! I need to check you for lice. Don’t run, it won’t help. Crying will only draw attention to your condition and if word gets out that lice might be present within these walls there will be a panic and stampede not even my Shrieker 2000 can stop. Now walk quietly into the nurse’s station. Don't talk to anyone and wipe away that look of horror.”
He followed me. I put on rubber gloves and began the inspection. Several minutes later I pronounced him lice free. Draker was happy and wanted to return to the Voyager. I called Jilane and gave her the good news. Her reaction surprised me.
“Do you know what you’re looking for?” she asked. A few moments later I was driving him up to her house for the professional inspection. I’m please to announce that my initial diagnosis was correct. Draker was lice free.
I expected to see EPA agents in full biosuits at my home when Draker and I pulled into the driveway. I was pleased with how Mormony everything looked. Yes, your typical average LDS neighborhood in Utah County. I got out of the car, took in the warm summer air scented with freshly mowed grass and pondered how pleasant everything was in Pleasant Grove.
The calm and serenity came to an abrupt end when I walked into the kitchen from the garage. The kitchen counters and table were covered with every possible cleaning agent used for lice abatement available for purchase at your neighborhood WalMart. They were weapons being gathered for a major assault on the infestation eating through the hair follicles of innocent Williamson’s, Belnaps and Coronatos.
Oh the Humanity!
I carefully walked around the chemical shop on the kitchen table and into the living room. I stood in the center of the room afraid to let my body come in contact with anything that might have a moving surface. Lisa saw my predicament and rallied to my cause. She grabbed a can of lung burning Destructall spray in each hand and sprayed everything with stereo shots. Luella was trapped in a corner chair. A cloud of Destructall moved in her direction like a fog of death.
“Move!” Lisa shouted. Mother saw the fumes, rose to her feet and did a shuffle that would have been a YouTube hit if we had a camera ready to film.
Both my sisters were armed and ready for war. Their children were in bathing suits, lined up outside the Fortress' four bathrooms and ready for delousing. The children were brought in one by one, put in the tub and scrubbed from top to bottom with Nuclear Nix Lice Removal shampoo, cream, ointment, solution, and alixer. Both sisters were in their bathing suits as well so it could all be contained in the tubs.
Once the sandblasting was complete and the children’s bleeding skin bandaged, out came the lice combs and the tedious process of de -nitsing their scalps. The children’s screams were so intense mother had to leave and seek refuge at my uncle’s. I of course wasn’t bothered considering I spend all day in space blowing up children ;)
Once the unclean were proclaimed clean, the delousing of the house began. Destructall Spray was unleashed on the children’s mattresses. All the bedding, towels, blankets, pillows, clothes, etc. etc. and etc. were dumped into the back of the pick up and taken to Pleasant Grove’s only coin operated laundry mat. Several hours later and twenty five dollars in quarters lighter, the bedding was finished and pulled removed from very hot dryers.
It was after 11:00 P.M. The procedure was complete after six hours and $150.00, but the Fortress was safely nuked and ready for habitation.
I was exhausted from sitting and watching these two great mothers scrub, curse, shout, clean, clean and clean as they debated who’s child got lice first, and from where.
Today I sit in my sterilized home feeling lucky to have survived my first lice infestation. Rest your worried minds - I didn’t have lice and neither does Draker. The Space Center is therefore lice free (unless Brock has lice. We will have to check him out).
All is well and I hope and pray next week will be uneventful. Please, may I ask for boring, dull and mindless. I need boring, dull and mindless.