We lived temporarily with... my Mom. Our furniture and everything went into storage (which was another nightmare), and we thought, hey we'll live here for like a month-tops!- and we'll find a new house and everything will be perfect! At the time I had my eye on a home in Historic Roswell, but after a few weeks of driving back and forth to my mom's house in Canton, I was all, Ooooooh I like it here, let's move here! Meanwhile the past version of myself was rolling her eyes since I grew up in the area and once swore I'd never move back. I'm one of those.
That "month" at my Mom's house turned into 8 (EIGHT!) months. I love my Mom, we're very close but we were never meant to live with each other again. Also, I will never fall in love with a house that is a short sale, ever again. What a crock of shit that process was! We sold our East Cobb home in early May, found this seemingly perfect home in mid-May and we were ready to go. The house had a great floor plan but it needed a lot of work. The previous owner must have had anger issues because there were several holes in the drywall that were fist-shaped and a few broken windows. I think they had mastiffs or some sort of large beast that loved eating columns and kitchen cabinets. But I could dismiss the damage because ALL of my Pinterest boards that summer were devoted to this house and what it could be. At first I was all, aw, that poor family was losing their ass. I hope they find their way again. Eventually I grew to detest the owners- like, why did they choose to do a short sale? May the cloud of misery ever be upon them. That's mean, I know.
Back at Mom's, we only had our clothes and everyday necessities. Once September hit, I was getting really impatient. Everybody was decorating for fall while my fall decor was sitting crushed underneath mattresses in a storage pod somewhere in Marietta. I wanted my own space and more of it and Mom wanted her house back. I've always been one to say, "Well, look on the bright side, things could always get worse!" Worse here would be if Breana got head lice while at Mom's. No, I honestly thought this in June that year. I think if my Mom could burn the house down to rid it of lice, she would. My little sister had lice twice when she was in Kindergarten. My older sister and I came off the bus one day to see the garage open and Mom's dark green Camry there. "Niki, why is Mom home?" We then went inside to find Mom smearing toxins all over Lauren's head. "Lauren's got lice," Mom announced like she was uncertain if there'd be a tomorrow. I'm pretty sure we all cried or something. I probably cried because this interrupted my afternoon of watching VHS recordings of All My Children, One Life to Live & General Hospital and my pattern of not doing my homework. The second time Lauren had lice, it was the same afternoon scenario, fresh off the bus but we were the wiser, "Niki! The CAMRY! Oh God, the CAMRY!!!" That may have been the day I had my first panic attack. Where could I go? I want to run. I don't want to enter this split level home today. This time Mom was smearing Lauren's head with mayonnaise (Helman's Light- we were a brand-committed family) and, if my memory serves me right, sobbing was involved when Mom declared, "Lauren has goddamn lice again!". Also involved: trips to the laundromat (even though we owned a washer & dryer), my mom's pleas to get us all to cut our hair short (and right when mine was growing out after that 6th grade debacle of Mom convincing me to cut it like Josie Bissett's character on Melrose Place. What a joke that was!), my Dad's unfased demeanor and his bizarre excitement towards working overtime, and the CLEANING. My God, the cleaning. Mom did obsessive cleaning the first time lice visited but the second time was much worse. I mean, we scrubbed the baseboards. It was midnight and we were vacuuming the boxsprings. Mom wore her version of a hazmat suit. We all had new pillows and I think we slept on trashbags that night, I'm not sure. Lauren still had mayo on her head & slept with a shower cap on top of her hair salad. And actually, thinking back on this, I think we made Lauren sit on the floor for several days... "Mom! Lauren's resting her head on the sofa again!" I wonder now if Mom had a breakdown about her car interior, "Why did I have to go with the fabric interior and not the leather?!" Though we all thought the light camel color was striking against the Camry's green exterior. It was a vast improvement from her previous Camry's navy blue fabric seats.
In 2012 at my Mom's, Breana was in the second grade and I received an email from her school, "Lice is going around! Check your kids! But we're still gonna keep those cute lounge pillows in the classrooms so your sweet child can rest their sweet head and read. Drop Everything And Read! DEAR time!" No, it was more like, "Drop Everything And Lice" or DEAL time because then you have to deal with it. What kills me about this was after your kid is clean and you cement their hair with hairspray pulled back into a bun, they reek of tea tree oil and are forced to get inspected by the school nurse, who then takes down the bun and searches for nits and then says, " Great, no lice! Now on your way to class with your hair down so you can lounge on those cute pillows and get lice again!" Breana came home from school that day with her hair down and I just about lost it. She and the entire second grade would eventually spend the remaining school year putting their jackets and backpacks in individual trash bags. Yet those lounge pillows were still on the floor. And that upholstered rocking chair just rocking back and forth with head lice.
It was late November. How did I get here? I was 31, living with my Mom and my kid had head lice. My Mom left for work that one morning after I checked Breana's head and coached her to lie to my Mom- say she wasn't feeling well (not my best parenting). Mom left for work, but not before kissing Breana's head. Sweet Jesus, why?! Why did she have to be an adoring Grandmother that morning?! Once Mom's white Camry was gone, we jumped up and went to work, like Mom's-house-has-some-lice kind of work. For most of the day I was convinced of my plan to not tell Mom that Breana had lice. I'd clean my kid, clean the house and she'd never know! This was a terrible idea because later I knew I'd have to propose my Mom with a "hey, let's go into your bathroom and check your head, okay?" I kept having these visions of us having moved and getting a call from my Mom, "Kristen! I have f*cking lice!!!" This actually fell on the very day we found out we'd be moving soon. That short sale house, it was still there, still sitting alone with its broken windows. But we had decided to give up on it, for the sake of our sanity and for Mom's sanity, too. Because after Lice Day 2012, she'd surely be kicking us to the curb.
Mom came home from work that evening, her house sparkling and lice free. I even ran out and bought her new pillows! I may have vacuumed her box springs too. But the baseboards, that's just ridiculous! Lice weren't hiding on the baseboards, waiting for us to fall asleep so they could hunt us down and attack: "Let's go, the heads are at rest! Let's nibble & breed!" I was really happy with the cleaning but really, really, really nervous about telling Mom. So I decided to wait until she was cutting the Rotisserie Chicken with a sharp knife. "Mom, Breana had head lice..." (Mom stops cutting chicken)..."but it's all good, the house is clean..." (Mom turns toward me)... "and... I got you new pillows!"... (Mom throws the knife on the floor). No joke, Mom seriously darted that knife onto the floor below her. Part of me was terrified, the other part was, I totally don't get this- anytime I've worn stilettos, she harps on me for putting dings in her laminate wood flooring! But chucking a knife at the floor is okay?
Actually, Mom was alright, and nobody was hurt. Almost 20 years after her first lice experience, she finally understood that no child asks for lice and she even let Breana sit on the sofa that evening. Eventually we moved, time has passed, there's been no more lice in either home and Mom bought something other than a Camry. I think back on this time in my life because 8 months seems like a long time when you're an adult living with your Mom again. And there were so many times I sat uncomfortably, waiting for the next chapter. Meanwhile, some pretty good stories were going into my memory bank. During this time at Mom's, I came up with the idea of painting Christmas trees on old doors to hang treat bags or ornaments. I was so hungry for my personal things in storage that I had given up on them and started thinking from scratch. I bought my first door that year and we've used our Christmas door every December since- usually it has mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups or Hershey Kisses in it. One year I did Christmas-themed jokes I had printed off. Or you could put in notes from your Elf, bible verses, that day's activity, etc. I've always loved the look of unique advent calendars and anything that counts down to Christmas.
I sell these and can customize the colors to coordinate with your home and/or Christmas decor. I look for the old, real wood doors with some character. I have done antique cabinets in the past and loved how they could be hung on the wall or sit on a table but sometimes those are hard to come by. The door below is standard door size though and is meant to lean against the wall. If you have a crazy child who runs around ripping things apart in your home, you may want to anchor this to the wall. The bags can be removed and folded up for storage. I hammer 25 nails into the door and affix swarovski crystals on the tips so the door sparkles! At this time I'm not shipping the doors. Please message me with any questions! Thanks!