Tonight I hauled up the Advent box from the basement. I put fresh candles in the wreath. I set up the fragile Nativity set on the server (not a computer server -- maybe you call it a sideboard or a buffet instead of a server?) and the Little People Nativity set in the floor. I pulled down the breviaries and asked Joe to help me move the markers.
"What's that?" he asked, gesturing to the fat spider hauling its oversized belly along the table away from us.
"It's a spider," I told him calmly. "Grab a tissue and dispatch him."
I wondered for a moment what that spider had been living on, but I was focused on getting ribbons in the right places.
I was surprised to see a tiny bug crawl away from the breviary in my hands, but I didn't worry until Elwood squashed another. When a third and then a fourth appeared in short order I said, "This is not good."
You guys, I think we have book lice. I also think I might prefer head lice, because I know what to do about those. (Attention, Gladlyville head lice, or at least the Gladlyville head lice who read this blog: that is not an invitation.) (This paragraph is making my head itch.) (Maybe I wouldn't actually prefer head lice.)
But! Book lice! You guys, do you know how large a book louse population we could sustain in this house? Here, I will give you a glimpse from where I'm sitting.
This is one wall of our dining room. There are many, many more books in this house.
We said Evening Prayer together, and it was very nice and no book lice nibbled on my fingers while we were praying (which is good, because the peace that passeth understanding might or might not be the peace that withstandeth creepy-crawlies on my actual body), and then Elwood said, "Let's put the books in the oven."
I was not sure this was a good idea, because the last time I thought about using the oven for pest control I was dissuaded. But! Book lice! So into the oven they went, where they exuded a faint smell of melting plastic but no actual smoke or flames. (Is it bad that I have taught my children that the beeping of the smoke alarm is their cue to chant "It's not a party 'til the smoke alarm goes off!" in unison? I suspect the fire marshal would disapprove.)
Now I don't know where to put them, though, because I am still suspicious. I don't want to put them back in their original spot in case any escapees are still lurking there. I don't want to put them in with the other books, because failure to quarantine is exactly how bubonic plague devastated Europe and do I look like a person who wants bubonic plague? (or book lice?)
Perhaps I will put them in the toaster oven overnight and wait for you all to suggest a better plan. Surely there aren't any book lice in the toaster oven. I'm counting on you, internet pals. This could be ugly.