Two years ago, Ryan and I spent Christmas with his family in Northern California. While we were there we visited with a few of my friends from high school. They are hilarious folks who make me proud of where I came from and I was also proud to introduce them to Ryan, in other words, where I am going. We spent a long evening together in their bachelor pad in Oakland, talking about potential band names and the night was full of revelry. However, one subject of conversation captivated me more than the others. It was on that fateful night that I was introduced to a new favorite among creative pursuits: the WOMBO. It is a contraction of "word" and "combo" and means what you'd think. Sometimes wombos can be really funny (runny?). I encourage you to start looking for them in your day to day, or making them up when the mood strikes. It will make you giggle.
Unrelatedly, or so you might think, my difficulty sleeping has driven me to desperation. I took Nyquil for a week or two of this impertinent virus, and it worked moderately well. But this last weekend I threw out my back while attempting to physically harangue my two year old niece and this has complicated the sleep issue further. Few positions are comfortable, and when I do manage one, racking coughs send my whole backarratus into a spasm. Thus, the nights have been long and sleepless (leepless!). As exhaustion has driven me to my last shred of dignity (shignity!), I found myself searching for home remedies for coughs on the internet. I googled and googled and found in the end that there was one remedy that trumped the others: the dreaded alchobooze.
I am not a drinking woman. Probably most of you are as confident in this fact about me as I. But last night, through a fit of hacking, a facking if you will, I pitifully requested that Ryan walk to the liquor store and see if they had any alcohol I could drink. He was confused and apprehensive. Alcoholism runs in my family, he postulated, what if I found a fondness for the stuff? Perhaps, dear, but if I don't sleep again tonight I'm going to find a fondness for cutting my face with butter knives. GET ME SOME BOOZE.
And so he dutifully went and retuned home with a brown paper bag containing a three dollar plastic bottle of rum.
I filled the Nyquil measuring cup to the 1 oz. mark, tried to remember what little I knew of painlessly imbibing alcohol (something about not tasting it by "throwing it back"; I wondered how that might be best achieved), plugged my nose, and swilled it down. It burned. It tasted awful. I gagged.
BUT I DIDN'T COUGH. For the first time in a month, my bronchioles were quiet. I laid down in bed and slept for nine hours.
The next day the coughing resumed in full force. All day, the exhausting misery of involuntary, violent abdominal contractions. And then the burned pan. When Ryan got home from work at 10:15, I was at the end of my rope, standing at attention with the plastic bottle of foul-tasting relief.
Again, I faced the conundrum of making the process a little less punishing. I desired to avoid the gagging, in particular. But we don't have soda or juice. I thought and thought. I thunk, even.
And then it hit me! There was one sweet liquid in the house! MAPLE SYRUP! And so I skipped off to the kitchen to retrieve the spoonful of sugar intended to help the medicine go down. I poured the maple into the cup. I added a tablespoon of rum. I tried to mix them with my pinky finger. Tragically, the discrepant viscosities of the two fluids made them inharmonious. They were oil and water, Jekyll and Hyde. They were not made to marry.
Deeming the unmixed brew still more appetizing than the rum alone (good heavens, you'll have to trust me) I closed my eyes and I drank it.
I wouldn't be a woman of my word if I told you it wasn't gross. But it went down and made my limbs feel a little heavy and I got into bed. As I lay there, I had a stroke of genius, a stroke that made drinking maple-rum terrine worth it. This is where our conversation today comes fircle.
"Ryan?" I mumbled as I drifted into a coughless sleep "We should tell everyone we know about rumple syrup. It really, really helps you sleep when you have a bad cough..."
He laughed. And I slept for the next twelve hours.