Hics and Hope

A pile of oatmeal cream pies. Mine was better.

All I wanted to do was snuggle up on the couch. Wrap that super soft fleece around my recently de-booted feet and pull it up to the edge of my chin. And then wrap my fists with the top of the blanket before I rested them on my chest, pushing the warmth to that edge of chin. This would be the moment punctuated by a great sigh, just when Tinkerbell raced across the top of the castle announcing the movie start.

But, no. Of course not. Instead I was accosted by the violent wrenching and expulstion of air that is a hiccup. And another hiccup. And, dammit, another. And they almost hurt. They definitely caused my body to writhe. And they interrupted my attempt to invite The Spouse to join me on the comfy couch and watch the movie. And now my chest hurts. Not a lot, but still. And there is another hiccup.

I tried to will it away. That may have worked in the past. But maybe the eruptions just passed on their own, and I was fooling myself. Thinking about it, any technique that “worked” was inconsistent. Sure plugging you nose worked. Then it didn’t. And drinking water from a glass backwards worked. That time. The spoon under your tongue while drinking a full glass of water? Works three out of ten times. The other seven doing nothing had the same effect.

I put the kettle on. I was going to make tea–between the wringings of my windpipe and throat.  I wondered if the oatmeal cream pie cookie would cure these GI contortions. The high pitched “hics” escaped my lips at irregular intervals. More to tease than anything else.

I added the sugar to my tea and waited for the next one. It never came. I thought it would, but it was done.

The episode started without an obvious cause and ended with the same unsatisfying mystery. Except. Except while the disposition of the mystery might be unsatisfying, suffice it to say that it was enormously satisfying to have those dastardly hiccups wind down to nothing.

I’m not going to wonder why. I’m just going to be glad it’s done. Movie time!

Boiling Points

A tea tin, filled with bags of tea. English breakfast.

He filled up the electric kettle with water to the half-mark. No reason to waste energy on boiling extra water. It doesn’t stay hot.

The kettle was a very good addition to the ridiculously small and poorly laid out kitchen. There was a general dislike of kitchen appliances. Among some. Okay, among one. He minded less than she. There was paltry counter space for starters. The kettle, however, was used at least once each day, and very frequently two or three times. It earned its real estate. Its place was in plain site.

They used to have a stovetop whistling tea kettle. That took over a burner for the first part of their marriage. They went through four or five. A few burned out. One wore out. Most lost their ability to whistle during their tenures.

While traveling, he stayed in an apartment with an electric kettle. It reminded him of an old girlfriend’s mother. She emigrated from England and brought her love for tea and the efficiency of her electric tea kettle. He missed the mother much more than the daughter. It’s like that when you get older. Old girlfriends hold less meaning than their families who embraced you as one of theirs. He saw the kettle and was immediately attracted to it. He thought about the flaky crust of the fruit pies that the mother used to make.

The following Christmas–as they did before, one year when they exchanged toasters and another with pillows–they bought each other an electric kettle. They both did research and came up with two different models. He either took one to work or returned it to the store. She didn’t remember, but was happy that they did not have two additional small kitchen appliances. One was likely too much, anyway. Except it wasn’t.

The kettle was remarkably fast. Much faster than the whistling stovetop type. Even the direct flame from the gas burner could not compete with the magical kettle. You would think that the warming up of the carafe would take a long time, but just 60 seconds after flipping the switch the water starts to hiss. The hiss drops a few octaves before hitting a silent lull while it gathers enough energy to burst through the surface of the water and burp the first gurgle of the boil. Click. It automatically shuts itself off. Perfect safety for a flaky family.

After the 4.5 minutes of boiling, there is 5 minutes of steeping.

There is a small, well-curated selections of tea. The herbal choices include pure chamomile, pure peppermint and usually one lemon mint or lemon hibiscus or some hippie flavor mix. The black teas normally included English and Irish breakfast teas–the English is richer and the Irish more flavorful. There might be loose Earl Gray and Darjeeling. And a jasmine green tea. He can’t drink tea that might keep him up at night. Caffeine has no power over her.

She likes her after dinner black tea with a little milk and a little sweetener. He drinks his herbal brew straight or, occasionally, with honey. Sometimes she nods off before she finishes her tea, with her fingers resting on the keyboard, neglecting her writing. And sometimes he nudges her to finish up, brush her teeth and come up to bed.

Curtain Down

Red mug and little bowl with chocolate.

The tea was black and flavored with milk and sugar. It was so dark that, even with the milk, it could visually pass for coffee. But it didn’t smell like coffee. More of the orange pekoe type.

The little bowl would be more honestly named bowle. It was just that cute. In that twee bowl were some little rectangle bites of chocolates. These bits were not filled with the richness of a creamy filling, nor were they solid chocolate.

Instead, each bite was a crunchy, flaky cookie bathed by milk chocolate. They could be popped into one’s mouth whole or dispatched in two bites.

You could do both.

And it was good.

Tea Time

hydrangea. blue ones. from my yard.

I started writing a post this morning. It was shaping up well. I was working on descriptive writing.

I had an intellectually full day today and came home to warm up leftovers. I was planning on finishing that post.

I looked for tonite’s debate. And then I got a headache. It’s too hard to be creative. So this is all I’m writing today. This meta post about writing. Or more like about not writing. It is still a post. It still counts.

I’m going to have some chamomile tea. And an Advil.