Some time ago, we published a list of real-life tips that may not have been ‘normal,’ but were effective, nonethess. Here’s the next list of advice I’ve found that applies to everything from sore throats to frozen locks. I’m not a doctor or car mechanic, so you should take any action under your own discretion. But they really do work.
*Ward off incoming flu and viruses with a hot toddy. Toddys, or “totties,” have Scottish connections, but are actually thought to reference a fermented palm sap drink from India. In the Brick house, though, a toddy is basic: half-a-cup of Jim Beam laced with a tablespoon each of honey and lemon or lime juice, then the cup filled to the brim with boiling water.Allrecipes.com’s recipe calls for 1 1/2 ounces whiskey, 2 ounces boiling water, a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of whole cloves, cinnamon, lemon and nutmeg. Either mixture is a shoo-in for night-time cold medicines. Wear warm clothes, sip your toddy slowly before going to bed…and you’ll sleep like a baby, with fewer hangover effects than from the commercial stuff. Or try grog, made with rum instead. Also helps with insomnia and depression.
*Feeling blue? Burn something. It might be enjoying campfires as a kid – or just the physical activity of collecting firewood and tinder takes your mind off your troubles. What does happen, though, is a temporary break from focusing on yourself and your troubles. If you don’t have a few logs and a fireplace handy, try a gas fireplace — or even an electric fireplace. This version is less than $100, including shipping.
*Taking antibiotics? You’ll need yogurt or probiotics, too. Antibiotics all too frequently strip your body of its natural protection for bladder and yeast infections. Yogurt, eaten at least once a day, helps restore and balance and solve the problem. (My pharmacist warned me about this one, after I’d had an earache and pounding sinus-based headache for weeks. He said that might go away, but the other infections would set in, unless I ‘ate a lot of yogurt.’ He was right.)
*Superglue: the Great Healer. This stuff doesn’t just hold wood, paper and plastic together — it can also keep the edges of a deep cut aligned and closed until it’s healed. Bonus: the raw area will be covered with a protective layer of plastic, to keep it clean and infection-free. (Works on your pets too — but add a bandage over top, so they don’t gnaw it off.)
*Chicken noodle soup really does help with colds and the flu! According to scientist Irwin Ziment, when chicken is cooked, it releases an amino acid similar to the drug acetylcysteine, used to treat bronchitis and other respiratory problems. The steam and spices used do the rest.
*Get rid of your toothbrush! The germs on it may be re-infecting your system. (You probably needed a fresh one anyways.)
Sure, there are frugal ways to save money, including using junk mail for toilet paper. (Some poetic justice in that.) You can do other things, though, like:
*Use dish soap for body wash. Ingredients are much the same — but the price difference is amazing. Also:
*Use animal or ‘human’ shampoo to clean delicate natural fibers. Feed supply stores carry Orvis, a horse shampoo that quilters have used for decades to clean their quilts. (Baby soap also comes in handy.) Let soak in a weak solution for a longer period for even better results.
*Potty-train your cat to use the toilet. This is easier than you think. Not only will you save on kitty litter, and get rid of one more unpleasant task — it keeps your place smelling less “catty,” as well.
*Only flush once a day…if it’s liquid, that is. (“If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”) Number #2? That’s different. Save even more water, by putting a brick in your toilet tank.
It should be mentioned here that the yellow stuff helps outside, as well: a good shot of it jump-starts a recalcitrant compost pile. (We call it Husband’s “special touch.”) If you have trouble with deer eating everything in sight, try drinking a quart or so of fluid, then ‘marking’ at regular intervals. This action sets boundaries on your property and says to a wild animal: “This is my place. Go somewhere else.”
SNOW NEWS ISN’T ALWAYS GOOD NEWS
(our condolences for the recent death of Tom Magliozzi, one of ‘Car Talk’s’ hosts…and one of the most practical and funny men in the business)
*Keep your windows and windshields clean and dry. Rub them down with rubbing alcohol or shaving cream, then wipe any extra with a paper towel. Repeat every week or so.
*Or try vinegar. Mix three parts of vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle, then spray on your windshield. (Don’t use vinegar full-strength; it’s acidic enough to etch the glass or affect your seals.) It can be used to make windshield wiper fluid, too. (Or put a heavy towel or blanket on the windshield, to help protect it.)
*Do your car or house locks tend to freeze shut? Keep a lighter handy, and use it to warm your key. Insert the key in the lock — then spray the locking mechanism with WD40 or rubbing alcohol afterwards, to keep the same situation from repeating.
Did this happen late at night — and you can’t see a thing? If you’ve got a cellphone, flip it on — you’ve got a flashlight to help out.
*Snow shoveling goes easier, if you spray the shovel with nonstitck cooking spray. Keep that bag of unused (now, anyways) kitty litter — it gives your sidewalk a slip-free surface, and is excellent for helping a stuck car out of its predicament. (Sprinkle a good-sized layer behind the back tires.)
Then settle down for a nice peaceful winter.