I pressed my nose to the window pane. The weather mocked me and I could hear an evil cackle on the wind. It was brew day and the week before Christmas. My wife and I would be gone for the holidays and I needed to brew while my yeast starter was still worth a shit.
The outside thermometer registered five degrees below zero. Much to cold for wind or snow, but this was Wyoming, where the laws of God and nature hold no sway.
I was brewing an extract batch of stout so I just set up my camp chef burner in the basement and started brewing. On some level I knew I should be venting the dangerous gasses generated from burning propane but when I tried opening a basement window the cold wind froze me out. As with most worries, the concern for proper ventilation eased with the amount of beer I drank.
The brew day went well. There was no major train wrecks to piss me off and I was able to get my equipment cleaned up and the yeast pitched. I staggered upstairs, propositioned my wife, and when that failed, I passed out.
The horror began with the sweats. A sticky ooze drenching the bed and pillow. My eyes couldn't seem to focus but it was different than normal booze fueled mayhem. My breathing was shaky.
I had a headache on a biblical scale. An artillery battery of fighting aneurysms. A bus full of drummers driving off of a cliff. A throbbing cacophony of hellish fire exploding right behind my eyeballs.
I staggered to the bathroom. My beer buzz had been replaced with a mustard yellow nausea. My stomach had decided everything was being evicted but was in a serious argument about which was it was heading. It turned out, up was the winner.
My wife knocked on the door. "Are you OK?" I moaned but a few seconds later she said, "You need to get out of there, NOW!"
I crawled into the hallway, getting lightly trampled by my wife, who had not been drinking at all, as she had her own bathroom disaster.
The sickness lasted all night and most of the next day. At first I thought it was some sort of food poisoning but that didn't explain our headaches.