"Online registration is now open for the fourth annual *WRITING FOR CHARITY* conference! Have your writing critiqued by professional authors ON SITE! Fabulous workshops! Very affordable! Lunch provided! A silent auction with amazing things to bid on.... all donated by the authors. Items include advance copies of novels, lunch with authors, manuscript critiques, and much more! Come schmooze with writers for a great cause--putting books in the hands of underprivileged children. March 17, 2012 (that's St. Patrick's Day) at the Historic Provo Library. Check out the website for more information: www.writingforcharity.blogspot.com."
I'll be at Writing for Charity for the first time this year, and I'm so excited it might be unhealthy. I believe I'll be teaching a workshop and doing critiques, if you're interested. It should be a lot of fun with a lot of really good writers. If you can make it, you wont' be disappointed.
That I get to participate in the Writing for Charity event is one of the roughly ten billion reasons I'm glad Amy and I didn't die Saturday night. What happened?
Did you know that using tap water in a wet humidifier can, over time and without you even realizing it, build up mineral deposits it can then use to spew out poison? Well, it can. I woke up at 2:00 a.m. in the morning coughing. Didn't think much of it at first, but then Amy joined in the hacking. Neither of us stopped. As the fog of sleep faded I grew aware of a strange tightness in my chest, like a slick had blanketed my lungs, making breathing harsh and difficult. Neither of us knew what was going on, but I gathered my senses enough to assume it had something to do with our bedroom. So we left.
Camping out in the living room, we tried to figure out what was happening and catch our breath. Then I noticed I was cold. Really cold.
I don't get cold very easily. Never have. I was one of those idiot teen boys who waited for the bus in the middle of Utah winter while wearing shorts. I almost never get sick, in spite of my indifference to dressing appropriate for the season. So it was an odd sensation, that moment I realized, "You know, it's freezing." Turns out I was freezing. Amy is much more susceptible to cold than I am, but she told me she didn't feel cold, not a bit. I was shivering so violently I could barely talk.
I bundled up in two blankets and, when that didn't work, Amy brought me two heated pads and another blanket. She turned up the heat and then lay on the couch by my side, watching over me as I tried to keep from cracking down the middle from the cold and my quaking. I think I must have slipped in and out of awareness, because all I remember is bursts of heat and cold and sudden aches from lying on one side or another until I shook myself so sore I had to move.
In a few hours the chills left. The room was furnace hot, and I told Amy she could kill the heat, much to her relief. Both of us were still struggling with tightness and tingling in our chests, and she had a roaring headache, but the worst was over.
There was some hangoveryesterday, but I think we're both back to normal now, thankfully.
Turns out that the humidifier we use in our room (the dry Utah climate has hammered Amy since her return from North Carolina) had caused it all. Tap water plus filter not cleaned as it should be can equal a makeshift chemical weapon dispenser. The mineral deposits proliferated in the air can cause all our symptoms plus more. Thankfully, I woke up fairly early into the night and we were able to get out of the room's tainted atmosphere.
First task after work today: clean every inch of the humidifier with bleach. And we'll only fill it with filtered water from now on.
So there you have it. Keep your humidifiers clean and running on only filtered water so you don't die. Consider it a public service announcement. And come to Writing for Charity!