Joanne Palmer: Casting a spell on summer allergies |

Joanne Palmer: Casting a spell on summer allergies

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— I love summer. I do. All winter, I think about the perfect summer weather in the Yampa Valley: cool mornings, warm afternoons, nights that still allow a blanket. I dream about swimming, strawberry rhubarb pie, smoothies, puttering in my garden, planting flowers, eating outside and my favorite hikes: Devil's Causeway, Rabbit Ears and the Zirkel Circle.

There is only one teeny, tiny thing I do not like about summer.


Allergy season.

I hate allergy season. For the past two weeks, my eyes have been watering, my nose is red and swollen from blowing it, and there are boxes of tissues on every surface of the house. I am allergic to hay, grass, cats, pollen and who knows what else. At the beginning of the summer, it's not too bad. But starting at the Fourth of July, tings get unbearable. Let's just say I would not win the Miss Congeniality award. The over-the-counter meds I've been taking make sleeping almost impossible. Given the choice between sleeping or sneezing, what would you choose? Exactly. I've been crabby, cranky and a challenge to live with.

Rainy weather produced more pollen than usual and sent all of us allergy sufferers running for help. Just for the record, I have tried over-the-counter remedies, prescription remedies, nasal irrigation (don't ask), acupuncture and staying inside.

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Having exhausted all standard treatment options, I decided it was time to get out in the garage with Professor Von Fleaburg and try to create something that would actually work and give all of us allergy suffers some relief.

The first thing we tried was a giant alarm clock. We decided to wake up the Sleeping Giant. We looked around the garage at the leftovers from our garage sale and felt overwhelmed. We decided it might be more effective to fire off the remaining fireworks from my son's secret stash.


"Hey, Big Guy," I yelled. "You can't sleep your life away. Get up and get blowing. Huff and puff all of the pollen out of the valley immediately. Pronto. It's time to earn your keep. You can't be a landmark forever."

Not surprisingly, it didn't work.

Shrink wrap. Remember Bubble Boy or Kathy Bates in "Fried Green Tomatoes"? She appeared at the door in nothing but shrink wrap to surprise her husband. Maybe I could create a protective suit of some sort to keep the allergens at bay? Something clear, like a fish bowl with a breathing apparatus might do the trick. Hmmmmmm, nope. It seemed like it might be a little too hot.

Dr. Von Fleaburg listened patiently as I whined about my symptoms. We talked, at great length about trying to rig up a small fan around my head to blow away the allergens. We even contemplated the addition of a small steam shower or a misting device to add some humidity to the situation. But in the end, we had to reject that, too.

We decided to brainstorm, free associate, think outside the proverbial box. Let's see what came to mind: debt ceiling, William and Kate, phone hacking, tubing may be about to begin on the Yampa, and a new Harry Potter movie — the very last Harry Potter movie.

That's it!

We would cast a spell and banish allergies forever. I even had an old Harry Potter wand left over from a Halloween costume somewhere in the garage.

"Wingardium Leviosa Impedimenta Obliviate Allergium Steamboatium!"

I'll get back to you next week and let you know if it worked.

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