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The suitcases are a hygiene issue themselves. It's always amazing to me that people will come back from a trip and take their suitcase, which has been in the cargo section of the plane, and put it on their bed to unpack. That thing is filthy! I wipe down my suitcase in my hallway before I even allow it in my house. My sister Nina has a spray bottle with bleach and water in it and sprays the luggage before she allows it in the apartment. Maybe it runs in the family, because my sister Nora is a vigilant germ freak as well, but the truth is, I do think all of these things make a difference. When I walk into a hotel room and take out my wipes, it takes me under a minute to wipe the room down to my satisfaction. Why not play it safe? Sixty seconds of diligent cleaning is well worth gaining sixty years of your life.

Sadly, I'm just one woman, and I can only do what I can do. The reality is, I can wipe surfaces till my heart's content and there are still a million and one other things out there that can wreck havoc on my body. Things like antibiotic-resistant staph infection and spider bites and auto emissions and tainted food and, as I said, I'm perimenopausal.

What exactly is perimenopause? It's the period of time before menopause. They have a name for it now so now it's a condition, when in the past it was just life. Actually, when women say that they're going through menopause, they're really going through perimenopause. Menopause itself lasts for just one day, the day after a woman has not menstruated for one whole year. Then you're officially in menopause. And then it's just life again. There's no "pause" involved. The perimenopause can start at any time and can last for years. And there's really no "pause" involved in that either. It can start as early as thirty-five, but most women begin in their early forties, and it lasts all the way up until that one day when you're finally in menopause. A lot of the symptoms for the perimenopause are the same as for the menopause. For some women the symptoms abate after menopause, but for many, they don't. They go on and on and on. So again, where the hell is the "pause"? I have a friend who went through menopause thirteen years ago and is still suffering from frequent hot flashes.

There is so much to look forward to. I of course went online to check the perimenopause and the menopause symptoms to see what I do and do not have. Interestingly, there were almost no variations of symptoms from website to website, and believe me, I checked them all. So, here are the main symptoms of perimenopause. I'll tell you what I have, and you can check it against yourselves.

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