Thank you wavydaze and firefox for the input and especially all the links. I think my best jump start from this info and from reading other people's routines is to begin a vinegar rinse and also do some detangling in the shower and then try to tackle the other stuff you mentioned. I've already switched to an old tee for a "hair towel" since finding this site!
Bubble hair, that is pretty scary stuff!
I've used the Wet2Straight the last few years because it was faster than waiting for my hair to air dry and then straighten, and less damaging (or so I thought!) than using a blow dryer and then iron, "double heating" my hair to get it straight. I mostly don't straighten because it takes too long, but I do think it looks great, very silky and smooth. I guess if I get my curls in better shape I might not want to straighten as much!