i'm in the same boat. my last relaxer was july 08. it was texturized, so i wore it out until this jan. the growth/texture difference was too much, so i decided to get my first weave.
i had so many questions.
now, a month and a half later, i LOVE it. i got a curly texture, so it wasn't a radical change. my hair just looks more polished haha
i got it washed at the hair dresser the first time to know what it should feel like, how hard to rub, how dry to get the tracks, etc. it's worth the investment. do it.
now i DC one week, and shampoo (with a gentle, sulfate free shampoo) and DC the next.
i leave the conditioner in for about an hour with a bag over it. make sure to rub it into your scalp/tracks. your natural hair needs the same care as the extensions.
when drying, i use a handheld. i'm told that a hooded dryer works easier. but i dont' have one. i basicaly hold it close to the track and try it. it's not as hard as it may seem.
i also use a castor oil/sweet almond oil mixture to moisturize my tracks/edges to prevent breakage. it's been working well.
i can pull the track..so there's beensome growth. it'll be interesting to see how much there was when i take it down.
i plan on wearing weaves for another year or so
if i can go til july 2010, i'd be happy.
my poor wallet.
but, i figure money spent on hair shoudl go way down once i'm natural! only cuts from them on!!!