Softening on the water softener

Note: This column appears in the 8/25 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/26 issue of the Peoria Times

Although Arizona is quite far from New Jersey both geographically and climate-wise, it is still, I think, located in the United States of America, and therefore I was confused and rather annoyed when it was discovered that we would require certain things here that we did not require back east.

For example, sure, some people tint their car windows back east. The people who choose to do this, mostly, do not wish to be seen doing illegal things in their vehicle, and thus, ironically, become magnets for police. When we first moved here I bought a new car, and people were like, “Did you tint the windows?” and I was like, “No, I’m not a drug dealer.” Then I drove my window-tinted-less car around for two days in the summer and all of my CDs melted. Ha, ha … remember CDs? It was 2007. Anyway, I got my car tinted.

Then people were like, “Your home is too sunny! You need to tint your home windows!” My wife and I were like, “Cool! Another few hundred dollars to spend. Why don’t they just install tinted windows when they build the house?” This question was answered by nobody. So we tinted our home windows. It made (checking my energy bills while wearing sunglasses) … zero difference.

Then people were like, “Tint does nothing! You need window coverings.” This is crazy, I thought. No way we need window coverings. We are NOT doing window coverings. But my wife wanted them, so we got window coverings. Now our home is slightly darker and hot instead of sunny and hot.

Throughout all of this time, many people were trying to convince us that we also, besides all this other stuff, needed a water softener. Never in my life had I heard of a water softener, and the mere combination of those two words made no sense to me whatsoever. Our home was already “looped” for one, so people didn’t understand why we didn’t have one. They said things like, “Just wait until you shower with soft water … it’s amazing!” I did not understand what this meant, but if having an orgasmic shower every day was a reality, my ears were at least open.

A few years ago my in-laws bought a home here, which was similarly looped. My father-in-law asked us about water softeners and if they’re necessary, and I told him what I knew—better showers, apparently, less calcification, and no, not necessary. He was like, “Whatever.” We gave each other a high-five, bonded by a mutual, east-coast recognition of the ridiculousness of water softeners.

Then my father-in-law spoke to an actual plumber about a water softener, and I went to their house after work one day and bam—there it was. Now he is the lead voice in the chorus of those saying we need one. He questions our lack of a water softener as if he has lived here all his life and we just arrived last week. For that reason alone, we must get one.

Also because there are little white thingees in our ice cubes and our dishwasher is so calcified we can basically no longer use it. Arizona! If there’s anything else we need, please let me know now, before we go broke.


night owl said…
My father was superintendent for the water department in a city in New York State. He swore by the water softener and we had one all while I was growing up. It was made such a big deal that I was relieved when I bought my first home and there was already a water softener installed.