I was recently told that our water is hard. I already knew that, because I was aware that someone in the 1950s had located an underground source of water, dug a well, and rigged up this whole system involving pipes and such to get the water to the house. That was some difficult water to get, let me tell you! It just doesn’t get much harder than that.
LOLAM!* Just kidding!
Of course I knew we had hard water, because we paid extra for a refrigerator that manufactures it in small cubes that conveniently fit into a glass so you can pour scotch over them, unless you are my brother-in-law, who thinks drinking single malt on the rocks should be the eighth deadly sin.
My knowledgeable wife, however, informed me that our water is hard because it has lime in it. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with that, as many delicious drinks served over hard water have lime in them, and having lime in our water seemed like a nice time-saver.
"It’s what’s causing the white spots on the dishes," she said.
After 28 years of marriage, she should know better than to say things like that to me. The first time she ever came to my apartment, when we had just started dating, she noticed that my one piece of cookware, a treasured omelette pan, was encrusted with the ghosts of omelettes past.
"Don’t you ever clean this?" she asked. I told her that I had read somewhere that you should never wash an omelette pan. "Maybe not with soap and water," she said. "But you can rinse it out. You know, CLEAN IT!"
Suffice it to say that a few white spots on the dishes wasn’t going to set off any alarm bells in my head.
But, okay, so we had hard water with a twist of lime. Fortunately–and much to my surprise–we were in possession of a complex water-softening apparatus that was lurking somewhere in the basement along with 20 or so other mysterious mechanisms without which, I assume, we would die horrible deaths.
Unfortunately, our water-softening apparatus was 20 years old and in need of repairs, which would cost about $500. Or we could buy a new water softening apparatus for about $1500.
Or we could move.
One thing I’ve noticed as a first-time homeowner is that everything that needs to be fixed comes with two prices, and that the two prices are always presented something like this:
"So, your whatchamacallit is 90 years old. That’s right, it was installed before the house was even built, and it’s terribly out-of-date and very inefficient and is so dangerous to the environment that it’s causing baby polar bears to suffocate even as I speak to you. It will also cause all sorts of other things to go wrong in your house, and it will probably explode within days. But if you want, and if you’re cheap and stupid, I can fix it for you for a couple of hundred dollars. However, if you are a savvy homeowner like I think you are, you’ll realize that you’re much better off spending thousands of dollars on an entirely new, state-of-the-art unit that works so well, you’ll easily save what you spend on it in no more than two or three decades. So what do you think?"
You know what I think? I think they’re making all this stuff up. But my wife told me about all the white crusty stuff that would soon be on all our new kitchen appliances if we didn’t do something and, of course, being a savvy homeowner, I told the guy to go ahead and put in a new unit.
I just hope our new automatic ice maker doesn’t stop working.
*Laugh Out Loud at Myself.
For more on our adventures as first-time homeowners at age 57, and moving to Stamford, visit http://theupsizers.wordpress.com/