Self-Mock #4: Hard Water Town

2021 September 7
by mockers

I grew up in the late 80s/early 90s. Like a lot of Gen Xers, I stayed home alone while both of my parents worked. I was given specific instructions to keep the door locked and to never open it for anyone. When I answered the phone and someone asked for my parents, I was directed not to tell anyone that my folks weren’t home. We were to say that they, “can’t come to the phone at the moment”. You know, because that would trick all the kidnappers and child molesters that randomly chose our house out of the phone book.

In a fit of wishful thinking, my parents often left a list of chores that my sister and I were supposed to complete while they worked. The choring rarely happened, and if it did, it was done quickly and half-assed at the end of the day, right before they got home. In fact, we used to play an unspoken game called, how-much-does-one-need-to-run-the-vacuum-in-order-to-get-Mom-to-believe-we-actually-vacuumed. I don’t think I ever won once. As an adult who has vacuumed a thousand times, I am still not entirely sure how to tell a properly vacuumed room from one that just has random vacuum lines.

The only chore I didn’t mind was watering the houseplants. Don’t get me wrong – I hate houseplants. In fact, other than the fact that I am grateful for the oxygen they make, I have never given a shit about a plant…much less my mother’s houseplants. Still, it wasn’t a bad job. I mean, all we had to do was quickly unlock the door, go outside, get water from the hose, bring it back in, lock the door, and sprinkle some water on Mom’s plants. It wasn’t a bad gig. I just didn’t understand why we had to go outside. We had 2.5 bathrooms and a kitchen. As a young teenager, I eventually figured it out. The water in Des Moines is super hard. My parents rented a water softener from Sears or some place like that for over 30 years. They often made me carry the rock salt into the basement and pour it into the softener. Finally one day it clicked. The spigot outside was the only water source that wasn’t connected to the water softener. Apparently salt water is “bad” for houseplants. Wimps.

I even remember the Zest commercial that helped me put two and two together. Here it is…except instead of a picture of Chicago, it had a “Des Moines” graphic of a couple of smiling cows and a corn silo. I sort of find this offensive today, but whatever. The point is that a lot of people in Des Moines have water softeners.

I eventually grew up and moved away. As an adult, none of my homes had a water softener…until now. In our house in “the Valley” (which is a stupid nickname I will address later), we have a water softener in the garage. It has been filled with the same salt pellets since long before I moved here in late March. Everything works because the bypass is on. The power is on to the water softener. It should just be a matter of opening a valve and directing the water into the softener. However, dumbass that I am, I do not know how to turn off the bypass and run water into the softener. I have watched YouTube videos. I have read the online owner’s manual. I cannot figure it out. Every month I scrub hard water stains out of sinks and showers as penance for my stupidity. So there you go. If you’re butthurt because you wear goofy socks…or you’re mustard water…or you have an “In loving memory” sticker on the back of your car – just remember you’re being mocked by a dude that can’t figure out how to run water into a softener.

One Response leave one →
  1. 2021 September 8
    Mrs Metten permalink

    You’re not a dumbass. You’re also not a plumber. But you do have a nice crack.

    Now, just think how soft your balls would be if you could figure out the water softener…

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