As I have mentioned approximately 101 times in the recent past, there are things about living in AZ that I like, and things that I don’t particularly like. I like that I can sit outside on a sunny February afternoon and drink a martini on my patio because it’s warm enough and it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. I don’t like that I have to check my bed every night for scorpions. I like that I can open my front door almost every morning that we are here and listen to the mockingbirds go through their repertoire of songs. I don’t like that when it’s even slightly windy, there is so much dust in the air that the skies look gray instead of blue. I like to watch the road runner sprint across our back fence. I don’t like that I have to stop walking in the desert after March because I might run into a rattlesnake.
Perhaps the thing about which I grow most weary while living in AZ is that I can’t simply go to my kitchen or bathroom faucet and get a drink of water. It’s not that we live like Laura Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie fame and have to pull water out of a well. It’s just that the water in the Valley of the Sun is practically undrinkable. I’m not just being a diva. It tastes nasty and everyone who lives here will confirm that the water is foul. The ubiquitous lemon that you find in nearly every glass of water served in restaurants isn’t just for looks. The lemon is a desperate attempt to make the water drinkable. Mostly it makes it taste like lemony horribleness.
I’ve been told that the reason the water in this area tastes terrible is that it comes from the Colorado River, and as it makes its way down the mountain, it gathers minerals. Of course, I was also told as a teenager that it was a great idea to put baby oil on your skin in the summer so that I would turn a deep dark brown. That’s just a reminder to consider our sources.
At any rate, Phoenix’s hard water is the reason that you will see Water & Ice stores all over the place. The first time I saw one of these stores I was a young, wet-behind-the-ears woman coming from a place where Coors beer was brewed from Rocky Mountain spring water. I couldn’t imagine why there was a need for a store that sold water and ice. After all, in Colorado, I could get a glass out of my cupboard, get a few cubes of ice out of my refrigerator, go to the sink and get myself a glass of good-tasting water. Water that wouldn’t give you a stomach ache. It didn’t take me many visits to AZ before I realized why there were water and ice stores – because both water and ice must come from someplace other than your sink.
One of the first things Bill and I purchased when we moved into our AZ home was a water dispenser. So, every two or three weeks, we drive to the nearest Water & Ice store, fill up our three big jugs with water that has gone through reverse osmosis, pay the attendant, and drive home……
It’s frankly a pain in the neck, but it’s the price we pay to have drinkable water. Many people install reverse osmosis devices in their homes; we haven’t done that as of yet. The water is inexpensive and it’s not like our days are frantic. Likely some day we will revert to that option.
When I had my overnight stay at Hotel Banner Hospital in March, I mentioned to the nurse that I have had three small bowel obstructions, and they have all been while we have been in AZ. That seemed particularly unusual to me, I told her, since we spend less time here than in Denver. She looked at me, raised an eyebrow, and said, “Hmmm, could it be the water?”
I don’t know. Could it?
My family and friends who know me are laughing at this post right now because they know how hard I have to work to get eight glasses of water into my system each day. I’m rarely thirsty, and when I am, it’s not for water. But I dutifully fill my water jug each day – twice, in fact – and drink the water. So there!
But if the nurse – a highly-educated medical professional – thinks it might be the water, who am I to argue? I prefer gin over water any day of the week.
Not eight glasses, however, so don’t start planning an intervention.