My Family's Little 'Drinking Problem'​ Made Us Take Drastic Measures

kids drinking waterMy family and I have a new addition, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s not a new baby. Nor is it the puppy my son has been begging for since he said his first words. And yet, strangely, we are over the moon about our recent arrival. 

The newest member of our family of five? The one we're all so excited to welcome? Well, it's a .... water cooler.

Huh? I know, right, not what you were expecting. But allow me to explain why our bundle of joy, which ordinarily I’d write off as a frivolous waste of $25 a month, is such a life-changer.


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For years we’ve had one of those plastic water filter jugs (I will be good and not mention brands here), which no one except me, the mom, ever refilled. It was like the big, clumsy brother of our always-empty ice cube trays. When it actually had water in it, no one except me, the mom, ever put it in the fridge.

So, when you’d come into the kitchen parched in search of a refreshing, chilled glass of H2O, what you'd get instead was a thimble-full of lukewarm water. Out of a jug that was turning brownish around the edges. Then you’d refill it and wait, for what seemed like the same amount of time it would take to swim the English Channel, for it to filter the water in a maddeningly slow drip-drip-drip.

When I’d get really frustrated with this system, I’d break down and buy those 24-packs of plastic water bottles. But with three boys playing year-round sports, plus a thirsty husband and wife, that can get pretty pricey very quickly. Also, I hate thinking about all those bottles spending the next million years in a landfill. Or, in the short term, rolling indefinitely around the second and third rows of my mini-van, where the kids invariably squeeze or step on them, emitting a God-awful crunch that always makes me think I’ve just sideswiped a car. 

So, I’ve had my eye on this whole water cooler thing for years now. Could I justify spending that much money on something that should be a free natural resource? I didn’t want to, but before you write me off as wasteful, allow me to tell you something in my defense: Our tap water tastes like the chlorinated swill you’d find in the town kiddie pool. Something had to give.  

When I found out that this wellspring, if you will, would arrive just days after ordering it, I told the kids. Honestly, you’d have thought I’d said we were going to Disney World or trading in our little red wagon for a race car. Could we really be this fancy? they asked. Yes, kids, we could be, especially because new customers receive a $50 credit which covers the first two months. Score!

Now this big blue oasis is adorning the corner of our kitchen like some sort of Holy Grail, and we couldn’t be more excited. In fact, we’re drinking like diapers test dummies and loving it. I’ve chucked the old container and am so excited that I’ll no longer have to thank guests for their patience while they wait 20 minutes for four ounces of water to trickle out of the filter. 

Plus, I keep thinking about that 42-year-old woman who claimed she drank three liters of water a day and it took 10 years off her face. I’m ready to turn back time -- how about you?

And as I said, I'm not the only one who's delighted, which may have been the biggest surprise of all. When my 12-year-old filled up his first glass, he was ecstatic. "It’s brain-freeze cold!" he exclaimed. 

"Is that good?" I asked.  

"Yes! Everyone wants freezing cold water, Mom! That’s why dogs drink from the toilet!" 

(Okay, there's another reason that puppy isn’t arriving any time soon!)

As thrilled as we are, there are a few negatives. First, this thing hums -- loudly. Second, it makes these indecent gurgling sounds, like maybe it has irritable bowel syndrome. Lastly, while it will help me refill our trusty reusable water bottles much more quickly, it doesn’t eliminate them. How I look forward to a day when I open a cabinet and they don’t all come cascading down on my head! At least the water is pre-chilled, so I won’t have to try to stuff skinny ice cubes (if we have any ice at all) into the narrow mouths of those bottles. So it's a start, at least.

If you’ve experienced similar problems and are considering getting a water cooler, I’d highly recommend it. Bottoms up!

What's the "drinking water" situation in your family?  

Image © Stefanie Grewel/Corbis 

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