I grew up with hard water. That was just the way it was! It was later that we got into the water softener thing, the first house we bought had one. Pulled old pipes out of houses back there, galvanized pipes had just a narrow water path down the center. They had become lime-lined over the years!
Here surface water is the source, rather than wells into limestone, so water softeners are extremely rare. In fact, I only know of one person who has one. He wasn't up to putting one in himself, and he had a tough time finding anyone that sold/installed them, since there is no demand. He wanted one because he always had one in another state. With slab on grade construction here, I wouldn't want to think about how to get access to the waterline at the right point.
since the topic of the original post many pages back was "Working Wives & Retirement", shouldn't your wife be the one to exercise all those valves per your maintenance schedule?
I've seen (elsewhere!) that water softeners have become packaged differently. Rather than plumbing equipment with a welding-tank look like they used to be. But underneath, I think the basic process is the still the same. Still have to have valves either mechanically or electrically activated.
Many years ago I remember at a house next door back there the Culligan Man bumping a resin tank carrier up and down their basement stairs. "Hey Culligan Man!"