I also realized I abandoned my hard water treatment story without telling you the ending! Well the first wash with the anti-hard water stuff was great - but then they started to not be as encouraging. My hair found its way back to pre-treatment state even right after treatment. It was disheartening. I may start using apple cider vinegar 'conditioner' to strip out the effects of hard water....we'll see if I ever remember to do so.
But! I have figured out that whipping my hair around is doing wonders for the volume. 6-8 head swings in the morning not only loosens up my back but makes my hair big and curly all day! It's a simple, effective, free technique I am quite enjoying. You can see before and after in the grey and orange top below.
Also my hair is well past my waist if I pull it straight - it hits my hip bones. Maybe I should straighten it one day soon to show off the length.