#EngineerClips – Bathing with Bottles


by Kenneth Hardman

“Jake!” Mom calls out from the bathroom.

“Ya, Mom?”

“Why is there a case of bottled water in my bathtub?”

“It’s an engineering experiment, for my middle-school science class.”

“An engineering exp…?” Mom pauses, then slowly inquires. “Let me guess, you are… trying to optimize… water cooling by…”

Jake enters the room. “No. It’s a water conservation experiment.”

“So…” Mom scratches her head. “You are re-using bath water by putting it in the bottles?”

“No, Mom.” Jake exhales a puff of air. “The water bottles displace, or reduce the water needed for the bath. You get the same deep soak with two gallons less fresh water using thirty-two, 8 ounce bottles.”

Mom now squinting, and still scratching her head. “Thirty-two? Do I have to sit on the bottles?”

“Of course not. Thanks to Archimedes’, the small air bubble in each bottle keeps it buoyant, barely breaking the water surface. They’re small enough that they should move around easily in the bath.”

“Oh!” Mom gets it, thinking through the process. “Who’s Archimedes’? Never mind. So, do I have to tell my friends that I bathe with plastic bottles?”

“Look,” Jake walks to the tub and picks up a bottle. “In addition to satisfaction helping the planet, you get drinking water storage, waste water reduction, less guilt from taking a 30 gallon bath instead of a 15 gallon shower, and reduced land fill, all by giving up your pride. And! If you get thirsty while bathing, well, they’ve never been opened; just grab a bottle. Oh, and did I mention the free reading material? The labels are waterproof.”

About Kenneth Richard Hardman

AncestorClips are very short stories about very real people. Each clip nurtures awareness of a time, a place, and the character of a man or woman who cultivated a path for our life. The reader feels the good, the obstacles, the happiness, the sadness, and the overcoming. They cheer us, make us resilient when challenged, give us purpose, and connect us to our multi-generational family. Each story is followed by reflections from the author and readers sharing how the story strengthened or inspired them. Ken Hardman is a son, a brother, a grandson, a great-grandson… He is also a husband, father and grand-father. Ken is a professional engineer, engineering mentor, technical writer, and associate technical fellow at a major aerospace company. He is a writer of engineering and family history stories. Please join Ken in reading, reflecting upon, or writing #AncestorClips
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