Engineering, Empty Water Bottles, and A Boring Afternoon

I will be the first to admit we have a problem when it comes to using plastic water bottles here. They do get recycled and we legitimately have been advised not to drink our water because of the sodium content and other TDS in our well water. It’s safe, so we use it for cooking, but because some of us are watching sodium intake for health reasons, it’s been recommended that we avoid downing glass after glass.

This means we always have bottles lying around waiting for recycling day. Our oldest (13) – affectionately known s basement troll or basement goat (his voice is cracking!) came up when I got home from the office on Friday and was on the hunt.

One single bottle. Fill it with water. Disappear downstairs. Back 10 minutes later. Repeat. Three or four times.

By now I’m remarkably curious and a little bit concerned because what on earth could he be doing? Elaborate water fountain? Crazy water cannon? Some kind of booby trap? (Is that a politically correct term?) The random thoughts racing through my mind are epic and I’m imagining a flooded mess across his little corner of the basement. (Only 4 water bottles. I didn’t say they were rational thoughts.)

Turns out the boy – the bored and incredibly lazy boy – was building a weighted automatic door closer. Who said you can’t learn something from YouTube? Through some trial and error – some experimenting with various tensile ropes, adjusting the number of bottles, and replacing pushpins with nails – he found a system that works.

I’m at turns both strangely proud and absolutely befuddled. It’s not like it’s hard to close a door behind you… but the other perspective is that an afternoon of creativity and engineering always wins!

His next project involved pliers and a fork. I may have just played ignorant and hoped no one lost an eye…

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