Friday, September 05, 2008

So young, they learn to sacrifice for Science...

My husband is upstairs giving the girls their bath, and explaining that tomorrow, he is leaving town for a week or so to do some fieldwork.

He's an oceanographer. Fieldwork means going to sea. (Yes, it's hurricane season. Details, details. He's not explaining that part.)

Anyway I just heard him ask our daughters if he can take their little backyard baby pool on his Big Trip, and solemnly promise to get them a new one "if it gets wrecked." It will help him in his research, he said. (I think he wants to use it to mix a special fluorescent dye, which he'll then dump into the ocean, and track its vertical and horizontal diffusion by measuring its concentrations as it spreads. Some of the measurements will be made using a laser which will be aimed at the dye patch from a small plane flying overhead. It's cool stuff, and none of it can happen without the little plastic pool!)

"So would that be OK, if I borrowed your kiddie pool?"
"Can the new one be pink?" they asked.
"I don't know what color."
"We want it to be pink."
"I don't know what color the new one would be."
"OK, you can take it, but if we need a new one, it should be pink."

Actually, if it's to be used the way I assume it is, the old one will be extraordinarily pink when he's done with it -- and "wrecked" won't quite cover its condition.

Hey, this could be a Teachable Moment... I should sell them baby pool insurance with fine print that excludes damage incurred during use in scientific research by grown-ups. It'll be a tough lesson when they try to collect, but on the up side, they'll be totally prepared to buy homeowner's insurance on Cape Cod.

Update: He's not using the pool to mix the dye; evidently that's done in big barrels. He'll be using it to pre-soak certain instruments in sea water before they get dropped in the ocean. So the old pool will still probably be beat up, but it won't be fluorescent pink. Pity.


  1. Those little pools are great for a lot of things. We use them in our church at summer picnics to put cold dishes in. We fill the pool with ice and plop the cold food dishes into the ice. It works nicely and is cheaper than the insulated bins they sell for just that purpose.

    Your hub sounds a lot like the scientists my hub works with at NOAA. My husband is a computer programmer and programs Geographic Information Systems, working closely with various scientists incl. oceanographers. Small world.

  2. Yep, back in my oil spill cleanup days, we had tons of uses for them. Usually we thought of these uses in midwinter, when in this part of the world there is not a baby pool to be had for any cost.

  3. that is too funny, having such conversation with little ones!