Matter, Energy, and Life of Michael A. Castello.

An Evening of Pots

Now that we live further away from scorching desert heat, Rachel and I have been attempting to expand our porch-garden. When we saw a good deal on glazed clay pots, we figured it was probably time to commit to moving our plants out of spare storage bins and mop buckets. Loading our haul into the car, I momentarily visualized the potential disaster I was creating, in which the fragile ceramics broke loose from their rudimentary restraints and started rolling around in the trunk.

It turns out it was a vision of the future, since that outcome occurred immediately with the first turn out of the parking lot. One pot broke, and in a complication I did not foresee, the two big ones I had nested inside each other wedged themselves together. Despite my frustrated tugging, they remained stubbornly fused. I set them in the living room, repeating my prior attempts each time I passed by.

Enter Adam, my equally nerdy geeky Child Neurology co-intern. He saw the pots in the living room and I explained my current plight. Naturally he took it as a puzzle, and before long we had set about attempting to use the Power of Science to separate them. We filled the bathtub with hot water…and quickly discovered that the water was far too hot to stand in. We solved that temporary setback by putting a cooler in the tub that I balanced in about as awkwardly as Davy Jones on land.

Once we had the pots established in the tub, we filled the inner pot with ice water and dish soap. After about an hour of equilibration, we banged them on the ground over a soft towel. With an ceramic clunk, they separated, hardly worse for the wear. Voilà!

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