1. A few years ago I was home on parental leave for three months with a baby who slept all day. That free time was a gift that I put to use writing and building many things, the most notable of which was this outdoor bathtub that is plumbed for hot water and intended as a low cost, chemical free alternative to a hot tub.
    You can read about how and why I did it here:
  2. PRO: It's the most relaxing place in my small world
    Raising small kids means being home a lot. An hour stolen here in the morning or evening is an amazing gift, every time.
  3. CON: Can't use it in the winter
    So wonderful in the summer and spring, still usable in the fall on sunny or mild days, but pretty much closed for the winter because the heat is lost so quickly. I've entertained ideas of rigging it up to a wood fired water heater but I like the simplicity of its current state.
  4. PRO: The birds
    Hummingbirds zipping in to see what's up; the chirping symphony in the morning; a hawk once landed on the fence above the tub and sat there for about three minutes
  5. CON: All the other wildlife
    Squirrels chasing each other across the top of the fence, trying to jump to the roof of the bathhouse, falling inches from the tub; raccoon paw prints all around the rim sometimes in the morning, they leave a huge mess inside if it's not kept covered.
  6. PRO: Kids love it
    In the summer we use it as a cool pool on hot days for the kids and their friends, they're occupied for hours by the Swiss Family Robinson vibe.
  7. CON: The Viagra/Cialis jokes
    Those Cialis commercials with the couple holding hands in outdoor bathtubs is what springs to most people's minds when they first see it, so I've heard variations on this joke hundreds of times.
  8. PRO: It cost pennies compared to a hot tub installation and the experience return is immeasurable
    We were moments away from pulling the trigger on a hot tub when I had this idea instead. Not only is the low maintenance a dream, the full experience is so much more satisfying than sitting in chemically treated bubbles. I still love hot tubs on vacation.