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Escape-Room Escapades

Parents Prove Useless in Puzzling Through Adventure Game

Starshine and family, saving the world one Dark Wizard at a time.

We’re almost out of time — but I think we’re gonna make it. We’ve got five minutes left to unlock the chest that holds the ingredients to the potion that will defeat the Dark Wizard.

And then maybe grab some Yogurtland on the way home.

My husband, our sons, and I are in an escape room, and the clock is ticking. There are thousands of these adventure games all over the world now: a room or series of rooms intricately appointed with inconspicuous clues and puzzles, each one leading to another. You must solve them all within one hour to accomplish the goal: “Lift the curse!” “Steal the jewels!” “Defuse the bomb!” Each room has a unique story and aesthetic, from pirate’s treasure to haunted house.

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Dog People Are Happier Than Cat People

Study Settles One Part of Age-Old Debate

You may not like it. Heck, you may not even contribute to it. But in today’s America, you simply can’t escape it: Most of our citizens shake out into two diametrically opposed camps and seem to be constantly squaring off — often neighbor against neighbor, even — squabbling through the same old debate with clenched fists, raised voices and closed minds, dismissing one another’s points of view as so much flapjaw hogwash.

I’m referring, of course, to our nation’s flawed but abiding two-pet system — and I ain’t talking donkeys and elephants.

For perhaps centuries, animal lovers have fought like cats and dogs over which is the better pet: the domesticated hound or the common housecat. Now, at long last (it’s been, like, millennia in dog years), a study finally settles one aspect of the quarrel: Dog owners are just happier than cat owners.

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Uber for Junior?

Ride-Hailing Companies Recognize Parents’ Need for Kid-Hauling Help

Here’s a little secret no one tells you about raising children but so help me it’s true: The job is 23 percent parenting and 77 percent schlepping.

From lugging the buggers around in utero to hauling them here and there in Bjorns, slings, wraps, bassinets, and strollers-that-ought-to-have-turn-signals to driving them back and forth to playdates, school, lessons, sporting events, camps, medical appointments, and emergency trips to In-N-Out Burger — being a modern mom or dad is less about shepherding your kids toward adulthood than shuttling them to activities.

Sure, the most terrifying automobile ride you’ll ever take is the one home from the hospital with your firstborn child. It seems the entire world outside of your vehicle is both designed and determined to wreak calamity on the fragile human you’ve just labored to create.

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New Target Doesn’t Hit the Bull’s Eye

But It Scratches an Itch I’ve Been Trying to Reach for 17 Years

SB Independent

At this point, it would be hard to calculate which is greater: the number of words I’ve written about Target over the years, the number of purchases I’ve made at Target, or the number of hours I’ve spent pining for a Target right here in my hometown.

I’ve hosted a Target haiku contest and investigated the freaky phenomenon that compels some shoppers to relieve themselves in Target loos. But it all started 17 years ago when I wrote a column professing the unwholesome addiction my friends and I have to the retailer.

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Are You a Lawnmower Parent?

College Admissions Scandal Reveals Dangers of Clearing Smooth Path for Kids

You’re really not a parent of import anymore unless you’ve nabbed yourself a slick motor-vehicle label. First there were Helicopter Parents, hovering figuratively over their poor children’s heads, overseeing every miserable aspect of their orchestrated lives. I never fretted much over this classification, as it doesn’t apply to me; I lack the energy to be that controlling.

But the latest sobriquet intended to shame inept moms and dads hits a little closer to home. Like the front yard.

Have you heard of Lawnmower Parents? Known in chillier climes as Snowplow Parents and in less subtle neighborhoods as Bulldozer Parents, these are the well-meaning but misguided folks who continually clear a smooth path for their children, pre-empting any potential embarrassments, challenges and discomforts, and removing any obstacles that might impede Junior’s success. (Some call them Curling Parents, after the Olympic sport that involves shoving a toddler, sorry, a heavy stone towards a goal while someone sweeps the ice in front of it to decrease friction.)

From innocuous-sounding things like rushing to school with a forgotten lunch to more obvious line-crossing like calling in a sick day for your child so she can finish an overdue homework assignment, Lawnmower Parents think they’re being helpful. Supportive. Even loving. But the recent college admissions scandal showed us how parents can go from mowing lawns to clear-cutting entire freaking forests for their kids.

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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