nintendodsWe didn’t take as many family vacations when I was a kid as we do with our own children, but one trip stands out. We did the cross-country drive from New York to Los Angeles, stopping at the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Disneyland.

When we got home, our cat was gone. My parents claimed that an unnamed ‘friend’ had taken him, then fallen in love and decided to keep him. The truth was that they had our cat put to sleep.

Then they did the old bait & switch – before we could get too broken up over this, they got us a dog.


My siblings and I had no idea about Flash’s untimely demise until recently, but I started thinking about it when Kim Orlando tried to get her kids to give up electronics on a family vacation to Aruba.

Travel somewhere (Europe, Asia, Africa) where their chargers won’t work and use the excuse that you can’t recharge because the plug doesn’t work. If your kids are young enough, they will accept this. If you need them to have a handheld gaming device for the way home, you can suddenly find the correct plug just before you leave for home, and juice up the device.

This could get you out of your comfort zone, driving to Cincinnati to see the in-laws. Sorry, can’t visit; we need to take the kids somewhere they can unplug.

We used a bit of subterfuge when our youngest daughter became obsessed with a particularly noxious cassette tape that she had to hear in the car. We would play it over & over, until our older daughters would scream. Then they got iPods and tuned out the horrid noise – but we still had to listen.

So the tape ‘broke.’

Shortly after that, cassettes became obsolete, and CDs don’t break. Unless your kids are too young to know any better.