Monday, May 07, 2018

Managing Energetic Kids - The Fox & the Hounds Game

Age and Intelligence beats youth and energy, but only if you actually use your aged intelligence. Kids are notoriously energetic. It is the purpose of every teacher and youth leader to wear down kids so they will take a nap and give you a badly needed break.

The great traditional game for wearing out children is "Tag".  There's only a problem with Tag as played with today's precious snowflakes. The problem is that the person who is "It" is the center of attention. And today's children want to be the center of attention no matter what.

So when we played tag with our school kids and my children in residential treatment, we used to have a problem getting the "It" person to chase and tag anyone. They wanted to stay "It" so they only pretended to chase people. Other kids wanted to be "It" so they would run up to whoever was "It" and try to make him tag them. Everybody got bored and stopped playing.

The solution was to invert the game so you have to run in order to be the center of attention. So we came up with this game called "The Fox and the Hounds".  Here's how you play.


  • Large playing field, or lightly wooded terrain.
  • Faux fur tail - basically a piece of fake fur or soft cloth about three feet long


There are no teams. There is one person who is the fox and everyone else is a hound. Can be played by 3 or more people.  If you have 20 or so kids, you can have multiple foxes for completely chaotic (and wonderfully exhausting) play.

How to play:
  1. Select your first fox. Explain that he or she remains the fox until someone grabs their tail. The fur tale is inserted in the back of the child's belt or pants (not too far unless you want to lose your pants when someone pulls your tail out.
  2. Explain to the rest that they are hounds and their job is to chase the fox, while making barking or baying sounds just like hounds.
  3. Give the fox a 15 second head start and turn him loose. Signal the hounds to begin the chase and watch the fun.
  4. When the hounds run down the fox and someone grabs its tail, stop the game. 
  5. Set up the new hound with a tail and turn him loose again, wait the 15 seconds and then release the hounds!
  6. Everybody wants to be the fox so the chase gets pretty energetic. The game usually lasts about 20 or 30 minutes before everyone is exhausted. 
Strategy Tips:
  • The structure of the game is a great equalizer. If the fastest kid in the group becomes the fox, the "hounds" learn pretty quickly to do what a wolf pack does. They chain run the fox. A couple of kids chase him till they get tired, then another couple of kids chase him and so forth until he gets exhausted and slows down to the point where someone can catch him. The chase patterns get so mixed up that even the slowest kids may snag the tail as the fox runs past.
  • At any rate the game is fast-paced, exhausting and guaranteed to wear out the little darlings using their own desire to be the center of attention against them. The Fox has everyone chasing him so he's the center of attention so he runs very fast to retain the attention of the group. The hounds want to BE the center of attention so they run very fast to catch him. This adds up to one exhausting session.

This one works great if you'd like the kids to go home worn out and sleep soundly. You have to learn to judge how tired they are or they nod off in their mashed potatoes at supper.

© 2018 by Tom King

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Quick Odd Way to Relieve Leg Pain

Okay, this isn't going to be anything racy. It's just that when I looked up leg pain for a picture, there was nothing but pictures of women rubbing their legs. I tried to find the least stimulating one I could find since I hope to be taken seriously here. My wife, Sheila has trouble with leg pain and we've tried Tylenol, Tylenol and Ibuprofen and leg cramp pills. We've tried ice and heating pads and foot rubs. Nothing worked very well until my crazy sister-in-law offered an off-the-wall remedy. It's simple.

  • Two teaspoons of dill pickle juice. 

That's it. Dill pickle juice!
Just take two and oddly enough within minutes the pain begins to fade away. It did it just now. Sheila was in pain an hour ago. I gave her some pickle juice and she's drifted off to sleep and the pain went away.

I don't know exactly why it works, and even doctors aren't sure but it does.  Pickle juice according to a Harvard study is rich in water and electrolytes. It has more salt that Gatorade and there is some thought that it's acidity also contributes to its power. There are a variety of causes of leg cramps. These include dehydration, loss of electrolytes, low potassium, low sodium, fatigue and the side effects of several medical conditions that cause restricted blood flow. Pickle juice also replenishes glycogen in the body after exercise and does so very quickly. It may be that it is so effective because it takes less time for pickle juice to relieve leg cramps than it does to be absorbed in the stomach. So the pickle juice seems like it doesn’t have to be absorbed into the bloodstream for the effects to be felt.

Anyway, it works downright quickly.

Give it a try. It's scary how well it works.

© 2017 by Tom King

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How to Fix a Sleep Number Bed Wired Controller With Hard to Push Buttons

Okay, I'll fess up on this one. The controller buttons on my wired Sleep Number Bed controllers had been getting harder and harder to push. I looked up the cost of replacement controllers and after they removed the defibrillator I was struck by the knowledge that I would have to see if I could fix them. I still stalled until after the warranty ran out even though the controllers weren't covered in the warranty.


With my heart in my throat, I assembled my tools not knowing if I was going to fix it or screw it all up and have to buy very expensive new controllers.  Here's what you need.

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 4 Q-tips
  • Alcohol
  • Cotton swab

Unplug the electric cord so you don't sock yourself and follow the directions under the pictures below.

First turn the controller over and remove the three screws. Gently lift off the bottom half.


Remove the screw from the circuit board and remove the board and the wires gently.

Note the carbon buildup on the contacts below the up and down controller buttons. 

Remove the buildup by gently rubbing the affected area with a Q-tip moistened with alcohol. Immediately dry the area with a cotton ball so as not to damage the circuit board. Watch out as you do not to dislodge the LCD screen assembly.

Next clean the button contacts of any buildup. Gently rub with a Q-tip moistened with alcohol and dry immediately with a dry cotton ball to prevent damage to the contact.

If the screen assembly does fall out, don't worry. In the photo to the right, you see the screen and the plastic platform. There is a conductor pad stuck to the LCD screen. It's easily dislodged from the screen. Don't worry if if comes loose.

 The circuit board looks like this if the LCD screen falls off. Don't worry. Everything sits in place and works fine. Nothing to worry about reconnecting.

To reset the LCD screen, first place the connector pad in the position shown in the top half of the plastic housing as shown.

Next lay the LCD screen face down in the frame and put the plastic platform over it with the solid top facing up.


Lay the circuit board face down over the buttons and screen on top of the front plastic plate. Align the center screw and tighten it down securely. Fit the cord into the mounting slot as shown.

 Reset the back plate over the front plate and replace the three screws. Tighten the controller assembly and you're done.

Note the carbon residue left on the Q-tips.  Flip the controller over. Plug the pump back in and give it a try. You'll find the controllers work as easily as they did when they were new. And you won't need a defibrillator because you had to buy new controllers.

 That's all there is to it. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I feared it would be.  This was a much easier project that I thought it would be. Fix it and your spouse will think you're a genius, especially if you don't show her (or him) this article. Let 'em think you are brilliant.

© 2017 by Tom King

* If you attempt this repair while your bed is still under warranty it may mess up the warranty though I don's see why or how it would. Check out your paperwork first to see if there will be a problem. Likely not, though. If you've got wired controllers, your bed is probably way out of warranty by now. That said, we've never had any trouble with our Sleep Number beds other than the stiff controller buttons.  Love our Sleep Number bed!