Ask Tessie: How do I get my kids to go outside? |

Ask Tessie: How do I get my kids to go outside?

Tahoe Tessie

Dear Tessie,

My kids have turned into Netflix-binging, iPhone-obsessed blobs. If they’re not checking out the latest Snapchat filters, they are scrolling through Instagram while simultaneously watching “Bob’s Burgers.” Any suggestions on how to get them out of the house and into nature?


Kids Might Have Been a Mistake

Dear Mistake,

One thing I’ve noticed about human nature is one’s ability to take their natural surroundings for granted. Your kids live in one of the most spectacularly scenic places in the world, and from what it sounds like they may as well be living in Detroit.

First off, you should have never bought your kids that latest iPhone and you must accept blame for the monsters you created. Replace those smartphones with dumb phones. And when I say dumb phones I mean if the screen has more than one color and it doesn’t have “Snake” built in, it’s too new. Now it’s going to take a delicate operation to get these new phones into your kids’ hands.

Sneak into their room at night so you can pry their smartphones from their curled hands while they are asleep. You’ll need to replace it immediately with the flip phone just like Indiana Jones did in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” lest they realize a phone is no longer in their hands and they wake up screaming at you.

Come morning they’ll realize what happened and … the next three days will be filled with whining, tantrums and possibly vomiting as they detox from the lack of blue light from the screen. Eventually, though, they’ll accept this new reality. Without the means of communicating with their friends solely by social media your kids now have a chance in life to actually form a personality and they’ll be more likely to look around them and realize that Tahoe is a pretty cool place that they’ve been missing out on for years now.

They may embark on their adventures alone for a while, but that’s when you share this advice with your fellow parents in the PTA. Good luck!

Dear Tessie,

I was wondering if you had any mountain biking tips for conquering the top of Mr. Toads. Specifically the waterfall portion. I can’t seem to get my ex-flatlander self to even attempt it. I’ve tried things like getting pads. I’ve even started using the words bro, stoke and rad to, you know, pump myself up. Alas, I just can’t seem to find the courage to do it.

Any recommendations would be appreciated.


Timid Tahoe Transplant

Dear Transplant,

To see if you are ready to tackle one of Tahoe’s most iconic downhill trails, let’s first take a look at your skiing preferences. Are you the type who finds solace skiing the trees in Jack’s Bowl all day long or are you more content lapping those groomers?

You say you prefer Sugar N Spice? That’s what I thought. In that case perhaps mountain biking in general just isn’t for you. Trade in that full suspension for some spandex and a road bike, my friend, because that’s more your style.

In the off chance you ignore that sage advice, though, here’s what you need to do to get ready to slay Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

First off, mountain biking can be dangerous even if you know what you’re doing, which you obviously don’t. So the first thing you need is peace of mind. You think the worst thing about wrecking spectacularly is the broken bones you’ll get? Oh no, you’ll be paying for that Care Flight ride in the helicopter LONG after those wounds have healed. Buy an annual membership to AirMedCare. It’s only $65 and covers everyone in your household.

Now that you know your personal finances won’t be utterly ruined for the rest of your life, buy even more padding. If you don’t look like you’re wearing a sumo fat suit going down the hill in a football helmet then you are doing it wrong.

Got the padding and the AirMedCare membership? Great! Go rub a bunch of dirt on your clothing and your face. Now you’re ready to head to Divided Sky to tell everyone at the bar that you just finished Mr. Toads! They don’t need to know that you wussed out. Congratulations!

Tahoe Tessie is a humorous take on the standard advice column. It is produced by the Tribune staff, and it is not meant to be taken literally. Have a question you want to ask Tessie? Send it to

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