Tag: milton hooper

Letting Go Letgo

I tried it and now I’m done. Commercials for the Letgo app got my attention. I wanted to turn stuff I didn’t want into money. Easy right?

Let me say this – it was an improvement over Craigslist where at least you knew the basic identity of the people you were dealing with and, unlike Craigslist, you had to register and were rated as a user. But even with those improvements, it was still the same experience. Yes, if you are willing to deal with the headache of accommodating people to sell stuff then you can make money.

Whether it is Craigslist or Letgo, you still have to deal with people and I don’t have the patience for it.

The last straw for me was my recent potential buyer. I posted a loveseat with all the specs, measurements and photos. He messaged me through the Letgo app and said he was interested. He later asked if the loveseat would fit in a sedan. Seriously dude? Do you not understand measurements?

He later texted some weird jibberish that I could only decipher that he was going to pay for it and pick it up later. It wasn’t completely clear. I decided to just shut it down and take the loveseat off. He was texting some weird crap. Regardless of how much safer Letgo tried to make it, I know that people are still unpredictable and it can be just as dangerous.

Since using Letgo I have made some money but the hassle that goes with it makes it more work than it needs to be. People are damn divas. They want you to deliver or load it and almost gift wrap it for them. One buyer asked if I would give them the sectional I had listed for free. Or when the buyer arrives they want to talk you lower.

The worst part of it is when people say they are interested and you set up a time and they are no-shows. No message. Nothing. I don’t really understand that or why people would do that. Then you also have people who message you that they are interested and you hear nothing else from them.

One of the things that is annoying is how people expect you to help them load it. I have been specific in the ads that I can NOT help them load due to a neck injury and yet people still show up with no help to load furniture or bring their kids to load heavy pieces of furniture.

I honestly don’t know what people are thinking. It is silly to assume people will treat you the way you would treat others. They don’t.

If you are thinking about doing this app or any other service like it, let me give you some advice:

  • Always be safe. If you feel uneasy about the buyer, don’t do it. Don’t do any transactions at night. Don’t give out your address until the buyer is on the way.
  • Don’t assume the buyer will buy your stuff. Even if they do show up they may decide they don’t want the item. That’s okay. Pictures don’t always capture it properly. Colors might not be what the buyer wants. Don’t force the buyer to take it. If anything, be willing to lower the price.
  • Don’t hold items for people. I know this sounds harsh but if you want to sell something, sell it to whoever gets there first. I have held items for people who were apparently messing with me and never showed up or responded to messages. Sell it and move on.
  • Don’t load stuff for people. If they don’t have the help or way to load the item, turn them away. Sorry but you don’t need to throw your back out if someone didn’t plan properly. If you are selling a sofa and someone pulls up in a sedan, it’s not your job to make it work.
    Have LOTS of patience. Trust me you will need it. People will not show up. They will be late. Expect anything.

Can you make money using Letgo? Yes, you absolutely can. Is it worth the hassle? That depends on the level of your patience. If you are working a full time job or a set schedule, it might not be the thing for you.

It’s not for me. I’m letting it go.

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Pro Scooter League Teams Finalized

The new kids on the block will be rolling into eight cities in October.

Last week, the teams adopted their nicknames and assigned team managers for the X-treme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL) inaugural season this fall.

The teams will be:

  • Atlanta Avengers
  • Austin Scorpions
  • Los Angeles Sunbirds
  • Nashville Boot Scooters
  • New York Juggernauts
  • Orlando Wizards
  • St. Louis Sorcerers
  • San Francisco Muggles

Teams will now focus on filling their rosters with local talented electric scooter talent.  Open tryouts have begun in most cities and should continue through the end of June.

The Nashville Boot Scooters held their first open tryout last Wednesday in the Gulch.  Team Manager Ryan Cooper was overwhelmed with the response as over 200 riders reported to the open tryout.

tryout
Scooter rider takes a spill during Nashville’s Open Tryouts

“I was stunned by it.  We expected maybe 50-11 but we had 223 register for the tryout.  We will definitely have a large group of players to pick from and some difficult decisions,” he said.

Teams will eventually fill their rosters with 21 players.

A parking lot was blocked off in the Gulch for the tryouts as players showed their skills with their scooters as well as some drills involving Quidditch rules.  Players were excited about this new sport.

“It’s not on broomsticks like Harry Potter but it’s pretty damn close,” said Cyrus Antonio.  “This is going to be awesome and I’m glad Nashville has a team.  I hope I will make the roster.”

Players not only have to maneuver their scooters but they also have to have possession of a ball at some point in the game so being an expert rider is crucial.

“Yeah, you have to be good at it because you can’t always keep both hands on the scooter.  Some players are out here wiping out or not too steady with it,” said Antonio of other players.

While the XSQL adopts the rules of Quidditch, some modifications have been made to incorporate scooters.  This is a process that is continuing to be modified.

The Nashville team is still attempting to narrow down where their home games will be played in October when they will play seven games at home.  While the Gulch remains to be the most likely choice, finding the location to install the specially designed SportCourt will require space even with it being a temporary venue.

“We would like the Gulch, we won’t deny that.   It is the hip area of town and location where we will have a lot of scooter riders,” said Cooper.  “We hope to secure a place soon so we can set up and scrimmage to get ready for the season in October.”

[THIS IS A FICITIONAL SPORTS STORY.  IT IS INTENDED FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.]

Another Year Wiser?

Today I add another year onto my life. I would like to say something profound about how much wiser I am but I can’t say that I would believe it. Experience teaches us all and we hope it helps us to become wiser.

It would be nice if we always made the right decision but as we all know, it doesn’t always turn out that way. We do the best that we can.

I grew up with a strong church influence and have had to make my own way through it. It hasn’t always been easy and I have done some really stupid things but that’s all a part of life.

I have learned to pray about things, make the best decision I can and trust God with the results. Some people stress about making the absolute right decision on everything but life is filled with twists and turns. Sometimes you just don’t know if you made the right choices until you are down the road and look back.

One thing I always say is that the best ability that someone can have is the ability to adjust. We all get into routines and when those routines change, we have to be able to deal with them. Whether it is a job, new home or other changes we face. My wife and I recently moved and this move changed several routines and my ability to adjust has been tested. I am still a little out-of-sync but I also realize it will take time and then the new changes will be the routine.

Today as I reach the number of 55 years, I can say I don’t think of myself being 55 but physically I feel it. I can tell you that at this point in life the years add up quicker than you want. The world seems to move faster around you while you slow down. I guess that’s the way life works. I can’t say that I am happy about that but sometimes you just do best to accept things that you can’t change.

Am I wiser today? I don’t think so.

You just live and be happy. Everyone has their own idea of what makes them happy and how to live their dream. Some actually realize their dream while others continue to chase theirs. Sometimes you have to make difficult choices to be happy. I know I have been there myself and you just have to do what you have to do to get there.

Don’t rely on looks because looks fade. When you find love, hold on to it and fight for it. True love is ageless. It is always wise to choose love. Yeah I know that sounds a bit mushy but if I am wiser about anything, it is love. Love is worth it.

Live your life and make wise choices and hold onto love.

Surviving The House Process

 

overwhelmedMy wife and I just experienced one of the most stressful events that an adult experiences – selling and buying a house.

I won’t lie. It was a pain in the arse and this wasn’t our first rodeo as they say.  Between us we have moved over 100 times in our lifetime.  I always say I will never do it again but somehow I always find my way back repeating this experience.  It could be that we are just wandering souls or something.  I do know that I’m getting too old for this.

This most recent experience was the worst. Do you know what the worst part was? Dealing with people who are part the process. If you have never bought or sold a house I would suggest you prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions. If you’re married, you’d better have a strong marriage too.  It will test you in ways you can’t imagine.

Let me tell you some things you need to know about this process based on my personal experience:

#1 – It will always cost you more than you think.  There is always someone that has their hand out for your money.

#2 – You will have trust issues with realtors.  I don’t know a nice way to expound on this so I will just leave it at that.

#3 – Unexpected things happen.  You can never prepare for the things that come up in the process.

#4 – Expectations are not equal.  People will ask you to do things and expect immediate action; however, when you ask for something you get the delays, excuses and BS answers.

We are in our new house and we love it but it wasn’t easy. One thing we never figured we would have a problem with was radon. I didn’t even know much about radon until our test failed. Unfortunately most people don’t take it seriously and you have to fight to get things done about it. We were able to have a mitigation system installed to make it safe.

The financing went through pretty smoothly. You just have to get the finance people the information as soon as they ask for it so they can get the loan processed. One thing that has always gotten me every time is the cash-to-close. This is the amount of money you have to bring to closing. The amount always fluctuates up to the very day before closing. This part always drives me crazy. I use my VA benefits to finance me and they always say it is 100% percent financing but don’t let that fool you because there are always things you have to pay so it’s not totally 100%

Let me get my soap box out a moment and step up on it in regards to Comcast/Xfinity.  We did the responsible thing and called our cable/internet provider well in advance of our move.  One week before our move we discovered that our services had already been transferred to our new address.  It was an all-day ordeal and took SEVEN people before our service was restored.  That is utterly ridiculous.  Why can’t a customer call ONE person, explain the problem and they get on the big Comcast/Xfinity computer and correct their mistake?  They have good service but their customer service is terrible and that is if you even get a live person on the line.

Home inspections are not all created equal.  You never know what the inspector will find.  They all have their thing they focus on and it could be anything.  Many times they simply have to write something up just to prove that they are doing their jobs.  Just be prepared to fix something.  Many years ago, the buyer asked me to put a “z-brace” on a gate on our fence.  I had no idea what that was and it took some doing to get it done.

The moving process is an unnerving experience for sure.  You really discover how much crap you have.  If there is one piece of advice I could give you is that you don’t need to go cheap on moving.  We hired movers and they were awesome.  Even on a day when there were heavy thunderstorms, nothing got wet.  This still amazes me. Don’t skimp on hiring movers.  You definitely get what you pay for.

Right now I am emotionally spent and we face a long transition ahead to get this new house the way we want it.  I am just happy the move is done and we overcame the people in the process who made it difficult.  They all have their money now and we have our new house.

If you are considering buying or selling a home, just be prepared for everything and manage your expectations.  Also, if you think you can sell or buy it without representation, I would suggest you think about it.  I know the possibility of holding onto all of your profits is tempting but do you really want to deal with all the real estate things you would have to handle yourself?  Please think about representation to cover you.  You will need it.  Trust me.  You need to find the right realtor for you.  Sometimes this is quite difficult to do.  We didn’t have a pleasant relationship with ours.  I won’t go into details but it will push you to the limit if you don’t have a good one.  You will need encouragement during the process and not just advice to lower the price.

This experience is a process – a long process.  You will have to prepare yourself for it.  It is torture but if you keep your focus on the end result, you will make it.  Don’t let the people in the process ruin it for you.  If there’s one thing I kept in mind it was that after we close, we never have to see these people again. Once the papers are signed, they move on to the next client.

Buying or selling a house is stressful but a necessary process to accomplish your goal.  The process doesn’t last forever.  I promise you that sometimes it sure feels like it will never end but it does end.  It is quite a relief when it is over.

 

Is This A Sign or A Test?

I still get a little confused about this sometimes.

I have been a believer for most of my life and I still can’t always tell when God is giving me a sign or whether he is testing me. I think many times I look for signs rather than admit that God is testing me.

Right now is one of those times. I have asked God for a clear sign about something but I haven’t seen it. I have, however, dealt with some obstacles in this situation. I think we all want that “burning bush” sign but we don’t want to be in the fire during a test.

It is certainly difficult to keep one’s focus. I really try not to make things super spiritual but there are times you just have to depend on God.

I have thought about the story of the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3.  This is where the king issues a proclamation that everyone would worship the image of the king.  If they didn’t, they would be thrown into a flaming furnace.  Well, there were three dudes named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused.  They stood up for their worship to God alone.  They told the king that God would take care of them.  The king threw them into the furnace and even turned up the heat seven times hotter.  Now, you have to wonder how they were feeling.  They had to be scared at this point.  Today it would be “Okay God where is the sign?”  but none came.  God didn’t rescue them from the fire but preserved them IN the fire.  Not only did God protect them but they weren’t even touched by the fire.

This shows us that when the time for the test comes that we might still feel the intensity of the heat of the situation but God can protect us while we are in the fire.  Too many times we whine and complain when something happens to us.  We assume that because we are a believer that we won’t have a flat tire or someone will fuss at us about something.  We have to deal with these situations just like everyone else so the important thing is HOW do we deal with these situations.

I have had to deal with people recently that has made an experience very unpleasant.  I have been tested.  I am sure I haven’t passed every time.  I always look back and wonder how I could have handled things differently.  I am easily frustrated when someone doesn’t do their job and it creates an unnecessary stressful situation for me.   Silly me to expect someone to do their job.  At times I have not been so nice and others I have.  Yes, this has been a season of testing.

I don’t propose that I am anything like the three Hebrew guys that survived the fire but it is comforting that God was in the fire with them.

So why does God test us?   I have asked that question a lot recently.  I think He does it to show us what we need to work on.  Will we trust Him or will we try to do it ourselves?  After the last few weeks, I see that I need to work on a LOT.  I didn’t get an “F” but I didn’t get an “A” on the tests either.  It’s easy to trust God and sing songs when things are going your way but what happens when someone is in your face about something?  The test is when we can’t hear the praise soundtrack playing in the background.

Life is hard and it isn’t always fair.  We have to deal with it.  Even for believers.  Crap happens to us just like everyone else.  The tests are important to teach us.  I can’t say I like them but I know they are instrumental in developing my character.  Testing hurts.

So, if you are looking for signs, you might want to consider if it is really a test.  Is it a burning bush or a fiery furnace?

And, not to offend our spiritual views, but sometimes things aren’t a sign or a test. Sometimes things just happen. Mechanical things break. People are buttheads. That’s just part of the world we live in. We don’t have to make something spiritual of everything that happens to us. The microwave is going to break and sometimes people coming out to fix it will be totally incompetent. Stuff happens. God isn’t against us and sometimes neither God or the devil have anything to do with what is happening to us.

So whether it is a sign, a test or just stuff happening to us, we can still get through it without us losing our minds. Is it easy? Nope. Can we avoid it? Nope. We can only do the best we can and make the best decisions possible and leave the results to God.

 

 

Will XSQL Help or Hurt Scooter Craze?

May6aIt wasn’t long ago that downtown Nashville was void of electric scooters, now they have flocked the sidewalks, streets and bike lanes.  Will the new X-treme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL) quell some of the angst downtown commuters have with the electric scooter craze?

“No, absolutely not.  The damn things are a nuisance!  If anything, this so-called professional league will make things worse!” said Harry Smelderfelder who works downtown and is very agitated by the scooters.  “This new league only encourages more of them.  They need to be gone.”

Sally Jessy had another viewpoint.

“I actually think this league will help and may even encourage riders to maintain the image of scooters in the area.  Having a professional league is going to be cool.”

Jessy plans to participate in the first open tryout on May 15th.

“It will be one of the few leagues that will be co-ed and I think this is a great opportunity for female – or any sexual orientation – rider to get involved.”

Nashville Bootscooter’s team manager, Ryan Cooper, agrees with Jessy.

“We will not discriminate against anyone.  If you can master the electric scooter, you will be evaluated without regard to being male, female or any other.  We want this to be a league of inclusion as one of the first professional sports league to include anyone.  I think this will be one of the main things that will make an impact on scooter riders in the Music City.”

The Bootscooters hope to capitalize on the electric scooter craze and attract some of the more talented riders to make the team and promote the sport along with a positive image of electric scooters.

Nashville will join seven other cities in October when the league begins play.   The game will play a variation of quidditch to include riders on electric scooters instead of broomsticks.  The XSQL will build Sport Courts which will accommodate electric scooters.  The Nashville franchise is still working out a deal on where to set up their home field.  Some suggested locations have been The Gulch, Vanderbilt University and a location along the Riverfront.

“We are still working out the details,” Cooper added.  “We don’t want to announce anything prematurely until we know for sure and can begin marketing.”

It is expected that the home field will be a temporary location for the team’s seven home games.

Two other teams announced their names this week.  The Atlanta Avengers and Austin Scorpions join the Bootscooters, Orlando Wizards and St. Louis Sorcerers in announcing their names.  Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco will announce their names next week.

[THIS IS A FICTIONAL SPORTS STORY.  IT IS INTENDED FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.]

 

 

Living With Panic Attacks

I have never had a panic attack which is odd since I work a high stress job and my personality would certainly be susceptible to it.

My wife has them and I can tell you it is nothing to take lightly. A panic attack is a physical reaction to stress. Sometimes it can occur well after the stressful situation has passed. It can also be a chemical imbalance as well. It isn’t someone who is running around like a maniac. Sometimes you may not even know a person is having one. It also affects each person differently.

Here are some tips I have learned that might help you if you live with someone with panic attacks:

#1 – Do NOT tell the person to “calm down”

This is the worst thing you can say to someone who is having a panic attack. I know it seems like the obvious thing to say but it doesn’t help. A person having a panic attack can’t just “calm down”. The body is reacting to it and needs time for it to pass.

#2 – Get the person’s mind off of the situation

Talk about something else. Engage the person in a conversation. Try to avoid any stressful subjects. Play a trivia game or do some activity to get the person’s mind on something more pleasant. Don’t be cute about it either and try some cheap therapy techniques like asking them to count to 10 or close their eyes and image they are on a beach.

#3 – Be encouraging but don’t overdo it

The main thing is to be there for the person if they need something. Don’t smother them. Give them some time and space. They will recover in their own way. Don’t try to speed it up.

#4 – Remove them from the stressful situation.

Get the person to a safe place. Go to a park or anything that gives them a break from the situation. Learn what works and be ready to do it.

#5 – Do NOT take it lightly

Just because you don’t have panic attacks doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. It is a serious thing someone is dealing with. If you care about the person you will do what you can to help them.

#6 – Encourage healthy things

Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol may help relieve fear and anxiety. Getting regular sleep and exercise, and practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and yoga may also help.

We all have our own issues and ailments of our own. It is important to treat issues that others have with the same care and concern as if it were our own. Stress and anxiety is a real thing we all have to deal with and it affects us all in some way. I know when I have one of my headaches I have my own routine of getting over it. I know what works and what doesn’t work. It’s comforting to know that my wife knows me and knows how to handle me when I’m dealing with it. Sometimes just having her there is medicine in itself.

The key to knowing how to help someone with panic attacks is understanding. If you want more information about it, Google it. You will find an abundance of resources that will help you to understand it better and helping someone when they are having a panic attack.