Learning Tang Soo Do – Part 3

December 13th, 2011

It has been one month since I started Tang Soo Do. Three days ago I tested for my orange belt and passed. Congratulations me! The master brought us down to earth by saying that this was the easiest of the tests we will face earning our belts.

The morning of the test I was a bit anxious. All the things that we have been learning were flying through my head. Form 1, form 2, hand techniques 1-5, foot techniques 1-5 and self defense techniques 1-5. It’s almost like ordering Chinese food. “I’ll take hand technique number 3 please.” Ok, that was a bad joke. I needed to calm myself down so I spent a portion of the morning going through each aspect of the test in meditation. Thankfully Sue kept the boys rather calm so I could focus.

About forty five minutes before I had to be at the dojang I started drinking water and ate a Clif Bar. Clif Bars seem to give me just enough energy to make it through a karate session. When it was time to go I prayed then made my journey to the test.

When I got to Robinson’s Martial Arts Institute I saw that there were many more spectators than people testing. Normally that might make someone nervous but training sessions normally have a number of spectators so you get used to people watching you. I dressed in my dobak and headed to the back area of the studio to stretch and talk with some of the others that were testing. A couple of the black belts gave some encouraging words which definitely made me feel better. The call came for us to line up so the testing can begin.

Master tries to diffuse some of the nerves but it appears many students are still nervous. Master Robinson called the names of the green and brown belts so they can line up. He then dismissed them in favor of having the white belts test first. Each of the white belts were called to line up. We started off with the normal calisthenics then went through our kicks and blocks. We then went through the two forms we needed to know for the test. I think I started sweating a little after the second form was done. We then broke up into three groups of two and went through each of our kicks, ten kick for each leg, for each type of kick. My legs were feeling a little like jelly. After the kicks were finished we displayed our foot, hand and self defense techniques with a black belt attacker. I’m not sure if I did much “kihap”-ping during the other parts of the test but I think I made up for it now. I almost felt obnoxiously loud. It certainly is more exciting attacking/blocking a person than the air.

After some words of wisdom from Master Robinson we sat down and got to watch the green and brown belts go through their test. Their test was very similar in structure to ours however they had plenty more to remember and exhibit. When they were done we all lined up and received our belts. So far learning Tang Soo Do has been a great experience. I can feel stress leaving me, a confidence in some things I was anxious about and my body feels like it is getting into shape.

Learning Tang Soo Do – Part 2

November 15th, 2011

The second session of my Tang Soo Do training was certainly no easier than the first. In the first session there was a lot of explanation and half speed repetition. The second session was full speed repetition from beginning to end. And at one point I thought I was at my end.

The first part of the session includes all of the belt colors lined up and doing some calisthenics: pushups, crunches and jumping jacks. After we finished those I was ready to call it a day, however, this was just a warm up. The white belts which included myself and three other new members were separated from the rest of the belts in order to go over some of the basic movements. We kicked our snap kicks, side kicks, roundhouse kicks and spinning back kicks up and down the training area. My legs were still sore from the first session and this was not helping. About 3/4 of the way through our kicks I felt I may require a few minutes to rest before I passed out. Luckily after we finished the final set of kicks we worked on our “one steps” which does not require as much aerobic movement.

One steps are a series of movements to deflect a strike and deliver your own strike. The one steps are broken into three categories: hand, foot and self defense. The hand movements are comprised of a block and then a strike with either your elbow or with your hand. The foot movements consist of striking your attacker with a kick before they get to you. The self defense movements require you to get out of a hold then striking the attacker. The one steps require focused movement and memorization. I’m fine with the movement part…the memorization will take some time but thankfully everyone is patient and helps you.

I’m writing this 5 days after the second session and my legs and arms are still sore. Session number 3 is tomorrow. Even though I complain that I am sore I definitely feel great afterwards.

Learning Tang Soo Do – Part 1

November 11th, 2011

My legs and arms muscles are extremely sore. My brain is whirling with Korean words, technique intricacies and exhaustion. This is my first foray into the martial art style Tang Soo Do (pronounced “Tang Sue Dough”).

My son Ryan started taking Tang Soo Do at our local “dojang” about 3 months ago, two days each week. It is exciting to watch him develop his technique from a number of trainers including the Owner/Master. Growing up I watched a lot of ninja movies and I always wanted to learn some form of karate. This was my chance to vicariously take karate through my son. I would be lying if I said I did not push him to take karate to “try it out”. Ryan was willing to give it a try and it appears that he really likes it. Last week he tested for his orange belt and passed.

Escorting Ryan to karate gave me the opportunity to watch what was being taught and learn some pointers on technique so I could help Ryan when he practiced at home. Robinson’s Martial Arts Institute, the studio we have in town, is very family friendly and all of the higher belts are willing to help you learn. Actually, I do not think they have a choice. When Master or another black belt tells someone to do something they do it. Respect is an important aspect of this dojang. After most instructions you will hear a “yes maam” or “yes sir” and everyone bows to the higher ranks. If you whine or complain the result is punishment for the whole class such as “20 more pushups” or more of whatever the persons where complaining about. One class I watched had kids complaining about doing pushups. Each time they complained they got more pushups to do to the point they reached 180 pushups for the session. Master negotiated to reduce the penalty but the kids learned quickly to keep their complaints to themselves.

Having an idea of what I was getting myself into I decided to start Tang Soo Do under a two week trial period. I have the first two days under my belt. The first day I was teamed up with a first time instructor. After talking with him a bit it turns out that he started in a similar way as myself. He brought his kid to the studio for a few months then realized maybe he should start taking Tang Soo Do to get himself into shape. For my first hour I learned the stretch kick, front snap kick, side kick, roundhouse kick and spinning back kick. The spinning back kick and I do not like each other. But my instructor gave me some tips which ended up making it a little easier. We also went over the low block, high block, inside out block and outside in block. There are little particulars about each kick and block which make it a physical and mental game. Physical because you have to ensure your body is doing the particulars and mental because when you review you have to remember the particulars. “Shoulders square.” “Point your foot down.” “Point your foot up” “Turn your hips.” “Widen your stance.” My memory has been failing me for years so I hope I can have muscle memory kick in so my brain memory does not have to.

After the first day was over I probably sweat a gallon. My body felt fine but I knew that it was just playing tricks with me. I would pay for what I just put it through. And when I got home it started to make me pay. My muscles stopped cooperating and they made every effort painful. Taking the milk out of the refrigerator made my forearm and bicep groan. Walking up and down the steps made my thighs and hips burn. Even typing on this computer made my hands scream. It was as if my body was saying, “I’ll make you think twice about doing that again.”

The following day I kept any exercise down to a minimum. Before bed I went downstairs into the basement and slowly practiced what I learned. Even slowing everything down to a crawl made my body hurt but I knew if I did not do this I would forget it. I did a lot of stretching afterwards which seemed to appease my muscles. My next day of training is coming quick. I hope I can remember everything and my muscles do not go on strike.

Living with a Preemie – Part 5

June 5th, 2010

The nurse took us into a patient only elevator and we reached the NICU floor. Security is much tighter up here as you can not enter or exit any doors without being questioned through an intercom or swiping a card. Sue and I were both very excited to see Luke again. We went through the main NICU entrance and down a long hall. There were doorways off of the hall and each led to a little wing of babies in the intensive care. Nurses were busily checking monitors, changing babies and filling out paper work. Anyone we came in contact with was extremely nice and willing to accommodate at a moments notice. We finally reached the wing where Luke was located. Before we can progress we were instructed to wash our hands and sanitize…this is something everyone that enters the NICU must do before going into the wings. We finished and moved right to Luke’s incubator. As we approached a doctor was finishing up a procedure where they carefully insert small tubes into the baby’s belly button. We learned that they do this to continue feeding the baby but seeing it does not make it any less scary. Luke laid there with a number of sensors on his chest, a larger tube and mask over his face and those smaller tubes coming out of his belly button. We spent the next few minutes getting explanations of what they were doing to Luke and what we can expect over the next couple days.

We stayed a little longer and just admired how tiny Luke was and how he was being taken care of. While we watched Luke would occasionally shoot a leg out or close and open his hand. His limbs now had the freedom to go where they wanted without the restriction of Sue’s belly. His fingers and toes were so tiny. Sue was exhausted so we decided to go to her room. The nurse led us through another group of doors and into the ‘mommy & baby’ wing. I opted to stay the next few days with Sue. Nurses frequently came in to continue taking her temperature, check blood pressure and look at the incision. Everything was looking great and as we have learned to expect the nurses were extremely nice.

The next day Sue was very tired so I went into the NICU to look at Luke. I sat down in a very comfortable rocking chair and just stared at him as he lay there breathing. A nurse came over and asked if I would like to assist in his care which includes taking his temperature and changing his diaper. For all three of my boys I was the first to change their diaper. I guess that is not such a magnificent thing for most people but it was a big deal for me. When our first was born I had a fear of changing the messy diaper. I figured that I’d pull the diaper back, see poop and start to dry heave or just throw up. In past experiences with poop and boogers(not my own), while I didn’t actually throw up, I would definitely be sickened. I remember one instance where I had to change my brother when I was younger and I actually donned an apron, dishwashing gloves, tongs, goggles and a surgical mask. And even then I was sickened by just looking into the diaper. When the time came for our first to be changed for the first time I seemed to go on autopilot and it came natural. As the kids get older the diapers are definitely more disturbing and can induce a dry heave now and then but the duty of the parent overrides everything. So it is great that I have progressed.

Every couple hours, when Sue was feeling up for it, we would go for a trip from her room to the NICU to see Luke. Each time we went we were encouraged by comments of the nurses and doctors. Luke was progressing well. He started to digest his feedings, needed less help with remembering to breathe and just looked like he was getting the hang of things. After a few days Sue was discharged and we headed home. We now travel down to the hospital two or three times a week, sometimes staying at a hotel for a little extended stay.

About 4 weeks has passed and we are in a position to possibly move Luke to a hospital closer to our area. He has been gaining weight (at the time of this writing 3 lbs. 4oz.) and he is doing everything but eating on his own. When he is moved to a closer hospital his only jobs will be to learn how to eat from a bottle and grow. He will probably have another 3 or 4 weeks in the hospital before he can come home. Each hospital has their own criteria for when a baby is ready to go home including a target weight, breathing infractions, feeding proficiency and others. We were truly blessed by the fact that Luke and Sue did not have any major complications or setbacks. We are also blessed with all the family, friends, doctors, nurses and strangers that have kept us in their thoughts, prayers and helped through the whole situation. We are extremely grateful.

Living with a Preemie – Part 4

May 28th, 2010

I sat on my stool holding Sue’s hand trying to say things that would take her mind off of what was going on on the other side of the curtain. As the doctors worked there were moments where she started squeezing my hand tighter and tighter. At one point a nurse asked us to stop holding hands because Sue’s squeezing was making one of the sensors on her hand read as though there was something wrong. The doctors kept working and vocalizing some of the things they were doing. Occasionally, Sue’s body would sort of be pulled from one side to the other as the doctors positioned her to get a better look at what they were doing.

One of the nurses that was on our side peeked over the curtain. He then asked us if we knew what we were having. We told him it was a boy and his reply was, “Yep, it’s a boy and there he is!” Then we heard a tiny little squeak that I can only liken to a tiny kitten. It was our baby boy. I felt relieved that the delivery appeared to have gone well. I felt a little fear well up in me because I was about to meet my third son eight to nine weeks too early. How small is he? Does he have all his fingers and toes? Is he ready to learn how to mow the grass? I’d be lying if I said I only thought rational things.

After about fifteen minutes after they removed Luke one of the nurses came over and asked if I would like to see him. “Yes!”, I said sliding from my stool. “I want you to realize that he is much smaller than you are used to seeing, so you are not caught off guard.”, the nurse said as she led me over to where Luke was being cleaned. When I looked at him I was actually surprised at how big he was. In my mind I was thinking he’d only be as big as my hand. He certainly was not the brute that my second son was but he was not that teeny tiny either. Maybe about two or three handfuls. Still, he was a scrawny little guy that just seemed like putty in these skilled nurses hands. I quickly counted his toes and fingers and looked for any possible issues that may be visible since he was so early. I could not see one thing wrong with this little boy. He looked perfect…just small. His skin was a pinkish red, he had some both dark and light hair on his head and he wiggled like a worm. To bring myself down to earth I asked the nurses if we are “not out of the woods yet” and they seemed to understand and rattled off things they will have to keep a lookout for since he was a preemie.

I got to take a few pictures of Luke just before they bundled him up. “Lets take him to see mommy”, the one nurse exclaimed. Carrying Luke like he was a football the nurse made her way back into the delivery room to the good side of the curtain. She held out Luke for Susan to see. It was a very intense moment. Sue gave him a kiss and off he went to the NICU. I hung around for a little while with Sue as the doctors stitched her up. They turned on a classic rock station and started talking about various unrelated things while they worked. A few times they would stop their conversation and call out all the tools they used to ensure all of them were accounted for…thankfully they did not leave anything inside Sue. One nurse realized I was still there and ushered me out saying that she thought I left with the nurses. Before I left Sue told them that she did not hear her lullaby. At this hospital, every time a baby is born they play a little snippet of a lullaby over the intercom all throughout the hospital. No matter where you are in this hospital, except in the delivery room apparently, you know when a new baby came into the world. The doctors said they will make sure they play it again when she is in the recovery room.

Back out in my comfy chair I waited for them to bring Sue out. I sat there rehashing some of what had happened in my mind. I looked at the pictures I took and marveled at that precious baby. Oh crap! I forgot my mom was still here in the waiting room. I dutifully left my chair and made my way out to where everyone waited to hear the news of their new baby. I told her everything went well and showed her the pictures. After she left I resigned to make a number of phone calls to inform everyone of the baby. The great grandmothers were first to be told and they both prepared to call everyone they know. It was kind of therapeutic making each call and letting them know everything was alright. When I was done I finally made it back to the recovery room where Sue was waiting. She still did not have any feeling in her legs and there were other things they look for before moving her to a room. While we waited, we looked at the pictures I had taken and talked about our experience. The nurse informed us that when they felt Sue was ready they would first wheel her to the NICU to see Luke before we went to her room.

Living with a Preemie – Part 3

May 26th, 2010

I was in a sort of disbelief. How could they want to take the baby when all the tests were coming back with rave reviews? One of the tests they did twice a week was an ultra sound that used some sort of doppler technology to monitor the blood flow in the umbilical cord. This being one of those days they notice the blood flow not going in and out as is normal. The blood was going in but not coming back out. This was one of the key flags that the doctors were looking for from the beginning. I told Sue I’d be on my way once I called my mom.

My mom was at work but got clearance to leave because of the situation. At least, I think she got clearance. “Mom, any chance of you getting out of work early?”, I asked. “Why?” she responded with a hint of panic. “They are going to take the baby in a few hours.”, was my reply. “Oh no! Is something wrong? Ok!”, she said with more hints of panic. I had to calm her down over the phone as the panic was starting to swell. “They are not going to take the baby for another 4 hours so we will get there in time. Just calm down and lets drive down.”, I said a bit surprised at my repose.

About a half hour after I hung up the phone and popped a Pepcid we were on our way down to the hospital. My main anxiety is traveling and I found that Pepcid keeps the nervous stomach acid from adding to my stress. It’s easier to deal with the mental games when you do not have to also contend with an upset stomach. The trip down to the hospital went by without a hitch and we were at the bed side in just under two hours. Sue was a complete trooper and did not show any panic or nervousness when we came in.

A nurse came in a few minutes after we arrived stating we will be going in in an hour and she will bring the necessary operating room garb for us. This is my third venture into the operating room to be with Sue while the baby was delivered and it was not any easier than the first. All three times I made it clear that I will not be seeing the baby extracted from Sue’s stomach unless they want to have the additional trouble of reviving a father who passed out on the floor. When our second was born I was able to see him very soon after he was removed and took a peek at what was going on on the other side of the curtain. It was a bit too messy for me to make heads or tails of anything so I was safe.

After some small talk and a quick prayer it was go time. We both slipped into our O.R. clothing, Sue was placed on a gurney and we began our journey down to the delivery rooms. There was a well used comfortable chair positioned outside of the main door to the operating rooms and I was told to sit there until they prepped Sue for the delivery. “We’ll be back in about twenty minutes.”, the one doctor exclaimed. So there I sat with my bluish green clothing and my thoughts. A lot of things went through my mind as nurses and doctors passed by busily looking at tomes of papers or their smartphones. One minute I was rehearsing what was going to happen in my mind, the next I was trying to get my mind off of what was going to happen. I think I was skating the fine line of insanity.

About a half hour later a nurse opened the main doors and told me it’s time to go in. I left my comfortable chair and began the walk passing a number of other operating rooms. We got to the door and I was ushered inside. There was a small stainless steel stool next to my wife on the “safe” side of a curtain that went up from her shoulders. Sue was laying there on the table with her arms straight out from both sides. There was an oxygen tube in her nose and little sensors placed on her arms and chest. She looked like her nerves were starting to get the best of her. When you see someone in that position and uncertainty in their eyes you know your job is to try to keep them from their own minds. That is a much more difficult job than you would think.

Living with a Preemie – Part 2

May 25th, 2010

When we saw the hospital come into view I started to feel a little relief. I really did not know what was in store for us but just seeing the hospital made me think that everything was going to be fine. We parked the car and slowly made our way inside to the information desk. The secretary directed us up to the Labor and Delivery unit on the third floor. After quickly meeting with a few nurses we got our room assignment and tried to settle in. We didn’t get a chance to pack anything so we literally just had the clothing on our backs.

Sue got setup in her bed and they put the same stress test monitor on her that we saw at the specialists office. They turned the volume up on the machine and our little boy’s heart sounded like a horse galloping. Periodically nurses would come in, take Sue’s temperature and blood pressure and ask if either of us needed anything. This attention gave me even more piece of mind with how things were going to turn out. Everyone from doctors to nurses to food service provided amazing courtesy and compassion.

After one of the doctors came in and explained everything she observed we learned that our baby could be due any time from now until fourteen days from now. Talk about uncertainty. After saying my goodbye I drove home to be with our two boys. I was not ready to try and explain what is happening to the boys. So when I got home I was pleasantly surprised that Sue called and told them everything. I also learned that my grandmother called every church and monastery around the world to get Sue and the baby onto their prayer list.

A few days into Sue’s stay at the hospital I brought the boys down to visit with mommy. Being Mr. Mom for a few days gave me a great sense of accomplishment but I also gained a whole new respect for Sue, making meals, cleaning up, entertaining and the whole slew of other responsibilities with managing the house. The boys absorbed every minute with their mom and we had a great visit. I just wanted to bring her home with us but I knew with the uncertainty she had to be here until the baby came.

When we got home I got a big help from Sue’s mom who traveled down to lend a hand with the boys while I worked. I was completely relieved when I knew that I could get work done and did not have to worry that the boys were torturing the dog or scheming to do something harmful to each other. After a few days we made another trip down to visit mommy.

Throughout the week the tests and results stayed the same. It actually almost seemed like Sue might be coming home with all the positive things the doctors were saying about the baby. “Everything is looking great.” , “He’s doing really well”, “The baby looks in great shape.” were a few of the comments Sue would hear from the technicians and doctors. I started to think the baby might catch up in growth and come out with a semi normal birth weight. Sue and I would talk every few hours during the day to see if there was an update or to let the boys talk to mommy. She then surprised me with a call while I was working. “Hi honey, how are you feeling?”, she said to me. I replied with, “I’m doing OK, how are you?” She then took a breath and said, “They are going to take the baby today.”

Living with a Preemie – Part 1

May 24th, 2010

My wife and I decided we were going to try for another baby. Late in 2009 we got the great news that she was indeed pregnant with our third child. Any time you start the ball rolling to bring a new life into this world you get flooded with uncertainties and fears. I’m already dealing with some anxiety and panic issues so while I was naturally very excited I also started to panic. Talk to anyone with three or more kids and you’ll find out that as my friend Josh put it, “When you have two, you can split them up, the mom takes one and the dad takes one. When you have three, it all just comes down to damage control.” If I think I have very little time for myself now, I’m anticipating needing to spend some “my time” in the bathroom, with the door locked and my iPod or newspaper. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Over the first few months everything was going great with the pregnancy. We would go to the “Baby Doctor” and hear the baby’s heart beating and belly measurements were taken. Sue and I would discuss baby names and we finally settled on a few. Our other boys knew about the new baby and seemed to be very excited. Explaining to them that they will have a baby brother or sister is a priceless experience. When it finally sinks in they seem to light up and ask a million questions.

About 29 weeks into the pregnancy Sue did not feel that she had the belly of a 29 week pregnancy. Clueless to the whole thing I did not think it was a big deal. Our first baby was 7lbs 9oz. and our second one was 10lbs 6oz. A smaller baby would probably be a welcome sight. During a scheduled ultrasound it was confirmed that the baby was measuring a little smaller than he should be at this stage. Thankfully, Sue was very vigilant and expressed her concern to the baby doctor. To any mother-to-be’s out there, make sure you have a baby doctor that really cares about your well being and does not just brush off your questions or concerns. We are blessed with a baby doctor that took our concern and immediately got us to a specialist (maternal fetal medicine).

We got to our specialist’s appointment with a little concern on our minds but we were hopeful when we left we’d be reassured that everything was going to be alright. Unfortunately, after the specialist analyzed the Level 2 ultrasound images he did not have a very cheerful face. The baby was weighing in at about 2 lbs. and was approximately 3 to 4 weeks behind in development. The specialist recognized that the placenta was showing signs of slowing down in it’s production much earlier than normal. We instantly got ushered into another room where the specialist’s assistant put sensors on Sue’s belly to conduct a “Stress Test”. This test monitors the baby’s heart rate and any contractions that may happen. Over the next twenty minutes we sat there looking at the paper that was scrolling out of the test machine. The baby was not really reacting at all which escalated our worry. During the Level 2 ultrasound the baby was kicking and moving around so maybe he was just resting.

The specialist came back in after the test was done with an even more concerned look on his face. He held a number of charts in his hand with the “average” baby marked as an inclining line. On each chart there was a little dot below each “average” baby’s line. These dots were where our baby was at this point in gestation. The only dot that was on the average was his head size. Which, according to the specialist and other doctors later, is a good thing since your brain is the most important organ. After pointing out the baby’s progress and reiterating that the placenta was not going to last very long, the specialist ordered us to drive immediately to a hospital with a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).

Needless to say we did not expect to leave the specialist and rush down to this hospital. I think I was still shocked that we were in this position. Sue and I were both worried and we talked in small bursts about what we just found out. The times we weren’t talking I was trying to think of some positive things and I did a lot of praying. The hospital is two hours away so that gave us a lot of time in silence.

Turning old electronics into cash

January 29th, 2010

In this economic climate, any time you have the opportunity to make a few extra bucks you usually make it happen. Maybe you do a little side work for cash, have a yard sale to get rid of unused items or post items to an online flea market in hopes of getting a few bucks. I do all of these things on occasion. Recently I needed to sell an older laptop that I had sitting around collecting dust. The laptop still worked but it was large, too hot to put on your lap and not getting any use. So I shopped around for what my options were to turn the laptop into cash.

At first I posted an ad on our bulletin board at work. The ad had a picture of the laptop, some of it’s specs and a reasonable price. While I had a few inquiries I didn’t get any real buyers. So I took the ad down and looked for other avenues.

Tip: Before doing business with anyone you are not familiar be sure you do a Google search for the business name followed by “scam” or “experiences”. You can also look up the business with the Better Business Bureau. A little research could save you headaches down the road.

Next I checked eBay for prices on the particular model I was trying to sell. There were a few laptops like it listed there but they were nearing the end of their auction and no one had bid on them. I want to turn this laptop into cash and I don’t want to wait around for an auction to end or give the laptop away for pennies because no one was really interested. Again, I looked for other avenues.

I did a few searches on Google for “selling a laptop” and this is when I started finding shops that actually buy used laptops and other electronics. So I started clicking on the links to see what they were all about. All the sites I found worked the same way: you enter the model number and some specs into a form, choose what condition the electronic is in and then the price that particular site is willing to offer appears. If you find the price acceptable you enter some personal information and you get further instructions. Some of the sites pay for shipping and packaging some do not. *See the table below.

Tip: Before sending any of your devices away be sure to delete all personal files and applications you installed, clear caches/passwords/history/etc and empty the trash. One application I enjoy using is CCleaner. It’s a free application that optimizes your computer and removes the clutter from your browsing.

With the first few sites I became a little concerned because they were offering much less than I was hoping to get for my laptop. Before I gave up on the “buy your laptop” sites I found Jay Brokers. Jay Brokers gives you two options: you can see what the FMV or “Fair Market Value” for your device is from historical data via eBay sales or you can fill out a form to get a personalize “guaranteed” quote. The guaranteed quote is “guaranteed” if you are truthful with the information you enter in the form about your device. A quote was emailed to me within 24 hours and it was $100 MORE than any of the other sites. Needless to say I was very happy but still a little skeptical. My next move was to send the laptop to someone I’m not familiar with in hopes of getting the money they guaranteed. Jay Brokers does not pay for shipping and packaging but I knew it would be around $20 ($13 for shipping, $7 for the packaging) from my past experience of sending a laptop out for refunds or repairs. Off to UPS I went and away the laptop shipped.

Two days later I got an email from Jay Brokers that they received the package and will be in the process of testing the device to make sure it works per the data I entered into their form. Within 24 hours I got another email that said the money has been placed in my PayPal account. That was it. A very painless and quick service. From my experience I give Jay Brokers a 5 out of 5 stars for providing an honest and transparent service.

Provider Device(s) Bought Pays Shipping/Handling
Jay Brokers Laptops, Handhelds/PDAs, iPods/MP3 Players, Desktops, Digital Cameras, Camcorders, LCD Monitors, Projectors, GPS, Cell Phones and more no
Cash for Laptops Laptops, Smart Phones and Blackberrys yes
Laptops into Cash Laptops yes
Laptop Trader Express Laptops yes

I can only speak of my experience with http://www.jaybrokers.com and from that experience I recommend them for getting rid of devices you no longer use. They offered $100 more than the closest competitor and in some cases almost $200 more.

Supper Club – January 2010

January 17th, 2010

If I could sum up in one word the first installment of Supper Club for the new year I’d say…”FUN”. We hosted the the January edition of the supper club on Saturday and everyone seemed to have a blast. The meal included a veggie platter from Bobby Jo, Chili, Potato + Ham Soup and bread by Sue, corn bread from Elisa and brownie ice cream sandwiches from Annette. Needless to say it was an extremely tasty and filling feast.

The kids all ganged together and played with various toys and games. At on point the games and toys became second hat to a new game called “Pile on Nathaniel”.(see pic) Thankfully no one was majorly hurt but there may have been some bumps and bruises.

Pile on Nathan
Kids attempting to pile on Nathan.


Kids tired
Kids taking a break after a crazy time downstairs.


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