31 March 2017

The High Cost of Perfection

Everything must be perfect. Me, the world around me, even this blog post. What constitutes perfection depends whatever exemplar I create for the thing in question. A major example is my notebook. If I make a mistake and need to cross out or write over something, it is no longer perfect. And when something is no longer perfect, it is ruined. While other people may not even notice such a slight flaw, I need to fix it somehow. Continuing the notebook example, I tear out the page and rewrite it until there are no mistakes. If tearing out the page is not possible, well, the notebook is a complete wash. I need a new one. In the new one, I must rewrite everything exactly as it was the first time. Even the same pen(s) used the first time. Clearly this is no way to live.

The level of imperfection, and therefore damage, varies from situation to situation. Some things can easily be fixed and once fixed are of little consequence. If something is impossible to fix, such as a past action of mine, I experience high levels of anxiety. My brain can't handle it, so it ruminates on the imperfection for hours, days, even weeks. I only dwell on the perceived problem. Rationally, I know this is completely inane. Nothing in life is perfect. Things get scratched. I make mistakes. Normal wear and tear occurs. And yet it is still the end of the world when these things happen.

One detrimental way to get around imperfections is to ask for reassurance. Just hearing from someone else that something is not a problem gives me temporary relief. But temporary relief is temporary. It becomes an addiction, with my brain always needing another fix of "it's fine." As with any other addiction, I can't ever get past the problem myself when I keep getting further reassurance.

Matt used to constantly provide reassurance until he found out that it's actually detrimental in the long run. Even after years of him denying me, I continue to ask. I still crave that quantum of relief.

My inability to make seemingly simple decisions arises from this perfection problem. I need to make the perfect decision every time, so I continually mull over every option, looking for possible benefits and flaws for every option. I even ask other people for opinions. I get so wrapped up with trying to make the perfect selection that I never actually make one.

After selling my beloved car, my therapist suggested that I use a bit of the money to get myself something something nice. Nothing that I need, merely something to enjoy. I narrowed my search down to a necklace, a nice pen, and a camera lens. I was able to remove the lens from consideration as it would be slightly superfluous, but there isn't a right or wrong answer for the other two options. It's been two weeks and I've successfully accomplished is looking at both in person. The longer I take to decide, the more energy I waste ruminating on the options.

I really wish I could see the world like most people. Imperfections are okay, and things are still completely usable. I just need to convince my brain of that.

27 March 2017

Review: restaurant delivery

grubhub
-

doordash
- multiple problems, but always resolved it easily
- wider selection

caviar
- never had a problem with the delivery
- set delivery price + service charge
- smaller selection, but "curated"

postmates
- service fee + delivery fee + tip
- doesn't know what customer service is

uber eats
- don't come to the door
- cheap delivery if no surge
- owned by the uber asshats

10 March 2017

Review: Nextdoor, letgo, OfferUp, and Close5

In my effort to speed up the process of getting rid of the stuff in the garage, I decided to take a foray into all the local selling apps that are appearing everywhere. I chose Nextdoor, letgo, OfferUp, and Close5. There are many other apps, so I narrowed my choices down to the four that seemed the most popular. I listed the washer and dryer on all of them, as well as on Craigslist.

Nextdoor

Nextdoor is more of a social network based on proving you live in a specific neighborhood. Aside from their annoying verification system, posting a classified was easy. I had no problem using existing pictures, even in the app. The only real downside is that it is similar to Facebook's news feed - as new posts are created and responded to, your post gets pushed down. Though I created my listing through their app, I had no problems editing anything through their full-featured website.

The big drawback to Nextdoor was finding my post. There is no option anywhere to just get a page of your posts. Their help page even says to just search through your feed to find it! If there is a lot of action, this is obviously annoying. The best way I found was to search through only the classifieds section, which had fewer posts.

Nextdoor is all down to business - everything you need to know arranged in a logical order.

letgo

letgo's approach is SELL YOUR EVERYTHING! The app is dead simple to use, which unintentionally also makes it frustrating. Every page has some sort of new listing button, often taking up otherwise valuable screen real estate on a phone. Clicking any of these buttons allows you to take a picture or select one existing picture. Once selected, your post is live. That's it. Perhaps you'd like to include a price or a title? Now you have to go back and edit your listing. Don't bother with the categories; they are too vague to matter. Does my vacuum fall in "electronics" or "home and garden?" Meh.

Why was I searching for something when I could be selling my stuff instead?

They want everything to be done from within the app, but they have a website. I don't recommend visiting unless you want to lose brain function. letgo also sent a "helpful" email informing me that my item was listed. I made the mistake of clicking the link to my item; it only ever showed an error page. The worst part is the website has the same issue with new listing buttons. All of them just give you a popup saying to use the app. Even the mark as sold button doesn't do squat. Web design 101 - if you have a giant button, it damn well better work.

Both streets are a random street near me. I think they were supposed to be my city.

The listings themselves were tenuous at best. Sometimes they appeared in search results, and sometimes they disappeared from my account entirely. My personal favorite was the pictures randomly changing order until the least useful picture became the main picture. I had to delete and reupload that picture. When the listings did appear, they were listed as being in <streetname>, CA. Everyone's listings had this problem.

The one thing letgo did right was alerting me when prospective buyers made contact. Of course, the entire city was alerted by the disturbingly loud and annoying notification sound. And the entire city continued to be traumatized as notifications had to be on for everything or nothing.

Note the title they "helpfully" inserted for me. At least they got the object correct this time.

I have no idea of to where in the aether my description ran.


Offerup

OfferUp's app feels a lot more pleasant to use. Creating a listing takes a few more steps than with letgo, but I felt like I created a much better listing when I was done. You take pictures, pick a price, pick a condition, and write a description. While I was happy to see condition options, they were overly broad.

My listings didn't appear immediately, but they eventually did in both searches and my online profile. Again, I couldn't edit anything on the website, but everything could be easily edited in the app.

OfferUp clearly had the same person in charge of notifications as letgo. This time it was an absurdly loud cash register sound. I desperately wanted to turn off notifications for everything but activity on my listings, but I either had to turn them off for everything or nothing. Not cool.

The cutesy tag is totally necessary.

The pictures are larger, so you have to scroll down to get further info.


close5

After using the other apps, close5 felt like a school project that hadn't been finished, but needed to be turned in. It insisted that my location was Redwood City, CA, no matter how many times I changed it. You can pick multiple pictures at once, instead of one at a time like the other apps, but you can't remove them or change the order. Postings just have a short description, no title, and don't always appear in search results. Make sure your listing is perfect the first time, as there is no way to edit the description. close5 did let me delete postings instead of marking them as sold, which felt more correct since the items weren't sold via close5.

close5 barely has a website. It offers a basic search and nothing else. Don't even bother checking it, and definitely don't bother trying to use their search.

Why must they ruin an otherwise acceptable layout by overlaying the price? WHY?

tl;dr

Just stick with Craigslist. Their search actually works, posts aren't transient, you can access it easily from a computer or mobile device, and, most importantly, it is easy to update or remove an existing post. If you really feel you must get more attention for an item, then venture into the apps. But until they stop spending all of their venture capital funds on advertising and start making their apps and websites work properly, they are not worth the headache.

06 March 2017

OCD vs My House

We bought our house and spent an imperial buttload of money renovating it to our exacting standards. It's been done for nearly two years, and yet I can't simply enjoy living there. Instead, I focus on the tiny little things that aren't perfect. Some are minuscule mistakes that anyone normal person wouldn't even notice. Some are game-day decisions to get around construction obstacles. Some are things we just plain didn't think about until after they were already done. The only thing they all have in common is they make me uncomfortable in my own house.

One of the major offenders is the living room ramp. There are three stairs between the dining room and living room area. Code requires that the risers are the same height across every stair. To accomplish this, there is a slight ramp at the bottom of the stairs.
There go my dreams of being a graphic designer.
The rest of the lower area (living room, powder room, and office) is all the same level. If we knew about this problem, and I convinced Matt to spend an extra five thousand on subfloor, we could have slightly raised the entire area. But we didn't, and now I have to live with it. Except I can't.

Every time I feel the slight incline under my feet, I get upset. Rationally, I know this isn't a big deal. I even measured the angle once, and it's only 0.2°. A negligible angle that most people don't even notice, while I spend hours ruminating over its existence.

Avoidance is a characteristic response of OCD. I, being the queen of avoidance, take a larger step at the bottom of the stairs to avoid treading on the offending ramp. I've done it so often that I don't even notice the altered gait going either up or down. Long term, such avoidance only perpetuates the cycle. For right now, it gets me through the day and through my house.

20 February 2017

Double stuft garage

Our garage is filled with crap. Lot of different varieties of crap. Millions of files, old golf clubs, random stuff from Matt's parents, and who knows what else. Aside from my tools and our current golf clubs, we pretty much don't want any of it. We considered "fixing" the problem via fire, but that seemed like a bad idea during a major drought. Sorting through everything and having a giant garage sale was a much better solution, and one much less likely to end with being captured by a bail bondsman. So we started going through everything. That was in October.

Somehow we managed to get through nearly every box. The few things we actually wanted mostly made it inside. Everything else was either marked for selling or tossed. We realized we had so many extra files of paper that shredding it ourselves was a losing proposition. Hiring a shredding company to make it disappear was a much better solution. We had a plan for everything, and everything was going well. Then the water came.

Now, with the garage being an Official Mold Zone(TM), our lovely plans all went to hell. We can't have a garage sale with moldy water dripping down the walls. And we can't tear apart the garage with all sorts of stuff inside. Time for a new plan.

Calling a paper shredding company is still viable. But how to get rid of everything else? Craigslist! Anything with any real value (translation: worth over $40) gets listed. Everything else gets shoved in cardboard boxes for Goodwill to retrieve.

We spent the weekend curating the best items. I cleaned and photgraphed everything, while Matt researched prices. For now, we have seven excellent posts, with items ranging from luggage to a washer and dryer set. Buyers can contact me via Craigslist's awesome email relay or by text or phone. I have a burner number set up on my cell phone, so no crazy people have my real number.

I quickly got a lot of responses. Unfortunately, nearly have been from scammers. Scammers are the scum of the earth, and they all deserve to crash into trees at high speeds. Preferably on a rainy night in the middle of nowhere. Without wearing a seatbelt. Did I mention that I truly hate scammers?

The scammers all follow nearly the same script. Broken English, with the entire post title in the first message. No real person is going to bother typing out the entire post title into a text message. But, just in case it is the one in a million real person who does things differently, I always reply at least once. They either accept the price straight away, or haggle the exact same way. They want "to purchase it asap." Then they mention that "i won't be chanced to come around for check up due to the nature of my job." Perhaps that's because their job is to cheat people out of their money? Needless to say, I stop bothering at that point.

Of course, there are some real people who actually want to buy things. About half of them are idiots who clearly failed remedial reading. What color is the suitcase? Gee, perhaps it's red, as clearly shown in all the photos and written in the listing? Or can I buy just one speaker from the set you listed? Why on earth would I agree to that? I would never be able to sell the rest of the system, as a 5.1 speaker system needs five freaking speakers!

There are still more things to list, and hopefully everything gets sold eventually. Eventually had just better be sooner rather than later.