Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Caitlin H. Faw

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. I’ll open this thread every morning at 10am.

Ed. Note: For those who’ve sent emails – sorry for the delay – I’ll be following up on them next week.

101 Comment

  • Rant: All the rain/humidity has caused some mold to form in the basement of my rental property. I’m having remediation work done, and I had tests performed to verify the air quality is safe for my tenants. However, they have annouced that they are moving out mid-month. They have not paid September rent yet. What is the standard accepted procedure for dealing with tenants who decide to break the lease? Keep the security deposit? Unless they pay for September that would only cover two weeks, which is probably not enough time to find a new tenant.

    • No house or apartment is immune to problems. If they can’t handle this I can’t imagine how they’ll ever be able to cope with owning their own property. When I was renting I always toughed it out (being without heat for a few days in January, for example), if the landlord was willing to fix the problem as soon as was reasonably possible. It’s silly to just pick up and move every time something breaks.

      • You make a good point. But mold is one of those things about which people tend (with good reason) to not be rational. There has been so much press about how dangerous mold exposure is that you can’t really blame people for freaking out about it, particularly when they have the option of moving.

        • The mold removal and remediation process will almost be done by the time they move. Only reason I can’t get the work done sooner is because these companies are absolutely swamped with work right now, as you can imagine.

    • what does the lease say?

      • That the deposit is security for the faithful performance of the lessee to the terms of the lease.

        Since we are only 3 months into a 1-year lease I think it is fair to say they are violating the terms of it.

        • Find a new tenant as soon as you can, and sue your former tenants for the difference in rent they caused you to lose.

          • They’ve been ok tenants so I’m reluctant to sue. It sucks for me– the mold remediation is costing a fortune as it is– but I don’t want them to feel they have to live in a place where they feel unsafe.

        • i think most of us have had security deposits withheld for far less legitmate reasons.

    • I would think keeping the security deposit, since that would cover the 1/2 month they were actually there. Just make sure you do it properly–if you google “tenant survival guide dc” the first result is a good, free book from Georgetown Law on landlord/tenant issues.

      And start advertising ASAP for new tenants. On the other hand, if the place smells moldy and you need time to remediate, you might not want them to move in right away anyway.

      • It doesn’t smell moldy but I’m having the entire basement redone just to be on the safe side. I’ll need to wait until that’s done before showing the property.

        • You need to install a permanent dehumidifier for the basement. This will solve your moisture problem.

          As a temporary solution, get the freestanding one from home depot and configure it to run most of the day and constantly drain (don’t use the bucket that you have to empty every day). Run it until the late fall.

          Long term, either threaten your tenants with bodily harm if they disable the free standing one, or install a permanent one for the basement.

          • Already have the freestanding dehumidifier. That’s a good point about not trusting the tenants to keep in plugged in!

    • Keep in mind, it is possible they are not breaking the lease by leaving. You have a duty to maintain a habitable living environment, and if the mold problem is bad, they might be able to get out of the lease now. If one of them has allergies or asthma, even a mild mold problem can be very damaging to their health.

      Obviously, there are many variables at play here, including the exact language of the lease and the extent of the mold problem. Also, most leases give the Landlord a reasonable period to fix any problems – which it sounds like you are doing.

      I’m not saying they definitely can get out of the lease, but neither is it cut-and-dry that they are breaking the lease by leaving prior to the end of the term.

      Just something to consider as you move forward.

      • I do have lab results, which I provided to the tenants, confirming that the house is safe to live in. Based on that I would think the house is habitable. They haven’t said anything about allergies.

        We actually have a similar problem at my workplace (you can even smell the mold here) and no one is concerned. Not all mold is hazardous.

        • I know of people who have gotten bad headaches from mold and whatnot. Maybe that is what they are experiencing? Or maybe they have friends/family members who had bad experiences with mold, and just don’t want to take the chance?

  • Rant: My very active and otherwise healthy 57 year-old father had a heart attack over the weekend. Two 95% occluded arteries and one 80% occulded artery resulted in 3 stents having to be placed.

    Rant: It doesn’t look like he has any notion to slow life down a bit. He lost the business he worked 15 years to build in Japan following the tsunami and feels he has to push himself even harder to get back on his feet.

    Rave: I got a free airline pass from a family member so I can fly out for a visit.

    Rant: He thinks he is going back to work so I don’t know if he even wants me to come.

    • claire

      Hope your dad is able to make a full recovery. You should definitely fly out for a visit; even if he’s trying to go back to work, I’m sure he’ll appreciate seeing you and could probably use some help in one way or another (even if just moral support).

    • This happened to my dad here about 14 years ago at 50. Today his heart is stronger and cleaner than it was when he had the attack. Statins are wonderful drugs, and you should go talk with your doctor about your own likelihood of having a heart attack.

      • My grandmother as well… she is now in her 90’s and in incredibly good shape.

      • There is a strong history of cardiac disease on both sides of my family. I have regular physicals and am in excellent shape. Is there any advantage to seeing a cardiologist at 28 for further screening?

        • Yes — even if they don’t find any problems, it’s important to establish a baseline so they can track your stats going forward.

          • I haven’t heard of having a baseline evaluation before 40, but I’m 32 and just started statins. I have no symptoms, but with my family history on both sides and a decision that it wasn’t worth eating oatmeal for every meal just to keep my cholesterol low, I was going to be on them eventually so why not start while my heart is in good shape.

            Everyone’s different though.

    • Hope he has a speedy recovery. My dad also had a major heart attack several years ago and while he seemed to take it in stride, I was absolutely terrified by it. Have a wonderful visit!

  • claire

    Rant: I feel like I’m becoming increasingly impatient with the 9-5 workday, especially when there’s practically no work to be done.
    Rave: Only three days of work this week!

    Rave: My parents made some fantastic food for Labor Day (including a twist on Lebanese kefta (burgers!) and pumpkin chocolate muffins) and got really excited to give me the recipes to play around with for my blog.

    Rave: Dinner at Graffiato this Thursday for a (much belated) celebration of my relationship’s one year anniversary! Planning on getting the tasting menu and contemplating the beverage pairings as well (why not go all out?).

    • Graffiato is worthy of the hype. We didn’t do the tasting menu but trusted our server on choices and she did not steer us wrong.

      You can tell that the entire staff is extremely well trained and attentive, plus they know the menu. Something you don’t usually experience at a mid-level price point in the District.

      Report back to the PoPisphere on your experience!

  • Rave: New York City over the holiday weekend. Eating fantastic food, gallery-hopping, and spotting Nathan Lane on the streets of SoHo was priceless.

    Rave/Rant: Will slowly commence my New York job hunt in attempts to flee DC. If anyone knows a creative outlet hiring in this city (besides, for the love of God, livingsocial), please advise!

    Rant: Being in this pathetic office.

    • what do you mean by “creative outlet”? Exactly what kind of work are you looking for?

      • Hi anon,

        I’m looking for something that involves creative writing, graphic design, etc. I work in PR at the moment, but have worked internationally at advertising and online marketing firms. I just feel that DC is not the right spot at all for this type of work, unfortunately. I have been here for two years (one year I worked in PG County) and I just haven’t found my niche yet. I love that most of my good friends live here and around the city and that my family lives in Baltimore, but I want to further my career – not stay because it is a social safe haven.

        • Are you looking at “creative” job boards like Coroflot, AIGA, etc? there seems to be a ton of jobs opening in NYC on them.

        • Well, I don’t know anything about your line of work. However, let me offer this for consideration:

          A. Most of us work decades (I am in my late 30’s) without finding that niche. I hardly think that living some place for 2 years (through a world wide recession) is really long enough to get a complete view or experience with the offerings in your field.

          B. Related to point A…with the overall world economy in the crapper, I would think that PR, Marketing, Advertising work would have been severely curtailed, not just here but anywhere.

          Ultimately, some place like NYC or SF does anecdotally seem to be a better fit for your generalized career goals but I am not sure you are really giving DC s fair shake given your short time here and the world economy. My two cents.

        • not to be too negative, but are you a designer or writer or a pr person?? there are a lot of “jack of all trades, master of none” people floating around and I wouldn’t personally hire any of them. if you are a writer, you’re more than likely not good at design; and if you’re a designer, you’re probably not a good writer. I’d either take a lower level position in the field/specialty you actually want to do to work up to a bonafide Copywriter or Graphic Designer position. there are plenty of creative opportunities in this town if you can narrow down what it is you want to do.

          • It’s funny you mention that. In all honesty, I am just a big arts person. I am super right-brained and just love utilizing whatever creative outlets I have. I also do music composition on the side as it’s one of the few ways I stay sane while in my current profession.

            I would have to say my forte is writing, and that the design comes in second.

            You say, plenty of creative opportunities – where exactly? I am on craigslist, mediabistro and dcjobs constantly, and have had no luck in the past five months.

          • if you’re after a full-time paying job, you won’t find one for “right-brained person that just wants to be creative”. you’ll need to tailor your cv and portfolio for a writing position and then go after specific listings. if you want to do other creative things, you’ll either get to branch out once you’re established in a job or do them on the side. how long have you been working?

            I would say that none of the sites you’re on are good for creative work. as mentioned above, I’d try AIGA, coroflot, commarts, talentzoo, etc. and do searches for agencies in the area. contact them directly and send them your portfolio. go in for informational interviews if they’re not hiring. most major ad agencies have offices here and there are many firms, including in-house, that do good work. design firms don’t typically have enough need to hire a writer full-time so you could also try freelancing to build up relationships. and the ratio of designers to good design positions is pretty high these days so if you want to be a designer, you’d better have a kick ass portfolio.

        • Hi neednewjob,

          It’s definitely not worth it to be miserable at work. Regardless of whether you decide to go to NY, you still have options.

          I’d go with Aquent/Vitamin T for short-term/contract work while you try to figure it out. They are pretty well connected here, and if you work @ least 20hrs/week you’re eligible for benefits.

          Good luck with everything. You don’t have to know what you want to do when you grow up. Few of us do.

          But most important — it’s never worth it to be miserable.

    • If anyone knew of a creative outlet hiring in this city this blog would be empty!

      • I have basically just succumbed to a full time BS job to pay the bills and fulfill my creative outlet on the side. sometimes that is all you can really do.

        • Agreed.

          And sometimes I think it’s better if your creative outlet isn’t your main gig… doing anything as a job takes some of the fun out of it.

          • Agreed too! don’t want to burn out on my passions. Although seriously, If I could make a living just on selling fine art – I’d take it! But I know that’s not realistic..

        • I’m amazed that you thought life would be any other way?

          That’s why people have a “day job” and a separate distinct creative outlet. Even for those of us who are “left brained” this is just a fundamental part of the human existence.

          It’s called a job, not fun. You wouldn’t want to ruin your creative passion by professionalizing it anyway. What would you have left to look forward to in life?

          • Hey, some people make it work, they luck out and get to do what they love for a living too. They’re the minority, but it does happen.

    • I know a lot of artists who review design patents at the USPTO. It’s not creative work, but it pays well, the hours are flexible, and you never have to work overtime, giving you plenty of time and money to do your art on the side.

  • Rave: it made our day last Tues to have our yard on PoP as Garden of the Day http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2011/08/garden-of-the-day-274/ – I wanted to comment and say thanks, but went into labor that afternoon. Our son was born that night, and that REALLY made my day 🙂

    What a crazy week – earthquake, hurricane (we have a crack and water stains on nursery ceiling as reminders) close friend’s wedding, GotD and a baby. Can’t top that.

  • “I am super right-brained . . . ” “I would have to say my forte is writing . . . ”

    The irony burns.

  • Here’s a company that my design firm uses when we need to hire writers. I’m sure there are others like that. http://www.historyassociates.com

  • Rave: day trip to the beach Sunday was awesome!
    Rave: positive, line-free experience at CH Giant yesterday (went around 1 p.m.)
    Rave: sons (former foster kids) back home from visit with bio family and seem glad to be back. We grilled kosher chicken last night—yummy!

  • Rave: Broke out the water skis over the weekend. Shark tooth hunting too down at the cliffs too. Little girls loved the fast boat ride, amazed the 2 year old fell asleep on the way back even with all the wind and waves.

    Rant/Rave: Successfully replaced broken car axle and ball joint last night in the rain. Glad a friend was able to come help and that Autozone had all the parts I needed in stock!

    • Wow. Congrats.

    • What river/lake do you go too? My family has a place in Tappahannock and up river a bit there is a spot we call “the cliffs”. According to local folklore you can shark tooth hunt along these shores. The cliffs are pretty neat – 40-60ft dropoffs into the water and a bald ragle preserve.

      • Westmoreland State Park north of Tappahannock is a great place to find ’em. There used to be a store nearby called the Historyland Market that had multiple display cases of sharks teeth and other fossils along with civil war goodies that the guy found just walking the beaches there. It was a museum unto itself. And, of course, you could get a bag of chips and a drink while you’re there.

        • Excellent, thank you for the tip! I absolutely LOVE the Northern Neck and will definitely be keeping an eye out for that market 😉

  • Rave: The beach last week! Gorgeous weather and with plenty of sun screen, floppy hats, and long sleeves, I’m not returning to work with a painful sunburn.

    Rant: Rain. And leaking roofs. Roofer recommendations, anyone? I found some old reviews in the PoP archive, but has any one had any recent good experiences? We’ve got a leak at the point where our porch roof meets the wall and somewhere around where the stack pipe goes through the roof.

    Extra Rave: I’m lucky to have a job that I’m good at and enjoy.

    • I’m about to hire L&M for a job in Mt P, but also like a guy named Dan Parks, who I found through Service Alley to bid on the job. Avoid TW Roofing and Gutters and Maggio Roofing.

    • Adam Falcone @ Adam’s Roofing. 703-405-2011

      • +1 – I can’t actually vouch for his work – since he came out, inspected my roof and just pointed out a few minor issues that I could fix myself (and told me how!) But when I do eventually need a new roof he is damn sure #1 to call!

    • We’ve used Keith Roofing several times, and they are great.

    • Thank you, all! I’ll wish all the best for your roofs as we enter what looks like a week of steady rain.

  • greenroofgoddess

    Rave: Live music performances that have been popping up in the Columbia Heights Civic Square (aka the fountain at 14th and Park). Great a cappella group (Vox Populi) on Wednesday night, and a band over the weekend. One more reason to love CH!

  • Rant: Back to work

    Rant: Just ate lunch. Still hungry.

    Rave: Hello, fall. Pleased to see you again.

  • Rave: it made our day last Tues to have our yard on PoP as Garden of the Day – I wanted to comment and say thanks, but went into labor that afternoon. Our son was born that night, and that REALLY made my day 🙂

    What a crazy week – earthquake, hurricane (we have a crack and water stains on nursery ceiling as reminders) close friend’s wedding, GotD and a baby. Can’t top that.

    – –
    *my post has been holding in moderation since I included a link – I just took it out to get this to post. Apologies if a duplicate shows up now…

  • Rave -Raheem DeVaughn, Grammy nominated local R&B artist (who probably does not have a large PoP following) but has played 9:30 & Merriweather was playing in front of 50 – 100 people on a 15’ x 15’ stage 3’ feet off the ground on the lawn at National Harbor. I would assume an artist who has played major venues and sold 600k records would deem himself too big to do a show like that, so that was cool

    Rave – Strasburg
    Rant – Rain

  • Rave: Lovely weekend.
    Rant: Women’s button down shirts. Either they’re boxy, or they pucker around the chest, or the top button keeps coming undone. I think I accidentally flashed my client today.

    • or they aren’t long enough!

      • anon, try the shirts from Express. I think the must be designed for a snake.

      • em

        I have the opposite problem – I am short-waisted and all of the women’s shirts I come across are too long! I need shorter shirts – even some of the petites I try on are too long, since that seems to be the style right now.

    • Amen, sister! For any woman who was lucky enough to be blessed with a handfull, button downs are a serious pain. I either have to buy a size too big to accommodate the twins or I have to suffer the possibility of popping out (also in front of clients). I’m about to give up and have my shirts tailored.

    • I know there used to be a line of button down shirts for women that are based on cup size — don’t know if it still exists, but may be worth a try. The name is escaping me, but nothing Google can’t solve 🙂

    • I too have a love/hate relationship with button downs…

    • This sounds like an excellent business opportunity – making women’s dress shirts that fit.

    • try Ralph Lauren. they’re fitted with room for the girls…

  • Rant: The street lights on my block have been out since the hurricane, that’s nine days so far, and the traffic lights in the area have also been malfunctioning every few days since then. This is the kind of stuff that makes me feel like city services are slipping back into the bad old days since Gray became mayor.

  • Rant – After paying Victorian chiminey a bunch of money to fix my fireplace and make it functional, I now find out if I had used it I would have burned the place down. I now have a bill for $3.8k to put in a new liner

    Rant – I am bleeding money on this old house

    • It’s a labor of love. If you don’t love it, get out. She’ll only break your heart.

      What exactly did you have them do? I assume any work I do to make my chimney functional will require a flue liner.

  • Rant: Three bad valve stems on three different tires in two weeks. One caused a flat on 95 that tore the tire and resulted in the purchase of a new tire rather than just repairing the old one. This after I had had it in the night before for one of the other valve stems and they assured me the rest were all fine. I leave my car parked on the street most of the time. Has anyone ever had a similar issue or did I just get a bad batch of valve stems? The tires are only three years old and have maybe 8,000 miles on them.

    • Interesting problem.

      It’s possible that you might have defective valve stems. Where did you get them installed, and when?

      It sounds more likely to me that your tire pressure has fallen as a result of the seasonal temperature change. Since cold air is more dense than warm air, tire pressures drop when temperature drops.

      My advice would be to keep an eye on your tire pressures and make sure they don’t fall too low.

      My new car has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System but I still check the pressures manually once a month.

      • Thanks for the thoughts. It’s definitely the valve stems. They have all developed visual cracks in them, so it’s not just a seasonal tire pressure issue. I googled a bit the other day and found out there was a stem valve recall a couple years ago and that the valve stems were failing in the same way mine are. It sounds like I need to go get the last one replaced before it becomes an issue.

  • em

    Rant: Construction has closed the sidewalk on the west side of 15th St. NW between Pennsylvania Ave. and New York Ave. and now the cycletrack is full of pedestrians who are too lazy/ignorant to cross over to the east side sidewalk. These are traffic lanes designated for bicycles, they are not extended sidewalks!!! Pedestrians have been an intermittent problem in these lanes in the past (if there is an event at the White House, or a big school group is lining up to enter the WH grounds, people will step out into the lanes to walk around the big groups). However, the construction seems like it will be there for a while. The pedestrians are a safety hazard for bikes, as they often don’t pay attention to their surroundings and often react as if bikes IN A BIKE LANE are the problem.

    Rave: Had a great holiday weekend with my fiancee – including an end-of-season kayaking adventure on the Potomac.

    • Totally agree about that part of 15th St. Luckily, I’ve been able to swing out onto the street for that part of the ride. However, the tourists look completely mystified when I ring my bike bell to let them know I’m there (and to please get the f out of the way, pretty please).

    • Two words: Air Horn.

  • Rave: This morning I discovered my neighbor’s bank card on the windshield of my car. After talking to him, it would seem that he dropped it outside last night while unloading some things from his girlfriend’s car. Someone must have found it and put it on our car– instead of stealing it! He checked his account and no money is missing, so no one used it either! Yay for great neighbors in Columbia Heights!

    • Not to be a wet blanket, but your neighbor should keep checking his account on a regular basis. No one has used his card – yet. That doesn’t mean there may not be a plan to do so in the future.

    • That is awesome. I lost my wallet or had it stolen on Friday at a Nats game. Revel is the friendly officer at the 1D station and the guest services folks at Nats Park for friendliness, my fiancee for bankrolling me until my new card show up, and the fact that no one ran up any charges before I cancelled my cards.

      Rant is the person who rode from Navy Yard to Virginia Square on Sunday morning on my SmartTrip card, then back and forth between there and New Carrolton all weekend. I cancelled that card this morning (it appears, while the person was on the train) but I hope he or she slipped on a wet meetro platform and twisted an ankle.

  • that’s the nice thing about renting… rather than endure the disruption associated with repairs you can just pack up & leave… not only do you have to pay for the repair as a homeowner but you also have to live in the house while it’s going on.

  • rant: no animal fix posting today!

  • “That’s why people have a “day job” and a separate distinct creative outlet. Even for those of us who are “left brained” this is just a fundamental part of the human existence.”

    I find that utterly ridiculous. Hating your job is not a fundamental part of human existence.

    I know loads of people who started out working ‘professional’ high-paying jobs, got bored, and moved on to something else more enjoyable. Certainly you must know someone who is happy in their job.

    For example, do you know any doctors, firefighters, or teachers who don’t love their jobs? I’ve never met a teacher who doesn’t love to teach.

    • “’ve never met a teacher who doesn’t love to teach.”
      I wish that were true. Almost all teachers I know certainly love to teach, but they also vehemently hate their jobs.

    • I think the Anon who was being quoted above meant something like “Don’t look to your job to be your creative outlet,” rather than “It’s inevitable that you’ll hate your day job.”

      Day jobs don’t have to be unenjoyable. Many of us like our day jobs and find a sense of fulfillment in them, even if they’re distinct from whatever creative passion we pursue on the side.

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