Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user OrderedChaos

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. But please no personal attacks. I’ll open this thread every morning at 10am.

120 Comment

  • Rant: The small, struggling non-profit I work for, who can’t give raises again this year, interestingly came up with funds to buy all members of upper management iphones. No matter how I stretch my mind, there is no justifiable reason why this is necessary. Reflects so poorly on them and does very little for morale. They appear to be blind to these things.

    Rave: Ran 6 miles yesterday – most distance I’ve run in 10 years!

    • Buying these expensive phones in a down economy is something I just can’t understand. As everyone complains about higher healthcare premiums, unemployment, etc…, we still rush out for these phones and willing pay $120 or more a month on extensive data plans. I don’t get it. And I’m not just talking about struggling non-profits. I’m referring to low income and even middle income people, students, and others for whom spending that amount of money each month makes little sense- especially if you’re shortchanging your retirement accounts.

      • Word. I make a very comfortable living and have a hard time justifying $30 per month in data (although it’s paid for and required by my job.) It blows my mind that so many college kids and people with low incomes have iPhones and blackberries. It seems irresponsible.

      • What data plan is $120 a month? Mine’s $19.95. But I do agree with your setinment. Especially since, if you’re eligible for an upgrade right now, a lot of service providers will give you the iPhone 3 for free. But most people would rather pay hundreds of dollars for the 4S which fundametnally is not that different.

        • Was referring to voice plus data. At my previous job, my Verizon smartphone was $118 a month. The bill would have been almost $140 with the unlimited texting (which everyone else had), but I told my non-profit that texting was unnecessary for me (I text with my personal phone)…

      • Young professional here – I pay $15 a month for my data plan and have the smallest possible minutes plan at $40 a month. (It would be really nice if I get a fewer number of minutes.) I actually use my data plan 10x more than using the phone for voice conversations in an average month. I can’t see how people don’t understand that now & in the future being connected to the internet 24/7 is necessary.

        Just for professional purposes on a daily basis –
        I manage my company email and company twitter feed on the phone. I have my personal twitter feed on the phone (focuses on my field). I sometimes order dinner/takeout on the phone. I check the weather. I also use it daily to navigate and find out the wait time for the next bus. I use it for global news.

        I couldn’t imagine life without my phone+data plan which is why the $70 a month I pay for it is a key expense.

      • Agree. I have a very nice Tracfone which provides me with great coverage, plenty of minutes and texts for about $100 per year. I also have an iPod Touch which works where there is WiFi so I can use and enjoy apps and browsing. I am planning on an iPad for a holiday gift for myself, but again, will just get the WiFi version.

      • I think it’s because having a smart phone is really addictive. Once you have one, you can’t go back. A lot of young people these days were probably on family plans in college and didn’t pay much/anything for their iphones, and now they can’t image living without data.

        I was one of the last people I know to get a data plan – I finally got rid of my 2007 flip phone three months ago to get an Android. I held off as long as I could before getting one. Even after three months, I now feel like I could not possibly survive without having data on my phone. Crazy, if you think about it – it’s only been three months! I’m happy without a TV or car or land line, but (unfortunately) I think a smartphone has now become a necessity for me. 🙁

        • I’m the last one in my family with a flip phone!! I’m still holding strong- even though at family events I look like a dinosaur :-D.

          • One of my sons has a flip phone, much to his embarrassment, but will upgrade when his contract is up. Since I pay for both boys’ phones, I told them they can’t have anything requiring a data plan unless they want to pay for it, which means they have to get a job. So I’m pretty not cool. We also don’t have cable because I don’t think they need to watch TV all the time.

    • Does your membership or board know about this? They’d probably be enraged. The only justification I think of is so that everyone has reliable email service when they’re away from their desk / out of the office, but even then I’m sure there are cheaper options.

      • I personally don’t have a lot of confidence in the boards ability to set limits with our Exec.Director, and furthermore, retribution would not be out of the question if I ever did complain to the board. I realize how sad this is.

        • I know how that is. It’s the duty of nonprofit staff to act in the best interest of whom they represent, but often times boards will have TOO much faith in their staff and bad decisions get made. And no, I’d never ever suggest going against your leadership and telling the board. Ugh, no. Although…does your association have a whistleblower hotline?

          • Plus, I’ve found that board members are usually selected by the executive director. Ya gotta put your buddies on the board.

    • were they the newest iphones? because there is such a glut of slightly older iphones that you can easily get them for free with a plan.

      • They are in fact the new ones, but even if they weren’t – it’s just poor judgement to hand out that kind of luxury item in the face of tough times, when many direct line staff at the agency earn very low wages and have had no raise in 3 years.
        Also, just an fyi, I’ve worked here 6 years. There really is no need for this type of phone. If anything, they’d be great for the counselors who are out and about seeing clients all over the area.

  • MsNesbitt

    Rant: The driver outside my bedroom window who decided to lay on the horn for 5 minutes straight at 5:30 AM.

    Rant: This cold/chest congestion.

    Rave: Mucinex!

    • You must live close to me. Although, in a strange turn of events it forced me out of bed earlier than normal and have since been extremely productive… Maybe early birds are on to something!

  • Rant: the rain plus wind this morning – not enough rain to justify an umbrella, but enough rain and wind to make me look like a drowned rant.

    Question: anyone go to the happy hour at Louis’ Rouge last night??

    • shipsa01

      Yup, we had about 25 people from the neighborhood – a mixed bag of everyone: young and old, men and women, gay and straight, black and white. I would say that for about 24 of the 25, it was their first time in the place.

      It was a good time and we got to meet another one of our neighbors. As our president, Rob Amos, said: “We don’t discriminate by type of business; we’re all members of a common community, and through interaction we have proven that we can evolve together into an area which works for everyone. We’re not trying to drive any establishment out of business; we’re trying to learn about them and give them the opportunity to learn about us.”

  • claire

    Rant: Sleep deprivation.

    Rant: Even though I feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I’m trying to accomplish, I somehow also feel like I’m not doing enough with my life.

    Rave: Saw a beautiful rainbow this morning.

    • Revel: I saw it too from near Grant Circle. So rare to see a morning rainbow with the rainbow in the west…saw it again from Fort Totten Metro.

    • (hmm, my first reply got eaten by the internet monster) I completely agree with and echo your first two rants! I don’t have a rave yet, but getting through everything I need to get done today will be a great feeling at the end of the day.

    • Rant: Missed the rainbow. When I get to work these days it’s still dark out!

    • Me too! It looked great over the EL Haynes field.

  • Rave: Rasika was awesome last night- we had a gift certificate and decided to try the four-course tasting menu. It was AWESOME!!! What a great night out!!

    Rant: Closing down an overseas project sucks- i feel awful for the staff.

    Rave: Back in the pool last night for my first real workout in a while- the knee felt fine and I am a much happier person because of it!

    • How much is the tasting menu?

      • It’s $50 for the vegetarian menu and $58 for the meat menu. It was incredible- I wouldn’t do it normally but we had a gift certificate from some wonderful friends. A lot of food- they even offered to pack it up for us to take home. You get palak chaat, an appetizer, two meat entree dishes (or three veggie dishes), a side of okra, plenty of rice, roti, and then dessert!

  • Rave: They have a Mellow Mushroom in DC finally.
    Rant: I have a huge presentation to give next week and it’s my first time doing so and I”m HELLA nervous.

    Rant: I think I may have overstretched my finances when I got my studio. I can still afford everything I have comfortably but I have less funds available for spending. 🙁

  • I am afraid I’m about to do the same thing re: studio. I have signed the lease yet but I do love everything about it. The problem is the studio represents 50% of my income. I think it’ll be okay because outside of the bus & student loans I don’t have any other major expenses.

    • I’m the same way. The studio doesn’t rep. 50% of my income. Closer to about 45% but it’s still a lot.

      You’ll be really tight.

    • I know a lot of periodicals say you shouldn’t spend more than 30% on rent, but it’s different in DC. I don’t think 50% is really unheard of in this city. It was a big shock to me when I moved here.

      • Yes! I look for references and they all say spend 30% or less of your income on rent. I actually pay 25% of my income currently towards rent but I’m tired of living in a dump. I think for cities like DC/NYC/LA exceptions are frequently made.

        • For sure. When I set my budget when I was looking at apartments, I was at 30%. Then I started looking at places and realized there was no way that I could afford what I was comfortable with at 30%. Somehow I scrape by, but I thank public transportation and rarely eating out. And yes, that’s the last time I’ll thank WMATA for anything, I think. 🙂

          • Yeah, the 30% rule just doesn’t work for most people in DC. I spend 58% of my take-home pay on mortgage, but I’d rather do that than stick to the 30% rule and not even feel comfortable in my own home.

            Think of it this way: the quality of life is a lot better here than it is most other places (better job opportunities, more interesting people, beautiful streetscapes and lots of culture). So you don’t have to spend money on cars and gadgets and all that other stuff that people in the vast majority of the country need to stay happy.

          • the percentages are post-tax, right?

          • The 30% figure that’s used as a benchmark is for gross income. I’m not sure when people are saying they spend 45-50% of their income on rent/housing they mean gross or net. I hope it’s net.

          • And by net income, I mean post-tax.

          • Wondering the same thing. I used to spend almost 50% of my after-tax income on rent, and it was tight but manageable. I just wasn’t able to save anything. Luckily I now sppend only about 30% of net. But 50% of gross would have been insane.

        • I was speaking of net income – what I make every month after taxes are taken out.

          Speaking of taxes – will I see a serious change in taxes take out or not taken out in moving to MD?

        • You’d likely pay a bit more in taxes taken out if you moved to MD (of course it depends on your income). A recent DCFPI study calculated that a single renter earning 50K paid $1000 more in annual taxes in Montgomery/PG County compared to DC. (this was because the higher tax rates in DC don’t kick in until above 40,000 in taxable income).

  • should be “haven’t”

  • Rave: My tax problem has been resolved with one phone call!

    Rant: I spent $30 faxing documents to a lawyer about this problem and I didn’t need to.

    Rave: Won’t have to hire a lawyer to take care of that problem.

  • Rant: the careers I really want pay so little, it almost doesn’t seem worth it go back to school, rack up debt getting another degree, just to make the same amount of money I am making as an admin assistant.

    Rave: the week is going by fast. it’s starting to feel like fall.

    Rave: everything pumpkin flavored.

    • i’ve chosen a career in the arts. awesome work i love it almost everyday. my income sucks and i had to live in a very sketchy hood for years.

      it’s definitely a balancing act, but i would rather spend my time doing something i love than waste my days away just working for a paycheck.

      but it is really hard.

      • this is what i want to do. something in the arts.

        • “something” in the arts? or something specific in the arts? what does that even mean? you want to work in an opera house or at a gallery doing office work? or do you want to be an artist?

        • we have a very strong arts community here in dc. it is generally very supportive. it is one of those careers that you will virtually loose everything outside of work though. so be careful in that.

          find people in the section of the arts you want to be in and learn as much as you can from them.

          good luck!

    • depends, admin asst pay plateaus out pretty early.

      • I had an admin asst friend making 20k more than I did 2 years out of college, I’m now safely making 20k more than her and will probably be making 20k more than I am now in the next 5 years. In the meantime, she’ll be getting $1500-$2000 raises for the rest of her life and won’t be able to take a new job at her current salary.

        • Let’s not bash the admins – I’m making as much as a manager in my office, learning a ton about the field, meeting all the leaders of other organizations and wielding some real power here.
          It depends on the organization, the position, the field, the way other people see you (are you “just” a secretary or a trusted member of the team, etc) and what you do with it.

          I plan to move into the program side in a few years, or move on to something else using all the great contacts I’ve made here.

  • Rant: Kids break multiple windows and graffiti-up the playground equipment at Barnard.

    Rant: EL Haynes appear to be breaking ground for new high school building, which will block my view of Venus! Less building, more green space please!

    Rave: My computer internet is working again after being damaged by lightning.

  • Rant: My boyfriend constantly texts another girl that he works with and also volunteers with. He see’s her sometimes 6 days a week and I see him 1. Can’t he just stand not to text her the one day I’m with him? Yes, I’ve met her. No, I’m not intimidated by her. Yes, she is married. No, that does not matter. Added insult, we share the same name. I don’t know why I am so annoyed by this but I am close to saying something although it’s probably not worth the argument.

    • Maybe he thinks he is texting you?

    • I am a big believer in discussing issues before they become big problems, or having a discussion while upset. I don’t see why he would have a problem sitting down with you and having a calm discussion about why he texts her all the time and your feelings about it. Its better than having a big blow up and having it all come out at that point. He may not realize how this bothers you and once he knows, he will change. And if he doesn’t, at least you have more information on whether or not you want to stay with someone who doesn’t consider your feelings on issues like this.

    • Say something. Even if he argues, at least he’ll know it bothers you.

    • To be fair, he can’t correct his behavior unless he’s aware that he’s doing something to piss you off. If it bothers you that much, you have to communicate that with him, otherwise, nothing will ever change. To give him the benefit of the doubt, he may not even realize that he’s doing it – some people are that clueless. If he is aware and/or banging this girl, he’s a dick and you need to leave. If you’re not bringing this up because you don’t want to have an argument, then it’s really not a fair relationship – you should never feel like you can’t have a discussion with your partner about things like this just to avoid confrontation. That’s not a balanced relationship and you need to rethink whether or not this is worth it to you.

      • Oh we can definitely talk about everything. We’ve never had even the smallest argument about anything. All things that might lead to an argument are quickly discussed before it comes to anything big. I think he’s just clueless to the fact. I trust him 100% so I know nothing else is going on.

        • I know how much we want to trust partners 100%, but you wouldn’t have ranted about it if your gut wasn’t telling you something. put the kibosh on it, sister.

    • You say you are not intimidated by her, but would you honestly be as upset if it were a man? By all means, be honest with him about your feelings, but be honest with yourself too.

    • Anyone that truly cared about you wouldn’t do this (the texting, that is). And he certainly would make more time for you. Sorry, sometimes you just neeed to hear it to make it real.

    • Is it possible that the real problem here is that you only see your boyfriend once a week?

      • He works 12 hour shifts and the way our work schedules align the only day we have free is Sunday 😐

        • So, is that a “yes”?

          • I’m not sure what the question really was leading to? We definitely don’t see each other enough but that is our only option for now. We make good use of the time we are together.

          • It doesn’t sound like it based on your original complaint.

            The question was only leading to the possibility that your rant should have been “only see bf once a week” rather than “bf texts co-worker all the time when I only see him once a week.” You may not be able to increase time together, but having only one day a week to be together is not an arrangement that works well for all people (I know from experience that it doesn’t work well for me). You may want to talk to him about that, rather than about the co-worker.

            And since I am not a relationship counselor, I will end there. Hope it works out OK.

    • Does he constantly text you as well? It would make me uncomfortable if my boyfriend was emotionally closer to another woman than he was with me. If he is just a phone/text addict, I wouldn’t worry about it much. But if this constant communication is just with her, then I think it is weird.

      Either way, I agree that you should talk to him about your feelings.

    • dump him.

      • +1. been there. especially if he won’t show you or doesn’t talk about what they text about. if she texts while you’re together and he doesn’t tell you what it said then that’s shady. she probably also feels like she can safely flirt more than would be acceptable b/c she’s married, but that’s some bs!

        • If it pertains to me then he’ll say what it was…”oh so and so invited us to a halloween party”….”So and so and her husband want to take us to dinner with a groupon they bought.”

          I’ve never asked him what it says but sometimes he just offers up the information himself. I guess I’ll just have to talk about it with him next time I notice it happening.

          • yeah, that sounds more normal. presumably if you are doing group dinners then you are sort of friends with her as well? you’d probably notice if there was something between them when you’re all together.

    • Life is too short, get a new man! Does he also play video games, constantly thumb-fondle his smartphone and watch football on your one day together? And buy expensive gifts to make up for the fact that he is never around?

      • Definitely not! When we are together we are out riding bikes, hiking, cooking, trying new places to eat,and taking pictures at different places. I have zero complaints other than the fact he texts that girl all the time. I’ll just have to suck it up and say something!

  • Rant: I’d really like to get my masters in Speech Pathology, but the cut off GPA is 3.5 I made straight As in college UNTIL I took 5 credit chemistry course that was way over my head and I didn’t have the wherewithal to get out of. It completely sunk my GPA, and I think I’m just shy of that cut off. Should I take some courses a community college to raise my GPA, or throw myself at the mercy of those that review applications?

    • Well to be fair, I should say I made As and Bs until I took that chemistry class, and then I switched majors and got all As.

      • em

        Was your major something related to speech pathology? If so, you can probably find a way to call out your in-major vs. overall GPA on the application and/or in an essay. You might also try calling the admissions office or even a professor in the program you are applying for to ask for some advice. Having an advocate for you when you send the application can help a lot.

        • It was in psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience. I had to take linguistics, but I don’t think that major is related to speech pathology.

          • My partner got a masters in speech pathology at UDC. They have an ok program there that is pretty closely allied with Howard. You might check it out.

    • Apply. That chemistry course does not matter. Make note of your overall GPA and your degree program GPA.

    • My undergraduate GPA was just slightly below a 3.0, the cutoff for most engineering Master’s programs. Similarly, it was because of one or two bad grades (one of which was a humanities elective). I applied to four schools and got into three, including George Washington, so I don’t think the GPA hurt me too much. I also had good GRE scores.

      • Yeah this is just in the initial stages in planning (I gotta pop this baby out before I can think of schooling again), so I’m hoping I can study hard for the GREs and get a good score.

  • Can’t decide where to buy a home.

    It’s either a small, single family in upper NW or a condo or fixer-upper around U Street. Both have serious pros and cons.

    • Start out by looking at both, and include other neighborhoods in your search as well. Pretty soon you’ll be able to zero in on exactly what you want and where. It’s funny where the initial search will lead– many realtors will tell you their clients ended up buying in an area that they weren’t even considering originally.

  • I’m also trying to decide if the time is right for us to buy. Gulp.

    • I thought it was the right time for us, but now that we’ve been looking for 3 months, I’m getting the impression that it is not.

      • It took us two years, and the people who bought the house next door two weeks before us said the same thing. If we’d bought something after the three month mark I’m sure we’d be regretting it now. Buying a home is such a major purchase, and a huge commitment, that it’s prudent to take your time.

        • We house shopped exactly 1 day and looked at 6 houses. 2 years later… still love our house….. and don’t regret the purchase.

          It really helps to know exactly what you want… we had a limited budget, and were looking in a limited geographic area so once we saw a house that fit those requirements and that we really liked we jumped on it.

          • I think it really depends a lot on what you’re looking for and your budget. We were recently looking, but have just decided to stop after about four months. After seeing what was out there, we’ve decided to save up some more money so we can increase our budget. It’s not that we couldn’t have found something we liked eventually at this budget, but we realized for the criteria that are really important to us, we’re going to need a bit more. The process of looking definitely helped us figure that out, though.

          • We bought the first house we looked at. But that was 18 years ago. Mt. P was only starting to get pricey then.

  • Bought a house at the end of December and I wish we NEVER EVER had done it. I’d love to get out of it. Any general thoughts on how much one would lose by selling 15-18 (or 24) months after buying? Or does that completely depend upon your equity/remaining mortgage?

    • What is wrong with the house?

      • Shoddy flip job so several things and it’s been one thing after another. Some not the developers fault, but most. THOUSANDS above and beyond anything we knew about and haven’t been able to put any money into fixing it up/changing decor because there’s been so much repair to do. Didn’t really want to own a house anyway but had to do it at the time (long story), and now it feels like we’re stuck–which is part of the reason I didn’t want to own in the first place. Renting you can pick up and move to another place, move to another city. Owning = stuck-o’d. Been in DC nearly eight years so it feels time to move.

        • We were in the same situation, also wondering how to get out, wondering if there was any legal recourse. (A leaking pipe, sealed up behind a wall, was found to have a sock tied around it. I shit you not.) We spent two years finding and fixing all the stuff the inept flippers messed up. I was very, very glad to have a home warranty for those two years. It may be the one case in which it’s really a good investment.

          But now, with all that behind us (we’ve been in our house six years), we have no regrets. So there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

          • Wow! A SOCK? Sounds like my house. :p Sorry for what you went through. That’s awful. I wish we could go back after the fact and get these scam artists.

            We got a one year warranty but it’s only covered a few of the minor things, like the heat not working in January and the a/c not working in June when it was over 100. And the washing machine dancing all over the floor because the genius who installed it LEFT A PIECE OF STYROFOAM, irreparably damaging the drum.

    • I had major buyer’s remorse for about six-nine months after we bought a house. The whole process was stressful and overwhelming. But now we’ve been in our house for nearly five years and I am so happy there. Maybe you just need to give it some time.

      • Good point. Could be. I’ve had a lot of other major/stressful things happen in the time since we bought. I don’t know. It just seems like a money pit. 🙁 A money pit I don’t even love or want to take care of. Gotta suck it up and deal though, cuz apparently it belongs to us (well, the bank haha).

        • Hang in there. One thing about buying a house is you’re house poor for about a year and a half. Then you get your tax return and you make a little more money and then you can start to afford having things fixed. It takes some time, but it will be worth it later. Plus, the place is YOURS, and you can fix things to your liking.

          • Bought in 2010 so we already got the good tax return.

            I don’t wanna fix it up. I wanna ditch it. :p I’m just really more of a rental kinda gal.

    • That depends on how you define “lose” (i.e. compared to your original purchase price + closing costs? or just compared to how much you still owe + the cost of selling?).

      But yes, it also depends on how much you could sell it for now and how much you owe on it.

      • Hmm, I guess I mean how much it costs us to sell v. how much we owe plus what we’ve had to shell out above purchase price. Should probably get an appraisal.

    • If it is before the 24 month mark and you make money one the house you will have to pay some extra taxes. Other than that you won’t really be losing much.

      Also, Have you considered just renting out? The rental market here is insane (as is always noted on here). If you don’t want to be a landlord, talk to some realtors that can manage it for you. Honestly, that is what I have done for the last 2 places I owned. I am going to do that with the place I have now whenever I decide to move. It is MUCH easier than most people make it out to be and you make a lot of money very quickly.

      • Good to know about the 24 months! Thank you!

        Renting it out would be great, though we’d still have to fix all the crap that’s wrong anyway. We’re already landlords–have a legal basement apartment. But would need the money from the sale of the house to move to another city. Would need job in said city as well.

        I just need to get over it and deal with the fact that we’re stuck, at least for a while. There are worse places to be–at least DC has a relatively decent job market. I think I’m just kinda over it. Definitely over people dealing crack and pissing in my alley.

    • Ugh! That sucks! Look over your home warranty (if one came with the purchase) carefully and then badger the warranty company. They usually deny a claim a few times before finally admitting that they have to pay out.

      If it helps, I just rented out my house in Southern Maryland, using a realtor. He said that it is a great time to rent out property right now. Any issues with the house or the renters are taken care of by the realtor. “Minor” repairs are responsibility of renter and “major” repairs have to be paid for by me. But, at least I’m out of there.

  • Rave: With the support of my boss, I spent a great morning volunteering with a fantastic group of people. Also got to appreciate being the youngest person there by several decades. I’ve got lots to learn, but plenty of amazing teacher!

    Rave: A wonderful boyfriend. Even though we’re approaching nearly seven years together, the last couple of months have felt like a honeymoon period all over again. I’m a lucky lady!

    Rant: Rain and a not-yet-permanently-fixed roof. I can’t wait to have an intact house again.

  • Rant: pedestrians who wait for green lights while standing in the crosswalk instead of on the sidewalk. Is that extra 2 seconds on the laaame sidewalk standers really worth the risk of getting hit by a car or bike?

    Rave: It’s already Wednesday! 🙂

  • LisaT, why do you regret it? We talk about buying all the time but haven’t made the leap yet.

    • Whups, I see your response now….sorry

    • Buying is good for some people, not good for others. My suggestion is just to evaluate your reasons and make the best decision for yourselves. We had to do it quick and both went along reluctantly. If you know you want to stay in DC for a while and you know you want to own (and everything that goes along with that), go for it! 🙂

  • Bear

    Rant: Friend of a friend killed by a falling tree branch today.

    Rave: My problems suddenly seem pretty minor.

  • Rant: I got divorced today

    Rave: I got divorced today

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