Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user [email protected]

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.

93 Comment

  • Bought complete gut job house in U Street 15 months ago. Great structure, ridiculous location but totally destroyed on the inside. Put 90K in renovating it and loving living in it.

    Decided to refinance to take advantage of ridiculous interest rates and the house was reappraised for the lender. House appraised for 330K more than I paid for it ~ year ago. Granted, I knew generally what it was worth by the recent comps but still, nice to be confirmed.

    Channeling my best Dave Chappell…”I’m rich biatch”.

    • you scored big time. nice job.

    • claire

      Congrats on making your hard work pay off! Was this your first time renovating a gut job house? What made you feel prepared to jump into it?

    • Did you renovate yourself or have someone do it? If you hired a contractor, did they have exceptionally excellent attention to detail and finishing? If so, please share the contact info.

    • houseintherear


    • What’s wrong with the location?

    • Bought my house in Col. Hts. in 99′; I did a bunch of patching and painting over the years. I just began renovating, I want to do it all over right! Nothing like an updated old house! Congrats! If you have the time, detail the work you had done and what area your house is in! 🙂

      • Hired contractors for the framing/plumbing/electrical/tile because, well I don’t know how to do any of that and while I am a smart guy anc could figure it out, I didn’t want to waste months or years learning on the job.

        I acted as the GC, hiring all the individual contractors seperately and coordinating their work because I feel I had greater control and transparancy into cost.

        I laid out the design in CAD myself (I am a mech engineer) and paid someone else finish the mechanical/electrical/plumbing plans and stamp them. I pulled all the permits.

        All in all, it took me almost 4 months from the start of demo but I was there EVERY single day. Nearly got fired from my 9-5 cause I was leaving at weird times of the day to meet contractors/inspecetors/delivery people etc.

        It was annoying at the time and involved a decent amt of personal time investment, considering the payoff was nearly 4 to 1 in terms of dollars out vs dollars in, it was worth it.

  • Rave: Started a new job last Wednesday.

    Rant: Quit said job after 3 days due to serious problems with safety and management.

    Rave: Offered and accepted a new job that starts at the end of the month.

    The world works in mysterious ways…

  • what’s the difference between a craft beer and a microbrew?

  • Rave: Great weather for an early morning run today.

    Rant: People who do not leash their dogs in Rock Creek Park. During each of my past three runs, dogs have jumped out in front of me while I was running, nearly tripping me. The owners usually apologize, but how about instead you leash your goddamn dog. I’m just going to start calling the park service every time I see it. Maybe they’ll get tired of me calling and do something. Also, I saw two people with baby bjorns and off leash dogs today. What are you going to do if that dog attacks me or another dog? Absolutely nothing. Ugh.

  • rave: it’s Wednesday

    rave: fall weather

    rave: my parents coming to town

    rave: a new crush

  • Rant: HDR photos in real estate listings.

    Double Rant: Poorly done HDR photos in real estate listings.

  • claire

    Rant: My part-time job decided to switch me over to being officially hired and paid through a third party company which means a lot of random paperwork.
    Rave: Finally finished said paperwork, hopefully in time to work this Sunday and get paid via direct deposit for it.

    Rave: My sister’s coming to visit this weekend, and I’m looking forward to showing her around my ‘hood a little and getting Ethiopian food at my favorite place (Zenebech Injera!) with her and my brother.
    Rant: We all planned on meeting at the Shaw metro but now it’s going to be closed for the weekend so I have to drive around and pick everyone up and then drop them off after.

  • Rant: Can’t get job interviews despite what I think is a killer resume for perfect matches.

    Any recommendations for resume re-writers?

    • me

      It kind of depends on what you’re going for. First, have a few friends look it over, especially if they aren’t involved in the same type of work, just to get different opinions. Also, monitor your use of “jargon”, as it can really put off some employers. There’s a bunch of stuff… too much for here. I’d be happy to review yours and give you a few comments, if you’d like- PoP has my email.

    • Resumes…lol, you kids kill me.

  • Rave: Got 2 calls about jobs in 2 days.
    Rant: The job I really want fell off the face of the earth.
    Rave: Leaving DC.
    Rant: Having a spouse which means 2 of us have to make the transition to another state. I have to get a high enough salary to support both of us for an unspecified amount of time. Being married is a big rave, but having to worry about 2 people being satisfied with a big decision is tough.
    Rave: Have a lot of savings.
    Rave: My application:interview ratio is, in my opinion, extraordinary. I don’t know if my skillset is hard to come by, or what. But seriously, BIG RAVE.
    Rave: LEAVING DC. (So much of a rave that it deserves to be said twice)

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Been horribly sick for the past 3 days.

    Rant: Ran out of PTO, so had to come to work today, even though I could use another day off to sleep.

    Rant: It’s the relapse that will kill you.

    Rave: Health insurance mostly paid for by my company.

    Rave: Slow day at work (knock on wood).

  • RAVE: Leaving for my first and only vacation this year to glorious London tomorrow! While it’s only five days in London, (last year I managed to do 10) I CANNOT WAIT.

    RAVE: Fall weather. Finally I can breathe in air that doesn’t feel like pea soup.

    RANT: Job prospects. Followed up with the guy who interviewed me last Friday and still nothing. Come on man, don’t leave me in the dark now!

  • Rave: My little boy was born 4 years ago today.

    Rant: Apparently he is a symptom of over population that is destroying the environment.

    Rave: I am pretty sure the earth will last long enough for him to some day experience the pure joy and unconditional love of parenthood.

    • Happy birthday to him!

    • andy

      Yay for his birthday!

    • This made me giggle. 4 is a fun age!
      We need more bambinos like him for our world in the future. Don’t listen to those insane environmentalists.

    • Eh, the Earth will probably be pretty f*cked up by the next generation and our lifestyles might be pretty different by then, but you know what? Humans are tough, creative, and adaptable. All will be fine.

      • that’s the most ridiculous attitude. I’m not saying you should become totally fanatical, but not doing your part or staying even mildly aware of environmental issues means you’re part of the problem. if things turn out fine, it will be in SPITE of you. you should be aware of environmental hazards to public health. they do exist, in america and all over the world, and they decrease our quality of life pretty dramatically. and if you don’t think that the increasing wealth and resulting consumption in china and india are going to effect the world, then you’re living in lalaland.

        • Yeah, it’s like she’s counting on all the tough, creative, and adaptable people to fix things while she goes on doing what she pleases.

        • Wait, what? I’m actually kind of a crazy environmentalist. I support major policy changes to make the world more sustainable. I try to buy as few disposable items as possible (not even paper towels!). I don’t own a car. I judge people who don’t at least make an effort to live more sustainably. I sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street folks!

          The point is, I agree with you, I DO think that increasing wealth and pressure on resources is going to majorly change our world in the coming years. I think climate change is going to effect things. I think our current agriculture systems and consumption patterns are going to effect things.

          Sadly, no matter what we do now, I think things are gonna get bad. And it scares me sometimes. When I said that people were tough, creative, and adaptable, I meant that I felt that the human race will survive whatever environmental disaster we bring upon ourselves. We probably will not be able to maintain the quality of living that we do now, and we probably will not be eating a lot of meat or driving cars or living in giant single family homes or even living as long as we do now.

          What I meant was, when I worry about the future, I take comfort in knowing that throughout history, humans have been pretty good at making the best of bad situations, and finding ways to live meaningful lives even in negative circumstances. I don’t think that people will be able to fix the damage we’ve done, but I think they’ll find ways to adapt to a very different world than the one we live in now.

          That doesn’t mean I think we should give up on trying to save the environment, but it is the only way I can cope with my pessimism about the environment. I mean, do you realize how many people don’t even believe in climate change? 🙁

          Long rant. Sorry.

          • no apologies necessary

          • Apparently I am quite touchy about being accused of not caring about the environment. Who knew?

            I will stop hijacking this tread now… :/

          • thanks for that. and very sorry for the misunderstanding. maybe I’m too much of a judgmental fatalist. unfortunately, I don’t share your view that everything will be okay but I wish I did. it’s easy to think that living in cushy middle-class america we’ll adapt, but I really believe that it will come at a terrible price — pandemics, loss of coast lines, loss of seafood, epidemic of allergies and cancers, etc etc.

            yeah, those climate change deniers are just about the most despicable people in the world.

  • Rant: Condo/rowhouse search is taking longer than I hoped. We recently found a place we’re interested in seeing, but when our realtor inquired, the owner said they decided to rent it out instead of selling it. I understand that the rental market in DC is ridiculously good and that this makes it attractive to rent instead of selling your property, but it means there isn’t as much for those of us out there looking to buy. Frustrating.

    Rave: We were able to work out an okay deal to stay in our temporary apartment longer term so we can take our time looking for the right

    Rave: Despite not getting Columbus Day as a holiday, I’m taking the day off, so three-day weekend coming up.

    • Oops – posted without finishing my second rave. That should say:

      Rave: …looking for the right place.

      • Has the market slowed? I have not seen or heard of very many places being offered for sale in the Park View/Petworth area.

        • I’m a first time home buyer, so I’m not sure what a normal market looks like, but it certainly feels slow to me right now. I do think the disconnect between the rental market and the housing market is hurting those of us looking to buy a little bit. Even though the housing market in DC has stayed relatively strong, the rental market is even stronger.

      • Does Honey Badger by chance….not give a sh*t? ha.

    • Where are you looking and what is your price range? Folks with this information will probably be a big help to you on this board. There are two or three row houses within my vicinity in Columbia Heights that are on the market.

      • Thanks for the offer. I’m working with a realtor who seems pretty clued in, so I’m not sure what other kind of help there would be. Part of the problem for us is that we’re looking in a pretty small area in Kalorama/Adams Morgan/Lanier Heights. It’s the best place for us for our respective work commutes, but I think the process is going to take longer because we’ve limited our geographic area so much.

        • Look in the Chastleton at 16th and R. There are a number of really nice units for sale in the building at low prices, and it is a really nice place. I used to live there.

          • Thanks for the recommendation! We actually looked at a unit in that building and liked it, but they don’t allow dogs. I forgot to add that in addition to looking in a limited geographic area, we’re looking for a place that will allow us to add a furry friend to our household.

  • Rant: Several friends are currently job hunting, and while I’m doing everything I can to help them, it’s brutal.

    Rant: Several other friends are apartment hunting. They all work in the nonprofit field like I do, so finding something affordable is wicked tough. Again, I’m trying to help in any way I can (I’ve become the resident expert on the DC rental market after 5 moves in my first 4 years here), but I can’t magically make rents in DC affordable.

    Revel: All of this makes me incredibly grateful for my job and my apartment. My job doesn’t pay *great*, but it’s enough to live on, and it’s in my field. And my apartment’s not slick and modern, but it has tons of character, and I can afford it. (And my landlord didn’t raise my rent when my lease ended in May–3 million points for him!)

    • about to start looking for a new place to rent. any tips on the best neighborhoods to scope out? currently in dupont and prefer to stay in nw.

      • There’s several factors to take into consideration–for example, are you willing to live in a basement apartment? If so, you can still find decent deals in Columbia Heights, and there’s a fair number of options in Petworth. But if you’re like me, and *need* to be above ground, it can get a bit tougher to find a cheap place in those areas (Petworth tends to be a pretty rowhouse-heavy neighborhood until you get into the northern areas, and then you’re a bit of a trek from a metro station, and in CH, there tends to be a *reason* if a place is wicked cheap)

        U Street is an awesome neighborhood, but pricey, unless you’re looking on the northern border with Columbia Heights–but in that case, be aware that it can get a bit patchy in there, very block by block on how safe it is, or on the eastern edge near Shaw/Ledroit Park.

        A lot of people *love* Ledroit Park–I’m less of a fan (I know, I know, super unpopular opinion!), but that’s more personal preference. Again, a very rowhouse-heavy neighborhood, so you’d mostly be looking at basement apartments or house-shares. I’m also not such a huge fan of most areas west of the park, but again, personal preference (and the fact that I can’t afford to live in most metro-accessible parts of that area)

        I’m personally a fan of the eastern end of Capitol Hill–not NW, but still a decent area, and you can find great deals out there, especially in some of the small, 4-unit buildings. It’s definitely not as happening as Dupont, but it’s close to H Street, NE.

        There’s also a smattering of rowhouses in Mount Pleasant that have been converted into apartments (I’m in one now), but they seem to turn over very rarely, so you’d have to really keep an eye out. But I adore being able to be in a quiet, residential neighborhood with amazing architecture that’s only a few blocks from the hustle and bustle of Columbia Heights. You’re more likely to find basements available regularly in Mt. P–again, depends on your feelings about living in a cave.

        Of course, all of this should be taken with a grain of salt–please don’t attack me if you disagree, these are just my observations. YMMV 🙂 (*runs and hides*)

        • thanks! yeah, I don’t think I want to be in a basement — more because I don’t want to deal with flooding and pests than because it’s dark.

          I guess I should stay put in my crappy apt as long as I can. I’m just ready to live someplace I actually really like. this is so depressing.

          • I totally understand–my current apartment is my first place in DC that has had the perfect combination of apartment (the features and character that I like), location (a neighborhood I like), and price (one I can afford)…it took me 5 tries to get everything I wanted (well, not *everything*–I’d love to have an in-unit w/d, but that’s kind of a pipe dream in my price range)

            But one advantage of already having a place to live (even if it’s not great) is that it gives you time to look. If you don’t have to be moved by a specific date, you can keep looking until you find the right place. A key to being happy in a new apartment is to make sure you know what you can and can’t live without. Along the way, I’ve discovered that I really don’t *need* stainless steel appliances, but I do need a dishwasher and original character! One of my friends needs to have her own w/d, while she doesn’t need a dishwasher. It’s totally your own preferences!

            Good deals do pop up in pretty much every neighborhood, it’s just a case of finding it when it happens, and being able to move quickly! 🙂

            Good luck!

          • When I first moved to DC I considered english basements & then nixed the idea because of the problems described & the fear of being an easier target (single female living alone).

            After a year of living in my crappy apartment I finally found a apartment that meets my wish list (really nice building, key fob/secured access, front desk concierge, high floor, reasonably sized kitchen for one person, studio). The things that I can’t get in my price range include stainless steel & in-unit W/D but I’ll live.

      • Also, if you’d prefer a larger building with a management company and all that, the 16th Street NW corridor from U Street up to Columbia Heights/Mount P. might also be a good bet–convenient to metro stations and a great bus line, and still reasonably priced in most cases (though some of the buildings are less updated than others)

      • Petworth is the best area for opportunity as prices will be low. The further north you move up Georgia Avenue, the less rent will be. Georgia Avenue is next in line for major retailers and restaurants. The other areas are becoming overpriced and too congested for me…

        • I don’t think I can take the leap to move somewhere I don’t feel comfortable walking alone at night. I’m sure most people who live there don’t feel that way, but every time I go up there to hang out it just doesn’t feel that comfortable to me. too empty.

  • Rave: Signing the lease on a great apartment on Capitol Hill today (that is also a great deal!)

    Rant: Having to deal with moving/leaving our current neighborhood

    Rave: Making dinner for friends from the ‘Cookin’ with Coolio’ cookbook today. Tag line: 5 star meals at a 1 star price. Best wedding gift EVER.

  • austindc

    Rave: Love this weather! Good jacket weather.

    Rave: Just bottled my pumpkin porter! Mmmmm!

    Rant: Have to insulate my row house attic. I am renting an insulation blower, but the attic has about 24 inches of clearance and is a crazy web of joists and beams and such. I barely fit into the middle of it. Has anyone else done this? Any tips?

  • houseintherear

    RAVE: This weather!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rave: I have created the best fall breakfast ever! Pumpkin butter on waffles. Mix a scoop of canned pumpkin, a scoop of butter, a squirt of maple syrup into a bowl, and microwave. Spread on toasted frozen waffle. Top with whipped cream. Nom!

  • Rant: Realllllllllllllly sore from starting up my 30 Day Shred workout video.
    Rave: Hopefully I’ll have something to show for it in a month or so 🙂

  • Rave: refinancing our 30-year mortgage and going from 5% to 3.875%. Yippeeeee…

    Rant: thought something seemed fishy with my two sons this morning, so I stealthily followed them to school (Roosevelt). Found them hanging out on the sidewalk out front, “chillin” with their friends 5 minutes after they were supposed to be in homeroom.

    Rave: humiliated them by calling them out in front of their friends and escorting them to the front door.

  • Revel: I am only one month away from meeting the savings goal I set almost a year ago! And I did that on top of taking a trip to Paris and paying for a grad class during that year. I am genuinely impressed with myself – especially because I make less money than, uh, pretty much everyone else I know in DC. 🙂

    Revel: That means in one month I can take a break from being super frugal and spend money on the things I haven’t really bought in the last year: new clothes and actual apartment decor!

    Rant: Tired. Editing a 160 appendix at work today. I’d rather just look at the internet…

  • Rave: Passed my licensing exam yesterday! I was pretty uncertain how it would go going in because I was barely hitting the minimum (which is LOW) for passing on the practice exams. Ended up getting 137/150!

    Rant/Rave: I did this all with a wicked head cold from too much cramming not enough sleep.

    Rave: Taking off for the west coast in less than 2 weeks. I really want to thank whomever commented on my post when I was hemming and hawing about this a month or so ago and said something about would I regret not going if I stayed in DC. That really got me off my ass to make this reality. So thanks internet!

    • I’m so glad you decided to go! I left you a comment on a post a bit ago about moving cross country, though I’m not sure it’s mine that gave you the push. I will say that I did it and subsequently moved back, but I have nothing but fond memories of my time on the left coast.

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