Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo of ‘the old trolley station under Dupont Circle’ by PoPville Flickr User elocke

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.

168 Comment

  • bfinpetworth

    Rant: Client in town for an all day meeting.

    Rave: Dinner at Birch and Barley tonight on the firm tab!

  • claire

    Rave: Lots of great pumpkin recipes I’m excited to cook!
    Rant: How are we halfway through November already?? I’m not done with my fall cooking yet!

  • This was almost a rant – I was already prepared to hate Wal-Mart coming to Fort Totten (Square) development. But it is not bad. It is way better than what was / is there now. http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/2011/11/16/the-districts-fifth-and-sixth-walmarts-will-at-least-get-urban-design-right/#comments

    • unless it’s currently a chemical processing plant or deforestation headquarters, it’s not better than what is there now.

      • That intersection is a series vacant dirt / weed covered lots surrounded by chain link fencing. The dining options are a KFC / Taco Bell combo, ‘On the Run” at the Exxon and your standard takeout place and a liquor store. The Wal–Mart will add new housing at a Metro station that serves the Green and Red Lines. The housing will be at more affordable prices compared to areas like Columbia Heights. Many of the people in the area cross into Prince Georges county to shop (Target on East –West Highway Prince Georges Plaza) so this is net gain for DC tax base. It is a more working class neighborhood with many older residents though there appear to be new younger professionals moving in now. Wal-Mart is a decent fit. There are no small local businesses for Wal-Mart to impact. Wal-Mart’s presence may create customer base for new businesses to open.

        • Yes, NOW the area is a dirt lot and chain link. But that’s because the shopping center, small businesses, and Suntrust were torn down in the name of development that didn’t (or has not yet) occurred. Wal-Mart can’t impact them because they are already gone. And I do think that it’s a really good location for the kind of Wal-Mart that’s being proposed, and I hope you’re right that it will become a draw TO the neighborhood.

          P.S. Tiger Mart was a fairly decent and friendly medium-sized grocery.

          • Right I was replying to Anon 11:19. When those stores were torn down Wal-Mart was not a contemplated tenant. So it is unfair to claim Wal-Mart had anything to do with their closing. Tiger Mart may have been decent but it was not going to generate other development in the area. PG residents were not crossing into DC to shop at Tiger Mart. The surface parking lot was also not a good use of land so close to the Metro. My understanding is they had no other potential anchor tenants for the location.

          • Agree with all you just said.

  • Rant/Rave: One more day in the Rwanda for work- one more day with great staff and a beautiful country.

    Rave: Friday- long weekend with the husband I haven’t seen in four weeks. We’re heading to Charlottesville- any restaurant recommendations?

    Rant: JET LAG and a 26 hour trip…

    Rave: Lots of time to read, relax, watch movies, and sleep 😀

    • I want your job. What do you do?

      • I work in international development and governance- it’s really interesting work and it’s great to travel for work but it gets tiring and is definitely not glamorous (off and on no water/internet/electricity at the office and hotel!).

        PS- Excuse the odd grammar in my OP- I blame my tired brain and too much translation between French, English, and Kinyarwanda!!

    • Zocalo is a place in C-ville you’ll hear a lot about. I thought it was pretty good. If you need a quick, try Revolution Soup.

      • if you need a quick LUNCH, that is. Or dinner, if you’re not looking for anything fancy.

        • I will second Zocalo as well as reccomened Boylan Heights on the corner for a good lunch. GREAT cheeseburgers (and my best friend is the executive chef). The downtown mall has several decently priced medium-high end establishments. I believe Blue Light (I think that is the name() used to have good seafood as well.

      • L’Etoile also does a nice Sunday brunch. I recommend checking out the Main Street Market store (they had lots of free samples out the last time I was there) and the adjoining restaurant Orzo is also quite good. If you don’t mind driving over to the Belmont neighborhood, Tavola has Italian food that actually tastes like what I ate in Italy, and Mas tapas is supposed to be very good as well. Splendora’s has great gelato and also has Italian hot chocolate. For something quick/cheap, you can’t go wrong with Revolution Soup or Christian’s pizza (they’re around the corner from each other on the downtown mall). Have a safe trip back!

    • Fardowners in Crozet (15 min outside of C’ville) is one of my favorite spots in the area. Relly inventie chef with pub fare type food. Great stuff and cool little town.

    • if you like gelato, you must visit Splendora. If you like burgers, Boylan Heights (across from UVA campus).

    • L’Etoile is a great romantic dinner spot–it’s on West Main. If you’re looking more for a get-drunk-fast dinner spot (can you tell I went to college in Cville?) I recommend the margaritas and the food at Baja Bean.

      For lunch, I’d also recommend Boylan Heights or Christian’s Pizza, on either 14th St. or the downtown mall.

      For breakfast, you pretty much have to go to Bodo’s if you like bagels, but if you want more of a sit-down place, Blue Moon Diner is a good bet if you can get a seat, and The Tavern on 29 when you come into Cville is good as a greasy-spoon type of place.

    • Thanks for the awesome recommendations!! I look forward to trying them out!

    • saf

      Fabulous Chinese food at Peter Chang’s China Grill.


  • Rant: Going nuts planning for Thanksgiving. Appreciate my family telling me that it’s perfectly fine to cut corners and buy things premade, but this is my first Thanksgiving and I want it to be as good as possible. Wish I could take more time off of work to do it all.

    Rave: Inside of the house is coming together nicely.

    Rant2: So many things in the house needs to be fixed. The dishwasher latch is loose and will stop running mid cycle, there are holes in the walls, the deck railing is loose, etc. Owner of the house still has many of his things in the house. Even has mail delivered to the house. Irritating.

    Rave: Commute into work didn’t take me nearly as long as I anticipated.

    • Lots of Thanksgiving food can be made a day or two ahead – mashed potatoes – (put in a shallow baking pan, dot with butter – bake 350 for 30-45 min.) Stuffing (same – though re-heat with foil on top -except for the last 20 min. for crunchy top) Most veggies are good at room temp. (except green bean & mushroom soup casserole)

      You do have to allow for oven space – but the turkey needs to rest anyway for 30 min. plus 15 for seating & carving, you have an easy 45 min. to heat the made-ahead sides.

      I even cook one whole turkey the day before (25+ people needs 2 birds) cut it up and have ready in a foil-wrapped pan.

      And pre-made sides are nothing to be ashamed of! (Though Sweet potato dishes are usually disgustingly sweet.)

      good luck and remember – it’s the family and friends, not the food.

      • saf

        “good luck and remember – it’s the family and friends, not the food.”

        OK, in my house it’s both.

        And I couldn’t do it without the help of the family and friends!

      • Thanks for the advice! Totally agree about the family and friends bit, but I’m serving on paper plates so I have to make up for that somehow! 🙂

      • kind of the food too…

  • This is more of a query. Do we really need 6 Walmarts in DC?

    • No. BUT, I’ll be quite honest, sometimes I wish there was another Target. (please don’t throw anything at me….)

    • I dunno, do we really need 45 cupcake stores in DC?

      Considering the 1800 unskilled labor jobs they are brining are EXACTLY the kind the massive demo of local unemployed are suited for, I say “sure”.

      The tens of millions a year in sales tax revenue, the couple millions dollars a year in additional and increased property tax revenue for the stores and adjacent properties and the anchor(s) these stores will serve to foster additional development in those areas is just a bonus

      • pablo .raw

        Do they really bring “tens of millions a year in sales tax revenue”? (it’s a real question, I don’t know the answer). I watched this a while ago http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/ even though it is about Walmart, I guess it applies to other similar stores…

        • Well, Walmarts gross sales per sq/ft are publiclly documented in their earnings filings and it is currently about 500 bucks a sq/ft. All 6 stores comprise of approx 800K sq/ft which is 400 million dollars a year in gross sales in the district. At the flat rate of 10% in sales tax, thats 40 million a year. Then you have to remove the grocery sales which aren’t taxed (half?)and you are left with approx 20 million a year in revenue to the DC treasury.

        • To bring in 10 million additional tax dollars, there only needs to be about $150 million extra in sales. Granted some sales will be cannibalized from Safeway etc, but I think with the combination of money people from Montgomery/PG will spend at these Walmarts, as well as the additional money that DC residents will spend at Walmart that would have been spent in PG/Arlington etc, I think $150mil seems reasonable.

          Add in all the extra jobs, the cheaper prices and food, seems like a slam dunk. Heard Bowser speak on Tuesday, and she mentioned that it is just recently with Walmart coming in that Safeway has been making all of these improvements, including the new Safeway at Georgia and Randolph, and the ~3mil in planned improvements at Piney Branch, seems like a huge positive.

          • saf

            You know, the Piney Branch Safeway is less than 20 years old. They built it without the threat of WalMart. And then, they let it rot. I am certain that the same will happen when they re-build the one at Randolph.

            The movement to re-do the Georgia and Randolph store began when the metro station opened. (Well, on Safeway’s part. The neighborhood was asking for change LONG before that.)

        • Sales tax on shampoo and toothpaste is the same regardless of where one buys it. I’m not for or against Walmart or any store – but I am offended by propaganda and twisted logic.

      • Most studies done of walmarts in urban areas (see Chicago’s west side) show that when a walmart comes to town, there are usually a net loss of jobs. While initially walmart hires, it then drives out the local stores. With six walmarts coming to such a geographically small city I would imagine (although I am not a demographer or statistician) this would be intensified. Basically, we are going to end up with Whole Foods and Walmart, and nothing in between, for grocery stores. Also, all or most local hardware/non-grocery/non-specialty goods stores (including pharmacies) will most likely disappear except for ones where a wealthy clientele can support them for ideological reasons (see Fragers on capital hill). And all those jobs will disappear with them. I’m not saying “NO WALMARTS IN DC”, but the argument that they will create a net gain in unskilled employment has some logical failings.

        • 4 of these 6 locations are currently economically depressed, retail and grocery deserts. What praytell, is there now that Walmart would be pushing out? The random seafood/fried chicken/pizza bodega that employs 4 people in minimum wage jobs with no benefits either?

          Peoples standard walmart rants don’t apply here, because there is currently nothing there for Walmart to push out.

          • +1.

          • houseintherear

            You’re right– Personally, I have problems with any anti-union company, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do well here, economically speaking.

          • While I do not have time to get scour the NYT/chicago tribune for the articles which cited to the studies you should go look at them for yourself…people said the same things about the West Side of Chicago. And the studies showed a DECREASE in overall employment. Like I said, I am not anti-walmart. But the walmart in question was in a similarly distressed economic area, and the results showed what was the counterintutive conclusion. But you can scream all you want about how the only thing there is fries chicken and bodega’s, I’ll defer to the social scientists.

        • The areas that Wal-Mart is going into in D.C. are (at least for the areas I’m familiar with) NOT areas with a huge amount of “local stores.”

          The concept of “local hardware store, etc.” might be a good one… but I’m thinking of the hardware store near the Georgia Ave.-Petworth Metro, and how its opening hours (which aren’t even posted) appear to be M-F 10-6, and how the merchandise in the window is old and yellowed. No wonder people are excited about the Ace Hardware planned to open on Upshur in Petworth; the existing local establishments clearly aren’t fulfilling people’s needs.

      • fact is that none of us have done a thorough economic study on the actual cost of walmarts going in dc. but this attitude of “it’s better than nothing” is lazy. we should be able to find a better way to solve our problems than bringing this horrible company into our homes.

        • And your proposal or solution then?

          These sites have been economic wastelands for 3 or 4 decades, and even through 9 years of the biggest RE boom the District has ever seen where 12 yr olds could get approved for 500K mortgages, and developers were starving for risky projects, these sites sat fallow.

          Seriously, if you think you can do it better than the probable hundreds of experienced developers who’ve looked at these sites over the years, then knock yourself out.

          The rest of us will be happy that after 3-4 decades, someone is putting their money where their mouth is.

          • it’s funny that you think the developers are trying to help us. I said that none of us are informed enough to be for this, not that I was the solution-holder. it’s not “Anonymous comes up with alternate solution or walmart it is!”

        • Horrible huh? If Wal-Mart is horrible, what would you call many financial service companies? Pure evil?

          • Sure. But they aren’t destroying our natural resources at nearly the rate that companies that perpetuate consumer culture are. So, economically financial service companies might not be great, but environmentally walmart is a disaster.

      • Is it really new revenue, or just shifted revenue? I guess I will spend about $250 a year there that I was spending out in Lanham on stuff like kid’s snow boots, toys, garden stuff.
        I do think that Wal-Mart is lame in as far as not providing adequate benefits and keeping people PT instea of FT. I knew a woman who worked at one out in Virginia who said many of the employees were on state assistance because of the crap wages and exploitive scheduling.

    • The clientele they attract are bizarre, but their prices are pretty outstanding. Just saying…

    • Thank you for supplying me with my next statistics project topic for graduate school!

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Grandpa emailed to say my Darling Gran my not remember me when I see her next week. She’s got Alzheimer’s.

    Rave: It will still be nice to see her and my Grandpa.

    Rant: Found a roach in my kitchen last night. I’m blaming it on the guy next door.

    Rave: Since I rent, all I have to do is call the apartment manager and they will take care of things.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your gran- Alzheimer’s is a tough go. Sending my love and thoughts to your family and you Grandpa.
      My Nana had Alzheimer’s and you just have to love as fiercely as you can.

      • Emmaleigh504

        Thank you.

        • me

          Sending my hugs to you as well. My grandma lived with dementia from when she was about 92 until she passed away at 99. It was so sad, seeing her think a stuffed toy puppy was real and not recognizing us. She didn’t even recognize her own husband at his funeral. Just know that even though she doesn’t show it, she still loves you all.

    • Ugh. We had roaches recently. Our apartment was sending out the exterminator to treat individual apartments but it wasn’t working. Finally they got a new exterminator who had to take a building-wide approach. It actually worked! Good luck!!!

    • You’re lucky you live in managed apartment building. I had roaches coming in from a neighboring house, and they were really tough to get rid of when nothing was being done at the source of the problem.

  • Rant: Housing market
    Rave: Holidays!!
    Rave: I love fall and winter cooking. What’s better than letting a soup or stew simmer on your stove for hours? Or a pot roast getting all cozy in your crock pot? Nothing, that’s what.

  • Any ideas on what to do about a really stinky dishwasher? It’s less than a year old and it just, well, stinks. Obviously it’s worse when you open the door, but I can even smell it with the door closed if I’m standing near the dishwasher.

    • It could be the filter has old food in it. You might want to check that, and make sure in the future to thoroughly rinse dishes before cleaning.

    • just throwing out an idea here but i really don’t know…what about vinegar? Running a cycle with a vinegar solution, or having a solution sit in there for a while? Do you have a disposal? I don’t know how all of the plumbing works back there, but I know that the disposal and dishwasher are somehow connected. Is there food stuck in there somewhere?

      • Vinegar works for mild smells, and breaks down the soap scum. Often there’s a blockage, and you can remove the spray arm and check that, or the hose that removes water may be blocked. Try jiggling the hose. Check out repairclinic.com they have tutorials.

        But, vinegar and bleach do not mix. I think you end up with hydrochloric acid!

        • Does vinegar really break down soap scum? I’ve got soap scum all over the tan grout on my shower floor and I cannot get it up, not with floor cleaners, CLR, scrubbing, nothing. I may have to try soaking it in vinegar…

    • I recommend googling Hints from Heloise Dishwisher. You will get instructions of possible causes and how to get rid of the smell.

    • I had some dishwasher odor issues after a flood in my kitchen, and running it several times empty, with some bleach thrown in, seemed to help a lot.

    • Thanks, everyone! I will try all of the above post haste! We do have a disposal but rarely use it. Oddly, it doesn’t smell like the dishwasher so whatever is stuck is in there, I guess. Ugh. So gross. But thanks for all the tips and the point to Heloise.

      • There’s also such thing as dishwasher cleaner. It’s sold right next to the rinse agent. You just pop it in the silverware tray and run an empty cycle.

  • Rant: Stupid drivers.

    Including the cabby that cut across two lanes of moving northbound traffic this morning (to honking horns and squealing brakes) only to cut me off as I headed south. And the fact that as I honk at him and simultaneously slam on my brakes to avoid crashing into his passenger side as he swerves into my lane, he feels entitled to flip me off – twice.

    Also either a) the people who can’t stay in their lanes at the 9th St NW/MA Ave NW/NY Ave NW/K St NW intersection or b) the crappy traffic engineer who designed that intersection to apparently be beyond the grasp of the intelligence of the average DC driver.

    And that all this relatively insignificant stuff (minus the danger to limb and life of traffic accidents caused by these people) makes me an angry person!

    Rave: The older gentleman security guard at the garage entrance at work. He always smiles and waves and just generally makes me happy each morning. I need to figure out his name.

    • I agree with your rants about traffic. I just started commuting last week and it’s all I can do to not die. Most cars are ok (unless they have no concept of lane lines or they’re going super, super slow for no apparent reason), but buses scare me and cabs are just awful.

      I am reminded of when I was busing to and from work, and one time my bus nearly hit one car and then a few minutes later actually hit another car. No one is safe out there!

      • I think most buses (bus drivers are fine) are fine; it’s the car drivers around them who under no circumstances can accept being behind a bus for a few minutes. I’ve seen some really dangerous driving by people who just had to get in front of the bus or who just couldn’t bear the thought of letting a bus change lanes in front of them.

        If you think driving a car in DC can be crazy, imagine driving a bus… for several hours.

        • I agree. I try to patient with buses when I’m behind them (and when I find myself thinking how great traffic would be without buses, I then remember how many more cars that would put on the road), but they do really slow it down, especially when they’re stopping on every corner. That’s just a fact, but doesn’t excuse other drivers not practicing safe passing.

          Everyone needs to be safe.

          What we all need to do is have our favorite comedians or books on our music player of choice, so we don’t get so irritated with traffic will inevitably get snarled.

        • I feel for bus drivers–that’s a tough job. Monday morning on the 63 we were crammed in there, even over the yellow line, so the driver had no choice but to pass the crowd waiting at the next stop. Guy standing there gives the driver the finger. How does one get to the place in life that he thinks that’s okay??

          • I have to say it’s really refreshing to see a commentor with some sympathy for bus drivers. For some reason that seems unusual. Just this week I saw someone talk back at the bus driver when he decided the bus was full. I’m sure people are tired after a long day of work, but still…
            Rave: the many people who thank the bus driver when getting off – it seems to be common in this city (perhaps it is elsewhere as well, don’t know).

    • you could ask him, i’m sure he’d tell you

    • 9th St at Mass Ave is crazy, even before the 2 southbound lanes on 9th were closed construction (reopening in 2014?!?!). after 7:30am it’s a disaster.

  • Rave: Margaritas after work tonight!
    Rant: Cold rain

    Query: Do guys send flowers anymore?

    • andy

      Only if you catch them with another woman.

    • Short answer to your query: yes, just not all guys and not necessarily when and as often as you would like.

    • What ever happened to sending flowers for no reason, or coming home with a cheap bouquet of flowers? My boyfriend sent flowers to my office Tuesday to make up for a bit of a miscommunication tiff on Monday night, and only before that for a birthday! Le sigh..

      • Sheesh. “My boyfriend sends me flowers only on special occasions or after an argument” doesn’t exactly sound complaint-worthy to me.

        You have a boyfriend (whom you presumably like). He sends you flowers (sometimes). Count your blessings?

    • I recently questioned my lovely boyfriend as to why he has yet to give me flowers in the 7 months we’ve been together. He said it was because he had a bad experience with a previous date. So, when he bought me some for my birthday I was sure to praise him with thanks even more than usual.

      Not quite sure I want to know what the “bad experience” was…

    • See I’m curious about this though. There are a million different ways to apologize for something, to surprise someone, to say “I love you”.

      Why is it a big deal if the man never chooses the “send flowers” option?

      • I’m not a big fan of getting flowers. So for me, a man who never chooses the “send flowers” would be a good fit. However, I think that if one’s girlfriend drops hints about wanting flowers, a smart man would go ahead and buy them for her often!

        • jeez. I know. who cares if he gives you flowers? if he makes you feel loved otherwise, buy yourself the damn flowers. plus, getting them at work is just embarrassing and people use it as an excuse to butt into your business. also, it’s lazy gift giving. it’s nice to be surprised with them at home every now and then, but guys who regularly send flowers are just fulfilling their formulaic duties.

          my thoughts are that if you are frustrated your man won’t send you flowers, you’re frustrated he isn’t loving you enough. this comes from years thinking I was frustrated my boyfriend didn’t want to get married, when what I was really frustrated with was that he was a sucky boyfriend.

          • claire

            I second this. I see this happening in relationships a lot (not to say anyone in this comment thread is necessarily guilty of it) – people are upset that their significant other isn’t doing xyz for them but haven’t said something. If you want your boyfriend to get you flowers, say something like, “I love getting a surprise gift of flowers, it really makes my day!” And make it clear you would love it if he at one point surprised you with flowers. It also helps if you go out of your way to surprise *him* with something he would appreciate.

            Luckily, I’ve been able to make all the guys I’ve dated very aware that I am 100% uninterested in flowers (and perfume and jewelery). My current boyfriend surprises me sometimes by roasting a chicken for when I get home and that’s more than good enough for me!

          • I so agree with you Anonymous. I buy myself flowers ALL the time. I have a wonderful, amazing boyfriend who makes me feel extremely loved. I don’t need him to buy me flowers – I buy myself flowers and love doing something that makes me feel good!

    • Back in the day Men used to buy flowers after a first date, etc. Now, not so much. I love receiving flowers!

  • Rant: Stayed up too late being stressed about work (company
    was just bought and I don’t yet have a sense of where this leaves me and the others in my department).

    Rave: I have a job in the meantime.

    Double rave: Celebrating a new dishwasher with a mid-week dinner party. Yay friends!

  • Rave- Finally got a bite from one of the job applications I’ve been sending in! I’ll be working on a short writing sample assignment that they’ve given me tonight, but hey- it’s a chance!

    Rant(ish)- this email started off asking me if I’d be willing to travel to Nigeria, despite violence & kidnappings in the north and a bombing at the UN over the summer. While I’m an experienced Africa traveller, I gotta say, Nigeria has a bad rep, even in the parts of Africa I’ve lived in. So that was kind of freaky.

    Has anybody spent any amount of time in Nigeria over the past year? Is the safety & security situation manageable?

    • I usually get some pretty awesome business proposals from there in my hotmail account. Some of them sound too good to be true but might be worth a shot.

      • Ha! Well, they haven’t asked me for my bank account info (yet), so we’ll see!

        In a month or two, I just might be a millionaire, and I’ll have helped out a Nigerian Prince as well!

    • I work as a consultant and do a lot of work in developing & post conflict countries – DRC, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan.

      I’ve turned down work in Nigeria. It’s probably the only country on my no-go list. I have friends/colleagues who do work there but I wouldn’t feel safe.

      Captcha = LBYA. I’d go there.

      • Really! You’ll go to Afghanistan, but not Nigeria? That’s pretty intense.

        That’s my concern, right there. I’m willing to go many places, but I’m not sure how to manage a situation like this.

        Just worried that if I turn down one job at an organization, that they won’t be offering me any other positions, and this is an organization I’d really like to work for!

        • Tough decision. Because I was recently asked to go to Nigeria, I read the State Dept Embassy Notices as well as other info on safety and security threats.

          Friends who have traveled there have all had their credit card info stolen. They were told the minute you swipe a card in Nigeria, the information is sold and being used somewhere in the world.

          It’s not for me. But I also know many people who work there, short term or long term, without serious incident.

    • I work for a development contractor on a project in Nigeria and have been 4 times since April and will go again in December. I feel safe there but I also take my personal safety seriously – no staying at high-profile hotels, no going out at night by myself and no travel in local taxis. Our company does not allow us to travel in the northern states where Boko Haram has been active over the past couple of months/ years (or the Niger Delta states – but for different reasons). If you get to the interview round ask what kind of safety measures they take in countries with high-security risks. It may turn out that by ‘travel to Nigeria’ what they mean is fly in, get in armored car to a hotel compound where you have all meetings and then reverse. If they expect you to get in an airport taxi, find your own hotel, and have no contingency plans then that company is not taking your safety seriously and you are taking much bigger risks by going to work for them.

      • Great advice to find out more about the company’s approach to safety and how seriously they take this issue.

        Which may increase your comfort in traveling there (or not).

  • Dear DC Gov: If you line a street with steel plates, people cannot stop and turn onto streets safely in the rain.

  • POP – did you do a post on the old Dupont underground? Will it ever become something again?

  • Not a rant or a rave, just a question. What do people tend to pay for childcare in the area?

    My husband and I are in the initial stages of talking about starting a family and we have no clue what to expect in that department.

    • On average, it’s about 20,000 a year for newborns if you do a non-home day care, but I’ve seen more. Home day cares are cheaper, but you’re at the mercy of the caregiver and their schedule. Plus they may not have a set curriculum (as in, they may just sit the kids down in the front of the tv all day).

      The good places in DC have long waitlists, so if you do find a place you like, the sooner you can put your name on the list (which usually costs a fee of some sort), the better.

      We were looking at day cares here in the city before we moved up to Columbia. Good luck!

    • $1000 a month is the low end, I think, something in the undocumented nanny-share line. High end is $1600 a month, for the most exclusive centers or a highly-qualified nanny to yourself.

      We LOVED our nanny share. More than $1000 a month, but such a great set-up. Nice family, fantastic nanny. We’re still friends even though our kids are in school now. My little one is always asking to go play at their house.

      Wait, I take that back… a woman on my street was doing an in-home daycare for $100/ week. Seemed ok, but not quite the level of care we were looking for. Too many kids, not enough caregivers to properly handle babies. She focused on preschoolers.

      • High end is now more like $2100/month for infants. Most centers are probably going to be in the $1600-1900 range, but there are a few that exceed that. It’s insane. The good news is that it goes down a lot once your kid is 2 or 3; I think we’re down to $1400/month and the pre-school class at our center is ~$1100. And nanny rates have gone up, too. You’re probably looking at an absolute minimum of $15/hour for one kid for 40 hours a week; anything over 40 hours you’ll have to pay overtime.

        Home daycares are going to be all over the place. DC has a licensing and registration process for those and you can get a list from the Dept. of Health–they’re called child development homes (as opposed to child development centers).

        We try to console ourselves with thinking that if we can afford daycare now, we can probably afford to pay for this kid to go to college. Maybe.

        • Wow, thanks for the info. This is insane, especially on top of what we already pay for housing in the city… how do people do it? 🙂

          • You figure it out. Everyone does. It seems insurmountable at first, but you manage. You go out less, eat out less or at less expensive places–we see The Diner and Pete
            s Apizza a whole lot more these days than Bistrot du Coin or Jaleo. You drink less because a hangover hurts a lot more when someone small is screeching for you at 6am. 🙂 You stretch haircuts, skip buying new clothes for yourself, vacations are way more low-key if at all. Daycare is the biggest expense; almost everything else baby-related you can do on the cheap.

          • dreas, you just described my life. We go to the same places. Pretty funny. I haven’t embraced the drinking less part yet though. Some rough saturday and sunday mornings.

          • Kids in the city are pricey but only in a modern way. I grew up here with parents & 3 kids in a 1 bedroom apartment. Every weekend, and many week nights we went to free concerts, museums, art galleries, or hiking in one of the 5 national parks (Rock Creek, C&O, Roosevelt Island, Iwo Jima Memorial & Great Falls.) We took a public bus or walked 1.7 miles to school. We went to the farmer’s market in Georgetown (now Dean & Deluca)on Saturday for stinky cheese. And drove around on Sunday morning after church to look at “bums” (yeah, not PC – but kinda fun when you’re 7.)

            Suburban kids may have their own bedrooms and vast “family rooms” but they also have big empty back yards and live in a desolate cultural wasteland.

        • So, unless you make over 6 figures, there’s no point in one of you not staying home, huh?

          • I mean, if you are making a decent (not to you, lawyers) salary, you might take home $4k/mo. You could prob save another $1k/mo by being savvy around the house, having time to make clothes, coupon cut, shop for deals, researching free things to do, etc. Is it worth missing the time with the baby for a little over $1k/mo? I guess only if you absolutely need that money to survive… not if it puts you in a better house, etc.

          • I wouldn’t say that… if you make say 80,000 or 4000/month, take home, you’ll still be able to keep a couple thousand after daycare.

            But the big thing, sadly, is the whole problem of will you be able to find a job after staying home for 2-3 years? And one that paid what you were making?

            Also there’s the retirement & health care benefits you lose when not working (being on your partner’s insurance is more expensive than being on your own)

          • Like Another A said, you have to consider the cost of insurance and other benefits, the hit that your career/salary will take if you’re out of the workforce for 1-5 years (or longer), and maybe most importantly, the state of your mental health as a stay-at-home parent. Even if it’s a financial wash, some people are just not cut out to be stay-at-home parents–I am one of them. Doesn’t mean I love my child any less than someone who stays at home; we’re just different people with different capabilities.

          • The bigger predicament I would think is if you can afford private school in DC. Yes, daycare for infants can be expensive at first, but it gets cheaper as they get older and more independent. Private schools, however, are always going to be expensive.

          • Ugh, how do you figure it out? I am in a field where I hope to freelance to stay relevant. Does that generally work? I have friends/family who have gone both routes. One is working and it isn’t really working for her; another is working part time which seems ideal but nobody else in the world has the setup she does with childcare; another is staying at home but I do think she’ll have trouble rejoining the workforce. The kids who are in daycare tend to get sick more often. I have a deadline-driven job where I couldn’t just pick up and leave whenever I wanted. I also find that the working moms I know spend a LOT more money on eating out and other things. I was calculating that if you take home $4k, spend $2k on childcare and can find ways to save money, you really only are taking home ~$15k/year. Is that worth it? I know about the extra benefits, but a lot of us don’t work at companies that offer generous retirements. I thought I would have a sense of whether I could/would want to say home or not but I just don’t know. I don’t want to quit my job and find out it’ll make me crazy.

          • @Meg, yeah there’s no way I’m throwing money on the fire of public school. If I can’t get the kid into some kind of charter school I’ll move away before I spend tens of thousands of dollars on ELEMENTARY education. I don’t know how any family making less than $400k affords the private schools here. It’ll make me sad, but it’s true.

  • Rave: tried Bacio Pizzeria last night and it was delicious. I am so glad to have it on my street!

    Rant: if you pay bus fare in nickels at rush hour, you suck.

  • rant: spending thanksgiving alone.

    rave: ? blah.

  • Rant: Hangover headache.

    Rave: Going home from work early to nurse said headache.

  • Rave/rant: going to Nashville tomorrow to visit my dad, who also has Alzheimers, and sibs.

    Rant: It’s a difficult trip, and mostly I just want to stay here. My family there disintegrated after my mother died. Sibs pretty much could care less if I ever visited, except that I take care of all Dad’s business when I’m there.

    Rave: will also spend time with old high school friends that I’ve reconnected with on Facebook!

  • Rave: The eleven cars caught by the new red light cameras at 14th & Military Rd. There was so much flashing it was like disco in the daylight from both sides of the road.

    • Terrible intersection. So happy I get to turn right there and don’t have to get across Georgia. Not sure why you would run the light, at least going east, even if you run the light, you are just going to be stuck in traffic another 100 fee up anyways. That stretch is miserable!

  • All the cars in both directions were speeding through the intersection on the yellow light and got caught.

  • Rant: Just tried to donate blood and got rejected because my blood pressure was too high – the bottom number, that doesn’t change much and has always been between 70-80. So, am now freaking out.

    Rant: Called my primary care physician to make an appointment for a physical, but she only takes the PPO version of my health insurance, not the HMO. So, no appointment.

    Anyone know a good primary care/general practitioner/internal medicine doctor? Preferably one who takes the BC/BS open-access HMO?

  • Rave: Dad’s heart surgery went really well! He’s out of the ICU and in a regular patient room and should go home the end of the week. I am so incredibly relieved!

    Funny tidbit – The day after the surgery he was already asking the nurses if he could go for a run.

    Rave #2: When I called his friends to tell them that the surgery had gone well, I got to hear some wonderful things about my dad. One of his former students told me that my dad is like a second father to him and a neighbor gushed about what a good-hearted person my dad is.

  • According to some blueprints I’ve seen, the KFC/Taco Bell will be torn down to make way for some kind of mixed use building on that corner.

    • I hope that is not true, my Husband and I rely on that place for hangover-food!!!

      • there’s better hangover food at Capitol City Diner…but i guess if you are a Ft. Totten resident, the kfc/taco bell would be the only convenient hangover food option.

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