Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user gerdaindc

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 and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or rejoice about daily life in DC.

80 Comment

  • Rave: Getting more confident with bike maintenance and repairs. Last night I replaced an inner tube without any help (except for watching a couple of videos about it.) It was much easier than I expected it to be. Good thing I was out home when I discovered the flat (actually, stupidly caused by me breaking the valve stem), and it was the front tire. I still have never tried to remove and reattach the rear tire.

    • austindc

      My wife and I took a free flat tire class at Bicycle Space and they are amazing! They show you how to do the back tire and let you try it out. It’s pretty easy! I highly recommend their classes.

  • Rant: Part of a huge tree fell down on my block yesterday evening, around dusk, but they didn’t start removing it until midnight. The noise kept me up and now I’m exhausted.

    Rave: At least the tree didn’t fall on anyone– it fell across a major street but a car broke its fall. The police arrived immedaitely and were able to stop cars from driving under it.

  • Rant: Think I might be getting sick.

    Rave: Super super casual friday.

    Rave: I really like my coworkers.

    Rant: That’s the only thing I like about this job.

    Random question: Does anyone have experience with temporary car insurance? I am thinking of renting a car for a couple months, and wondering if I can get temp car insurance through a company that might be cheaper than the rental car’s insurance cost.

    • Do you have an American Express card? If so, car insurance is one of the benefits you get with car rentals. However, each AMEX card may be different (amount of coverage, rental period, etc) so you may want to give them a call.

      • The coverage on your credit card doesn’t typically cover liability insurance. It covers the damages to the car – so – you don’t have to get the supplemental insurance offered by the car rental agency. It is pretty much illegal to drive without liability insurance so someone without a regular car insurance will have to buy the liability insurance through the car rental agency. With that said- yes- there is such a thing as non-owner’s insurance and I would assume you could get a policy for a few months.

    • thebear

      Re: Insurance. Try Progressive or Allstate. If you have renters or homeowners with them, you can probably get a deal. I don’t know if they offer temporary/short-term policies, but you should be able to get a driver’s policy that provides adequate coverage.

    • Check with whatever company you have a renters or homeowners policy through. Most companies offer a non-owners car insurance policy…I had one through USAA for the six years I didn’t own a car. It cost about $60/year and covered liability any time I rented a car. Which was often.

      • Nice! I don’t have renters insurance right now, but I am thinking of getting that too… so maybe if I do a combo I can get a discount.


        • valentina

          Don’t think about renter’s insurance, just get it. I was was recently robbed and if I didn’t have renter’s insurance there is no way I would have been able to afford to replace the stuff that was stolen from me.

          • I had renter’s insurance and still couldn’t afford to replace the stuff that was stolen from me. 🙁

  • claire

    Rant: Boyfriend out of town for a week & will miss our 2 year anniversary.
    Rant: He’s going to Austin, where it will be cooler than here (at least for the weekend) – mid-90s vs. 100+…
    Rave: Plans to go to Thai X-ing for an anniversary celebration after he gets back!

  • Revel: For no reason at all, I woke up this morning with an amazing, sudden dose of perspective. I’ve been super mopey lately about not having certain things, not making as much money as my friends, job frustrations, etc. Out of nowhere I sat up in bed this morning and remembered that I have absolutely everything I need: a roof over my head, food to eat, health and relative youth, a college degree, and people who care about me. Thanks for knocking some sense into me, universe.

    Rant: Didn’t wake up early enough to run outside before the heat started. Looks like the treadmill for me…

  • SouthwestDC

    Rave: Made excellent ice cream using Jeni’s Splendid Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk recipe. She really has nailed the formula for home cooks– my ice cream was very soft and creamy with no ice particles whatsoever. I’m going to take her base recipe this weekend and make a lemon-basil ice cream using herbs from my garden.

    • homemade ice cream is the best – it has been my rant/rave for about 2 weeks. We’ve made red velvet cake ice cream, chocolate with peanut butter patties and fudge ripple, key lime pie, cheesecake, stracciatella, coffee stracciatella, and vanilla cherry chip. It really is SO much fun to know you’ve got homemade yummies in your freezer. I have The Perfect Scoop on its way from Amazon

      • SouthwestDC

        Most recipes I’ve tried are a lot of work and don’t turn out that great. I don’t like ice cream that much and never buy it, so it wasn’t something I ever made that often. But I may have been bitten by the ice cream bug now that I have a recipe I like. It’s a great medium for interesting flavor combinations.

        • We’re looking at having an ice cream social in August with all homemade ice cream. DC really lacks a great scoop shop, so it’s nice to be able to make it at home. Jeni’s base looks interesting, but I’m not a fan of using corn syrup (I have it for things like fudge ripple). Maybe I’ll try it – I’ve never made an eggless ice cream before (yet)

          • Yeah, I didn’t like that you have to use corn syrup and cream cheese, but it really does wonder for the texture.

      • claire

        The Perfect Scoop is a great book for homemade ice cream! I love that he also includes recipes for mix-ins, toppings, etc. These comments are a reminder to me to put my ice cream insert in the freezer so I can whip up something this weekend…

        • Hmm, I tried a Perfect Scoop recipe a few years ago and I don’t think it turned out that great.

          • I have “The Perfect Scoop” and use it frequently. I would also suggest “Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones” from the folks at Bi-Rite Creamery and (for the more adventurous) “The Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book.” Both are excellent books.

    • Allison

      *commence drool sequence*

    • Emmaleigh504

      Mmm that reminds me of the year my sister made me Early Grey Tea ice cream for my birthday. It was the best ice cream ever.

      I wonder if she will make me Lady Grey Tea ice cream this year. Schwesti?

    • What kind of ice cream maker do you use? I’m looking into buying one but I’m not sure which brand/type to get.

      • I use the cuisinart with the extra bowl – that way, one bowl is always in the freezer (no waiting another 24 hrs to use). I got it from williams sonoma online for $69 total (which considering an extra bowl is like $40, it’s a good deal). It works great, just read the directions [i.e. pour the custard in while it’s on, not before….]

  • Rant: People who walk erratically on the sidewalk.

    • That might have been me, weaving and walking all kinds of crazy on the sidewalk. I have a balance problem, a result of my battle with cancer. I walk really slowly and try to stay on the far right, but sometimes when I’m tired, it gets funky.

  • Rant: Federal hiring. I got a call from a hiring manager that he really wanted to interview me, but couldn’t because I didn’t apply to the merit promotions listing (which I normally do, but I guess I missed it). He said he was very frustrated because he thinks that I would be a good fit. But we’ll see, maybe the other 4 he HAS to interview are unfit candidates. Hopefully (for me, not for them). The whole system is ridiculous and in no way aimed at the most qualified getting a job, nor is it set up to keep young and driven employees IN federal employment (which might help improve some things). but this is nothing new to many of you….sigh

    Rave: a hiring manager with the decency to call about such a thing. That says a lot.

    Rave: sured up my menu for our housewarming party. Looking forward to hosting people for food and drink in our new place, finally!

    • claire

      I feel your frustration with the federal government – my experience and the experiences of others have helped me pretty much make up my mind not to work for the federal government in the future if I can help it… It just seems like they throw up so many barriers for people who are smart, motivated, and qualified! Not that there aren’t people like that in the government (I know some), but the system is really discouraging for them. Job listings that are only up as a formality when they already know who they’re going to hire, 6+ months to get hired (the most qualified people will find other/better jobs in the meantime), arbitrary requirements for getting promoted (my boss wanted to give me a promotion but couldn’t because I’ve only been working for 2 years and the next step up requires 3 years of experience – why should that matter if I’ve gone above and beyond and everyone above me thinks I’m more than qualified?), etc. The system really needs some major overhaul.

      • Well, the system needs an overhaul if they want to attract and retain the best and brightest. I’m not convinced they do, because those in charge are threatened by them. The federal unions hinder any progress in the system specifically because they know those who do nothing will lose out (see: NSPS reverting to GS). It’s really messed up. I enjoy having a job where I feel like I do some good, but if it’s at the expense of my family being able to be more financially secure, screw it – and only the do-nothings will stick around.

        • I thought federal government jobs did provide financial security, to some extent. It’s very hard to get fired, the pay is better than many industries, though some of the workers could probably be paid more in the private sector. Depends upon what you want, I guess?

          • I started at a Federal agency just out of college, and was hired with a large crop of people who would all be doing the same job. There were about 50 of us and we all had engineering or scientific backgrounds. The PhD’s were the first to get fed up and quit, followed by the ones who had an entreprenurial spirit or were especially brilliant. I stuck around for almost a year before giving my notice, and by then the only ones left were those who really weren’t that ambitious. A few years later I reconnected with one of them and apparently none of the original group was left except one or two that had kids and were only concerned about job satbility.

          • we’re facing a potential 5% pay cut. Our earnings are based on who is in Congress. Yes, I am fortunate enough to have a job, but what they should be doing is offering buyouts to those close to retirement and working hard to keep dedicated and smart professionals in the government. Instead, you have people trying to abandon ship like rats on the Titanic. Considering the huge demand for government services in the next few years (retiring people, returning veterans), the gov should be doing all they can to retain good people.

          • Anonymous 11:10, that is really interesting info that you put out there about those who join the fed workforce and after years, who is left and why. I’ve never seen it split open quite like that and it is super interesting when you put it that way. Thanks for sharing that.

            jindc, I know there are problems with federal government workers: some are absolutely amazing and others are coast-along slackers, so I can see how things could get frustrating.

    • Well, your “Rave” should be finding a federal agency that is hiring because most are not.
      I disagree with the characterization that the federal hiring system is not set up to get the most qualified people. Quite the contrary. The problem job applicants are having now is that a lot of professionals have decided that they want to work for the government rather than the private sector -some because they lost their private sector employment; others because they want more security, flexibility, and/or benefits and are willing to to take a pay cut in exchange for those things. But as it turns out, much of the federal government is under a hiring freeze. And the jobs that are open receive a huge volume of applicants – most highly qualified. The hiring regulations are cumbersome because there can’t be any appearance of favoritism or special treatment, at least for career service positions.

      • MA, +1.

        I think the coasters who bog down the federal government employment system are problematic and have to be frustrating to those who are in the system and are not slackers. But for every slacker there are really smart, good people, too. Depends on where you are looking and probably varies agency to agency.

  • Off subject:
    Does anyone know of anyplace that is hiring?

  • Sorry to only rant this morning, but I took my nephew to the playground at Upshur Park and had to leave because the sand filled section has obviously attracted every stray cat within range and the entire place now stinks of cat urine and is infested with flies. What a shame and a waste of money and space. Could have been fantastic. Poorly executed. That is all.

  • Rant: Can anyone explain the purpose of the DCRA postcard permit? On the one hand, you can get them online, instantly, so it is super easy. On the other hand, there is not (and never has been) any DCRA overview of the project, so it does not serve any real zoning or regulatory purpose. It basically just functions as a $30 tax for performing basic upkeep on your house.

    I am not one of those who is generally opposed to zoning or permitting. This just seems senseless, however.

    • Actually, I’ve gotten 2 postcard permits over the past couple of years and had inspectors come by both times to ensure it was in the window.

      The point is to streamline the process. What you can now print out online in 5 minutes used to take a few hours of your time waiting down at DCRA.

      You can’t do any of the “important” stuff with a postcard permit. I think the process was a huge improvement in DCRA.

      • Yes, I’ve spent many hours at DCRA. Online is a big improvement, but the fact that an inspector might come out to see if it is in the window doesn’t explain why I need a permit in the first place to drive a nail into my porch. As I said, there is no discernible zoning or regulatory purpose to purchasing this piece of paper and taping it to your window because, by definition, the postcard permit doesn’t require plans or inspection. It’s just a fee.

    • You are completely wrong my friend. It is absolutely not a “tax.” It is a “fee.” There is a huge difference. A “tax” is an amount of money that the government requires you to pay in exchange for something. And a “fee” is an amount of money that the government requires you to pay in exchange for something. See the difference?

  • Rant: A family friend in the military stationed in Kansas had a firework blow up in his face and he lost one of his eyes.
    Rant: The surgeon that operated on him also operated on a 16 yr old that had one blow up in his face just a few hours before. That 16 yr old lost both eyes and will be blind the rest of his life.
    Rant: That doctor had operated on 22 firework related injuries in 72 hours.

    Fireworks are beautiful but dangerous.

    • Those are sad stories, made even sadder because they were entirely preventable. There’s no such thing as a safe amount of explosives in untrained hands. Fireworks really ought to be illegal everywhere without a license.

    • Ugh, sounds awful. So sad to hear these types of stories.

  • Rant: Got the bill in the mail for my little trip to the ER. It was over $8,000 and I owe them $300 which I don’t have.
    Rave: I only owe $300, not $8,000.
    Rave: The problem was an ovarian cyst and I’ll know what’s going on if it ever happens again. I thought a small child was birthing from my side.

    • Oy, I’ve been there – worst pain I can remember in my life. My mom made me go to the ER because she thought it was my appendix! Terrible terrible experience, but thankfully not anything out of the ordinary for us ladies!

      • Yes! My boyfriend is a firefighter and he thought it was my appendix so that’s why he took me to the ER. I’m glad it wasn’t because the bill would be even more hefty then.

        • Ugh, been there. Twice. While a lot of us always have cysts, they really do suck when they rupture. The last time it happened, it was about 2 hours after my husband had proposed to me! Quite an eventful night.

          • Oh my gosh! I thought it was awful that it was my boyfriend’s birthday but your situation really takes the cake!

        • I went to the hospital for abdominal pain (years ago, in another country) and the doctors said that pain so severe could ONLY be appendicitis. So they operated immediately. Turned out to be a bad ovarian cyst. But they took out my appendix anyway, since they were in the neighborhood.

  • Rave: My mother’s knee replacement went well. My wife and I are waiting to see her.

    Rant: My self-absorbed sorry ass brother still isn’t here. There is absolutely NO excuse for this behavior. It is one thing not to come through for me but to not be there for your mother.

    • Glad to hear her surgery went well. My dad had the same one a few years back.

      Yikes, have you expressed your feelings to your bro? Does he live nearby?

      • Thank you!

        Yeah, he knows but IMO doesn’t really care. Every time I say something it turns ugly so I’m done…

        • Sorry to hear that. Sounds like he could use a good talk from somebody about growing up and what it means to be a man. Unfortunately, family relationships can get so clouded that people stop listening to each other. I wish my big sister had a mentor-type figure that could do this for her. Lord knows she won’t listen to me.

    • Kam, this is the same brother who you were upset with before because he wasn’t doing his best man duties properly, right?

      It sounds like he’s just clueless/thoughtless overall (as opposed to being clueless/thoughtless with just you in particular). Try not to get too worked up about it and keep your expectations for him really, really low.

      I get that it’s infuriating, though. I was mortified and furious when my brother showed up late (for totally bogus reasons) for my uncle’s memorial service.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: AC decided it didn’t have the will to live last night. Called the apartment building’s “emergency” number and they were less than concerned.

    Rave: I was able to beat a few more hours of life out of it.

    Rave: My ac is getting replaced now.

  • MsNesbitt

    Rant/Rave: Swallowed my pride and emailed the HR contact for that dream job I mentioned yesterday. She had interviewed me for a position in February, for which I ended up withdrawing my application. It felt nice to state my case to the first point of review, but I hope I didn’t come across as annoying or overeager. At the very least, it will make her aware that my application is in the pile, and hopefully she’ll choose to review it rather than consciously ignore it!

    • I think you did that right thing. Showing that you’re still thinking about a job you applied for 5 months ago indicates you’re really serious about it!

  • Rave: I finally joined the 21st century and got a smartphone. It’s so pretty!

    Rant: Just had to deal with a ranty 10-minute phone call about something over which I have no power.

    Rave: Taking the afternoon off.

    SuperRave: The kids come home from sleepaway camp today.

  • Rant: The agency that my organization contracts with is really pissing me off–one of their country missions in particular. Talk about ineptitude. They hate on contractors because of our indirect costs, but their inability to make decisions results in gross inefficiencies while we sit around waiting for them to figure out what they should have already decided before they even issued a procurement notice. Grrrrrrr

    Rave: I have a job, an awesome guy in my life, electricity, and I get to go back to Uganda next week. So all in all, life is pretty sweet.

  • Rave: “The Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe” at Imagination Stage! Borrow or steal a child if you need too – but you could actually enjoy it as an adult. Really creative combination with the Washington Ballet. Worth it just to see the giant lion puppet.


  • Revel: Ice-cream for breakfast and lunch today! Guess I better eat something a little bit better for dinner.

  • Rant: I’m not normally a smoker but I have my period and I’m suddenly craving a cigarette like you would not believe.

  • Rave: My 20 year old car passed inspection and I was in and out of the inspection station in 30 minutes.

    Rant: The $1000 bill I have to pay so that my 20 year old car could pass inspection.

    Rave2: My auto mechanic.

  • Rant: I live in Petworth and the thing that burns me up about the “gentrifiers” is not that they are young, white and affluent. The thing that bothers me most is that when they move in, they function like they live in a parallel universe. They seek out and find others like themselves in the neighborhood, create listserves and newsletters, form baby-sitting co-ops and soccer teams, and completely ignore the legacy residents in the neighborhood. They walk down the street and pass us by with their ear buds in as if we are invisible.

    It would take just a little bit of common courtesy to ease the integration of this new population into the neighborhood. For example, when newbies walk down the street, they can make eye contact and say good morning, good afternoon, or hello – ESPECIALLY to older residents. Even eye contact and a hint of a smile is better than pretending they don’t see us. When they set up these “Friends of the (put your neighborhood amenity here),” they should invite the people that already live here to get involved. When they have their happy hours in their newly rennovated homes or patios, they should let their neighbors know in advance, so we won’t get further pissed off when we can’t find a parking space due to all of the cars from MD and VA parked on the already over-crowded streets. Or better yet, invite us to stop by to have a drink. And when they decide to take over one of the struggling public schools in our neighborhood, they should talk to the parents that have already been trying to improve the schools. It is likely that even though we don’t look like you or have money like you or speak like you, we all have the same goals in mind. There is no need to force out people that may want to help and certainly have more institutional memory than the newcomers.

    As the number of houses turn over and the newcomers arrive, my neighborhood is becoming their neighborhood, and I feel isolated and left out – when I was the one that was here first. It reminds me of when the Europeans “discovered” America. We all know what happened to the natives. It doesn’t have to be that way. It could become OUR neighborhood, if the newcomers wanted to embrace the people that are already here.

    • njdcnative,

      Kudos for the term “legacy” residents; I’ve never heard of it phrased that way before but it is beautiful. I may have to borrow that from time-to-time.

      I’m so glad that you wrote what you did. What you wrote was likely true in so many instances and everything you stated was reasonable and all done without a tone of hostility. I really like and appreciate that. It give me a lot to think about when neighborhoods change hands and there is a wonderful mix of old-and-new. You sought out really concrete examples of how newcomers form groups that aren’t necessarily inclusive to the entire community. I think what needed to be said, you said. There are people on these boards who probably don’t fall into this category of newcomer but I’m sure there are plenty who do (intentionally or not). I am not one of the newcomers you speak about directly but it gives me plenty to think about whenever I am new to any neighborhood.

      Really, people, your neighbors are you best asset. Treat them that way.

  • Emmaleigh504

    RAVERAVERAVE: New ac installed! Works like a miracle compared to old ac & it’s way quieter!

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