Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

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 celebrate things about daily life in DC.

73 Comment

  • I have some really tough decisions to make about the future of my kids. Do I start them in an amazing private school even though my job security is uncertain and in 3 years I might have to pull them out. Or, do I send them to public school knowing that if my situation does not get worse it will be nearly impossible to get them back in to the amazing private school.

    • binpetworth

      There was an interesting article in the WaPost about a month ago that dealt with this decision–whether parental influence is more meaningful than school quality. You might find it useful in your decision-making: http://wapo.st/SYC2ld

      • Thank you. We are lucky because we have a decent in bound option but there appears to be a real disparity between the choices.

    • I’ve gone to private and public schools, they both have benefits but private schools often shield kids from learning street smarts and about being around bad influences, yet not following their lead… As long as you play an active and engaged parental role, your kids will have the best opportunity at turning out the way they need to, and you may save tons of money until College begins for your kids. Parental influence IS the #1 factor in ensuring your child’s success IMO.

      • Eh, as a product of private school education, I have to somewhat disagree. If the kid’s world is strictly the private school, then yeah the child will be sheltered. If the kid is involved in outside activities though and has exposure to things beyond school-related stuff, s/he can still develop “street smarts” and get exposed to more things in life. That’s especially true in a place like DC (or any other urban area).

      • Parental influence is undoubtedly a very important factor in both children’s learning and character formation. However, schools play a big part, too. I grew up as a Marine Corps brat with two well-educated parents. However, we attended a mediocre school in 29 Palms, CA for about two years, only to find we were academically behind when we moved to our next location elsewhere in the country. Yes, my brother and I both caught up pretty fast once we went into a tougher school. That said, I can’t help but think what might have happened if we had spent our whole life in a 29 Palms school, especially if it was during the critical high school years when you’re positioning yourself to apply for good colleges. I’m not sure if we would have gotten into top tier schools, etc.. (even with our parents’ good influences). Plus, I think we both benefited later from sitting in classrooms in our middle and high schools with the children of successful parents. Sometimes it is not the person in front of you (the teacher) that makes as much difference as the people seated around you. My two cents.

      • My son went to an expensive private school, but he got mugged by some kids from Bell, so it was kind of a win-win on the street smarts/elite education thing.

    • Blithe

      If the private school really is AMAZING, I think that you should go for it. Even if they have to transition to other schools — which will likely offer opportunities for your kids to build strengths and skills as well, in my opinion, the opportunity to build an amazing foundation would be a GOOD thing.

    • From the way you describe it, I would suggest you put aside the educational issue and look more carefully at your financial situation. Use some kind of tool, or a financial planner, and get a more informed look at where you stand.

      Then, you can see if you really should have an either/or on the educational choice.

    • Three years seems like a long time in kid years, it’s not like you’re setting them up to have to switch schools in a few weeks. So why not give them the private school experience now while you can? If you think there is a real difference, then take advantage of it early in their schooling when it might have larger impact. And lots and lots of things you’re not even considering could change in the next 3 years, so you have to make the best decision you can based on today’s situation.

    • Assuming that you can afford the private school tuition, I think you should send your kids to the best possible school that you can – both in terms of academics and learning environment. To me, there is a world of difference between a “decent” public school and an “amazing” private school. Or, for that matter, a “decent” public school and an “amazing” charter or magnet school.
      I went to an extremely good magnet jr and sr high school and it played a huge role in the educational and professional success I have achieved. I went from being the smartest kid in my elementary school to being just one of the smarter kids in my jr and sr high school. From being in a community where college was an abstract concept, to one where Ivy League schools were considered “safeties.” As someone else said, don’t underestimate how much the kids around your children will contribute to your children’s academic growth.

    • My kids went to DC public schools though they are kids with special needs. Like anything, we had some good experiences and some not so good. However, many of the neighbor kids in Mt. P also went through DC schools—Deal, Wilson, School Without Walls—and seem to have done quite well in terms of getting into good colleges and being generally well adjusted young adults. But they also had the parental support, which is key.

  • Rave: Fall. Pumpkin desserts. Beautiful weather (I loved the storm last night!). Great fall TV shows.

    Rant: Crazy police/ems/fire dept response last at 18th/New Hampshire/Corcoran? Anyone know what was going on? I came home around 10PM and there were at least three fire trucks, a bunch of police cars, and EMS… I looked on twitter and local news and couldn’t find any explanation.

  • Rant: At the point at which I really really dislike going to work. And the 3 hours spent commuting daily are soul-sucking. I’m planning on moving in 4 months or so, but don’t know how much longer I can hold out.
    Rant: Really ticked at myself for not moving out of my place a month sooner. I really could use the extra month’s rent.
    Rave: Fall! Apple Butter! Pumpkin flavored things! Cooler weather!

  • Rant: Storm 3 for DC, usually we only got one big rain every year, this year there were 3-4 episodes. I have a feeling the one this evening is going to be pretty gnarly dude…

    Rant: Pedestrians and bicyclists downtown were completely out of control this morning, crossing everywhere, not stopping at lights, not a cop in sight, it’s really dangerous, I hope no one gets hurt. People need to obey the laws and signs and cops need to do their jobs in reinforcing safety. I think maybe we’d be better off having a total pause at intersections for pedestrian traffic (As done in Chinatown at 7th & H) than all this chaos and risk. I’ve gotten used to that intersection now.

    Rant: I secretly want to be a stand up comedian… Twitter allows me to fulfill part of that goal, but I need a job with more vacation time to put work into my passion.

    • Rant: Even if cops are around it doesn’t help – I was biking behind a woman this morning who, despite her flowered bike rack, had blatant disregard for traffic laws including running two red lights and failing to even slow down at a stop sign, and flaunted her disregard in front of a police cruiser, who was just starting his shift and instead of at least giving her a warning, parked in front of the 7-11 on 17th St NW (where, by the way, there were already 2 other cops parked). Apologies for the run-on sentence 🙂

      • Yeah, no easy solution agreed. DC should do a lot more by promoting awareness of safety techniques and laws, and by getting rid of the current vaguery in terms of pedestrian rules on crossing on green lights…

  • Rave: Mitt Romney. Watching this guy implode has been the highlight of my fall so far. Literally counting down the days until election day. Will be up late into the night watching gleefully as they declare BO the winner, and count just how badly Mitt gets crushed in this thing.

    Rant: Wife is going in for double jaw surgery tomorrow morning at 7:30 at Washington Hospital Center. 6 hour surgery, and I am feeling nervous for her. The whole anesthesia thing scares me. Think good thoughts for us please!

    2nd Rant: Her recovery time is supposed to be pretty extreme. She may not be able to chew for the next couple of months.

    • Emmaleigh504

      Sending good vibes to you and your wife.

    • Mitt Romney’s continued gaffes this month have been amazing. He’s the gift that keeps on giving for Obama.

    • i had surgery at the washington hospital center on friday. the nursing staff and anesthesiologists are really comforting and excellent in the OR. they relaxed me quite a bit and i hope they have the same effect for your wife. i wish her (and your nerves) the best!

    • Sending good thoughts your way – best of luck to your wife!
      As for Romney- while it’s great for a chuckle, I’m nervous about people saying Barack’s win is for sure – although I’m admittedly superstitious. I’m surrounded in my family with a lot of Romney supporters and nervous about what life in the US will be if he wins!

      • Thanks!

        I agree, I am still a bit nervous, but think the debates will seal the deal. Agree, can’t even imagine what our country would be like following four years of his “leadership”

        We still have a couple of stubborn friends in their 20’s in Northern Virginia who are supporting him. I just can’t for the life of me understand it.

        • Do the debates ever really sway people? I thought people just see what they want to see in them, and they just reinforce people’s ideas about who the better candidate is. I can see where in the primaries they might make a difference, but for the general election the parties are so far apart it’s hard to imagine anyone switching sides based on a candidate’s performance. But this is just a hunch based on no actual information, would like to know if there is data out there about this.
          (and yes, I’m aware of the Nixon-Kennedy debates and how perception differed between those who heard it on the radio or watched it on TV. But did it make anyone change their vote?)

          • I tend to agree with you for the most part. I think there are very very few undecided people at this point. I think that the only chance Romney has of overcoming the hole he is in at this point would be huge wins in the debates, of which I don’t believe is going to happen.

        • Meh, there are lots of us Romney supporters out here. You just may not know there are this many of us. A friend of mine says that it was always easier for him to come out as gay to everyone than to come out as a Republican to everyone. To save myself the insults, I usually just keep my mouth shut. But we’re out here, and believe me, we are just as confounded as to why you all love President Obama so much.

          But also, good luck to your and your wife. Best wishes on a speedy recovery.

          • Thank you. To the guy above this, if you can’t “for the life of [you]” figure out why someone doesn’t support your side of things, you haven’t spoken to enough people or taken an honest and open-minded look into just why some people may not agree with you. There’s a lot of stuff out there if you’re willing to look for it.

          • some of us don’t love Obama, we just aren’t scared of what he will do this this country. While Romney’s record is quite pragmatic, the things that have been coming out of his mouth in this campaign are far from it.

            Lower taxes and a good chance we’d become militarily involved in Iran? While at the same time see other vital programs get gutted? Uh yeah, no thanks. Already lived through a siimilar scenerio.

            In short, I’m voting for Obama more out of fear of Romney than love for the former. Romnhey truly is out of touch with that 47% (or more) and has a poor grasp of the world outside the USA.

            /getting off soap box.

          • Thanks for the kind wishes. I understand where you are coming from. I can imagine being a repub in DC especially could be difficult at times.

            Regarding loving Obama. I would not say that in the least. I think he has done a good job. Could he have done better on a lot of things? Absolutely. There are a lot of areas where I feel he has dropped the ball.

            To further respond to Anon, I do a ton of reading, and talk to a lot of people, and really do try to understand both points of view. It is from a well educated viewpoint where I question how people can vote for Romney. There are so many viewpoints where it is not for or against, it is Romney being wrong.

            His infrastructure plans… Wrong. Terrible. Build more highways, and only highways. Just awful.

            His plans to give tax breaks to the 1%, and especially the .3%. Wrong. Terrible. Indefensible. Use Dan Snyder as an example. The Yacht he just bought in Europe and houses in Cyprus, and the foreign employees he hires to man his yacht are doing absolutely nothing to help the USA. Would the country as a whole be in better shape if we took an extra 200mil a year from him and used it to build infrastructure here in America? Once again, not even a question.

            Is Obama perfect? Absolutely not. Is he better than a seemingly more extreme version of the worst president of all time? Yes. By miles.

      • Republicans and Democrats both look at the other side and think “How can this thing still be close?”
        What’s particularly galling to me about Romney’s latest “gaffe” – and it really wasn’t a gaffe because he was saying what he meant – is the way that he and other Republicans have tried to explain his remarks. He was not talking about a failure of government because of the increased number of people receiving government assistance; he was talking about personal failure. He clearly and specifically said that almost half of the electorate has no concept of personal responsibility. If you are not paying federal taxes, it’s because of a personal failure on your part. And you are so beyond redemption that I’m not even going to bother trying to speak to you. Query how the white senior citizens, working class, and poor – who are not paying federal income taxes – and who support Romney over Obama feel about being called freeloaders. About being characterized as beyond redemption. His statement was as if not more divisive and class warfary than anything Democrats have said about the rich.

    • Hope your wife’s surgery goes smoothly and with as little discomfort as possible. As for the recovery, think broadly about foods that don’t require chewing. If you don’t have a blender, now is the right time: fruit smoothies (frozen fruit, yogurt, bananas, and plenty of OJ to thin it out), thick pureed soups (carrot, butternut squash, asparagus, gazpacho, etc), and when things get a little better, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, etc.

      • I had jaw surgery when I was 15 and we blenderized all kinds of stuff. It’s more difficult than you would think to get enough calories in liquid form. My parents put Dinty Moore beef stew in the blender (gross). But they also made a lot of milkshakes with yummy things like junior mints blended in. I also drank a lot of Ensure, which may have improved in the intervening years, but I remember as being fairly disgusting. Good luck to your wife!

      • I second this. Congee (Chinese rice porridge) has always been a comfort food for post-dental work. Boil some pork or chicken bones and throw in a cup of rice.

    • I plan to vote for Obama. However, I agree with Romney in that there are some people out there that think they are “owed” something by the government. These people try to “work the system” for every free dollar they can and have no intention on ever working as long as the government is giving them a free ride. However, I do not think that is 47% of the population.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: I feel like crap.

    Rant: I’m at work and work sucks ass.

    Rave: It’s beautiful outside.

    • There’s a tornado watch all day, so maybe that will make being in the office a little better. (Though ‘it’s better than being swept up by a tornado’ is not the strongest vote of confidence in a job.)

      • Emmaleigh504

        I’m out of my funk, so work doesn’t suck anymore (for now). Now I’m worried about my potted plants. Is one supposed to bring in potted plants for a tornado? I only have hurricane experience.

        Also, I like the weather before it decided to possibly kill/injure people and destroy stuff. Now the weather kind of sucks ass.

        I just can’t win 🙂

        • I’m worried about mine too. And the patio furniture cushions, and the plant stands and coffee table that aren’t locked down… but then again they survived the derecho.

  • Rave: Back from amazing vacation in Ukraine and Greece. Greece was amazing, kind people, good food, Athens ended up being such a fun city for going out and their metro actually works, the islands are fantastic, everyone should go there immediately!!!

    Rant: back at work.

  • Rant: I’m just completely freaked out about the weather. I can’t believe how much storms send me cringing in fear these days. The rain doesn’t bother me but the wind thing has got to go. There isn’t one movie out that I want to see at the moment so I can’t go and hide in the theater. Maybe I’ll just drive to the parking garage and sit. At least I’ll be surrounded by cement.

    • I spent the first 18 years of my life with a horrendous fear of storms, and living in Iowa, I had 18 years of anxiety and fear-filled springs/summers. I used to get this fear at the pit of my stomach, was super-anxious, glued to the TV watching the weather reports. For the most part this anxiety disappeared as soon as I left for college but it still rears its head every now and then. Especially when there are tornado warnings, as there are no tornado sirens here!

      • Technically, there are tornado sirens all over this area, it’s just that no one knows what the different types of warning tones mean. In more rural areas, they are used almost exclusively as volunteer fire department notification devices, while in more urban areas they were generally used to warn of possible nuclear attack. In coastal areas, they are supposed to warn of tsunamis, and near nuclear power plants, they would be used to warn of a radiation acccident. Obviously, nowadays tv, radio, and now cell phones perform most duties that civil defense sirens used to be for, but the sirens are mostly still there, and can be used.

  • Rant: I was starting to really envision how nice it would be to find a house to buy in Bloomingdale, with a small basement where I could set up a home studio. Assuming mother nature is going to keep sending these crazy rains our way, The recurring floods in Bloomingdale make me think that might not be a viable plan for me.

    Rant: I want my cake and I want it to taste delicious. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find a safe, walkable neighborhood in which I can afford to buy. I won’t move to the burbs!

    Rave: I’ve lived in a fantastic, affordable 1BR apt in Adams Morgan for a decade, so if nothing better comes my way, I have most of my wish list met here, and no mortgage or repairs to worry about!

    • Not all of Bloomingdale floods. Focus on Bloomingdale North of V.

      • Thanks for the tip! I love the neighborhood, but would be so sad to have a basement studio that floods and destroys all my guitars and gear…

        • There’s not that much of Bloomingdale north of V, but you can also look towards the edges away from 1st Street. Houses closer to N. Cap. are a bit uphill and don’t flood.

          • Would imagine now would be a terrific time to buy in Bloomingdale, especially if you can find a house that doesn’t flood. I would imagine all of the talk of floods has tempered interest in the area at least a little?

          • Houses, at least south of Rhode Island, still seem to be going under contract fairly quickly, like under a week quickly, when in decent shape. Those needing lots of work, obviously somewhat longer, like in the 1-2 month range.

  • Deciding whether I will be able to bike home at 4:30 today. I have my rain gear, flashing light, and bright yellow pannier protectors ready to go. I guess if it gets too insane out there, I’ll just have to walk the mile home. But I’d rather bike it if possible (as long as the wind doesn’t pick me and my bike up and toss us through the air)…

  • Rant: I have Nats tickets for tonight. What are the chances the rain ends in time for the game to be played?

  • Rant: Did my doctor really just cancel my appointment this afternoon because of rain? Really?
    Rave: I have a doctor that has appointments after work.
    Rave: I get to go home and lay around instead of going to the doctor.

    • I’m not sure “rain” captures the essence of what they’re forecasting for this afternoon…

    • Emmaleigh504

      Please share the info of this doctor that has appointments after work!

      • Emmaleigh504

        Unless that would be too personal, then just ignore me. I don’t mean to be nosy, I just wish I had a doc that had hours after work.

        • Sure, Dr. Jagdeo. She’s at Washington Hospital Center and does well women visits after work. Not sure about other types of appointments. Her staff is great and I found that being in the Washington Hospital Center campus has made it super easy to get blood work, xrays, etc. I highly recommend her and her staff.

      • Yeah, I just saw my doctor today and was forced to take a 10:45 appointment. But it ended up being a blessing in disguise– since I had to leave work in the middle of the day I drove to save time, and now I don’t have to worry about biking or walking home like I normally would.

  • Rant: Blown tire in the rain on 295.

    Rave: Knowing it could always be worse.

    • Sure it could be worse, but I am sure that even those who are worse off than you would agree that the flat tire in the rain on 295 is bad enough to merit a rant. (Well maybe not, if you’re driving a Rolls or something, but you get my point.)

  • Revel: Took a hiatus from running during the summer and am paying for it now. Thanks to the runner coming the other direction who flashed me a raised fist solidarity sign this morning!

  • Rant: Pretty much no work to do today makes for a long and boring 8 hours.

    Random: Walked into the kitchen this morning and noticed a discarded pair of men’s pants on the floor next to the fridge. Apparently one of my roommates had a good night…but the kitchen? Really?

    Rave: I’m actually rather looking forward to the stormy weather.

  • skj84

    Rant: Work. The bitchy, self entitled co workers this time.

    Rant: Guy I was seeing is acting super distant. One week everything seems fine, the next he’s barely interacting with me. And I don’t know what I’ve done.

    Rave: I get to see my brother in a few days! He’ll be in town for a conference. I haven’t seen him since his wedding back in July.

    • You probably haven’t done anything. I obviously don’t know the circumstances of your relationship, but he probably does want to end things but doesn’t know how to tell you.

      Then again, if you two haven’t been dating for super long, maybe something big popped up and he hasn’t had the time to reach out.

      My unsolicited 2 cents.

      • skj84

        I figured as much in regards to him just wanting to end things. The situation is unique because we work together. Which is why I while I want to know whats going on, I don’t want to rock the boat too much and make it an awkward situation.

  • Rave: Making bone soup – perfect for a rainy day – the house smells so good.

    Rant: Why do dogs who hate peeing in the rain never figure out that if the just go out and do it, it will be over in 15 seconds, whereas standing around looking pathetic, miserable and beleaguered – and not peeing – just gets them wetter?

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