Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr member philliefan99

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.

For those who came in to work late – how was the commute?

68 Comment

  • What a bunch of wimps! No way OPM would have opened late because of a little drizzle when I was a fed.

    • But by doing so, your commute today was much less crowded. πŸ™‚

      • At our morning staff meeting my coworkers remarked that the traffic this morning was even better than it is on the weekends. I think the OPM ought to stagger arrivals every day.

    • When were you a Fed? I feel like the traffic in the suburbs (especially VA) has gotten so much worse in the short time I’ve lived here, with the evening commute fiasco of 2011 being proof of that. Now everyone is extra cautious when there’s a possibility of slippery roads during rush hour; losing half a working day is better than accidents, abandoned cars, and people taking the following day off work because they are so exhausted from the resulting 8-10 hour commute. Plus people are living further and further out, in parts of the region that have really bad winter weather on days where it’s just a drizzle here, so you have to account for that.

  • Last week someone (Annonymous) replied to my rant about problems refinancing for a multi-family house (my home with a basement apt.) I replied to that reply but haven’t heard back. Would love to get in touch with that person.

    • Victoria-

      I responded last week in regards to putting you in touch with the folks I used. Is it me you are looking for? Let me know and we can take it offline.

    • Hello Victoria

      I am a lending manager for TD Bank in DC. I would llove to try and help. I am not the person that responded last but we do not have any problems with multi unit properties for the most part. Just let me know. 202-408-1024.

    • This may be out of context, but, if you look at getting a loan from a bank’s perspective it may help you to choose your loan strategy to get an approval –

      1. First of all, your credit score needs to be in good standing. I think a 620 is pretty much the base requirement in this market, an necessary to obtain a reasonable interest rate on the resulting loan.

      2. The bank that currently holds your mortgage will be most interested in refinancing you if you plan on fixing up your house with the money – They want to know the value of the house will be improved, because the value of your house secures the loan, if they need to foreclose, they want to ensure their risk is low. Also, if you pull money out, and have a higher payment than before, they make more money – If you’re refinancing just to have a lower payment, there’s no incentive for a bank to give you that loan if they already have you locked into a higher payment. Summary: Make your loan worth both your and their time by pulling money out for a home renovation, and upgrade your house, this puts you in a better position for approval in this economy.

      3. Keep the stairs to your basement unit intact! By removign them your property becomes classified as a multi-family home which entails a completely different type of financing on the “investor” scale, which will be much more expensive. You can always go back and enclose stairwells after you complete your loan, but it’s harder to qualify for refinance on a non-single-family home.

      4. Learn to enjoy paperwork. Turn things in quickly and correctly done, learn the process and embrace the ugliness and dysfunction of it all, just make sure you’re making money for your investment.

      5. The interest you pay on your loan is tax deductible, don’t get excited over points or minor rate changes. If your investment is set to gain value, you’ll make the money back. In this type of economy, there’s no way to get rich quick, embrace a 10 year return on a house you buy, it will take time, and choose your investments carefully. Avoid going too deep into risk but the interest rate you pay is not a big deal if your home value combined with the tax deduction work out to more than what you pay in interest over time.

      6. Profit. Never invest on something that won’t yield profit. Never buy something that you won’t be able to sell because no-one else would want it. Continually improve your home with quality materials. Screen tenants carefully and follow proper procedure, getting sued is always a setback, win or lose. This is the way to secure profit over time in real estate. πŸ™‚ Cheers.

  • Rave: DC third best city in the country to live in, according to Bloomberg. http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/2012-09-26/americas-50-best-cities#slide51

    Rave: Rush job interview in New York City (#7). I hear everything is better there than here. πŸ˜‰

    • Everything is better in NYC, except for the housing situation. So much more expensive and cut-throat than DC (which is already pretty bad on its own).

      My disposable income would go down by 25-30% because of the higher cost of housing there. Even with everything NYC has to offer, it’s not worth it, IMHO, when I can go there once a month to see friends and enjoy all my favorite things about the city.

      I can realistically buy a place in DC in the next year or two. That would never happen for me in NYC.

      • I always wonder what my friends in NYC are doing towards retirement. So much of their income goes towards renting, entertainment etc… Here in DC I atleast have a house that I can sell towards retirement.

      • If, by NYC, you mean Manhattan.

        • Or Brooklyn, which is getting to be as expensive as Manhattan.

        • I’m hoping that I can rent house in Mt. Pleasant — that held four of us — for enough to rent a pace appropriate for a single person living alone (but in need of guest space). I’m 50-something, so past the point that I can live a grungy, cramped life in a Brooklyn walk-up, but don’t need a palace, either.

          Wildly premature, since this is a first interview. But I may have spent much of Friday trying to figure out what neighborhood to move to, based on the subway near (what might someday be) my office.

          • My recommendation is Queens (depending on where your office is located). You’ll get much more value for your money out there and you should be able to afford a 2 bedroom apartment in a decent building. You’ll also be in the middle of the most diverse location in the United States. It’s filled with every type of ethnic food imaginable. And getting into Midtown takes only 10-15 minutes on the subway.

            Another option is to look a bit north of Columbia University. It’s a little rougher than other parts of Manhattan, but if you’ve been a longtime DC resident you will be fine.

            Brooklyn is for the young kids and young families. It’s really hip, but overpriced for what it is, IMHO.

            Lower Manhattan is waaaaaaaay too expensive. Bronx and Staten Island are too far and inconvenient for your purposes (unless you’re working there).

          • Just my two cents…Sunnyside/Woodside in Queens is a pleasant area that’s slightly farther out but less expensive than Astoria. Washington Heights/Inwood in upper Manhattan is still relatively (emphais on relatively) affordable (and much-gentrified since I lived there in the late 90s-early 00s) compared to the rest of Manhattan and some of the hotter Brooklyn neighborhoods. (In Brooklyn, there may be some rental bargains left in Kensington, Prospect Heights–my other old neighborhood–Sunset Park, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, and Crown Heights, with the bonus of some of those being near Prospect Park). Regarding DC vs. New York rents, it depends on what you’re looking for–there ARE still a number of rent-stabilized apartments in the housing stock. This is why my Brooklyn apartment cost about $200 less/month than my current DC apartment, despite the Brooklyn being larger and in a roughly-comparable neighborhood, amenity-wise. (Rent-stabilization means the rent only goes up a fixed percentage every year; rent control, which is the source of those crazy annecdotes about people paying like $500 for the fabulous West Village apartment they started renting inthe ’70s, is no longer in force for new tenants.) However, rent-stabilized probably means an older building with little in the way of fancy amenities (but not necessarily a walk-up; my building had an elevator)–not necessarily grimy, but not shiny, either. It can be worth it if you think you might stay a while, but to snag a rent-stabilized place, you may need to go through a broker and pay a ridiculous broker’s fee (but in the New York market, prospective renters often need to do that anyway. No-fee rentals do exist, but it can take a lot of shoe leather…)

          • I know it sounds snotty, but I’m not sure I’ve waited 25 years to get the chance to live in New York City to move to Queens (though I noticed on my map-reading the other day it would be quite convenient). And, if I do get the job, I’m pretty sure it will pay what is for me a ridiculous salary. Not law firm partner money, but more than cabinet secretary money.

          • anon. gardener

            One thing to be aware of, when looking for apts in Brooklyn or Queens – see if the closest subway stop is a local only, or local AND express stop. This is why I never lived over there. Every affordable place I found in Brooklyn was only served by a local line. the neighborhood looked close to Manhattan but the local train took FOREVER to get there. I ended up living in Weehawken, NJ, and took the ferry over to the city, a delightful way to commute.

          • One thing I found is that the longer I lived in New York (perhaps correlated with me getting older!) the less I really cared about the archetypal “New York” experience (not that my few years in Washington Heights were exactly Manhattan-esqe in the sense of Sex and the City or basically any other TV show about New York. Well, except for maybe Girls, but neither was my life ever that arty and hipster.) One of the things I loved about Brooklyn was that it’s lively in terms of parks, restaurants and bars (and yes, there are plenty of Brooklyn neighborhoods that are NOT overrun by young hipsters), yet it felt quieter and more neighborhood-y than some of the crowds and frenzy of Manhattan. (Ditto for Queens, although I was partial to Brooklyn out of habit). That said, convenience of commute can definitely be a factor, and it depends on what kind of environment you’re looking for…so if Manhattan is your cup of tea and within your price range, go for it! Good luck! (PS: I, too, have the habit of mentally planning out, with great gusto, the details of a potental new job: where my office will be, where I might eat lunch nearby, how I’ll commute there…basically starting the minute I fire off my resume. πŸ™‚ )

  • Rant: Fell on my front steps and am now stuck at home with a busted ankle.

    Rave: Strawberries and warm nutella for breakfast!

  • Rave: Made a delicious lentil and sausage soup last night, which made a ton of leftovers for the freezer.

    Rave: Easy commute and I’m only one of three people in the office right now.

  • Some sidewalks still have a bit of ice on them…I almost fell a couple of times.

    Seem to be one of the few in the office…just found out we don’t officially pen until Noon!

  • Rave: Parents in town for a beautiful weekend with lots of walking, hanging, eating, and exploring of the city.
    Rant: Husband had to work most of the day yesterday so he missed out on the hanging out.
    Rant: Weekend went by way too fast.
    Rant: Due to said visitors, I’m behind on getting out the required documents for my next step…
    Rave: Apple fritters and apple cider caramels and english muffin bread. YUM.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Whether and when we work communication was a mess this morning. Still not entirely sure what the official word is because of conflicting emails.

    Rave: I just came in as usual; my commute was easy because of no ice and very, very few commuters.

  • RAVE(?) – Howard Town Center is going to happen…I think.

  • Rave: 5 weeks pregnant! So excited.
    Rant: waiting to tell everyone=not fun.
    Rave: being able to share the joy anonymously on POP!

  • No problems getting in today. I worked at home for three hours and left around 9:45. No metro delays.

  • Rant: Waking up at 5am to catch a train back to DC so I can make it to work on time.
    Rant: Delays on said train then an hour metro commute to work, which normally takes 26 minutes.
    Rant: Stuck behind a bus in cab from metro so I am an hour and a half late for work and my boss is pissed.
    Rave: I’ve got less than two weeks of work left.

  • skj84

    RAVE: Awesome weekend, celebrated a friends 30th birthday, worked a cool event, and went to a whisky tasting.

    Rave: Switched my schedule at work from morning to evening today. I got to sleep in and missed the worst of the ice.

    Rant: Slept in too late. I have a lot of work to get done and not enough time.

  • rave: sleeping in
    rave: great weekend catching up with friends, quality time with the bf, and baking cookies!

  • Rant: Sick of overcrowding in the building where I live with lots of unruly children running, stomping, and making noise over my head. My landlord doesn’t seem to care or attract some of the young single professionals moving into the District. They continue to rent to mostly immigrants that live in animals.

    • They live IN animals? How does that work? Is there a taxidermy camel with a hollowed out hump in their apartment and they live in there?

      Sorry, I know it was a typo, but I couldn’t resist! I see you post on here a lot with your complaints about your neighbors. Everyone has a right to rent space, even “noisy immigrants.” Have you talked to your neighbors directly yet? I always find that’s more productive than asking a landlord to serve as a middleman.

    • yeah, dude. we read all your racist rants a few days ago. time to drop the subject and get on with your life.

    • Be careful what you wish for about “young, single, professionals.” In my building, more noise comes from this demographic than from my Spanish-speaking neighbors who have a small children (whether or not they’re immigrants in addition to Spanish-speakers, I couldn’t say; I’ve never quizzed them on where they were born). Not to say that all young professionals are noisy–just that neither courtesty nor lack thereof are inherent characteristics of any particular ethnic, racial, educational, or income group.

      But to address this constructively, if you’re not comfortable talking face-to-face with the neighbors, perhaps you could post a sign in the laundry or other common area that *gently* (and generically; calling out the “immigrant” tenants is probably a bad idea) asks all residents to please be mindful of their noise levels?

    • Then maybe it’s time to move

    • Stop whining and move to a top floor apartment. Problem solved?

      • My roommate told us last week that he was planning on moving out, his main qualm being that he lives in the basement and is a light sleeper. Yesterday he tells us that he found a new place in Kalorama Triangle–in the basement of a house with children. Either he’s lying or he’s an idiot.

  • Rave: Getting a new bed after 27 years, and graduating up from a twin to a double. I’m a big girl now!

    Rave: Pretty new bed linens

    Rant/Rave: Nice linens are expensive, but there are many good sales around the internet.

    Rave/Worry: Went out with a new dude on Saturday and really liked him, but dunno if he really liked me.

  • Rave: heading to SF in a couple weeks to visit my sister.

    Rant: she’s asked me what I want to do. I have no idea. Any thoughts. Note: I have a bum hip, so no hiking or long walks.

    rave: easy commute.

  • Rave: Moved out of DC a year and a half ago to the Seattle area which I love.

    Rant: Can’t figure out how to unsubscribe from the OPM annoucements and get real sad when a 2 hour delay doesn’t apply to me

  • rant: people who walk on the left side of the sidewalks. don’t they get tired of playing chicken with every other person on the sidewalk? I don’t get it. they MUST see that 90% of people walk to the right, being courteous and thereby making it easier for everyone to know where to go, yet these people continually either make EVERYONE move out of their way or they have to weave in and out of traffic their entire walk. do they understand that the convention of staying to the right (note our road traffic, bike traffic, escalators, etc, etc…) should just apply to everything.

    so people, please, we understand that there will be things that drag you to the middle or left of the sidewalk, but for the most part please try to stay to the right. it’s the considerate and civilized thing to do. thank you. oh, and while you’re at it, no golf umbrellas on city sidewalks.

    • anon. gardener

      Wow, did we go to the same high school? 4 years of “stand to the right, people!!” shouted at us during every class change. when i ascend or descend the stairs on the left, i feel like such an anarchist.

    • Similar: If you are walking side by side on a sidewalk that only fits two people across, and someone is walking toward you, whoever is in the on-comer’s path should step back behind their companion and let the on-comer pass. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to walk in treeboxes or the street or whatnot just to get around people who refuse to let me pass.

      • isn’t it crazy that people don’t get this? either they are somehow totally oblivious or they don’t care that they are being total jerks. and, you know, I’m pregnant and people STILL don’t move out of the way when it’s a narrow sidewalk and they’re walking 2 or 3 abreast… nice, buddy, you’re really going to shoulder check a pregnant lady? wow.

      • I hate this, too! I always passive-aggressively make a very loud comment to whoever I’m with that I hate when people aren’t courteous of others. It’s mostly to make myself feel a little better, and it’s probably not effective at all, but I honestly can’t think of a better solution.

      • anon. gardener

        i bet someone somewhere has done an anthropological study on sidewalk interactions. And if someone hasn’t, there’s a great dissertation topic. i think walking two abreast and not yielding to on-coming peds is some kind of power thing. one of the things i loved about NYC – everyone was in a hurry and kept the flow going. a lot less sidewalk blocking and left hand walking up there.

      • Emmaleigh504

        I like to play sidewalk chicken to see who moves first, I always win. I don’t play with people who have reasons they are taking up the whole sidewalk like crutches, trouble walking, small kids, etc. I’ve noticed it is usually the completely self absorbed who don’t move or people trying to project toughness.

  • Rave: Federal taxes are filed! Now to wait anxiously for my bank account to look crazily inflated (for the split second before I use every dime of my refund to pay off debt).

    Rant: DC apparently doesn’t even have tax forms ready for people who want to file. I understand that I’m in the majority over a) being excited to file taxes; and b) not waiting until the very last minute to do so, but really? No forms until the 31st?

  • Rant: Goodbye, DC apartment. You will be missed. (for the most part).

    Rave: Schoolwork for the first time in a decade. Was so terrified of going back to school, but am enjoying it so far.

    Rant: My PT job keeps screwing up my paychecks, and they are very slooooow to respond to my concerns about it.

    Rave: Him.

  • Rave: (More so amusement): Having to explain to people what sleet is. Must be the proud midwesterner in me.

    Rant: All 3 roommates moving out – one this weekend, other two (together) at the end of Feb. We have a really awesome roommate vibe right now and I’m sad (moreso pissed) to see it go. Plus I’ve come to HATE the interview process. Part of me wants to be a jerk and fill my schedule so I’m not as accessible for interviews.

    On that note, anyone looking to move to Bethesda? πŸ˜‰

    Rant: Boyfriend was supposed to stop working nights three weeks ago. Boyfriend is still working nights.

    Rant: Checked out the Union Market yesterday. Not impressed.

  • Rant: Sleety cold weather, car making weird noises
    Rave: Late start meant whole family got to sleep in. Heat is working at least.
    Rant: Missing hubby while he is on biz trip out West.
    Rave: He gets to check out a new city and maybe take a hike in the desert and sit in the hotel hot tub.

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