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.

136 Comment

  • rant: we shouldn’t have a full week of 90 degree days in May.

    rave: everything else in life.

  • Rant: Unlike the lion, i can’t just lie around all day

  • Anyone know what was going on in Columbia Heights this morning?

  • Rant: The madness has returned. My new neighbor told me the appraiser of her house asked her what she needed her house to be worth. He then worked the numbers so that she and her husband could get financing. Houses that need complete renovations are being snapped up for way too much money.

    • Time to sell and buy at $40/sq ft in Detroit.

      • Yes, but then you would be in Detroit. No thanks.

        • Half my family is from Detroit originally, and I really thought about moving back there at some point–I work in community development (including tangentially in Detroit), so I know there ARE some glimmers of positive things going on there. (Some of which involve existing/longtime residents, not just the arty/hipster newbies that are breathlessly and incessantly touted in articles in the urbanist and mainstream media–I’m not knocking their enthusiam or their interest in the city, just the myopic focus of many news outlets on that demographic.) And there’s the insanely cheap cost of living. But two things have stopped me so far. One: Winter. Enough said there. Two: basic city/public services. I know this is a cop-out and won’t actually help the problem, but…I’m a risk-averse person, and I just want to know that if I ever need an ambulance, I can call and it will come ASAP. I don’t live in fear of violent crime, but I want to know that if I ever did encounter an armed criminal, I can call 911 and there’s a good chance the police will be there in minutes–or at least, not five hours later or never. Some of the new residents may romanticize the “frontier” feeling of Detroit, but the reality is that there are unpleasant and downright dangerous consequences when government has broken down (both financially and in terms of ethical governance practices) to the point where it’s abdicated responsibility for some of the most basic public services.

    • That’s really surprising. When I refinanced the appraiser not only came to my house but toured the house and took measurements and pictures. I told him I had never had that kind of appraisal for prior refinancings and he said that lenders were insisting on it. No more relying on just photos of the outside and comps.
      Assuming your new neighbor was the buyer, the appraiser did not do her any favors if the house was not worth what was being asked for it. Why have an appraisal contingency if you are not going to use it?

      • Same here. Then again, everything involved with the refi was 10x more complicated and thorough than it was with the original loan.

      • It gets even better, my neighbor said the purchase was financed 100% by the bank.

        • God, I wish we’d had their lender when we bought our home. We qualified for a loan that was nearly $300k higher, and the house appraised for more than what we were buying it for, but we still had to do an ARM with 20% down.

          • justinbc

            Why couldn’t you do an FHA loan? House too expensive?

            Btw, our appraiser did inside (all rooms) and out for our recent purchase, and magically came up with a number $5K over our purchase price. Kind of surprising how close it was given that the house hadn’t sold previously since 1998.

          • Yeah, I think the PMI would have been something like $1000 a month. Fortunately we had the 20% saved up, but they were pushing for 25% and no one would give us a conventional loan. Fortunately we were able to refinance a couple years later but even that was difficult.

      • I am also surprised… I did a recent refinance, the appraiser came took pictures of the whole house and told me he wasn’t allowed to talk to me about the value of the home. My house came appraised for 98% of what I paid, so I was happy…go Brookland/MichiganPark/Woodridge!

        • 98% over…

          • Our appraiser (for our renovation loan) did the same. Lots of pictures, video and notation of the inside and out. We didn’t get a 98% increase for our Michigan Park home, but we got did get about 50% higher than our purchase price. I’m curious to know how much it would appraise for now that most reno is complete.

      • The appraisal contingency is more for the bank so you can get the financing…

    • Interesting. When I bought, both times I never met the appraiser. My lender sent them and they went inside the house, but I was not present (and I believe I was not allowed to be). When I refinanced, I was there, but the appraiser did not discuss numbers with me at all.

    • Hmm, I purchased back in July and we never got to meet our appraiser. But he came in at the exact purchase price (which was not an even 1,000 increment) and I always thought that was fishy.

      • I don’t know if it’s fishy per se. My realtor said appraisals usually come back at asking price unless the house is grossly over-priced.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: I cannot figure out what hooded eyelids are. I’ve seen pictures, I’ve read/heard descriptions and yet just don’t get it.

    Rant: I have a weird pain in my side.

    Rave: I have flower buds on my cayenne pepper plant, a cosmos, the lavender, and the new plant I bought whose name I already forgot. So many flowers are fixin to bloom!

    Rave: The cosmos blooms all freaking summer. It may be my new favorite flower.

  • MsNesbitt

    Super rave: I graduate from my Master’s program today!

    Other notable raves: I am looking forward to celebrating with my family tomorrow at a delicious dinner. I’m also excited about a new guy who’s been pursuing me. It’s nice to feel like you’re the one being chased for once.

    Slight rant: Coming down with a nasty cold – but it’s all because I’ve been having too much fun lately.

  • Rave: I love that picture.

    Rant: the mighty hand of micromanagement has slammed down upon me. These are the two biggest projects I work on all year and you’re going to come in at the 10.5th hour and try to change everything and hold up my progress, thus making us all look like we can’t get our shi!t together??? Of course you are, because that’s what senior management does around here.

    Rave: I was getting too comfortable, this is a good slap upside the head reminding me to get back in the job hunt.

  • Rant: You’d think a restaurant that serves only pasta, and charges $19 a plate for it wouldn’t serve grossly overcooked soggy fettucine the way a cafeteria does. You’d also think they would take credit cards, but that isn’t even as bad as a pasta place serving bad pasta. And you’d think that a place serving only pasta would be kid-friendly enough to have a high chair or two.
    Rant: What’s the point in having a beautiful yard and garden, if the mosquitoes keep you out of it? My toddler and I were in there 10 minutes this morning to water everything before leaving for the day, and she got bitten 5 times (and I 3). I can’t douse us in deet-free mosquito repellant before work and school or we’ll seriously stink up the whole school and workplace with lemon and eucalyptus.
    Rave: Pick your own strawberries. Now that’s real strawberries.

  • Rant: In-Laws making snide comments about our home. Why are Asian-Americans so enamored by suburban McMansions?

    • Ha, I don’t think that’s exclusive of Asian Americans. I think it’s just most Americans. My in-laws can’t understand how we live in a (beautiful, mind you) condo in Dupont. The way they talk about it, you’d think we lived right smack in Times Square. Meanwhile, traffic in their suburb is HORRENDOUS.

      • I guess. Everyone on my side of the family genuinely loves our house, even if they prefer suburban living. My parents live in a big house that they built on 3 acres of land, but they recognize that our house is really special with the old Victorian features so well preserved. But my wife’s Indian family wants everything to be new new new and 5 times bigger than they need it to be. If it’s not new and enormous it’s worthless.

        • Whatever. They don’t live there, let them make snide comments. You can make snide rejoinders in your head (or to your wife later, if appropriate) and be grateful you don’t have to live in or dust the square footage of their soul-less McMansion.

          • Yes, but every since the first snide comment was made my wife has been complaining incessantly about how our 3-bedroom house is too small.

          • Well, then the issue is not your in-laws, it is your wife.

            This came up with someone else a few weeks ago. I think the general consensus was that your options are to split up and find someone with more compatible values, tell her to keep a lid on it because you like living there, move to the bigger space she wants, or stay put and listen to the whining.

          • We have similar values (location is far more important than size) but she seems to think we could have gotten something bigger in the same location. Funny, because we must have seen around 200 houses in the neighborhood (no exaggeration) before deciding on ours, and they weren’t much bigger. I think because she has a lot of family money she feels we could just spend another $100-200k for a little more space, but to a normal middle-class person like me that’s absurd. She didn’t think our house was too small until her family said it was!

        • I think this is not uncommon in immigrant communities (although I can’t generalize to all immigrants, of course). My father grew up in a tight knit and relatively obscure community of exiles/immigrants, and he experienced a lot of competitive pressures from his parents and their circle, starting with grades and academic achievement in school, and moving toward pressure to make more money, buy their wives bigger houses (from the parents of the daughters to the parents of the sons those daughters married), etc. as his generation moved through their 20s and 30s. I think some of this is rooted in a “striver” mentality that initially begins out of a necessity to survive and a desire to thrive, but then ultimately consumes their worldview to the point where it’s easy to lose perspective about the importance of non-tangible, non-material things. Just my observation.

          • Also, people coming from India probably don’t see Victorian things as being “old” or understand the desire to have them. 🙂

      • My mother in law used to do this all the time about our house in Columbia Heights. You should have a garage, you should have more yard, you need a driveway and a nicer neighborhood. She stopped when I told her I could have all of those things if she lent me a million dollars. Otherwise to achieve them for what I could afford I would need to have a murderous commute where my children would hardly ever see me and I would be perpetually pissed off. She doesn’t mention it anymore.

        • I find a pointed but realistic response like this can work wonders. When my parents kept incessantly hinting about wanting grandchildren (I was single!), I finally just said that I would like to have a child, too, and could easily get pregnant but if they wanted that kid to have a father who was in the picture they should be quiet and let it happen on its own time. I never heard another comment about having kids.

          • Kind of reminds me of a single friend who was sick of the “maybe you’re next” from the old women at all family weddings. She finally told them that if they didn’t stop she’d start saying that to them at all family funerals. They left her alone after that!

    • Yes well, when it comes time to sell you’ll be the ones laughing to the bank. Real estate in the city will always be worth more than suburbs. It has taken my parents over a year to sell their huge house in a suburb of NYC, whereas it took me 4 days to sell my house in DC for $75K over asking price.

      Also, more than 3 bedrooms is too much to clean.

      • Yeah, and we’re renting out one of our bedrooms this summer for a thousand dollars a month. You can’t do that in the far-out suburbs.

        • Totally. We have a one bedroom English basement that we rent out for 60% of our mortgage. Definitely can’t do that in the suburbs.

  • Not rant or rave but: Anyone have recommendations for a good mover? We need a company who is willing and able to carry our crap up three flights of stairs …

  • Rave: My morning radio show is dedicated to Michelle Bachman, they are having a field comedy day (Stephanie Miller Show)
    Rave: Had a great photo session with the next guest for my photo project at the Howard Theatre, what a beautiful building!
    Rant: on my way to the Dr.

  • Rave: nutella creme doughnut from Hot Hot Bakery (new food truck in Ballston)

    Rant: ready for a beach vacation. august seems so far away!

  • Rant: HEAT!!!!
    Anyone know of a good pool? The DC Hilton charges $1500 for the season (WTF?!) for one person.
    We can go to Ft Myer, but I’d rather avoid 1) going to virginia and 2) being on a military base. We just want to go to a pool, and publics would be fine, but I cant stand being around teenagers in large groups. I wanna relax.

    Rave: making the best of furloughs….looking forward to time off that I MUST take, since there will be no days off prior to baby arrival. It’s nice forced relaxation, even if it is total bullshit.

    • I was JUST trying to research that a couple hours ago. I dug up an old PoP post, but the comments weren’t terribly helpful and it’s probably outdated by now:

      I think your only option, if you want to avoid the kids and teenagers at public pools, are the pool parties at hotel pools. The Capitol Skyline, for example, is having one on Sunday that’s $20 or free if you get there before 1pm. But those are pretty raucous. I’d be willing to pay one-time fee for a pool that’s not full of kids or party-goers, but I don’t think such an option exists.

      • yeah, I don’t want to be part of a pool party, either!
        I might just do Ft Myer – you can pay by the day or by the season. It’s like $8/$10 a day (weekday/weekend). It’s just a schlep.

      • If you’re in DC, some of the neighborhood pools are actually quite nice. I like Volta pool especially.

        • While Googling Volta I found this recently published guide:

          So apparently there ARE pay-per-visit pools in DC but they’re like $40-50 which is pretty expensive. They are also claiming you can get a 4-day pass to the Vida Penthouse Pool for only $15… can anyone verify that? I’d heard you have to pay a hefty membership fee on top of the gym membership if you want to use the pool.

          • 4 day pass at Vida would be fantastic because I can walk there….can anyone verify?

            I could try volta, or any of them…I just worry about public pools being DC teenagers baby sitting all summer…their parents say “go to the pool” and that’s it. I can’t deal with groups of loud teens (or loud drunk adults) regularly, let alone when it’s 100 degrees

          • I recently joined VIDA and it is indeed an extra membership charge to join the penthouse pool, although I got an e-mail from them saying members can use the pool after 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays (totally not peak cooling-off hours) without a separate pool membership. I haven’t heard about the 4-day, $15 deal–so I can’t say it doesn’t exist, but it sounds suspiciously cheap. I haven’t looked into any details about the pool membership, since the VIDA gym membership alone is barely within my budget as it is. Plus, it seems like it’s a big party scene (which is fine, just not my thing), and a place that advertises $100 bottle service as a special weekly “deal” (first bottle only) is definitely out of my price range (as is pretty much any place attached to the words “bottle service”).

          • Even 15 a day is insanely cheap. Maybe that’s the rate for VIDA members who don’t want to pay the full pool membership?

        • Allison

          Back when I lived in CH I went to Banneker public pool a few times during the summer and didn’t seem to have any problems with any large groups of raucous teenagers. Maybe I got “lucky” on the days I went, but I noticed no major disturbances.

        • I love Francis pool and have never had issues there. Yes, there are some kids horsing around, but you get that at every pool.

          Great eye candy – lots of buff gay men and hot foreign moms (IMF, World Bank, and diplomat wives hang out here everyday).

    • If you have a car, Hains Point pool is great. Because it’s a bit of a hike, it’s largely empty and/or filled with hill staffers and adults. There are a number of lanes dedicated to serious swimmers so it can be intimidating if you want to do laps but the pool is nice and pretty adult. It’s a free public DC pool.

    • You can easily get into the Hilton pool without a membership, especially on a weekend afternoon when there’s so many tourists there.

      You enter through the gym, which requires a keycard to open the door. However, there’s sooooooo many people going in and out of the door that you can easily just follow in behind someone.

      My old FWB stayed at the hotel on a business trip and we hung out for a few days. Very nice scene, not too crazy with kids. My only issue is that by late afternoon, the sun has already fallen behind the hotel and shades the entire pool area.

    • saf

      I like Upshur pool. Also, Hains Point.

  • Revel: 24 weeks tomorrow. The wife says our boy has been moving around quite a bit for the last two days. 2nd Lamaze class was last night and went well. I’ve been very impressed by the teacher and the people in the class have been great. I dig that all the guys aren’t afraid to talk about what they’re going through b/c honestly, there’s a lot going on. The ladies rightfully get most of the attention, but pregnancy is tough on the men too! Lots of known and unknown unknowns and lots of worry about being a father and good husband, etc. etc.
    Revel II: Bought the 2013 Kia Optima over the weekend and I’m totally infatuated w/ the vehicle. There are way too many features on this car for what we paid. The wife kept saying “this car’s too fancy for us…we’re not fancy people” on a Sunday drive.

    • Congrats!

      And I’m curious, as a new mom, what the men were expressing?

      • Well…lots of things. I think we all feel a little helpless in that we can’t carry the baby and don’t know exactly what’s going on internally with our wives. We worry about finances. We worry if we’ll be good dads and husbands and wonder how our relationships with our wives will change. I worry about protecting them both and being responsible for a 24/7 need machine. I worry about the immense pain my wife will endure and, despite modern medicine, the dangers of childbirth.
        I’ll admit that many of my fears are irrational (I’m constantly worried about her being in a car accident or being assaulted while walking the dogs…or any of a thousand scenarios where she’s in danger), but lots of them aren’t. It’s just good to know that other soon-to-be fathers are having the same thoughts. I don’t know if you’re husband(?) talked to you about anything like that..probably some men don’t want to admit that they’re scared or freaked out about becoming a father. If he didn’t, I bet he would if you asked him about it. Maybe he won’t remember, but I don’t have an actual baby yet, so I’m still dealing w/ the feelings.

    • Nice choice on the Optima, it looks like an awesome car. Great warranty too! Should be really great for a family.

      Let us know how it holds up.

      -Poster from last week who thought the Optima looks “sexy”

      • It’s even nicer inside! The full roof sunroof is awesome!This is my first car w/ leather and I like! Also, the transmission…I love how it downshifts and engine brakes, almost makes me think I’m not in an automatic. The two best features so far? The smart key that lets me do everything w/o having to get the keys out of my pocket and the memory seating button that lets you save two driver’s seat positions.

  • Rave: Props to the cops I saw this morning tailing a stray dog walking around the neighborhood. One was in a patrol car and one was on a segway. I assume they were keeping a bead on the dog until animal control showed up. The dog was a brown pitbull. It had a collar and leash on so it must have gotten loose from someone. So if you lost a brown pitbull, call MPD. When I saw it, the dog was on Quebec headed towards the Armed Forces Retirement Home.

  • Rant: Has anyone noticed that bus drivers (especially on the S 16th street line) have been extra crazy lately about being behind the yellow line? I feel like they used to be nicer about having people pile on, but recently they keep screaming to move back and won’t let anyone on the bus until everyone is behind the yellow line. My guess is that they got a talking to….

    • Oddly enough, I have been thinking that the drivers on the 14th Street line have been just the opposite – much less fussy abotu the yellow line than in the past. And today one driver let people on in front of the line, with some kind of Metro observer standing right there next to him.
      I guess there’s no second-guessing Metro.

  • ledroittiger

    Rant – my Chinese colleague and cubicle neighbor is singing the refrain from some chain-gang spiritual in a really screechy voice under her breath over and over again and it’s not even 11am.

    Rant – I’m not deaf.

  • msmaryedith

    Rant: I can’t stop thinking about Albert–the lost blind kitty from yesterday. http://www.popville.com/2013/05/missing-cat-albert/ Any updates?

    (Slightly irrational) Rant: My director often puts not just two but THREE spaces after a period ending a sentence. She’ll take a draft of an email that I wrote (I use just one space), and then add her own language to it. The resulting outgoing emails look completely absurd with 1 space, 3 spaces, 1 , 3, 3, 1… Technically it’s just a style choice and either one or two spaces is ok, but MLA, Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook recommend just one. But I think she at least needs to be consistent throughout a single document–and three is never ok! Do I point it out to her? How can I without sounding rude?

    • Blithe

      Maybe you could try letting her correct YOU. Tell her that you’ve been using one space — as recommended by MLA, etc., — but you’d like to be sure that you’re adhering consistently to a format approved by your agency, and so, want to double-check with her about what you should be consistently using. You never know, if you say the word “consistent” enough times, she might go with two spaces. 🙂

  • Rave: Given the recent stories pointing out that money in savings accounts is not keeping pace with inflation and losing value, I feel better about dipping into savings for a couple of recent large-ish purchases.

  • I’m thinking of buying a kettle bell. Can anyone recommend a decent brand and maybe some workout videos to start with? I saw on at Target last night. It was something lke $45 for a 20 lb one, with a code for a free online workout video. I guess if I ordered on online shipping would be just as expensive.

    • I looked at Target and on Amazon for kettle bells, but went to Marshall’s where I bought a 15lb one for $15. They seem to stock them well, so chances are you can get the weight you want at a much lower price.

      I like pumps and iron for work out inspiration/ideas/routines. http://pumpsandiron.com/category/fitness/kettlebell/

      • +1 I think I got mine from Marshalls and it was super cheap and perfectly fine for my workouts.

        Also, to the OP, some Crossfit websites (and youtube videos associated with them) have excellent workout suggestions involving KBs that you might want to check out.

    • I would recommend against ordering one online and spring for the Target option since they’re virtually all the same save for your grip preference, and you’re right, online options are more expensive due to shipping costs. I don’t know if you’re a man or woman, or what kind of shape you’re already in, but if you’ve never used a KB before 20 lbs is fairly heavy depending on what exercises you plan to do so you might want to go a step down in weight. Plus, the lighter they are the cheaper they run.

  • Can someone recommend a good brand for “euro” sneakers? I used to only buy Gola’s, but they don’t seem to make as many or in the same style anymore. Bonus points if they come in grey and suede.

  • Rave: Love this hot weather!

    Rant: Looks like I’ll finally have to put the AC on. Not looking forward to the rising electricity bills.

    Rant: Somehow got “Puff the Magic Dragon” stuck in my head.

    Rave: I’m feeling evil today, and hopefully anyone who read my rant will also get it stuck in their head. Earworm!

    • Blithe

      No, but if it makes you feel better, I read your post and now “House at Pooh Corner” is stuck in my head — which is arguably worse than “Puff…”

  • Weird Question: My girlfriend just got an acupuncture treatment and was told she can eat nothing but brown rice for the rest of the day. She doesn’t know how to make rice and I’m not around to make it for her. Anyone know where she can get some so she’s not starving?

    • MsNesbitt

      Wait, I’m sorry, is this for real?

      Making rice is the easiest thing ever. Water+rice+boil. Or, buy the Uncle Ben’s microwavable packet.

      Or, go to any Chinese restaurant ever… and ask for it.

    • Not being a dick here – Uncle Ben’s makes a Boil in the Bag brown rice. It takes ten minutes to make. All she has to do is boil water.

      • Haha, I actually forgot about the Boil in the Bag stuff. I guess she could handle that. I recalled Trader Joe’s having some sort of frozen pre-cooked rice so I recommended that.

        • Have at it. If she can make a cuppa tea, she can make the boil in a bag rice.

          I had an exroommate who could not cook and would not learn (i offered). I cooked and he shopped and did all clean up. It worked for us.

    • anon. gardener

      Safeway and Giant have pre-cooked brown rice in the freezer section. Costco also sells pre-cooked brown rice, but avoid – tastes like plastic.

      • anon. gardener

        also, brown jasmine rice – cook with chicken or veg broth instead of water, no additional salt needed, for 40 minutes – delicious and not that difficult.

    • She could probably go to Chipotle and order brown rice, nothing more. My friend ordered beans only once, when we needed them for a dip at work and forgot to bring the can of beans.

    • Emmaleigh504

      What happens if she eats something else? Will her arm fall off or something?

      • I don’t know! We actually have some leftover fried brown rice that I made last night, but even if she picks out the asparagus and cashews she can’t have it because of the salt and pepper and oil.

    • Blithe

      Mei Wah restaurant if Friendship Heights has brown rice — and I’d bet a lot of other Chinese restaurants do as well — you just have to ask for it. Some Chipotle’s do as well — but it’s probably pretty high in sodium and might not be plain rice , which is probably what was recommended. It’s really not hard to make if you follow the directions on the package.

  • Rant: Job searching…

    Rave: I’m happy to have a plan for life changes. It makes everything seem less chaotic – though it is!

  • Rave: Was tearing through my to-do list, had a very productive morning.

    Rant: Got up to go to the bathroom, and came back to my desk and am now totally unmotivated and unable to concentrate. How can 2 minutes shift the day so profoundly??

  • Rant: Walked into a door in the middle of the night last night and now I have a big goose egg on my forehead and a headache.

  • Not a rant or rave but an inquiry: Does anyone know of some great summer day camps for little people (3 and 6) that cost less than $500/week? We’ve checked the Y and that seems like the best option, but wanted to ask Popville. Help!

  • Rant: My MIL is emotional napalm. She was here last weekend, and grilled me privately about whether my husband still loves her. I told her to ask him. She did not. Was just effing with me.

    Rant: My MIL has the emotional immaturity of a 6 year old. She sent me a multi-paragraph email asking tons of questions about an upcoming trip. I responded very carefully, and the response took me a half hour to write. She replied with one sentence, “I want to [purchase the expensive thing I said I would purchase for the trip]” and didn’t address ANY of the information I provided.

    Neutral: I may be overreacting after years of emotional manipulation.

    Rave: She is gone, she lives across the country, and I only deal with her in person a few times a year.

    • I’m really concerned that this is going to be my mother. Maybe she only manipulates my sister and me, but I’m dreading the day when I’ll have to be the one to make boundaries with her for my future-husband.

  • Quit lion around!

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