Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

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.

100 Comment

  • rave: no rants!
    rave: had an (almost) face to face dog encounter this morning and mine were *not* the ones misbehaving! they both sat when asked, and did little more than grumble and stare at the dog having the freak out. it’s nice to be on the other side of this equation from time to time :)
    happy friday popville!

  • Rave: Lost 18 pounds in a month and a half (3 months ago) and still keeping it off. Time to buy some better fitting pants. And get back into the dating world for reals.

    Rant: Still not sure what to do labor day weekend now that my original plans fell through.

  • msmaryedith

    Rant: USPS claiming they delivered a package to my office when they absolutely did not. Friend’s birthday gift lost, plus some Christmas gifts I was ordering to get a jump start. Have been sitting on hold for 20 minutes with the post office now–which I also did last week, when they promised the manager would call me back, but they didn’t.

    • RANT: I am with you on the USPS frustration. I sent out wedding invitation a month ago and have been hearing from more and more people that they never got them! Two were also returned to me for “not enough postage” which is ridiculous because they were all identical and I had them checked at the post office for required postage. So frustrating.

      • msmaryedith

        Thanks. I filed a claim for a missing/stolen package LAST Wednesday. As did the company I placed the order from. We were told it could take “up to 8 days.” It has been 9.

        Was on hold for more than half an hour this morning, and then they finally picked up again and said he was “in a meeting and that’s why he didn’t answer your call.” Why do I have to sit there and listen to their hold message about “your time is valuable to us, thanks for holding” when you are never going to pick up?!

        • You know I have enormous pull at the USPS….

          What local PO are you going through?

          • msmaryedith

            22314 (Old Town Alexandria). I had it shipped to my office so that it would be handed to me (or our secretary) directly, because I know better than to have it shipped to my house/stolen from my porch.

    • I had something similar happen with a package recently, though in my case I suspect the problem may lie with my office building’s mailroom.
      It was one of those packages that goes partway through the delivery chain via UPS and is then handed over to the local post office for delivery.
      The tracking record showed it as having been delivered… but I never received it. It was supposedly delivered on a day when I was in the office.
      After calling UPS and then USPS and then finally tracking down the mailroom for my office building, I le
      arned that they had attempted delivery, but a co-worker (or maybe more than one? not sure how hard they tried) refused to sign for it on the grounds that it was a personal package.
      The office mailroom said they had returned it to the sender… but the sender had no record of receiving it.
      Fortunately the sending company is giving me a refund anyway, but I am irked to find out that packages being delivered to my office might or might not arrive, depending on which co-worker the delivery person asks to sign. Having packages delivered to my home is not an option — I’m sure they’d walk — and places like BaseCamp seem like a ripoff.

  • Not sure that it’s a rant per se, but the traffic lights at the corner of Harewood Rd NW and Rock Creek Church Rd NW make no sense to me. First of all, I’m not really sure why they exist because there isn’t any cross traffic. Secondly, most of the time they just stay on green, but every once in a while they actually do cycle through the various colors for some reason.
    If anybody can clue me in as to why these lights exist and do what they do I’d appreciate it!

    • I think Harewood Road used to be two-way between RCC Road and North Cap so the light was needed to control that intersection. Not much point in removing the lights or fiddling with the timing since it’s not really messing anything up the way it is, and in case they change the traffic patterns back at some point in the future.

    • Harewood used to be 2 way so there was cross traffic. They did not remove the light when they changed the traffic because they wanted to keep the signaled crosswalk. It is “supposed” to change colors only when a pedestrian signals but I don’t think that works. For a while it cycled through the various colors as if the road was still 2 way, which was even more frustrating.

      • Good point about the signaled crosswalk. (Although I don’t think I’ve ever seen peedestrians there but have been stopped at the light many times.) Wouldn’t surprise me if it was also left there to slow traffic down a bit – without it you’d basically have a speedway from North Cap down to 5th Street.

      • Knowing that it used to be 2 way now makes more sense, however it does still cycle through the colors from time to time (it did twice this week on my home but it hadn’t done it for a month or so before that) even though there were no pedestrians in the vicinity (in fact there are rarely pedestrians around there).

  • pablo .raw

    Rave: I won the photo caption contest! well, not really but my name was part of the caption, so I think I deserve at least 25% of that t-shirt. Or we can take turns wearing it.
    Rave: had a great time with my friends Angela and Diana photographing the moon last night. I realize that for me, those photo meetups are the equivalent of having a party :D

  • Rant: Had a huge, surprise flood in our basement bathroom while we were out of town. Thank goodness no standing water, but raw sewage in the carpets and drywall. So not fun.

    Rave: Friday?

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rave: It’s my telecommuting day!

    Rave: My FIL is building his magical pho in my kitchen RIGHT NOW. We will eat well tomorrow!

  • Rave: had dinner at Seasonal Pantry’s supper club last night. Best meal I’ve had in DC.

  • Rave: Final day at the office before moving on to grad school. Receiving kind e-mails from wonderful colleagues.

    Rant: Would prefer to leave quietly without any big goodbyes…might not be possible.

    Rave: Relaxing weekend planned. Decompressing and planning the big move across the Atlantic.

    Rant: Long distance marriage in my future – any tips PoPville?

    • Yeah, don’t leave.

    • Yes, don’t go.

    • Any helpful advice in terms of what didn’t work or what you would do differently? We both travel a bunch for work so we’re used to Skype, WhatsApp, and time differences but any hints or suggestions on maintaining the partnership while apart for 12 months would be great!

      • Plan (or at least schedule) your visits now (assuming you’re going to do this at all). Maybe he visits you there around Christmas/New Year’s and you visit here on spring break. That way you’ll have something to look forward to and some milestones to break up the year a bit.

      • Regular (not necessarily frequent but regular) visits. Being able to spend most of your time together when visiting (i.e., on school breaks, not when you’ll have to be studying all the time). Knowing you have a specific end date and having something planned for that end date (like a vacation to plan together) helps.

        • Yeah this too, commit to *not* doing any school work during the visits. It’s very annoying to be “visiting” someone who spends half the time studying.

    • MPinDC

      Check out my friend Lisa McKay’s website “modern love long distance” – she’s a great writer and has experienced the challenges of long distance relationships. She has a great story about how she met her now husband when she was working with a humanitarian organization in LA and he was doing development work in PNG.

    • There’s this guy Larry who wrote a NYT article and spoke on a radio show about that when his wife was incarcerated.

      • His name is Larry Smith and he was the other half of the real-life couple from the book Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (book is much better than the Netflix series).

        • Oh wow, I thought that part was fictional and was joking. Guess I should read the book!

          • He wrote an article. The radio show was made up.

          • Oh, and definitely read the book – it was really, really good. Larry is a very different person than the show made his character. So supportive. The show is entertaining, but very different than the book.

          • Yeah, I plan to but I have a feeling there’s a huge waiting list at the library right now. ;) The show has been amazing but I agree that the Larry character is weak.

        • I’m number 87 on the waiting list (DC library) – based on my experience I’ll get the book in two weeks or so.

          I haven’t yet looked at availability of the electronic version.

    • I was in a long distance relationship for two years (not married but very committed). Things that I found helped:

      1) Send postcards or handwritten letters. It is such an unexpected surprise to receive in the mail.
      2) Have a standing phone date at least once a week.
      3) Start a book club for two. Since you aren’t living your day to day life side by side, it gives you something to experience together (while apart) and something to talk about and share.
      4) Each time you visit and then say goodbye, have a firm date for when you’ll see each other again. It makes the departures so much easier.
      5) Live your life even if you’re apart. Don’t feel guilty about having adventures and experiences without your partner. But also realize that it may be “easier” on you than on your husband. You are the one off on the grand adventure of living in London. Sometimes it is hard being the person who stays behind.
      6) Remember that a year will pass so quickly. It really isn’t a short period of time, but you both will grow and change in new ways. That’s ok, just communicate to stay connected throughout the time apart.

      • When my girlfriend was in India for a few months she hid little gifts and notes around the house, and each week she would give me a clue as to where one of them was. Some of them were not well hidden and I discovered them before I was supposed to, but it was a nice gesture.

    • The recommendations above are really helpful, but also remember to relax and enjoy each other’s company when you do get to spend time together. When my husband and I were long distance, it was really easy to talk everyday, send each other letters, find enough time/money to organize trips to see each other. The hardest part was dealing with the pressure of maximizing our time together and making it *perfect*. We’d pack in so many fun, couple activities that we missed out not being together and sometimes it got really stressful (getting into fights if we were running late for a play, for instance). It wasn’t until 6 months into the relationship, we found our rhythm and remembered that we were most happy together when we were most boring. It’s okay to spend lots of money to fly to see your partner, if only to snuggle up on a couch and watch TV. Good luck!

    • This is all great advice! Thanks for taking the time to suggest ways to make it all work. :-)

  • Rant: To the person who glued mirror strips to the hallway wall–I hate you. Were you planning on opening a disco? Three hours to get them off and now I need to repair the drywall. Eff you you Tony Manero wannabe.

    Rant: I have a big trash can full of broken mirror glass. What to do?

  • Rant: I was the victim of the caption contest yesterday, luckily I wasn’t in the winning comment, but for the record I am not a white man, and I would never wear shorts with a sports jacket.

    Rave: Weekend weather is supposed to be perfect. Looking forward to it for my brick oven pizza workshop tomorrow.

    Rant: the news media putting racial spins on every incident of violence they report… This is tearing the country apart. An end should be put to this. Bad kids are bad kids, people of all races commit crimes of ignorance, to act like there are trends in violence may make for ratings, but it’s a slippery slope. The violence perpetrated lately against innocent people has nothing to do with race and the people who report on this angle should be ridiculed and then fired. The public should not stand for this.

    • I can understand feeling a bit ishy about being the subject of one of the caption contest entries but it’s only because you are one of the more well-defined personalities of PoPville. I, for one, think you are A-OK, Jack5.

    • Emilie504

      Tshirts for all!

    • “The violence perpetrated lately against innocent people has nothing to do with race…”

      And you know this because? You are doing the very thing you are criticizing..

      • I was not speaking about the motive of the offenders, if guilty, they are horrible people and should be punished… I am speaking about how the media has been putting a spin on the crimes like “They killed a man for fun” and then mention race of the perpetrators and victims as if it’s a trend… People don’t kill people “just for fun”. they do it because they’re mentally ill, or because they are suicidal, or because of revenge, or something the victim said may trigger anger in a killer. These are also generally teens that have no idea of the consequences of their actions and even though what they do is unforgivable, they have no idea that they will suffer for their crimes, they often believe they will escape and not feel bad after the fact. By dehumanizing the people that create these crimes (not reasoning out their motives) we overlook the real cause of crimes which can be prevented.

    • Your declaration that “the violence perpetrated lately against innocent people has nothing to do with race” is the very type of comment for which you are faulting others. Try harder next time.

    • Tell me more about this brick oven pizza workshop!

      • The father of a good friend of mine built a giant pizza oven in his back yard. They’ve been telling me about how great it is and finally invited me over to do a workshop on making brick oven pizza! If all goes well, I may have to build my own oven in my own back yard… har.

  • Rave: It’s Friday

    Rant: I’m trying to plan a little garden for the front of our new rowhouse and I’m so overwhelmed. It’s just a big square of ugly mulch right now with a tree in the middle. I’m brand new to gardening and I have no idea where to start. Can you even plant things in the fall?

    • MPinDC

      Yes, there are lots of things that grow well in fall. Greens like spinach, chard, kale and arugula in particular do well and may overwinter to give you a head start on spring gardening. If this area hasn’t been planted before, you’ll do well to work compost into the soil first.

    • I’m not sure if you’re talking about a veggie garden or just pretty plants, but I recommend going to American Plant in Bethesda (or any nursery, but American Plant is my favorite) and checking out what you like. The people that work there will also have suggestions as long as you can say what kind of light it gets. A picture is also helpful. They are really helpful with planting tips, etc.

    • I’m contemplating turning my raised bed (right now just a mess of scraggly buses, mulch, and weeds) into a fall vegetable garden. I’m intimidated though! I think I’ll talk with someone at one of the local garden centers (Ginkgo Gardens or the Frager’s pop-up). Now’s the time to start planting stuff like kale, right?

      • Arugula grows like crazy and is pretty fool-proof. (It is basically a very tasty weed.) I get enough sun + urban “heat island” effect that I can grow it year round. I’ve also had great luck this summer with a golden chard from Renee’s seeds online) and think it will go a long way into fall. Radishes are also good – they like the cold and you can just pop seeds in wherever there is a little space between other plants. I’ve had bug issues with spinach and kale. Green peas are supposed to like fall, but I’ve never succeeded with that, though I get a good spring crop. Going to try again however.

        I got a lot of compost from the Ft. Totten station for a new bed this year and it has been successful.

    • Flowers or vegetables, or both? Fall is a good time to plant shrubs, perennials, most bulbs, leafy green vegetables. The NPS publication on native plants is a good guide (Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat). Also check out the DC DOE RiverSmart Homes program, in particular the BayScaping.

    • there’s a free program at the public library in old town alexandria:
      http://knowledgecommonsdc.org/classes/urban-homesteading-fall-and-winter-gardening/

  • Rant: Tut tut tut… Looks like rain!
    Rave: Looks like Robert Griffith III is going to be ready to lead the (Washington football team) onto the court for week 1!

  • Rave: About to rent out my basement.
    Rant: Feeling stressed and overwhelmed about logistics — can anyone point me to either of the following?
    1) a good sample lease for a D.C. houseshare
    2) a good sample lease for an apartment
    (What I’m renting out is somewhere between the two.)
    I found a sample of the latter online at http://www.agreementsetc.com/rental-agreements/lease-samples/District%20of%20Columbia%20Lease%20Agreement%20Sample.htm , but I’m not sure it’s a very good one. I haven’t been able to find a sample/model houseshare/roommate-type lease online.

  • Emilie504

    Rant: My fingernails have started peeling.
    Rave: That’s all I’ve got.

  • Rave: looking forward to fall
    Rant: people who walk their dog at a playground and then don’t clean up after it. Cleaning it off the shoe of an autistic 5 year old is a giant pain in the ass!

  • Rave: Antoinette Tuff is a true hero/”Badass”!

    Rant: Not so sure how she thinks $1,500 is going to take kids around the world. Maybe she misspoke or I heard it wrong. However, it is enough to pay a mortgage…IJS ; )

  • MPinDC

    Rant: Grey day – it would be better if it would rain.
    Rave: A good day for homemade soup – chicken with kale and toasted orzo was excellent. I’m a good cook :)

  • Here is my random rant….the guy who posted this job listing on craigs list is a complete idiot. He posts on CL every few months too, since he obviously goes through a lot of staff.

    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/hea/4020343308.html

    • I skimmed it very briefly.
      Among this guy’s other issues, he has no idea how to use paragraph breaks. A huge block of unbroken text induces a “TLDR!” reaction.

  • Rave/Rant: Starting my first time home buyer search. Im not totally convinced I’ll be able to find a livable (im not picky) house in my price range :(.

    Rant: Im not in a hurry but it seems like houses go so fast how is a normal person supposed to compete?

    Feeling hopeful that I will find something I like to make the biggest purchase I’ve ever made!

    • Keep hope. My first home search took many months (in an easier market) and my second took over a year (I could be pickier because I already owned and would only move for the right home). Each time I was really frustrated by the end, and each time I lost out on homes I wanted. But both times I feel like in the end I landed in the right home for me. I felt like you during the search – that I would never find something I liked – but I ended up finding something I really loved. Good luck.

      • Ours took more than two years! Eventually all the houses start to blur together, but that’s good in a way because the special ones will really stand out.

    • It’s an emotional process. You have to love the house enough to be willing to spend $$$ on it, but have to be ok with the fact that 10 – 15 other people felt the same way and have also put in offers – the odds are not in your favor. The DC market is fast and hot, and good places (and even some not so good places!!) don’t stay on the market for very long. Contracts are usually awarded in less than a week, so go in with your decision making hat on. The best piece of advice that I can give is to ‘know your budget’. It’s easy to get swept away in a bidding war, know your ceiling and stick to it. We were rejected on our first 3 offers, but the 4th time was the charm and we couldn’t be happier in our home. Your home is out there…good luck!!

      • +1 to “It’s an emotional process. You have to love the house enough to be willing to spend $$$ on it, but have to be ok with the fact that 10 – 15 other people felt the same way and have also put in offers – the odds are not in your favor.”
        Maybe not quite as much if you know beforehand that there’s a lot of competition, but in my experience (in an instance with just a few other bidders) making an offer and not succeeding felt like being jilted at the altar. ;) You’re envisioning a future with this condo/house… and all of a sudden the rug gets pulled out from under you and that future isn’t going to happen.

        • Yep. One house we bid on I had already planned out how we were going to get married in the beautiful backyard. Not only were my homeownership dreams dashed, but I thought my wedding dreams were gone too. Love the house enough to buy it, don’t start planning events in your mind :)

    • You have my sympathy. I was looking earlier this year, but decided to hold off when it seemed like every place I liked was going into a bidding war and people started paying cash and waiving inspections to be competitive. As aggravating and time-consuming as it was, I think that looking around for so long really helped to clarify what I wanted vs. what I absolutely needed to have. Was this neighborhood, or this feature or this square footage really a dealbreaker, or just something I would prefer to have? Being able to answer those questions really helped to narrow the field and make the search easier.

  • Rave: Sold condo in short order and glad to move off of a busy busy street.
    Rant: have a short time to find a new place, which is not fun with rising interest rates and 2 rejected offers already. Grrr to people who pay cash. My anticipated neighborhoods are increasingly out of reach. Will we never live in Popville?
    Potential rave: renting means fewer responsibilities for upkeep(?)
    Rave: stress of house search means we don’t feel like cooking and eat out at our favorite places and new places we’ve wanted to try.
    Rave: trying to remember to be positive by stating three great things that happened to me before going to sleep every night.

  • Rave: Three weeks after surgery and the hip feels pretty good

    Rant: Three weeks after surgery and I am still exhausted. I can’t get through more than four hours of work without needing to come home and sleep like the dead for a few hours.

    Rave/Rant: Infected incision is no longer infected, but is really, really slow in healing. The other incisions are nicely healed and closed, this one is still open and gross and slowly healing. Yuck.

    Rant: having to crutch around in the rain. Not fun – it slippery and you get wet because you can’t use an umbrella :(

    • If it helps to hear another’s post-op experience, here’s mine:
      I had stomach surgery (with an infected incision wound) about 2 years ago and though my general recovery time wasn’t more than three weeks, I was definitely tired and lo-fi for about 8 weeks post-op. Yes, I was able to return to work after three weeks but that was about all I was good for. I’m a very social person who likes to meet for dinner, drinks and typically have an evening activity planned during the week. But during this period, I would come home immediately after work and pretty much couch-potato the night away. I realized that while the major hard-ships of the recovery were over, my body was definitely still healing and demanded lots of rest. I adjusted my habits from evening outtings to lots of Netflix and reading. Not so bad and really, I’m glad I didn’t push myself when my body clearly didn’t want me too. Hope you feel 100% very soon, friend!

      • Thanks. I’m trying to listen to my body as much as possible. It helps that my boss is wonderful and understands that I may need to work half days for a couple weeks.

  • Rant: Relationships are hard. For the first time ever I’ve allowed myself to be totally vulnerable with someone. Things have been a little off lately and it’s completely freaking me out to the point that I’m starting to feel like the needy/overreacting type, which so isn’t me. I hate it feeling like this.

    • Anon, totally understand how you feel…happened to me with my last girl friend. Things were off i wanted to talk about it and fix things, she did not. Its a very slippery slope once things get off track. Hope you can work things out, but if not….its really not that bad being single for a while :)

  • Rave: dinner at Rasika tonight! Looking forward to it.
    Rant: Ben Affleck as Batman? You’ve got to be kidding me.

  • Rave: Finally in D.C. for a weekend after three weekends away!
    Rant: The cancelation of Jazz in the Garden – 3.5 hours before it even begins because of weather! The rain is supposed to let up by 4…not my luck with weather and Jazz this year.

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