Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user jlgriffiths

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.

154 Comment

  • Rant: Hypocritical Tea Party member Congressman Randy Neugebauer berating a NPS park ranger at the WWII Memorial yesterday for doing her job. Fortunately this was caught on TV to reveal what a bully you are! Do YOUR job and reopen the government!

    Rave: People going to Congressman Randy Neugebauer’s Facebook page and showing their special “appreciation” for him.

      • Wow. So clueless. It makes me wonder if any of the House Republicans actually understand how the shutdown works and what it means. Or are they so out of touch they think we’re all just getting a couple of snow days so they can prove their point/not be disrespected?

        • Seems like the latter. They are all jumping on the bandwagon to decline their pay for the duration of the shutdown, and many of them seem to genuinely believe that the shutdown is entirely the Democrats’ fault.

          • I hope the media follow up and make sure they are actually not getting paid. What with their ambiguous relationship with truthiness and all.

        • I think they’re just jumping on the trend of completely disconnecting their actions from any accountability. I don’t know how it’s gained so much popularity, but it seems like everyone is doing it.

          As long as they sell it well, and they seem to be by capitalizing on the ignorance of the American people and the softness of the media coverage surrounding this, they can get away with it.

      • What a jerk! I just gave him some Facebook love!

      • Shamful behavior by Neugebauer.

    • He is the representative from my hometown region. I got the hell away from there as soon as I could! Lots of like-minded folks down there.

      • I think you hit the nail right on the head…unfortunately, the members of Congress who seem like nutballs to many of us have their thousands and thousands of die-hard true believers back home in their districts. I try to respect people’s differing political views, but sometimes the bizarre disconnect and the blinders some people have on are just too much. Case in point, my Tea Party cousin. She never finished college or trade school (despite taking classes on and off for 6 years, and having a good bit of parental financial support, if not moral support, during that time–though, to be fair, she is not lazy and has always worked at some kind of job, part- or full-time since age 16); works maybe a $12-13/hour job now, in her late 30s; married a guy who works sporadically, also has no degree or technical skills, and has a past with substance issues and a couple of DUIs; and with her husband, has two young children, who are on CHIP (the subsidized health insurance for kids of low/mod-income working parents). Which would all be FINE with me (my cousin has a good heart, under all the rant-y political crap, and I have no problem whatsoever with subsidizing insurance for kids, and pretty much anyone else who needs the help) except she’s spent her whole adult life complaining–and continuing to complain to this day–about how “welfare” (her blanket term for any type of assistance at all) and the Democrats are draining her hard-earned tax dollars, how all “those people” made “poor choices” which she shouldn’t have to pay for, and how “if people can’t afford children, they shouldn’t have any!” While taking CHIP–aka, a GOVERNMENT subsidy–because she can’t afford to pay for the kids’ insurance. And posting Tea Party graphics on Facebook. And complaining about how little maternity leave moms get in the U.S. and how there’s going to be nothing left in Social Security when it’s time for her to retire (like voting for the ultraconservative candidates is going to change either of those things?? I mean, hello!!) Sometimes I just can’t with all that.

    • pablo .raw

      I’m glad the biker guy confronted him and put him on the run

  • Rant/Rave: Rode to all the monuments last night knowing they would be shut down and took a series of night photos of them with the CLOSED signs.
    Rant/Rave: Have yet another first date tonight.
    Rave: Full dance card this weekend… art openings for a few friends, (e)merge art fair this weekend, and DC roller derby opens as well!

  • Rave: gym time during the day and lunch with a friend.
    Rant: Any furloughed Feds able to successfully apply for unemployment? My application keeps on getting kicked out with unidentified problems. It prompts me to call them. I try calling and there’s a menu tree that won’t let me talk to anyone, or I have to reapply over the phone and sit on hold.

    • I completed it today around 11am, and later emailed the paystubs as proof. Have you been able to get through it by now? If not, try quite late at night… maybe it’s overwhelmed with so many applicants.

  • Rant: Day 4 of coming to work, but not knowing if I’ll get paid. Boehner needs to grow a pair and stand up to the crazies.

  • Rave: weather continues to be lovely. bike rides to work are such a great way to start the day.
    Rant: thinking of all the ways the furlough trickles down to effect all of us. my furloughed neighbors no longer need their dog walker (b/c they can walk their own dog at home) so then the dog walker loses income, so then the dog walker doesn’t got out to dinner like she used to, so then the restuarant loses income… I know it’s not new/rocket science, but just thinking about it makes me mad.

    • This idea is called the “Velocity of Money” by economists. Higher velocity = more economic activity = more consumption = a growing economy. That’s why austerity, “starve the beast” policies are terrible for economic growth. As is income inequality, where the rich get richer at the expense of the middle class. Their money just tends to get parked in investments, instead of spurring consumption. So you have asset bubbles (think: booming real estate, stock, and fixed asset nominal prices), but little real economic growth.

      • epric002

        +1 good explanation. thanks.

      • Another example – I rent out an apartment to tourists. October is currently fully booked, but I will lose all those reservations if the shutdown continues. I will be out $2,600.00 that cannot be made up. DC & Fed govt. lose the tax I pay on that amount. Local neighborhood restaurants & bars will lose at least $1,000.00. (90% of my guests eat and drink daily in Columbia Heights restaurants.) My handyman will lose a couple hundred dollars for the work that I would usually gladly pay him to do but now am doing myself.

        • Scrillin

          If anything, that’s underestimating the loss of their spending to the District, when you factor in transportation, souvenirs, and other spending (newseum, spy museum, tour fees, etc.).

          Truly shortsighted move by our overlords.

    • yep. My office is open, but everyone around us is closed. The cafe in my building had to send people home this week because there are so few people in the area eating breakfast and lunch there. Those folks can’t make much money, so this has to be a real hit for them. This isn’t just about the federal workers.

  • gotryit

    Rant: Friends polarizing politically and I feel caught in the middle. And I can’t get past the awful impacts. It’s like a train wreck in progress.

  • Rant: Government shutdown.
    Rant: I am fighting off what appears to be a miserable cold. Ugh.
    Rave: This weather is awesome.
    Rave: The small things in life that still manage to give me joy. Ginger chocolate does it every time.
    Rave: I have an awesome night of good dinner and then guilty pleasure TV watching planned tonight.

  • Rave: This weather
    Rave: Family
    Rave: Coffee
    Rave: I can still find somethings to rave about despite all the crap I want to rant about.

    • Second that Rave for family – sister just offered miles and guest bed in London to wait out the impending furlough, brother called really concerned, and parents have been fantastic – I seriously lucked out when I was born with a great family!

      • KSB

        Awesome Rave. Had the same realization of how lucky I am to have the family I have on Monday when mom, dad, and sister all cobbled together a plan to watch my sick daughter (and pick the other one up from day care) so I could work, so hubby could deal with our newly dead car, and so we wouldn’t have to pile on another layer of stress to our already overloaded week. Amazing.

      • Third that rave. I am very fortunate to be part of a supportive and wonderful family.

  • epric002

    rant: “We’re not going to be disrespected,” conservative Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

    • Yeah, I read that and it totally freaked me out. These extremists are playing chess with people’s lives and with the future and the stability of the country, and it’s all a pissing contest. It’s all about PR and ego.
      I used to believe that conservatives and liberals saw the same problems — but differed regarding the solutions to these problems. How do we get the members of congress on the same page — when they’re not even on the same planet. Sigh.

      • epric002

        yup. they are messing with people’s lives and livelihoods and don’t even care. it’s more important to score political points than it is to undue the catastrophe they’ve created- all while blaming the other side. i’ve been vacillating between dismay and rage all week.

    • Rave: Being able to Rant in Popville about the state of the Union. Many of my friends are so pre-occuppied with their day- to-day concerns that they see all the posturing and maneuvering in Congress as irrelevant to their lives and needs.
      Rave: The folks in Popville yesterday who discussed the role of gerrymandering in this mess. Thanks! I appreciate the information! I really did pay some attention in my civics class, but I went to school in DC, and remember the teacher saying pretty constantly: “But of course, we’re not a state, so THAT doesn’t apply to us.”
      Rave: The weather! And Fall shopping! This is the first year I can remember having a real extended Spring, and Fall is off to a beautiful start. Yay!
      Rant: Same as yesterday. And the day before. And the day before. Sigh.

  • Rant: Ongoing shutdown.
    Question: What exactly are door and drawer dampers? Will I regret it if I opt for the bottom-of-the-line IKEA kitchen cabinets — HARLIG, in white — that _don’t_ have door and drawer dampers? (This is for a rental unit, not for my own kitchen, BTW.)

  • Rave – I’m not a fed and still have my job
    Rant – SO is a fed and does not have a job. We’re lucky to have my salary supporting us for the time being.
    Rant – Our usual trash pickup on Tuesday morning did not happen this week, only on our block. Multiple calls and emails to DC DPW have not helped. They keep saying they will get to it but now 2 days later everyone’s trash cans are still out on the sidewalks. I thought DC government was not affected by the shutdown? Did trash collectors just forget about our block this week? It’s starting to get really stinky.

    • Your trash should have been picked up – I’d suggested calling again and asking for a supervisor.

    • Our trash was picked up yesterday. Your situation sounds like a mistake rather than something to do with the shutdown. Don’t be mad, it happens. I would call 311 and report a missed trash pickup.

      • I figured it was a mistake. I’ve reported it to 311, and called and emailed DPW and my neighbors have done the same. DPW said it would be picked up yesterday but it wasn’t. I understand mistakes happen, but I just wanted to rant about my stinky block.

  • Rant: Was really affected by a lady at work saying she needs to now go on unemployment. There is such a fine line for people working today that they live check-to-check so much that a few days without pay will break them. I myself am lucky to still be working. We pay taxes as working people, the money that funds government, yet people in power act like it’s theirs. The ability to save money is reserved for the rich. I’m scared to ever have kids because of the cost alone.

    Rave: Almost Friday. The weeks seem to be getting longer. Can’t wait for clocks to roll back one hour, my internal clock is tired of dark mornings.

    Rant: So quiet out on the streets now. DC is extremely dependent on gov workers.

    Rave: Short lines at coffee shops on my way to work.

    Rave: Saw the “infamous” gorgeous girl last week out on the town. She seems to have come around a little, who knows what the future holds.

    • I hear ya on the kids thing. I am pretty confident I’ll never want to have children, but someday if I change my mind, I probably still wouldn’t do it because of the cost. My partner and I pull in a very decent combined salary but I feel we already have trouble saving money due to house expenses etc. Add a kid in the mix and forget it.

      • I just want to see what they’d look like. Biology amazes me, having a little copy of me roaming around the world would probably blow my mind! Also they’re not bad when they get to the age where they’ll wash your car for $10. Hah.

        • I see your point, but as a mother I can tell you that they are definitely not copies of me. Not even close.

          • If I had never become a parent, I would have remained convined that I would never have wanted to become one.

  • Rave: After 3 months in the new place, we Finally got our trash picked up yesterday! I’ve never been so excited for a garbage truck, and I hope I never need to be that excited about a garbage truck ever again.
    Rant: It took 3 freaking months. After month 2, I thought we’d jumped the hurdle, but then a new hurdle: the trash company. I don’t like to count un-hatched chickens, so I’m going to wait until next week to see if they pick up the trash AGAIN and then I’ll really think this thing is for real.
    Rave: Clients are kinda quiet this week. Going to walk to the mall later to take some photos.
    Rant: Boehner, Republicans betting the economy over healthcare reform. What has this country come to?
    Rant: Friends with kids and mortgages wondering when their next paycheck will be.

    • And now I feel foolish for ranting about how my garbage pick up is 2 days late 🙂

    • Gah! This isn’t exactly the same situation, but when my neighbors were evicted from their house they piled literally everything they owned in black garbage bags in back of the house. Then people came from far and wide and tore open the bags and rooted through everything. It was a huge mess. DPW refused to do anything so I finally sent a picture of the mess (which had been sitting for over a month and festering) to my council member and it was cleaned up within a week. I’d suggest going straight to your council member if you ever experience a problem like that again. It’s completely unacceptable to you and everyone else in the area to let trash sit for months on end…

    • gotryit

      After moving into my current place, I actually had to chase down the trash & recycling trucks and ask them to add me to their route. Ridiculous that I had to do that, but it worked. Not a problem since.

    • You mention a trash company… are you in a townhouse/condo development or something that’s served by a private trash company rather than by DPW?

      • Yes, 4 unit building, not covered by DPW. First, had to convince other owners to get trash service. Crossed that hurdle, then hired a private trash company in September. Took almost a month for them to start pickup, after countless phone calls and emails and me pulling my hair out in frustration.

        • Ugh, that’s awful!
          What on earth were the other owners doing beforehand — illegally putting their trash in street litter cans??

        • I’m a litle confused – if the building isn’t covered by DPW and no one had hired a trash service, how were people getting rid of their garbage? 4+ unit buildings are required to contract their own garbage pickup so what was the difficulty? Just curious how this all came about…

  • RAVE: Centrist/moderate Republicans trying to go around the Speaker and the Tea Partiers to get a clean CR on the House floor.
    Related Rave: People who realize that it’s not all Rs who are deadset on the shutdown, just a small subgroup of whackadoodles.
    RANT: Somehow I lost half my big toenail from running (sorry, that may be tmi). So gross. And I can’t wear flip flops even though I feel like I should maximize sandal wearing time because I’ll be ranting about boots soon enough.
    Rave: boss who has my back through some work drama
    RANT: nothing to do at work with all the feds home and the politicos pre-occupied.

    • It is certainly not all but it is also bigger than a small subgroup. There may be a small subgroup driving it but the rest are complicit and/or lacking any guts and thus not fit to govern.

    • Re: your toenail. As a veteran toenail injuror, I recommend getting a fake toenail (they’re just like fake nails you can buy at any store) and gluing it on. You can paint it to match your other toes, and it helps it grow back better without feeling weird in your shoe or getting further injured, like a little shield.

  • Rant: Unable to find the Hastert Rule in the Constitution.

  • Rave: Obamacare. I’m taking early retirement soon, and while I don’t need financial assistance with the premiums, I do need access to reasonably-priced individual health insurance. Logged onto the DC Health Exchange and got enrolled yesterday. Not quite as easy as buying an airline ticket online (unlike Expedia, they do verify your identity), but definitely comparable to opening up a bank account or brokerage account online – and picking among the various choices was no more confusing than picking a mutual fund to invest in. This is the way buying health insurance should be like!

    • RAVE: I’m very excited to hear about somebody actually using it, and it making a difference for them. There are lots of legitimate concerns (like the technical and bureaucratic mechanisms, including the IRS, that are supposed to work in order for the whole system to work…) and many issues to be worked out (see NYT this morning – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/health/millions-of-poor-are-left-uncovered-by-health-law.html?hp ). But if over time there are actually real people able to say it works for them, maybe, just maybe the Affordable Care initiative might get some momentum and stick around and maybe…even…begin to silence detractors. Maybe? (voice rising hopefully, uncertainly)

      • I went on the site on Tuesday to browse. I have bought individual insurance since 2001, so I wanted to see if there was a better/cheaper option available on the marketplace. I need to do some more research, but it’s nice to at least have it all in once place and be able to compare plans. It’s also nice that there are no longer restrictions on pre-existing conditions (before my individual health insurance could boot me at the end of every year if they decided any new conditions were undesirable, and then I wouldn’t be able to get on a new plan). I tried in the past year to get on a different/cheaper plan at a different insurance company, and was told they would not accept me because of a very minor medical issue, which my doctors have told me is a non-issue, but because I got some tests for it, no insurance options — until now.

      • The actress Martha Plimpton has been retweeting peoples’ stories/experiences about the ACA. (Got to scroll down a bit for them now) https://twitter.com/MarthaPlimpton

  • pablo .raw

    Rant: Friends (a couple) who have high medical bills due to a condition on one of them and are not working because of the government shutdown. They are not getting their full check this month and won’t be able to make enough money to pay their rent. They talked to their building manager and he is not helping them.
    Rant: Makes me mad.

    • no idea if your friends will qualify, but thought I’d mention: http://dhs.dc.gov/service/emergency-rental-assistance-program

      • This is why the shutdown is terrible and is ultimately way more expensive. The GOP harps about deficit reduction, but this shutdown is only adding to deficits and putting an even bigger strain on public services (and costing the taxpayers more money!). This couple would never need to rely on this, if they had just kept working
        RANT: Wake up America! Connect the f#cking dots!!!!

    • There are multiple resources in DC — including Catholic Charities — that provide rental assistance in emergencies.

      I’m not familiar enough with the programs to make specific recommendations though. Also, If your friend with the medical condition is hospitalized, they can request a consultation with a social worker — who might be able to direct your friends to appropriate resources as well.

    • Sorry to hear that, and it’s too bad the building manager is being so shortsighted. Granted, I’m not a landlord, but I would think that you’d incur more in legal fees for starting the eviction process than you’d lose from a temporary delay in rent. (Then again, I guess a landlord wouldn’t want to get into a situation where *everyone* is delaying their rent.) I’m not saying this helps much, because the prospect of eviction is a scary thing no matter what, but if the court process takes long enough, maybe the shutdown will be over by then, and they’ll be able to catch up on rent in advance of a final eviction order? (I don’t know if this happens in every situation, but I have heard of people who had, literally, right up until the marshals showed up to put their stuff on the street, to get their back rent payment to the landlord.)

  • Rant: the 6am teleconference I planned was useless because half the people didn’t show up. My counterpart in India knew they weren’t going to show up and didn’t think he needed to tell me in advance. I’m the one who looks bad in front of the CEO, not the guy in India.

    Rantx2: When I got to work after taking the call at home my boss was all passive aggressive about me taking it at home. He seemed to suggest that I am our dedicated technical support and that I should really be there, but he still said it was option to take them at home. If you want me here, tell me to be here.
    Rantx3: I am so over my apartment building. I found a bedbug. It’s the lightest of light infestations. We’re moving out soon, my roommate at the end of the month, me hopefully 2 weeks later. I want to do heat, management won’t pay for it, but they also haven’t provided instructions for chemical treatment prep yet. And at least 33% of the coin operated washers and dryers don’t work. How am I supposed to lander everything like that? It cost me $3.75 and 2 hours to dry one load of laundry. I won’t even be done by the time we move out if it continues at that pace.

    • Be very very careful when you move out. I was able to move out of a place with bedbugs and not take them with me, but it took a lot of work. I bagged all my clothes and linen, washed them en mass at a laundromat, then brought them to the new place. I also threw out my furniture – I couldn’t do that now. There are tons of resources online about how to clean stuff that you are moving.
      Having bedbugs was one of the most traumatic times in my life. But you will get through it. Good luck.

      • Thanks!

        I won’t have the option of moving my stuff to my new place, sadly. I’ll probably put everything in a Pod and store it, while living on my sister’s cough, until I can close on my new place. Too bad it’s not August, I would just ask them to park the Pod outside the whole time, that would get to 120F no problem.

  • Rave: going to a wedding this weekend. Hope there is an open bar!
    Rant: is there anything to do in Canton, OH??!
    Rave: yoga tonight

  • I know we are not supposed to pick on anyone’s grammar here, but why is the singular of the word “comment” always used at the intro of the comments section, even when there are tons of comments? For example, right now it says “61 Comment.” Is it really a tough programming thing for blog software developers to use alternative words depending on whether the count is 1 or not 1? Obviously the number part is dynamically updated, why not also the word that follows?
    Yes, I know this is not a Big Problem. But sort of genuinely curious about why they programmers wouldn’t be able to solve this problem given all of the things they do manage.

  • HOPING TO TURN YOUR RANT INTO A SMALL RAVE: Having lived through what I would call a pretty major infestation and not moved until they were eradicated, may I note two very important things that should hopefully save you a LOT of money:
    1. It’s heat that kills them, not water. All you need to do is *heat* your belongings, NOT wash them. Bedbugs suck, but they’re not dirty, so you may feel unclean for finding them, but washing is truly not needed! Even the lowest dry setting is fine – 115 degrees and over and they’re dead. I heated EVery bit of clothing I owned, including the fancy dresses, and lost nothing to damage. No washing = money saved.
    2. If your rent includes electricity or your bills are reasonable, then make a one-time purchase of: the Packtite Bedbug oven (+huge ziplocs + storage containers for “cleared” items if you can until you’re sure your bug-free). The oven is around $300. You plug that thing in and you can heat clothing AND shoes AND books and even electronics (if you must) and anything you want for about 6 hours a load (there’s a thermometer) and you’re DONE. Not to mention if you ever have the same problem again, you’re set for (God forbid) the next time. Every time I come home from a trip, my quite-large suitcase now goes straight in that thing and I sleep peacefully.

    • Thanks for the support!

      We had bedbugs last year, so I’m versed in a lot of this. And it was the middle of the summer, so we baked a lot of things in our cars, that was so helpful. But really, the same place last year and now they’re back? Do we think maybe the chemical treatment was not completely effective???? But it was a different management company, so whatever.

      I will be drying without washing sweaters, dresses, etc, probably in Dryel bags just to be nice to them. It kills me to put my bras, underwear, and high tech running clothes in the heat, but what are you going to do? I like the bedbug dryer suggestion, but it’s pricey and electricity is not included in our rent. I am going to see if it’s feasible to put my shoes in the regular oven with an oven thermometer. If not, maybe I can bug my friend in our biologics lab and put them in the equipment dryer.

      It’s just so frustrating that they won’t pony up for the heat treatment, but then they also have not been responsive about getting us the instructions and all of the laundry machines have never all worked at once in 2.5 years I’ve lived here even though I report it all the time. I feel stuck with useless tools.

      In addition to getting ready to move I’m apparently going to spend all of my time running up and down stairs, making long trips to my car, filling it with everything piece of cloth I own (did I mention I sew, so there’s a lot?), and going to the laundry mat, where I’ll them just have to lug it all in, then reverse those steps over and over.

  • Rant: Grateful to have a job but the low morale as a fed right now is mind-numbing, soul-sucking, and outright depressing.
    Rave/Rant: Day 1 of caffeine/sugar detox. The withdrawal symptoms are not doing anything to help my first rant.
    Rave: I love my boyfriend! His support is unparalleled.

  • Rant: Didn’t get the interesting job I interviewed for last week. Bummed.
    Rave: Headed to the Caribbean on Saturday for a week.

  • Rant: Shutdown. Still.
    Rant: We really need an Egypt-style day of rage where us Feds can display our anger at this whole situation. We’re so used to being out of the limelight and apolitical. It’s time for us to stand up for ourselves!

  • Rant: shutdownshutdownshutdown. Luckily we’re both contractors and our facilities our still open, but there is only so much you can do without guidance. I’m slowly hitting a productivity wall.
    Rave: Doing my best to support the local economy since we’re two of the lucky ones = getting to eat at lots of great restaurants in the meantime.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rave: All my favorite shows come back tonight with a new one here and there.
    Rant: Literally all my favorite shows come on TONIGHT. Why is all the good programming only on Thursday?
    Rant: Shut down
    Rave: I still have work
    Rant: But it could stop at any time.
    Rave: My kitty knows I’m stressed and has been extra cuddly and talkative (while I’m awake).

  • KSB

    Rant: Struggling with feeling like a failure because my 4-year-old daughter wants to be a princess for Halloween. For the longest time, she wanted to be Handy Manny or a spider but now it’s Belle. Taking a lot of mental energy to let this go…
    Rave: This is one of my biggest problems right now.

    • epric002

      🙂 won’t she change her mind again before halloween? don’t sweat it even if she doesn’t. though i totally get your sentiment.

      • KSB

        Going to lay low and hope the mind-changing continues! She looked crushed when I told her a princess wasn’t very creative, that her other ideas were great, and then I felt like the biggest dolt ever. Ugh.

        • And now you discover the influence of her peer group. Sorry, Mom.

          • I remember when my daughter fell in ”must have” love with a cheap, foam, atrocious store bought “Thomas the Tank Engine” costume, essentially torpedoing weeks of our de rigueur, modern parent “create your own costume” shtick. Pictures of that holiday and memory are among my favorites when trip down memory lane…

    • If it makes you feel better, I was adamant about being a princess for Halloween one year and even had my mother make a matching costume for my Cabbage Patch girl. A few years later, I was the most non-girly-girl you could imagine. Heck, even at the time I was a pretty non-girly girl, I just wanted to be a princess for Halloween. And I was always very independent and my own thinker (must to the chagrin of my parents). And as an adult I am still a very independent woman who never wear dresses unless I absolutely have to. It could be a phase. Or not. Just let her be who she is. It isn’t about you and you’re not a failure (although I do get your sentiment too).

    • There’s some pretty creative, “positive role model” stuff she could be as a “Princess”. Even better, would she be willing to be a “queen”? She could be Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra, etc.
      Just because she wants to be royalty, doesn’t mean it needs to be a Disney Princess. Kids are open to suggestion.

    • My god-daughter was full-on princess until about age 5, then went straight to Ninja. Don’t worry!

    • What’s wrong with wanting to dress up like a princess? I used to love that stuff as a kid (Barbies and ballet too!) but that didn’t stop me from growing up to become a kickass engineer and lesbian (who still adores the color pink, and fashion, and cooking). some parents these days take feminist ideals a little too far, in my opinion.

      • KSB

        This is exactly the essence of my rant – there is absolutely nothing wrong with a 4-year-old wanting to dress up as a princess. My rant is the knee-jerk reaction that I had as someone who now recognizes I’ve been “programmed” to push back at any actions deemed “too girly” for a girl. Totally ridiculous of me, I’m realizing. Luckily this was exactly the wake-up I needed to start processing my own thoughts (which, by the way, included the “Hmm, if I could dress up like a princess and join her, that would be amazing!”) and pushing back at what I’m being fed. Doesn’t help that I have two girls, ages 4 and 2, and am currently pregnant with our 3rd girl so I’m getting this from a lot of angles right now 🙂

        • KSB, I think your reaction is totally understandable. You might say you’ve been “programmed” to push back at the princess/pink/”girly” things… but at the same time, our culture — particularly the toy industry — does its best to “program” little girls to want princess/pink/”girly” things, and to get their parents to buy them. The first kind of “programming” is just a reaction to the (more powerful) second.

    • And hey, as far as the princess choices go, Belle isn’t a bad pick!

    • Let’s see — you are raising your daughter to be a creative individual — who can think for herself. And now you’re telling her that she’s “not creative” because her momentary fantasy for herself differs from what you as an adult think it should be. Hmmm. I like the suggestions that you can use this as a teachable process — but why not let her enjoy and celebrate her 4 year old female self, with a glitzy, powerful, sequin-y age-appropriate 4 year old’s fantasy? While you might judge yourself as a failure if you yourself wanted to be a princess for Halloween, please realize that a 4 year old understands this in a way that is very different from the way you do. And think about how wonderful she will feel if you can support her fantasy for herself — that will last — oh, about 4 hours.

    • Of course she wants to be a princess. They’re beautiful, they dress well, they’re the boss and they get the cutest boys. Heck, I still want to be one, except for the getting the cute boys part. My daughter was a princess for several years, although she tended multiculturally more towards Princess Jasmine, from Aladdin, which initially flustered her mother when she was trying to find a dress pattern (we were thinking more in terms of a Euro-centric princess, old white people that we were).
      This has nothing to to with you, do not beat yourself up. Really, what are you going to do when you catch her smoking pot or having sex?
      Resist the urge to turn it into a learning experience, unless the girl is into it. Kids are allowed to have stupid, non-educational fun. Especially at Halloween (just like half the adults in this city).
      And take comfort in the fact that my little princess was a varsity rower (the anti-process sport) all through high school and is now a pierced, tattooed, virulently independent young woman considering crashing into the sexist and unromantic world of restaurant cooking.
      It is just a phase (more than likely).

    • If she doesn’t have her heart set on Belle and you are planning on buying the costume instead of making, H&M has the most adorable princess costume (available online starting today, in stores starting next week). You can even buy a wig and socks to match. It is fabulous and I am so jealous that it doesn’t come in adult sizes! (As a bonus, 25% of the sales price goes to Unicef.)

    • KSB

      This thread has been amazingly helpful in processing my RANT – had a discussion with my daughter last night about how I made a mistake to question whether or not Belle was a good idea and that she was absolutely welcome to dress up like anything she wanted for Halloween (since she’s still 4, I think we’re okay with the “anything you want!” sentiment…) It really was a wake-up call on how to start identifying harmful gender-specific behaviors vs. “let the preschooler dress up like a damn princess and have her fun” behaviors! And as I mentioned in another comment, being pregnant right now with our third girl (all three of whom will be under 5 when this one arrives) I think I’m a little hyper-sensitive at the moment 🙂

  • Rant: Tenant just informed me she’s moving out at the end of this month. Ok it’s not exactly 30 days’ notice, but she said something came up, and well, things happen.
    Rave: Thankful we still have both incomes in case we need to eat the rental income for a month, and hopeful we will find a good replacement quickly.

  • Rave: have fallen in love, much faster than I thought would happen. feeling afraid and exhilarated. figuring out if/when/how to tell her.

    • Autumn is truly is the best time to fall in love. Congratulations. Go slow. She’ll let you know when it’s time to say something and until then just tell her with your eyes.
      (Apparently I think I’m writing an advice column today. Tomorrow: Back to being crotchety old fart).

      • I feel so honored that the famous Irving Streete has replied to my little rave! Thanks for the advice; what a romantic!

        • I went through a similar thing lately so your rave made me smile and cross my fingers for you.
          I think you meant INfamous.

  • RANT! Tryst jacked up its coffee prices on the first day of the furlough. In the big scheme of things it won’t make or break anyone, but it does add insult to injury.

  • RAVE: a bike commuter in NYC made this video about the ticket he got for NOT riding in the bike lane. THIS IS HILARIOUS. Point well taken, Sir.


  • Rant: I’m really nervous I won’t be a good puppy/dog mom. I am trying to teach myself about house training and crate training, but it’s starting to scare me that I won’t remember the things I’m supposed to do and I’ll just want to cuddle it all the time.

    • You can do it! Trust me, the peeing inside the house will annoy you enough to crack down. But you’ll still get lots of cuddles.

      Also, being firm with a puppy and dog is for its own good in the long run. Knowing that it is not the pack leader and doesn’t have to protect/care for you really cuts down on anxiety!

      • There should be a support group for people with dogs that won’t stop peeing in the house. The frustration, the daily mopping, the hundreds of dollars spent on Nature’s Miracle, the migraines from the smell, the fear that my house had a permanent pee smell, the inability to invite someone over impulsively because I need to check in there first to check for accidents, the shame that after six years My dog still hasn’t mastered a simple task that every other dog can do by the age of 1 or earlier…

    • Are you set on getting a puppy? You could adopt an older dog and then you won’t have the whole peeing in house problem (or at least it’ll be easier to teach them to go outside). Plus older dogs are just so grateful and you already know what their personality is (whereas a puppy can change once he/she reaches maturity- trust me, I know). I learned my lesson having adopted a 7 month old. I vowed after that I’d always adopt dogs ages 3 years and up!!

  • For folks who are interested, there is a protest tomorrow at the Capitol about the shutdown:

    #Standup2Shutdown & put furloughed workers back to work! Join tomorrow, outside the US Capitol at 11amEST

    I think it is sponsored by employee unions and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

  • Question: I love Halloween and try to be a good neighbor by stocking up on candy to accommodate at least half the trick-or-treaters we get. But all that candy ends up costing me around $100 (I don’t believe in buying the super-cheap stuff that no one wants that just gets thrown away). Anyone know of a place (local or online) where I can buy Halloween candy in bulk inexpensively? No Costco membership so that’s out. Thanks!

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