Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or celebrate things about daily life in DC.

173 Comment

  • Rave: I saw the snowy in McPherson square yesterday!
    Query: a while back people on here were raving about a website for buying cool tights and socks. Can anyone point me in that direction?

  • Rant: Darn pipes froze again in basement kitchen.
    Looking for advice: If you had a front/rear entrance to your basement and were considering renting it out(Not a legal unit), Would you removed the internal staircase or keep it? How would that affect resale if were to remove the internal stairs?

    • Ugh our cold water pipe in our kitchen froze again too. Hot water is still good. Guess I didn’t have enough of a drip on the cold tap :-/
      I would never remove an internal staircase unless you want to turn your house into a legal two family home. Especially if it’s only a rear entrance, chances are the next owner will want to use the basement themselves and not as a rental. If I were you, I’d just get an exterior doorknob and put it on the door to the basement so that it’s locked off from the main house.

      • Oh, my bad, I somehow skipped over that it was a front/rear entrance and just saw rear entrance. I still would not advise removing your internal staircase in that case either. We have a front/rear entrance basement apartment and kept the stairs in case we ever wanted to use it ourselves and also so the next owner will have that option as well.

    • My fiance used to live in an apartment like that. The owners had sealed the door at the top of the stairs and just continued the ceiling at the normal height that was throughout the rest of the apartment, leaving the stairs in place (I hope that makes sense, haha). It looked a little weird, but he ended up loving it! With a little creativity, it turned into a really cool bookshelf! Everyone who came to the apartment loved it! Plus, the little closet under the stairs provided awesome storage for a basement apartment, which usually doesn’t have much.

      • I recently saw an awesome “hack” with drawers put in the risers of a staircase!
        I wouldn’t remove it. Nobody renting will think twice about it (as long as it has a lock on the interior door), but it limits options for resale. And why go through the hassle and expense?

    • For the staircase removal/basement apt. it depends on your location and how nice an apt. it would be. If you can make it a great space in a great location where you can expect easy rental and want to go through all the hoops of getting a CofO I would remove it and make it a legal apt.

      Remember however that to have it a legal separate apt. you also have to have separate HVAC and circuit breaker boards and the main house has to have 24/7 access to their own, so that will take up space and may require some expensive re-configuring.

      • Yes. I understand the requirements for a legal 2-unit as my current home is such. The new place will not be separately metered etc, but it was be a nice 1bedroom brandnew unit. I asked about the staircase because that makes the space even more expansive and will be just dead space. Though I plan to live here for the next 5-10yrs and may look into converting legally, I just wanted to weigh my best options while occupying the space.

        • So if it isn’t a legal apt. it is a house-share and you need to keep the stairs to allow access to the whole house. (Even if you decide to have a locked door at the top of the stairs.)

    • If it’s not actually a legal unit (with separate metering, required minimum ceiling height, etc.), I don’t see the point of removing the interior staircase.

      • Yeah, I guess you’re right. I was looking to maximize on space both in the apartment and the mainfloor. The laundry room was built in the basement, so If I rent it out I won’t have access to washer/dryer and was hoping to build a laundry closet under the stairs on the main lever, once the basement entry was removed. Maybe I can do it in the upstairs hall way closet.
        Later on if I decide to convert it, I can remove stairs at that time.

        • Try to put the washer and dryer on the same floor as the bedrooms, that’s where almost all of the laundry starts and ends!

        • You could just build a semi-permanent floor OVER the existing staircase and that way you could still use it as a closet upstairs. In the future if you or the next owner ever wanted to use the basement, you’d still have the staircase there and all you’d have to do is take up the floor.

  • Rave – Awesome snowy owl picture!
    Rant – I didn’t get to see the owl in person.
    Rave – Sweater tights are awesome.
    Rant – Saw someone trying to scrape ice off their car windshield with a metal kitchen spatula. Yikes.

    • The fellow who came to my door yesterday offering to shovel my walk had a metal shovel, like a spade. For gardening, in dirt. More proof that this is not our normal.

      • I actually saw a guy using one of those yesterday to break up the sheet of ice, which he then shoveled to the side with a proper snow shovel. It was working great–unlike my attempts to break up the ice with my plastic snow shovel.

      • The guy in my neighborhood had a cane. At first I thought, someone who needs a cane to walk has no business shoveling icesnow… but maybe he was using the cane to break up the ice.

  • Rant: They forgot my invitation to Davos again this year.
    Rave: Snow was better in Colorado anyway.
    Rave: having fun with Mountain Man look after I forgot to pack a razor and got sun-baked.
    Rant: Have to shave it for job interview.
    Rave: Job interview

  • Rave: That owl pic.
    Rave: Yoga last night! I have been stiff and creaky for a week due to the cold. I’m feeling much better after a sweaty yoga class and some time in the steam room.
    Rant/Rave: Going to Philly this weekend. We always have a good time there, but I kinda just want to spend the weekend on MY couch, especially after using up my long weekend to travel to a funeral.

  • Rant: Had an absolutely terrible experience at El Rey, the shipping container taco place last night. 80% of the bar (ie the whole outdoor space) was closed so there was nowhere to sit. We decided to order food to go and were told to order at the bar. Spent 10 minutes trying to get the bartender’s attention only to be told that he’s the bar-back and can’t take a food order (!?!). Then waited another ten minutes while the actual bartender flirted with a group of women at the bar and kept waiving at us to wait a minute. After almost thirty minutes of being ignore by too-cool-for-school staffr, we left and went to El Chilango up the street.

    Rave: Delicious tacos and horchata at El Chilango.

    • Really? I went there Monday night and had an awesome experience. The bartenders were nice, Pacifico on tap, and the tacos were delicious.

      • Did they have the “outside” space open on Monday night? I’ve walked by a couple times since they opened, but haven’t ventured inside because it was clear there was nowhere to sit. Seems like they plan on operating primarily as a bar with an emphasis on standing room over tables.

    • 2.5 stars on yelp so far. Great start!

      • Agreed. This place needs a reboot fast.

        I live about 100ft away and really wanted to love El Rey, but between the two times I’ve visited and the dozen times close friends have visited, the consensus has been:

        1. Staff that is indifferent and bordering on rude
        2. Ridiculously size portions. Seriously some of the smallest tacos I’ve ever seen
        3. Gross/weak/overpriced margaritas

        That said, I love the unique design/architect. Hopefully a better run establishment takes it over.

    • I had a bad experience too and all I did was I order a pitcher of margaritas. $30 and the bartender poured some mediocre tequila in a pre-poured carafe full of “mixer” (and a ton of ice) and didn’t even stir the thing, Not worth a second try.

  • Rave: Officially taking home our rescue dog on Saturday. Super excited to welcome the bowlegged meatball to our home.
    Rave: Getting so much work done so I can take some days off next week and get him situated.
    No rants today.

  • Rave: Back at work today – thank you DCPS for being open so daycare is open.
    Rave: Back to the gym this morning, even though it was freezing when I left the house to go. Still, glad to have my workout done.
    Rant: Neighbors down the street on my walk to the metro NEVER clear their sidewalks and they’ve got a long stretch. Everything is now tamped down and icy/slippery. They have a tree service come all the time in the fall and spring – really wish they’d have them come to clear the sidewalks. Side note: do tree services do that here in DC? They do where my folks live.

    • epric002

      i second your rant- the corner lot on my walk to metro couldn’t be bothered to shovel and it’s an icy mess.

      • Normally I’d agree, but the ice was pretty thick/hard to get up. I attempted a few times to shovel my sidewalk and managed to get it partly cleared but my plastic snow shovel just wasn’t cutting it. Unless it warms up a bit it’s pretty tough going to get that ice up.

        • epric002

          now it is. the other 75% of houses got theirs shoveled somehow/at some point.

          • Yep – starting the process before people have a chance to walk on it/tamp it down into ice is the way to go. This one house in particular never, ever shovels – it was terrible during Snowmageddon.

          • Hm yeah. I made the mistake of waiting till the snow stopped because I figured it wouldn’t be icy this time since we didn’t get rain. I have come to regret that decision.

          • Those of us who live on busy streets don’t get a chance to shovel before lots of feet have already tamped it down. A couple of us have managed, after much effort, to carve out paths for people to walk on, but most people on my street did not have the strength or patience. It also seems like getting ice removed from brick sidewalks is tougher than cement.

        • Pro-tip. Get a 4′ length of rebar at home depot that costs all of $3 and just keep it somewhere out of the way. When you have to “shovel” thickened ice like this, bust out the rebar and just break up the ice into chunks. You can how use your plastic shovel to scoop them pieces out of the way and your neighbors and walking public will love you forEVER.

          • gotryit

            For maybe $5-$10 more, you can get a tool made specifically for breaking ice. The length / handle is the same as a snow shovel, but it ends in a ~6″ steel blade. Smash on the ice repeatedly, and scoop broken ice out of the way.

          • I know a guy in Chicago that accidently took off part of his toes with one of those LOL. But yeah, that tool works equally as well.

        • The key is shovel the night before—before the mess freezes. Yes, it was still snowing a little when I did it around 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, but it was still powdery and light. then i just had to do a little cleanup in the morning.

      • Rant: I was going to shovel our sidewalk, but neighbor said they were going to. They just did from the door to the gate, not the sidewalk. By the time I noticed it was too late for it to be nice and fluffy and easy to get up. Mea culpa everyone. I should have gone out my front door and checked!

        Question: so, now that we are where we are and my shovel is not up to the task (I tried last night), any thoughts on what I can do? My de-icer says it works down to 5 degrees, but it wasn’t much help. I really want to be a good neighbor (well, at least remedy being a bad neighbor) and get that crap up. Thanks!

        • I’m thinking of taking a garden hoe to it this evening and see if I can break up the ice enough to push it to the side.

        • Pickax? To be honest I don’t think it was ever light and fluffy and easy to shovel. Whacking at it with the tip of the shovel helps break it up a bit, although it’s still a slow and arduous effort.

          • Don’t use a hoe or pick axe to bust up the ice. You will just end up busting up the sidewalk as well. See above, you a 1/2″ diameter piece of rebar instead.

        • pour on tons of de-icer, it will eventually work

        • Put down de-icer. It might not melt it completely, but it will break it up enough to be safe to walk on, and possible to shovel.

        • We shoveled 3 times during the actual snow and once after and put out ice-melt (which is still sitting there in mockingly intact blue balls.) But being on a busy sidewalk on the shady side, with lots of others who don’t shovel, snow just gets tracked over and re-freezes.

  • rave: working fireplace! when we bought our house the fireplace was unusable and needed a lot of repair. we put it off for a long time to tackle other priorities, but finally this fall we spent the money and redid the firebox, chimney, etc. and it works and it is cozy and beautiful and warm and lovely. we have had so many fires this winter, i’m just loving it!

    • Can I ask who you used? I want to do the same thing and have been putting it off forever!

      • We used High’s Chimney Service. They were fine. we were getting similar quotes from a bunch of places (and I used Popville to search recommendations). Everyone was coming in between $3500-$4000. I was originally disappointed when I saw the brick they used to reline the fire box – it was a big sand-colored brick i found very ugly, and i wish they had warned me the brick would look like this. but now it’s all covered in black soot/smoke stain anyway, so it doesn’t matter. if you will use your fireplace, i highly recommend biting the bullet and getting it repaired for use!!

    • Jealous! After living in my house for 7 years we finally had the fireplace cleaned/inspected. Turns out we shouldn’t have been using it EVER, because there is a cap missing from the top and the flue is broken. Not sure how long it’s been like this, but the estimate to fix was $400, which the landlord will NEVER pay.

      I miss fires.

      • Well, would it be worth it to you to spend the $400? For four months or so of being able to curl up by the fire?

  • Rant: Homeowners and businesses that are too lazy to salt their sidewalks. It’s so inconsiderate. I just wish the city would enforce the laws by actually dolling out the appropriate fines.

    • Homeowner, businesses AND the National Park Service. Meridian Hill Park hadn’t been touched, and the steps were treacherous.

      • Yeah, I walked through the upper portion of the park yesterday. The paths were ice rinks. Didn’t think going down the stairs was worth the risk. They’re usually pretty dilligent about ice and snow removal, but not this time around.

        The yoga place across the street from the park on 15th St also didn’t do anything (unlike every other building on that block).

    • I knew when I bought a house that I would need a snow shovel for the sidewalk, but I didn’t know that it was advisable to have salt/de-icer too. It’s been more than two years, and I think this is the first time that I would have used de-icer (if I had any).

  • Rant: After a long vacation, MLK day, snow day, post-snow day, etc., I’m having a terrible time getting to work despite looming deadlines. Instead, playing Tetris, cruising websites, doing anything to avoid work. Help!

    Revel: Weight plummeting after I decided to stop drinking wine with dinner at home.

    • I have this problem with my dissertation. My coach advised me not to tell myself that I would start at 10 and then work the rest of the day because I would keep pushing back the start time. Instead, she told me to decide what was doable–15 minutes? 20?–and then just sit down and aim for that. You can do 15 minutes, right? That’s not so bad. At worst, you’ve gotten a few minutes in. At best, once you get into the work, you usually keep going.
      Good luck!

    • If the issue is that the only tasks on your to-do lists are daunting, break them up! At the end of a workday, when you have 30 minutes or an hour before heading home, make a bit of a work plan and get yourself organized to tackle the first item. When you come in the next morning, don’t even open your email. Just look at that work plan, open up whatever you need, and get started.

      I find that I procrastinate by saying that a 5 minute trip to facebook will hardly disrupt a 2 day task. As soon as I realize that the first step of the task will only take 5 or 10 minutes, I’m less likely to put it off.

      • Thanks for the tips, Anonymous(es)! My tasks are daunting indeed, so given my love of crossing (tiny) things off my to-do list, I’ve broken them down into tiny tasks. And I’ve set my phone alarm for an hour to see how much I can get done.

        • Would adding rewards help? Cross off 5 things or put in your hour then do something that you consider a treat.

        • The Pomodoro technique works for me, once I’m able to stop procrastinating and actually use it. You do a 25-minutes or work, followed by a 5 minute break, and repeat. After the 4th work period you get a longer break, say 20-30 minutes. There are apps with the timer you can use (I think mine’s called Simple Pomodoro). I always get up and walk around during the breaks because I tend to sit all day otherwise and that’s not healthy.

  • justinbc

    Rant: Getting new roof replaced, work began last week when it was warm. They’re almost complete, but while doing the work they found part of the brickwork at the top/front of the house was not properly attached to the roof. You can pretty much take your hand and shake the whole thing. Arghhh. So, they can’t complete the roof installation until a stone mason comes out and repairs the whole wall section…which we’ve been quoted at close to $12K, on top of the $20K we’re already spending to replace the roof. A $30K hit rightaway for something you can’t even “use”, less than a year after purchasing the place, would have definitely made a big decision in whether or not we went with this place.

    • this is exactly why the idiots who always post about renting being so much worse than homeownership are ridiculous. There is a lot to love about owning a home, but maintenance of things that, as you said, you don’t actually “use” is a huge pain.

      • I guess I’ve been lucky, but I had more maintenance as a renter than as a homeowner.

        • In my last house the worst that happened was my shower sprung a leak and we had to retile half of it, which really wasn’t a big deal. In my current house we found out basically the entire back of the house had completely rotted joists and we have spent major $$$ replacing the kitchen and two bathrooms. I’d say some of it is the luck of draw because you never really know what’s under the walls even on a “redone” house.

          • justinbc

            I’ve seen/heard a lot of houses in this area with rotted joists, and it often stems from the poor roofing. So many people just slap new roofs on top of the old ones without removing the bad one and it just winds up being a huge water trap during big rain storms. Guess where all that water goes?

          • In our case it was actually due to the bathrooms all leaking for who knows how long (house was used as a rental for 4-5 years before we got it). We knew all three of the bathrooms were leaking when we bought the house and we had all three fixed as soon as we moved in, but did not find the extent of the damage till we went to redo the kitchen. Womp womp.

      • justinbc

        This one at least comes with a lifetime warranty, so hopefully I never have to deal with it again. (and it can transfer once, if we ever decide to sell rather than rent the place out when we’re ready to retire) But yeah, it definitely sucks putting off things you want to update (kitchen, baths, floors, etc) for things you have to update (roof, A/C, plumbing, whatever comes up in your home).

    • I just had my entire side & back wall (3 story) re-pointed and it was only 14k. They found the chimney crumbling and re-building that was I think another 1,500 – so it seems like your repairs could be less. Call Renaissance Development http://www.rendevdc.com

      • justinbc

        With this they have to entirely remove about 15 feet of details (it’s right on the corner, so all the fancy/pretty stuff) and then rebuild it. We’ve not dealt with re-pointing before, but from what I recall that’s just updating the mortar where necessary, right?

        • I don’t have further details about Victoria’s re-pointing, but you’re correct in that it’s largely just updating the mortar (which in itself is still very time consuming and hence expensive). It seems that your issue is much worse than whatever prompted her to re-point.

          • Yes, different scope of work, but I was giving an example to help assess estimates. 5 full (long) days of labor with a 4 man crew and master mason with 3 story scaffolding with a great company (after 3 estimates.)

          • justinbc

            Yeah I went ahead and shot them a note just to see if they could come take a look. Can’t do anything til it gets warmer anyway.

    • Yeah one of the reasons why I’m in no rush to buy a place (other than the lack of money) is having to deal with these headaches. I’ve been fortunate to live in some rental units with great landlords/maintenance staff.

      Don’t know what else to say to you other than that sucks!! I hope things work out and that perhaps you can find someone that can do that for cheaper. Just out of curiosity, is this type of thing something that would have been caught during the home inspection, or no?

      • justinbc

        During the HI we noted that the section in question was sloping out slightly, but there’s no way you would have been able to detect the degree of severity until you ripped off the old roof (there were actually 3 roofs all stacked on top of each other, typical in DC, and a poor practice). Even the half dozen different roofers we had come out and give us estimates didn’t mention it. IIRC though HIs in DC aren’t even required to go up on the roof, we were lucky ours even did it.
        Regarding renting, I too was always really fortunate to have outstanding landlords, and places that thankfully didn’t require much maintenance to begin with. Like owning, it’s always luck of the draw as someone mentioned above.

        • Ok I gotcha. Hopefully everything works out for you.

          3 roofs stacked on top of each other…..what in the entire hell?!?!

        • We had our three old roofs removed last year, and replaced with one new modern roof. Guess what? It’s COLD upstairs now!! Those three roofs were providing excellent insulation.

          • justinbc

            Our upstairs was always absurdly hot, in winter or summer. I’ve been sleeping with a window partially open the whole winter up til now because of it. Did you not have any insulation installed with the new roof?

  • Are the folks who recommended Community Ladders as a financial advising company here? Memberships have opened up and I’m on the fence about joining so I could use some opinions about them. Thanks!

    • I’ve heard good things. I can’t tell you personally until I meet with them next week. I got in.

    • I wasn’t one of those folks, but thank YOU in turn for the recommendation! And if you or anyone else decides to join, come back and let us know what you think! It’s funny, I’ve been considering studying for my CFP with a long-term goal of starting up a side business to provide affordable/sliding scale financial planning to low/mod-income clients. (I’ve had training in financial coaching and credit-building, but I don’t currently work directly with clients, and I’m not yet well-versed in more advanced topics like retirement or investment planning.) Great to see a provider like that already exists, and I should look into linking up with them in the future, either as a client or staff.

      • Anonymous–I think there’s a demand for independent financial planners in this area. I took a long time to find this group and then had to apply for a lottery to get an appointment. As a Fed, I’m not rolling in the riches but could use some advice. Some people I contacted required income of six figures, which is not my case. If you advertise well they will find you.

        • I work for a prominent, independent firm in MD that does comprehensive financial planning (retirement, investment, estate, education, etc). I recently completed my CFP after 3 years in the industry and have been meeting with young professionals who have left Community Ladders for a variety of reasons. You’d be surprised at the number of 20-30 somethings who really know very little about where earnings go or what their 401k options are.

  • Rant/Rave: I got home just in time last night to prevent my pipes from completely freezing. Got the drip going now. Feeling relieved but still apprehensive.
    Rant: Trying to get this fixed on a more permanent basis with some spray foam insulation, but the contractors I’ve tried to contact are super flaky. It’s like they don’t even want my money.

    • I had the same problem with insulation companies. I called and left messages for two (a couple months back, before it got really cold), and never got a call back.
      Anyone have a good experience and a company to recommend? I want to have my attic crawlspace insulated.

  • Rant: Political situation in Ukraine
    Rave: The international press is finally starting to cover it

  • gotryit

    Rant: another one I almost forgot from these weekend – the moron who parked blocking about 6′ of my driveway. MPD just wrote them a warning and no one would tow them. Because it’s Sunday, and apparently my rights don’t matter on a Sunday. Bonus: they parked there so that they could go to church. How pious of them.

    • I’ve called a few buddies (usually takes 4) and literally picked up cars and angled them so I can get out before. If that doesnt work and you have an old beater that you dont care about just nudge them out of the way.

    • Leave them polite notes – written in Crisco or butter – all over their windows. No harm to the car but a pain to wash off.

      • gotryit

        I’ve heard lipstick works along those lines also, but that’s probably not legal. Unless it’s Sunday and… anyone want to start a church of the crisco / lipstick?

  • Rant: unshoveled sidewalks in front of CHEC (the city sidewalk on 16th and Irving Streets as well as the walkway closer to the school). I got quite a core workout trying to stay upright on my walk to the Metro around 7 AM… Hope they shoveled before the students arrived, though I doubt it.

    Rave: Quiet in the office today.

  • Rant: People who are too oblivious to move to the back of the bus even after REPEATED requests from the bus driver to move to the back of the bus.
    Additional Rant: People who are oblivious of the fact that the enormous backpack they are wearing on the bus is whacking the people beside/behind them.
    Rave: Got a seat on the bus!

    • Sometimes I don’t move because I need something to hold onto – and moving will mean that there’s nothing low enough for me to reach. It’s not always about being oblivious. I totally concur with you on the backpack rant though. That’s oblivious!

      • Yeah, understand, but there are generally two types of non-movers. Ones such as yourself and others who just clearly are oblivious to everything around them (generally headphones on, staring off into space, etc). Totally understand your situation. It is the ones who are just in their own world that are frustrating.

        • Yeah – one person in particular this morning had on headphones. The driver even called him out specifically to ask him to move and other riders had to get his attention.

          At the risk of sounding (even more) curmudgeonly, I’ll add a rant – people who listen to their music so loudly on headphones that everyone near them can hear it, too.

      • I’m skeptical of responses like this. There are plenty of things to hold onto on a metrobus other than the high-up bars (iirc, there is a handle on every seatback on the buses, just like on the trains.) So I wouldn’t say it’s obliviousness, just an unwillingness to move from an already comfortable position. If you had found something to hold onto in the back in the first place then the whole discussion becomes unnecessary.

        • I apologize for belaboring the point, but on a crowded bus, there may already be multiple people – or even just grumpy looking people – already clutching the setback handle. Just because there’s room for me to stand, doesn’t mean that there’s something for me to hold onto. And I try to avoid asking for a seat because wobbly as I am, I figure someone else probably needs it more than I do. And yeah, if I could get to the back and find something to hold onto, really, I would already be there. I have been pleasantly surprised though, by frequently having kids offer me a seat! Those moments really warm my heart!

          • I hear you. I am short so can’t reach any of the hang straps, and even a seat back can be hard for me to reach if I am not directly in front of it. Throw in even minor shoulder joint issues or strength or balance issues, and not everyone can stand everywhere in the bus. Even more reason for those who can to move back when asked.

          • Yeah, I’m too short to reach the overhead bar and if I’m not standing right under the hang straps, I can’t do that either. Same with seat bars, other bars…though I normally say loudly, I’m sorry, I’m too short, I have to stay here so I don’t become a human missile every time the bus stops.

        • I’m wondering if you would be less skeptical if you knew my age. Not everyone’s health issues are visible.

          • No, since I was simply responding to the claim that there was “nothing low enough for me to reach.” If your age or other health issues make it hard for you to stand even if there is something low enough to reach that’s a different thing than what I responded to.

        • Why are you skeptical? How tall are you and how often do you ride a fully loaded city bus during rush? As a petite woman it is often difficult to find anything to hold onto because the tall bars are totally out of reach, bars next to doors are usually loaded up with taller people that could move but choose not to and seat back bars are limited as well.

          • Yeah, I’m 5’2″ and I feel like I’ve been in that situation where I’m bouncing around loose in the back of a bus with nothing to hold onto besides other passengers who would probably not take kindly to that.

          • 5’7″, and twice a day on most weekdays, to answer your questions. But you’re getting off topic. The original point was that the person wouldn’t move to the back because there was nothing low enough to reach. If there is actually space in the back to move to, I find it hard to believe that there isn’t also something free to hold onto. If there isn’t space in the back to move into then we’re onto a different subject.

        • No, same subject: spaces where I can stand are not always located near places low enough for me to grab. Maybe four other people are already clutching the lower part of the vertical bar. A taller or more agile person would just reach up to a higher part of the bar. I can’t do that. Seat back handles might be already spoken for. The old buses had bars on the seats that multiple people could use with a bit of stretching. Newer style handles are awkward or impossible to share. There are real design issues here….

          • Maybe I’m being daft here, but again it sounds like you’re talking about a bus that is already jammed. If there is in fact space to move back to then there should be free hand-hold there as well. Conversely, if *all* the handholds are taken then there’s not really room for you to move into that space, so different issue…

          • Okay, let me try this again. Imagine, for example, that the bus is crowded. People are on each side of the bus, holding on to the seat back handles and the vertical bars. There may be space BETWEEN the people in the center aisle of the bus with room to stand — but when a shorter person stands in those center places, it may be impossible to reach something to hold onto. Shorter people tend to have shorter arms, so while a taller person might be able to reach up to the bars or straps, or around or over other people to a vertical bar or even a seat back handle, a shorter person with shorter arms usually cannot do this. Whew. Okay, I’m done. (Sorry AMDCer. )

          • Yeah, I get what you’re describing, I just don’t believe those spaces between people in the aisle are not within reach of a handle or bar. There must be something else to this scenario that you’re not explaining.

          • 11:56 Anon: you’re right — there IS something that I”m leaving out: that I don’t want to touch or be rude to a stranger. See, I”m in the middle. Other, maybe taller people, are already clutching the seat back handles and the poles. So, I need to 1) Maintain a stable stance, 2) Do so without poking anybody with my elbow, briefcase, backpack, etc. 3) Reach and securely hold onto something, without touching anybody else, even though there are multiple people standing between me and the something that I”m trying to hold onto. So, yes, if I stood ALONE in the center of the aisle of a bus, I likely could, indeed, reach something that I could clutch. Add a bunch of other people, and, well, that changes things.
            If you don’t have a short-ish friend to ride with, I’m up for a field trip. How about one of the 70 buses — just as schools are letting out?

            I started off kind of irritated at what I took as obtuseness — but now I’m having fun trying to get the visuals across to you. Please read all thru the comments — I am clearly not the only one who finds this a challenge.

          • How about this, Anon 11:56: not all buses have seats to hold onto. In many buses the front 2/3 of the bus has only seats facing into the aisle, so there is nothing but hang straps. I myself am tall enough to reach the hangstraps, barely, but I am stretched out so much that I have less balance than if I just stand without touching anything (which is not very stable, but more than if I hang on!). So when the seats are full and the back 1/3 where the seat handles are is full, I stand in the front near the driver where there’s a waist high rail to hold onto, and don’t move back even when there is space behind me.

  • Rant: Boyfriend has the flu with a touch of pneumonia. We spent a good 5 hours in Urgent Care on both Monday & Wednesday.

    Rave: I’ve had my flu shot and staying positive that it will work! Also, pneumonia is the non-contagious kind.

    Rant: It takes him being really sick for us to have a decent amount of time together. He works weekends, and since he is ordered to stay home until Monday, this will be our FIRST Sunday together since….uh…Easter.

    Rave: Boss gone through Tuesday, which means I will actually get a lot accomplished!

  • The Exxon on Connecticut and Porter hasn’t shoveled anything. Between people pulling in there fill up and all the pedestrians trying to trek through the ice right there, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
    Loudest coworker in the world is booming away on her phone and hasn’t closed her office door. I’ve got headphones on and can still hear her.
    The Opening Cermony Olympic uniforms are seriously fugly. So embarasssing.

  • Rant: Only one week of liquid/soft diet due to my broken jaw and am really tired of eating soup.

    Rave: I’ve lost 10 pounds!

    • Try roasting potatoes, apples, and onions together then simmering it in broth before putting it in a blender. Hopefully it’s a combination you haven’t’ had yet!

    • Polenta with tomato sauce? Soft scrambled eggs? Congrats on the 10 lbs! Glad it’s a rave for you!

  • So predictable. The group house residents on our blocks didn’t lift a finger to clear their sidewalk. Sure, a blizzard can’t stop these healthy young professionals from going to yoga or the gym or hoisting a case of beer home, but theirs are the only parts of the sidewalk that are ice encrusted. And, as a result, the seniors and disabled folks who live in the apartment complex down the block are walking in the roadway.

    • If I ever rent out a group house I’m outsouring that sort of work and building the cost into the rent. When responsibilities are divided between that many people no one ever does them.

    • justinbc

      Do you know their landlord? Most leases have that clause written into them, you could probably get him to force them to clear it.

    • As I understand it, this sort of thing is really the landlord’s responsibility and ultimately the landlord is the one who would be liable if something were to happen. When I used to rent the landlord sent his handyman over to shovel the steps and sidewalk in front of the house.
      That said, if the landlord isn’t doing what he should, it would behoove the residents of the house to either ask him to or step up themselves.

      • This is not my understanding. I believe the residents are generally responsible for this kind of thing, even if that means having someone else do it.

    • Sorry, but our landlord didn’t supply us with a snow shovel, so I’ve been using our broom. I’m going to buy one today and deduct it from our rent payment for next month.

      • Aren’t you a model tenant.

      • Fwiw, as a landlord, I think that is perfectly acceptable.

        • Really? I don’t. I could maybe see charging your landlord for batteries for a smoke detector or lightbulbs for wired light fixtures…MAYBE, but you’d have to be pretty petty. A shovel is something you can take with you when you leave so why would you charge your landlord? If that’s the case you might as well charge them for any other normal household item you might need.

          • Thank you. I’ve been both a landlord and a tenant (mostly a tenant) and always understood that these things are the tenant’s responsibility unless otherwise stated in the lease. How’s the landlord supposed to know the tenant would prefer to shovel the snow rather than hire someone?

      • Reminds me of the guy writing in a while back that he shouldn’t be responsible for damages to the AC system resulting from him not changing the filter, because he was never supplied with filters. If you want the landlord to provide extra things to make your life easier you should speak up before you sign the lease. And please don’t buy the most expensive shovel you can find if you’re going to charge him for it. That’s just petty.

      • If I were the landlord of a group house, I’d supply them with a snow shovel. It’s not something that an apartment-dweller is likely to have or need — I’d be less worried about tenants taking it with them than about the thing just breaking from use.

  • Also, ya’ll please do the little piece of sidewalk that goes out to the street.

    • andy

      I don’t feel like that’s required. Walk to the crosswalk if you want to cross the street. If you have a car and want to get to it, I think that’s on you.

    • On my run home last night I saw a number of houses that *only* did the little piece of sidewalk that goes out the street. So they could safely get to their cars, I assume.

  • Rave: Got some FANTASTIC news at work yesterday – we won a huge proposal that I managed. It means I get a big promotion! Very glad I decided to stay with my current team.

  • Rant: Gmail tabs finally got rolled out to me.

    • justinbc

      Wow, I’ve been seeing them since July, that’s quite a staggered release. I hated them at first, but now I like the fact that all the promotional crap I get goes directly there rather than cluttering up my inbox.

      • So what’s their definition of promotional?

        • justinbc

          All those emails from stores like J Crew, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot etc and the mailer type things like Living Social, Gilt, Groupon, etc plus some other stuff that somehow gets lumped in like Urban Turf and Eater.

  • Rant: just found out this morning that my group at work is moving cubicle locations yet again.
    Rave: I’ve gotta keep up my one location per year average and I just passed the seven year mark, so……/sarcasm.
    Rant: I’m not receiving my Pepco bills. My new neighbor told me her friend, who has yet to move into another unit on our floor, got my bill. This woman has made no attempt to get it to me. I called Pepco and went through all the prompts to get another one issued. I didn’t get this one either. It is so hard to get a person on the phone. I can’t register online because I need my account number and since I never got my first bill, I don’t have any record of my account number. Ugh.

    • Rave: Pepco problem fixed! No wonder someone else was getting my bill, they had a different unit on the account. It took lots of annoyance and I’m not looking forward to 2 months on one bill, but at least I don’t have to worry that they’re going to shut my power off or call creditors.

  • Rant: Post that start with: “Everyone knows that…….” No, “Everyone” doesn’t.
    Rave: Going back to my cozy cave to mutter aspersions and read Good books.

  • Rant: Was just informed by work (after employee confusion on Wednesday) that we will never have a delayed opening. Either it will be closed, generally following OPM, or we will be expected there on time unless it is completely unavoidable. No telework options or anything either.
    Rave: Well, at least it’s just a 3-day week…

  • Rant: Lost more than an hour and a half of work on a Word document because my Quick Access Toolbar had inexplicably vanished from the top of the screen, and when I went to the File tab to save the document, Word froze on me and didn’t even offer me a “Recovered” version of what I’d been working on.
    Rave: I can probably reconstruct the work I did.

    • Sorry about that. All I can say is ctrl+s, every couple of minutes. Make it a habit.

    • Ugh, I’m sorry textdoc. I had a similar incident happen to me where I came back to work on Wednesday, and realized I had lost all of the work I did Friday. Turns out I had opened an attachment my boss sent me for editing, did all of my editing in the attachment, which the computers saved as a temporary file, and subsequently deleted over the long weekend. I felt SO STUPID for forgetting to save the attachment instead of opening it straight from my e-mail.

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