Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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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.

244 Comment

  • justinbc

    Rant: Finally caved and bought a portable heater for our living room area downstairs. Too much of the heat is lost due to being on a corner lot with bay windows on both the front and sides that are rather old and not really economical to replace at this time, given all the other changes we’re making. Once it’s actually back above freezing (hopefully this weekend) I’ll probably just go out and completely seal them off, so that at least the cold air stops sneaking in.
    Rave: Picked up the book “Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas” last week (only $16 on Amazon) and after a week of reading through it am thoroughly impressed. It’s easily one of the best spirits related compendiums I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it to anyone who does home cocktailing.

    • I just noticed you can see light through the edges of my front door, which can’t be good for heat loss. I guess weatherstripping will fix that?

      • justinbc

        Yeah we did weatherstripping all around the front and back door, we were losing a huge amount of heat there. Run your hand along the seal of where the door meets the frame and you’ll find the spots that need to be plugged.

    • re: the bitters book. That has been in my amazon cart for months! Have you tried to make your own bitters yet? I took a bitters making class a few years ago at Georgetown Spice & Tea, it was good fun.

      • justinbc

        Not yet, that was part of the reason for buying the book though! It just happened to have a lot of other excellent content in aside from just the bitters recipes. The Meyer lemon bitters is definitely happening ASAP.

    • LOL – Exactly how many “spirits related compendiums” have you read?

      • justinbc

        Quite a lot, I’m rather nerdy when it comes to both spirits and beer. A few others I really enjoyed were “Shake: A New Perspective On Cocktails”, “Vintage Cocktails” (beautiful tabletop photos), and “To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion” (actually written by a local author).

  • Rave: Puppy getting bigger and bigger right before my eyes. I think he grew overnight!
    Rant: The McMillan project. The neighborhood blogs are getting out of control with hostility among residents. I just don’t have the energy to follow it anymore. At this point, I just want it to be resolved and everyone to stop talking about it.

  • Rant: People that over complicate things at work… 90% of the world’s technology problems exist because of language barriers, arrogance, and pure laziness. This is why technology sucks people.

    Rave: Aveeno worked! Within a day my skin is back to recovering, and it’s not greasy. I got the daily moisturizer with oatmeal. I was worried about getting it all over the steering wheel of my car, but it’s better than chapped hands.

    Rave: 30 Degrees today! It’s almost like spring in winter, compared to prior negative windchill days.

    Rant: Tried to hop on 395 south yesterday to go to my favorite VA Peruvian spot… Complete bottleneck on the 9th street tunnel every day… I remember when I could get to NOVA in 15 minutes, but all these people moving in are turning our roads into LA style bottlenecks. I turned around and went home instead.

    • It’s amazing how much worse VA traffic’s gotten in such a short period of time. When I started my job in 2006, and was living in Arlington, I could drive to work in 20 minutes. I think that same trip would take at least an hour now.

    • I had the same feeling this morning! It felt so warm (relatively speaking!)

      What’s your favorite VA Peruvian spot???

      • (Prior Post Was Made By Me) Super Pollo! It’s epic and consistently good… Also Sardis (Rt1) in College Park is pretty darn good if I’m on that side of town…

  • Rant: Father in law passed away unexpectedly (mostly) on Tuesday morning in Richmond, after a long battle with lung cancer.
    Rant/Rave: Getting to mourn with family. We are all staying with my sister in law at her place, and that has helped.

    Rant2: My house in Petworth got broken into while I was gone… Sigh.
    Rant3: We have only been back in for 2 weeks after the renovation, and haven’t had a security system installed.

    Rave (I guess): We were out of town, so our ipads, laptops, some jewelry was with us, and not in the house. Also, our dogs weren’t there, so that was good.

    Rave2: They only got a 5-year old Xbox 360, two controllers, a couple of older games, and some costume jewelry for the most part.

    • Sorry for your loss… I hope you’re spouse is holding up ok.

    • I’m sorry for your loss. And angered by the thought that your grief was further complicated by the break-in. Glad that you’re able to be with your family and comfort each other.

    • justinbc

      Wow, rough week. Amazing they only hauled off a few things, I take it that now you’ll soon be installing a security system? I’ve luckily never had a house broken into (although 3 cars I owned had smash and grabs), but just the thought of someone being in there would prompt me to get one.

      • We had a pretty comprehensive one pre-construction, and were certainly planning on getting a replacement. The entire thing we removed during the renovation.

        Our reno wasn’t completely done (contractors and subs coming through for touch-ups) so we hadn’t yet had the new system installed. Not much could have been done unfortunately.

  • Rant: Really sad story about the 77 year old man who died after he collapsed across the street from a fire station. Hard to believe that if you are in the midst of a medical emergency steps away from a fire station you still have to call 911 to get them to leave the building to render assistance. And no one is even disputing the accounts of what happened – that people approached this fire station three times begging for help and got nothing.

    • Really sad, but I think they’re not allowed to help for liability reasons. Remember the guy who was heavily inebriated and trying to climb into a firetruck in Adams Morgan? All the firefighters could do was shoo him away and wait for police/ambulance to show up.

      • Liability reasons. BS. The mayor, union chief, and fire chief all recognize that something bad happened here. No one but you is excusing it.

        • I’m not excusing it. Don’t be incendiary.

          • Your post comes off as excuse-making and lacking empathy, which perhaps you did not intend. I have a feeling your post would be different if that was your loved one. If that was your father across the street while these idiots passively watched, I seriously doubt you would be trotting out the “well, sadly there are rules to consider and liability and such” crap. I’m not being incendiary. I’m angry. I want to shake these machines awake.

          • Nope, didn’t intend. Moving on?

      • I think many firefighters are trained EMTs. There’s no reason why they couldn’t help this man. At least perform CPR…something.

        • ALL firefighters in DC are EMTs. This is a HUGE slap in the face of any reform efforts that came out of David Rosenbaum’s death in 2006. Ellerbee has consistently shown that he can’t run the department, and that employees are more worried about stepping out of protocol than helping the dying. The FEMS needs an entire makeover.

      • The firefighter in question had the exact same liability, defenses and immunities as he would have had if 911 had dispatched him. If anything, his refusal created a liability situation where there wasn’t one before.

      • I don’t remember that Adams Morgan incident, but the circumstances sound rather different from this one. I’m not familiar with the regulations and liability constraints for fire vs. police, but I could understand if there were a rule where, for liability reasons, fire personnel couldn’t do something like forcibly/physically remove or restrain the drunk guy, the way that police are authorized to do–especially if it’s not a life-or-death situation. But Jesus, something as simple as CPR might have helped that 77-year hold man (or it might not have, we don’t know) and that is something that firefighters are certainly trained to do. Better to at least try CPR than sit there twiddling your thumbs and say you have to wait for 911.

        • The drunk guy was in the middle of a busy street for a long time and could have easily gotten hit by a car, but everyone just let him flail around out there. He only survived because of sheer luck.

    • That is an infuriating story. It sounds like the probationary firefighter (and maybe some other idiots at the station) was sticking to ridiculous, mindless bureaucratic and union rules about not “self-dispatching” to a scene. This moron watched the desparate scene with folded arms as he leaned against a fire truck. How about being a human being? The rules be damned- too many rules often end up with unintended consequences, especially when complete idiots do not know how to think outside the box. He ought to be fired pronto and anyone else who was involved with this inhuman act of negligence and stupidity. Can you tell I’m angry? Rrrrr.

      • Yes… “how about being a human being.” Exactly.

        It is about being a human being and helping a human being in need… regardless of the dispatching rules and what not.

      • Remind the lawyer in his interrogatories to the firefighter to ask, “Explain, in your own words, why you became a firefighter.”

    • I just read the article about this in the post and the whole thing is mind boggling. What’s worse was that it doesn’t sound like this was an isolated incident:

      “On New Year’s Day 2013, a 71-year-old man died of a heart attack after waiting more than 30 minutes for an ambulance on a day when one-third of the firefighters on duty had called in sick. In March, a D.C. police officer who was struck by a car waited 15 minutes for an ambulance; authorities later found that three ambulances were improperly out of service.”

      Outrageous! I’ve never been a big fan of Gray, but I’ve always assumed that he’s at least a competent manager. I’m starting to question that belief.

      • Yeah, the lack of ambulances has been covered ad nauseum.

      • Those incidents and the general problems with DCFEMS have been well publicized in recent months. This particular one is different from others in the sense that an emergency responder was basically already on the scene but did not respond.

    • This was totally unacceptable! We need an overhaul (for the most part) of our police officers and EMS workers. Some…and I repeat SOME….of these people are worthless. Never….ever… EVER should something like this happen. Whomever the EMS person was that did this should be terminated effective immediately and stripped of whatever licenses/crudentials he or she may have.

    • saf

      Time to ask Quander and Ellerbee some hard questions. And if they don’t have REALLY good answers, time to replace them.

    • Sad. A friend of my had a heart attack while driving in his car a few years ago. He pulled into a nearby firestation for help, which they called a life-saving move. He was able to get rushed to the hospital much faster, because of the firefighter’s reactions. Sad to think if he pulled into a DC station, he might not have made it.

  • Rant: Getting random insect bites in my house in the middle of the coldest winter I’ve ever experienced in DC.
    Revel-ish?: Thought it might be bedbugs (ick!) but when I checked everything upholstered in my house I didn’t see any signs of them. Still washed everything I had in hot water and put it through about three dryer cycles, just to be safe.
    Rant: Still don’t know what’s biting me…

    • Ack! I got that too! One thing that’s keeping me calm is that bedbugs almost exclusively bite in multiples. One bug will make several stops in a row, usually three, though sometimes two. The super itchy bite I have is all on its own, so I’m feeling a little bit safe. But I’m still paranoid.

      • My MD’s explanation of bed bug bites – breakfast, lunch, dinner. I was in the office for a check up and asked her to look at the bite. I either had a lazy bed bug, or (more likely) something else.

    • could be a spider bite. i had that happen to me over the course of a few years living in the same apartment. unfortunately, unless you happen to be lucky enough to find it and get rid of it, its hard to solve a singular spider problem.

    • “Still washed everything I had in hot water and put it through about three dryer cycles, just to be safe.”

      I have encountered bedbugs twice. Once in a hotel where they were living in the baseboards, and once where I lived where we found one in a picture frame. Point being, washing everything won’t help if they are in the cracks of your wall or furniture. This is why they are such a pain in the ass to get rid of, IF in fact you have them.

    • Could also be a dust mite allergy. I don’t think they bite, but they can cause reds welts that itch. You could try washing sheets, pillows, pillow cases, vacuuming your carpet and mattress and looking into pillow and mattress covers.

  • RANT: All the complaints on the 16th Street Neighborhood Association email group about DPW and trash pick-up. I guess I understand calling 311 to report uncollected trash and recycling in the cases where it has been two weeks. But does anyone really think DPW is somehow unaware they are behind? And how about just a teensy bit of appreciation for the workers who are doing that job in this bitterly cold weather, especially on the days when so many alleys have just been sheets of ice?

    • Same rant about my neighborhood email group. Yeah, it’s not ideal, but it’s been spotty pickup here (not even the complete lack reported elsewhere). We normally have great pickup, but we have this one lapse during a time when huge demands are being put on DPW, and it’s all, ranting and “I’m emailing my counselman” and “I’m emailing the head of DPW!” A little perspective!

    • Not to sound like a crank , but the weather hasn’t been that awful, it’s their job — a crappy job but one with decent government benefits and security — and people need to step up when the routine is broken.

    • It’s not just weather-related, apparently there was a flu bug that got the DPW workforce.

    • Rant: People who put trashbags outside the bins or leave the bin lids open to pile more trash on top. I’m sorry DPW didn’t collect your trash for two weeks, but either keep your trash inside, buy an additional trash can, or take your trash to the transfer station. Rats are the worst!

  • Rant: STILL cannot get over the most recent break-up. Going to see a therapist has helped but this dude totally destroyed me. I’m sick of being sad about it, but don’t know what else to do.
    Rave: Feeling useful at work, even if I have to be aggressive in order to do so.

    • justinbc

      Destroyed as in you really liked him, or he was just really F’ed up somehow?

      • What exactly happened? Why do you think that you cant move on? I kind of felt insecure after my break up with a girl i dated for 6 months (i thought everything was ‘fine’) but i guess i missed some signs…and the worst was she never gave me any reason other than she didnt want to be with anyone. I literally did nothing ‘wrong’ but maybe wasnt doing enough ‘right’ which is tough to swallow. Do you think therapy works? I have thought about it i think it might be good for me but i dont know how to start

        • @JustinBC: Both! I really liked him, totally got my hopes up but I thought I was done dating (for at least a little while). We were exclusive and getting serious when he totally dropped off the face of the earth. Like didn’t answer phone calls or texts or emails or anything until I found him at the bar he frequents a week later. Just writing it makes me mad, so it should be easier to get over him…

          • Wow, not even a break-up text? That’s pretty rough.

          • You dodged a bullet. He’s a total chickenshit and would have saddled you with a lifetime of agony had you married him.

          • What happened when you saw him at the bar? Confrontation or ?

          • yeah, minor confrontation. i do NOT deal well with not knowing details so i had to at least get something out of him. he said “oh shit” as soon as he saw me. he knew what he did was a shitty shitty thing. and then he spun some bullshit about family pressure, his mom being sick, blah blah whatever. while i understand that he freaked out with how quickly things were moving, totally disappearing was awful. /end rant! phew

        • I am definitely into therapy, but I’ve also dealt with depression since I was 20, so it’s helpful for that aspect as well. My therapist is great because he examines patterns in why I choose the men I do, along with how to change said patterns. (Not quite there yet! Ha)

          • justinbc

            I think there is a great amount of value in therapy for many individuals, and it’s fantastic that you actually have one you like. That’s really as vital as being able to accept it yourself. Bummer regarding the way it ended, that definitely makes it hard to assess what changes could be made in the future.

          • Do you mind if I ask who you see? I’ve been thinking about seeing a therapist (depression as well, and baggage from a very unhealthy past relationship) but I’ve been nervous about finding a good one…

          • I was going to ask the same thing. I have tried and failed with several therapists lately, and need to find one that I connect with.

          • totally happy to recommend him! Dr Lewis Winkler in Georgetown. he’s on zocdoc for new patients or you can give him a call and leave a vm and he’ll call you back. he’s really not judgmental at all, which i had a problem with in previous therapists.

          • I’d highly recommend both Dr Kavita Avila and Katherine Brunkow (LICSW).

          • This is a great little thread here…I just broke up with a Therapist…as my idea of therapy is not going to your office and you giving me a self help book to read for that week “therapy” totally not my style. Although it was a good stopgap after a particularly terrible time in my life this time last year. I’d also love to see some recommendations…

          • For those that prefer to work with a male, I’ll add Danny Wilson (LICSW) and Gary Brown (LICSW). Both have offices in downtown area (Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom)

    • Hey, that’s a HUGE rave! πŸ˜‰ I’m currently feeling completely useless – absolutely nothing to do until 2pm. (Well, guess that’s not the worst thing ever.)

    • The best way to get over a guy is to get under a new one, so to speak.

      • haha, that definitely worked for me after my last break up. just not ready for that yet.

        • Then just let yourself grieve. Time heals all wounds! Promise!

          • Lots of time, lots of sex, and lots of food usually helps me with a break-up. If you can combine all those things into a trip abroad, even better!
            Three weeks in Switzerland and Berlin during the summer of 2010 was AWESOME for me after my fiancee dumped me. LOL. Especially the blonde Icelandic girl I picked up along my travels…WOAH.

    • Totally been there. At the time I poured myself into my work and went to therapy regularly (once a week). I think going regularly is key. Also, I’m NOT one for self-help books, but a friend recommended “Its Called Break Up Because Its Broken” by the people who wrote He’s Just Not That Into You–the book is funny (very necessary), easy to read and puts heartbreak into perspective in a very helpful way. I’ve lent out my copy to tons of friends over the years and everyone has gotten something from it. Highly recommend it. Either way, I promise that one day you’ll wake up and realize he doesn’t haunt you anymore. And wanting that to happen is the first step.

      • everyone on POP has such good advice. i will check out that book for sure!

        • msmaryedith

          Agreed. It’s cheesy, and I usually HATE self help books, but for some reason that one resonated and made me feel less crazy about feeling so shattered over it. I gave it to a friend after her messy breakup and she said it was helpful for her, too.

    • Been there… and it took easily a year+ to get over him. I even had other ones (as Anonymous 10:50AM) recommends, but nothing. It is a long process and there is no easy way out. You just have to let time take its course (and trust me, in this case time doesn’t move fast enough). Take this time to get to know yourself, evaluate your priorities, engage in fun activities, learn new skills, travel, and really put all that sadness away while you focus on new fun things.
      That helped me. I traveled, I learned new sports, I started cooking more, and made a new group of friends. I’ve been happily dating someone new for 6 months now.

      • thanks! you’re totally right, definitely need to change my perspective.

      • On the more serious/less-comical end of the spectrum, when I had a terrible breakup years back, a friend gave me Pema Chodron’s “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times,” which I found helpful for the breakup, as well as other subsequent hard times. It’s not going to be everyone’s thing, but it might be of help to people who are looking for something with a spiritual but not-overly-religious dimension to it. Even though Chodron is a prolific Buddhist writer, IMO you don’t have to be Buddhist to appreciate some of the content–I’m actually an atheist, but certain elements of Buddhist philosophy resonate with me and comfort me. (And for non-Buddhists, the book is probably best approached with a “cafeteria” mindset–take what speaks to you, and leave the stuff that doesn’t.) But lest I leave the impression that I’m some sort of perfectly self-actualized being…rest assured that post-breakup, I also watched a lot–and I mean, LOT–of cheesy TV, and an old friend passed along the “breakup” mix tape that one of our other friends had made for her years ago in high school…and those things helped too! πŸ™‚

    • Try to remind yourself that you are a lot better without him – a person who is willing to just dropout of an exclusive relationship is not ready (in numeous areas) to be in a relationship and could have done more harm to your “self” the longer the relationship lasted.

    • After a rather bad break up I started reading Carolyn Hax’s columns and live chats (I went back to some ooooold transcripts). A lot of it is really funny and entertaining, but she also has a lot of good information about what makes a healthy relationship (hint: not dropping off the face of the earth). And I know most people have pretty good expectations for healthy relationship parameters, but I like the reminders and perspectives in her columns/chats.

      Best of luck! I also second international travel, especially on your own. Most of all though, treat yourself well and know there will be waves, times when you feel good followed by times when you feel worse. It’s not a straight trajectory. Best of luck!

    • Kittee, I’m going through something similar right now. Yeah, it sucks

      I think therapy is great. Personally, it allows me to talk through my feelings and develop strategies with someone who has no agenda. I love my friends, but I don’t always want to burden them with this stuff. They have their own troubles.

      BTW – you can’t force yourself to get over it. It’s grief. It takes time.

  • Rave: The roommate we took in last year is finally moving out!!! No more forgotten laundry, unwashed dishes in my sink, or bad reality TV! It is like a weight (and my imposed-maid-duties) has been lifted off my shoulders.

    Rave: My sister is doing really well, and there almost zero chance that she’ll reunite with her abusive husband. I am so proud of her!! She’s applying for jobs around DC and should be moving out of my parents house soon.

    • We have a roommate like that! We’ve gotten her to clean up after herself, for the most part, although she still does the absolute bare minimum. But she’s still there in our living room, watching TV and eating, every single day and every single hour after work, and all day on the weekends. I can’t wait to have our house back. It’s not worth the rental income.

      • There’s been zero “clean-up-after-yourself”-ness with this gal. My guest bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in 6 months… and the guest room looked like a bomb went off. I think I need to hire a cleaning lady. How someone could live like that–and as a guest in someone else’s home–is just unreal to me.

        • We share a bathroom, but I’ve peeked into her bedroom and it’s pretty scary. I’m sure if she had jurisdiction over her own bathroom it would be an absolute wreck. Of course I’m the only one who ever cleans the bathroom or other common areas. Or takes out the trash, empties the dishwasher, clears the lint filter in the dryer, or puts in a new roll of toilet paper when the old one is finished.

        • ugh. i can take a mess, like clothes all over the place, but dirty is just too much. i have a cleaning lady that comes every three weeks and it is literally the best money i spend.

          • I’m really tempted to hire a cleaning person, but I feel like it’s going to cost a lot for an entire rowhouse. I know there are Groupon-type deals for less than $200, but I find those people don’t do a good job.

          • saf

            Anon – are you in Petworth?

            I don’t know how large their range is, but I feel like these folks made my house REALLY clean. I wish I could afford them regularly:

            (No, they aren’t that expensive really. It’s just that I am currently unemployed.)

          • Thanks– that site is blocked at work but I’ll try to remember to look at it later!

  • It’s my dog’s adopt-a-versary today – four years ago Mazie came home. She’s such a great dog!

  • Rant/question: I live in Bloomingdale and walk around it and Eckington all the time with my dog. I’ve lived there about 5 years and I’m a 40 year old white male. Almost every black person I walk by looks me in the eye and says hi, how ya doing, or something similar. I also look them in the eye and respond (or say hi first). But almost every white person under about the age of 40 looks at the ground and says nothing when I walk past them. Why? You do realize we all live in the same neighborhood and it’s ok to say hi, right? Are you afraid of everyone, or just raised in an area where people don’t speak to each other? I’m confused.

    • Scrillin

      Maybe they don’t like dogs?

      • Yep. I don’t like dogs, and I’d rather not initiate a conversation with someone walking their dog in case their dog decides to get all up in my personal space.

    • I never say to hi to people I see on the street if I don’t know them. It has been my experience that strangers who are friendly to you on the street usually want something. They start by saying hi and asking if you are familiar with the area, two minutes later you’ve either heard their life story as it relates to why they really need a dollar right now or they are trying to get you to join their church.

      • But when it’s a neighborhood like Eckington or Bloomingdale, I’m seeing the same people over and over, usually sitting on their front steps or walking past me on the same streets day after day. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between the guy who lives down the street and just wants to say hi because he sees you all the time and the guy who’s trying to strike up a conversation to get some money.

      • Or if you’re a woman, all of a sudden you find yourself being hit on. Most of my attempts at being a friendly neighbor with men end up this way, so I’ve stopped trying because I’m tired of dealing with it.

        • This can’t be discounted. When more than half the males you encounter leer at you, or make kissy noises at you, it’s very effective training in how to shut down in public. But also, years of friendly greetings have gone unreturned, so what’s the point.
          And also, I often schedule conference calls for 9-10am, so I can get that out of the way while I’m walking to work. What appears to be bitch face might actually be listening-to-something-important face.
          Keep up the good neighborliness, though. I appreciate it even when I’m not in a position to show it.

        • +1 As a female in Bloomingdale, this is why I only give people a head nod unless they ask a question about my dog.

        • I’m a small woman and think of myself as pretty vigilant on the streets (I never wear headphones, for example) but even I’m surprised by the level of suspicion and mistrust people routinely describe on this blog. People’s stress hormone levels must be through the roof all the time to be always so on guard and assuming that every single person is out to get something.

          • epric002

            not that i have any hard evidence so support this, but saying hi to people as i pass them makes me feel safer (in addition to just being friendly). they usually look up, so you get a good look at them, and it indicates that you’re aware of and paying attention to your surroundings. and *if* they were planning on being up to no good you might have surprised them out of whatever they were getting ready to do.

          • Exactly! I figure if I make eye contact, at least I’ll have a description to give if they do mug me or whatever! I also feel like I can read people and their intentions better if I’ve interacted with them, even just to nod hello, than if I’ve avoided looking at them. So if they are going to mug me, I’ll have a slight head start on clutching my purse or moving away.

        • Same. I’m from the country originally and am naturally friendly, but after living in this city for 7 years I generally keep my eyes on the ground and don’t say much either, especially to men. Sometimes I do – but I’ve had too many experiences with people who take a smile and “hello” as an invitation for more.

      • Yeah, there’s a church near me who have this really annoying recruiting strategy where they send cute women out on the streets who say hi and act like they’re about to ask for directions or something before launching into a speech about God. Once they get going it’s impossible to get away in a polite manner. Now I get very suspicious when I see a 20-year-old woman making eye contact and smiling at me on the street. Nine times out of ten she’s from that church.

      • I feel weird initiating verbal contact because it’s just not something that’s normal here. But I do the eye contact and smile. I’m a 30-year-old woman.

      • Thats sad. I am a 25 year old 5’2 woman (who looks 16) and I look people in the eye and nod or say hello. To get respect you have to give it—what kind of community do you want to live in? There are people who want to take advantage of you, but they are in the minority.

      • True, but I also think that saying at least a brisk “hi” or a nod-greeting doesn’t tend to increase your chances of getting hassled too much. The vast majority of the kind of people who would hit on you, solicit money from you, try to get you to join their church, or just randomly try to engage you in a long-winded conversation either: a) are desperate (ie, for money); or b) have boundary issues. (Or both). Odds are, they’re going to approach you anyway, either deliberately ignoring or being totally oblivious to your social “cue” of not saying hello. (That said, if you feel a particular individual is really giving off skeevy vibes, listen to your gut–you’re not obligated to be cheerful and friendly 100% of the time. There are times when breaking out the bitch-face is completely appropriate.)

    • Same thing in Petworth, sadly. There’s a guy I see out walking his dog who I have seen featured on this site in a real-estate video a few years ago talking about how great the neighborhood is and how much he loves his neighbors. Yep, casts his eyes down and barely responds when I say hello.

    • i have lived in bloomingdale for 10 years and have seen this myself. the old-timers are super friendly and will always greet you on the street, and the newcomers generally avert their eyes or look away. it was a shock when i first moved here, because growing up in faceless suburban apartments no one would ever say hi to each other. now i love it and i hate that newer people don’t do it.

    • I’ll return hellos, but as a pretty reserved person, the idea of greeting everyone in the neighborhood sounds pretty exhausting. Maybe it’s a little different when folks are out with their dogs–so there’s an obvious signfier that they’re not, like, rushing to work or the grocery store–or if you’re seeing the same neighbors over and over again. But I also have plenty of Anon’s wariness of people saying hello for no reason. My saying “hello” back does not secretly mean “please follow me and attempt to chat me up.”

      • I feel the same way. I guess Bloomingdale/Eckington is less densely populated than Capitol Hill, but if I walk two blocks I’m likely to encounter 10 people. I might as well just walk around going “hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.”

    • It happens to me all the time where I work… I usually attribute it to the jobs that people have. A lot of the times I’m so caught up in work or thinking about personal things that I really can’t come out of my shell to be “happy” towards others. My mood changes when I’m out of the workplace. A lot of people are experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder too and they’re actually depressed so they don’t look up… It’s drama in that person’s life that really makes them do that. I don’t understand when people actually make eye contact and can’t say “Hi” but that’s their problem in my book. And of course, there are always a-holes just being mean.

    • One of the things I love about Mt Pleasant is that people say hello. That’s it, just hello (or sometimes good morning). I also pay attention to my surroundings and look up when I’m walking which makes a difference.

    • This is one of the most glaring differences between African-American culture (in which an individual depends on and is part of the wider community – ex. the church being the traditional bedrock of Af-Am social life) and mainstream Caucasian culture (where self-sufficiency and “privacy” are paramount).
      Hence the gaping chasm between whites and minorities when it comes to political thought and economic policies. They are approaching these issues from very different backgrounds.

      • I think it’s more that the AA community here is more established than the Caucasian.

      • Aw, come on. I’m white- have been since I was a kid. My parents (also white) taught me to look me in the eye and greet people. A few years in the military solidified it. I say hi to people when I am walking in my neighborhood. And I am a woman.

        • Congratulations, you are one data point. Your anecdotal behavior does not speak to the larger picture.

          • Aren’t these all anecdotal suppositions? I don’t think anyone’s done a scientific study on who does or does not greet strangers on the street.
            Throwing my hat into the ring– the only people (black or white) that I normally see do it are the guys stationed near the Marine Barracks.

      • That’s an interesting idea. My piano tuner, who happens to be black, was questioning me about why the Capitol Hill area is full of people (probably mostly white) who do everything they can to avert their eyes and not say hello. He said he thought people here were wierd and not friendly. While there are plenty of self-important people on the Hill who cannot be bothered to say hello, I don’t think it is as simple as that. As a woman, I totally get why many of us would not want to engage strangers in the city streets. It is why I do not typically say hi on the street. And as someone said above, it is a numbers thing. There are too many people, and I can’t begin to connect with everyone. Would you expect everyone to say hello to everyone in Manhattan? We’re not as big as NYC, but you get the picture. And for what it’s worth, I think the type of place you live definitely factors into this more than race or gender. Small town Iowans usually say hello. It has nothing to do with a need for self-sufficiency or privacy as the OP suggested. It has to do with people being able to process others more easily when there are fewer of us around!

      • I think your generalization is a little off. I see it as more of a North-South difference. I grew up in the Northeast, and you just don’t say hello to people you don’t know. No matter what neighborhood you are in. Again, I am making a generalization of my own, which isn’t scientific or 100% accurate on all accounts.

        Also, when you say whites and minorities have different political thought and economic policies, I think you’re just referring “Whites” to mean one political party. It’s one thing to make a common generalization, but if your referring to all whites as republicans, you’re pretty far off.

    • I think the explanation is pretty simple, really. Old-timers in Bloomingdale/Eckington grew up in a much denser and tighter-knit community than many of the newcomers. I’d venture to guess that most of the newcomers grew up in some sort of ‘burb, where walking around was not commonplace. The ‘burbs are much more private than these medium density communities. Those who grew up in cities likely learned to filter out much of the traffic – you simply can’t say “hi” every few seconds as you walk around. It takes a certain kind of mindset to consciously say “hi” to your neighbors – a mindset that hasn’t been well fostered for quite some time in much of America. (Check out Putnam’s “Bowling Alone” for a deeper analysis.)

      • Yep, this is probably the main variable driving the lack of interaction along with innate differences in African-American and White cultures when it comes to socialization, personal space, etc.

      • I think it might be a burbs thing too. Some of my family lives in Gaithersburg, and there’s a library a quarter of a mile away from their house. They drive to it. Part of it is because if they walked, the street they have to cross is dangerous for pedestrians, but also part of it is because they just drive everywhere anyway. So they can’t make a habit of greeting people on the sidewalk if they’re never on the sidewalk.
        Whereas I grew up in DC and walked/Metroed/bused everywhere, and just got in the habit of passing by people and acknowledging them.

    • I don’t know what it is about DC but I feel no one here says hello to strangers. I’m used to Seattle where everyone says hi. I try when I’m out running to wave to my fellow runners and only about 25% wave back.

      Lets be nice and friendly DC!

      • Having lived in a lot of parts of the country, I think there are regional differences. In the east (small town or big city), people are less likely to acknowledge people they pass than in the mid-west (small town or big city).

      • I had to laugh when I read your comment. On my first visit to Seattle, I was totally freaked out and repeatedly startled by people speaking to me and waving at me on the street. I’m used to the “neighborhood” practice of “speaking”. Encountering it citywide threw me for a total loop! lol

        • Seattlites are friendlier because the city’s overwhelmingly white. You can’t compare it to a city like DC where there are racial complexities.

    • epric002

      i’m really interested in this thread. as a new-ish, 30s, white, female resident to the coheights/petworth area, i intentionally decided that i was going to say hi to people in my neighborhood when i pass them. and i’ve found almost the same thing that the OP did- almost all of the black people i say hi to say hi back; about 75% of hispanic/latinos do; but white people (especially my age and younger) generally do not! is it a rent/own thing? i fully admit that i had less interest in being friendly when i rented, but as an owner who wants to live in this neighborhood for a good long while, i want to know who my neighbors are and i want them to know who i am. i’ve never had a problem with getting hit on or proselytized to either. and i’m not even an extrovert. even if you don’t initiate the “hello”, it’s rude to not respond.

      • This is an interesting thread to me too. I’m a mid-30’s white woman in Petworth and love the “say hi/ respond to a hi” culture. It is definitely the [newer, I assume] white folks who do not say hello back. It just comes off as rude, and I think it probably contributes to some of the hostility that older, established AA people in the community may have towards the new “gentrifiers.” When we moved in a few years ago, we understood and respected that we were coming into a long-standing community with its own customs and culture. We tried to have a “when in Rome” approach, and it’s worked out really well. And I’ve never been hassled after saying hi.

        • epric002

          thanks for sharing! glad i’m not the only one who feels this way. and i like the “when in Rome” bit. i was very aware that i was going to be a minority in the neighborhood i was moving into, and i wanted to be a not-unwelcome newbie, at least as far as courtesy and friendliness can help. and the friendliness of the neighborhood is one of the many, many things i love about living here. even if we don’t know each others names, i recognize/am recognized by my neighbors and we wave and say hello when we see each other out. i really like that.

        • “When we moved in a few years ago, we understood and respected that we were coming into a long-standing community with its own customs and culture. We tried to have a β€œwhen in Rome” approach, and it’s worked out really well. And I’ve never been hassled after saying hi.”
          You guys are awesome. Unfortunately, you’re a minority of the newcomers to DC. Most couldn’t give a damn about their neighbors.

        • That’s a nice story, but it’s nothing to do with my experience in CH. The first year on my block, I was determined not to be the snotty newcomer. The old black residents routinely sneered at me or ignored me– pointedly. (That’s when they weren’t yelling at me about how to park my car.) The hispanic renters either looked at me as if I was insane (the women) or got all “hey mamacita” at me (the men).
          Then a couple of the meanest old-timers died and their kids took over their places, and they’re MUCH nicer. The renters mostly got priced out, and at least a few people who bought those former rentals are MUCH nicer. It’s cool now, but that first year or two were bad. I don’t like that you’re portraying your experience as universal, and implying that all of us would be living in peace and harmony if only we would all smile and say “hi”. You go ahead and try to remain pleasant in the face of daily hostility or harassment. Me, I shut down a bit for a while. And NOT because I didn’t “give a damn”.

        • this is the correct answer. newcomers, take heed and talk to your neighbors.

      • I’m in a similar demographic (30s, white female) and I’ve found the same thing in my large (rental) apartment building (Adams Morgan-Mt. P-Columbia Heights border). Of course, I can’t make any sweeping sociological generalizations based on just my building and experience, especially given that the majority of residents I’ve seen in the building’s hallways appear to be white and 20s-30s, and I’ve only seen a handful of residents outside of this demographic. But to a one, the older, African American and Latino residents always say hello, whereas very few of the younger ones do. I don’t often say hello to every single person on the street, since I’m usually in areas with lots of other foot traffic…but come on, when we’re directly passing each other in the narrow hallway of our apartment building? And I’m more than happy to give a pass to people who are listening to headphones or look like they’re totally out of it (I’m like that in the early mornings sometimes), but I’ve had people to whom I’ve said “hi” or “good morning” and they’ve actually given me the stink-eye and scowled. Usually I’m walking briskly and giving a quick hello, so it should be pretty clear that I’m not trying to buttonhole the person and turn them into my BFF or tell them my life story.

        • I bet we live in the same building! I’ve been there seven years and I couldn’t pick my next-door neighbors out of a lineup. That’s kind of sad, I guess, but it’s mostly just that I’m shy, and not really the type to go introduce myself to people unless I need to.

          I almost never say hi to people, but I do at least try to make eye contact and smile or nod. If someone greets me first, though, I always respond. I have a really grim resting face, which probably puts people off – actually I was just introduced to an older woman who’s been in the building forever, and she said she had seen me around, and my first thought was “Oh no, I’ve probably been accidentally scowling at you for years.” (For the record: late 20s, white, female, and I should really try to be friendlier, I guess.)

      • I’m similar. When I rented, I didn’t really feel connected to my neighborhood, so I didn’t initiate contact (I did respond though). But ever since I’ve owned, I figure that I’ll see the people I pass on the street for a long time to come, and we’re in this together, so I initiate eye contact and say hi to everyone.

        • Okay, another 30-ish white woman in Petworth/Park View. When someone says hi to me I say hi back. When the guys on the corner asked if I wanted to look at their obviously knock off “designer purse” they were selling, I said I was all set. I like to be neighborly, I wish there was more neighborliness, but I’m not the most outgoing person and I have a few more reasons in my new place- 1. the whole building is new, so all of us in it are new. It feels a little like “hi, we’re invading your quite, well established, plenty of parking-but not for long, block.” So, it’s a little bit of guilt as a new comer to a brand new building on an old block. 2. I usually wait until I’ve seen the person a few times before I say hi regularly. And since it’s the winter, I only really see the dog people regularly. I’m hoping as it warms up I’ll add a few people to my greeting roster.

        • Also, in terms of rent vs. own I can’t say because my owning situation is hugely biased, but in my last apartment I talked to a number of my neighbors. Another neighbor and I used to have an unofficial ‘who ever goes out first brings up the newspapers’ agreement.

          But, in my new condo the whole building is new and it’s really a first time buyer’s type of building, so everyone is moving in around the same time and introducing themselves. I’m not sure if that would happen if I were one new person moving into an established building.

    • When I was growing up here, it was pretty clear that most black Washingtonians were from families with Southern roots — and you “speak” to your neighbors. As DC has become more gentrified, less Southern, and less neighborly, people “speak” less. It’s not meant to be overly familiar, or a lead in to a conversation beyond “How’re you…. it’s cold out here”. It’s just an acknowledgement of community and being neighbors.

    • I am generally shy with people I don’t know and don’t make eye contact with strangers. When someone says hi to me, though, I always respond back. I am trying to be more openly friendly and smiley when just walking around, but I’ve also had those innocent actions invite trouble. πŸ™

    • houseintherear

      One of the deciding factors for me buying a place in Bloomingdale was the friendly vibe I got whenever I visited the neighborhood. That was five years ago, and things are different now (in the way you cited), but I am persevering and trying to keep up the “good evening”s and nods of hello. If they don’t respond, eh no biggie. But don’t give up!!
      What strikes me as cute is how the DC Water construction workers have changed their demeanors since starting work in the neighborhood a couple months ago. At first they were mostly cold and serious, and now they all say hello to everyone who passes by (not in a gross way, thank goodness)… they’re adapting to the friendly environment! πŸ™‚

    • To the anonymous hi-saying 40-year-old white guy: I think this is a cultural thing.
      I never said hi to random people on the street when I lived in a condo in a fairly bustling area in Adams Morgan. I did, however, make an effort to say hi to other people in the condo building, and was kind of surprised when some people made no eye contact and said nothing back. I can understand being reticent of strangers on the street, but in the same (smallish) building? (Also, I’m introverted and NOT outgoing, so I feel like if I can make the effort to initiate a “hello,” it shouldn’t be a huge effort for someone to reply.)
      In my current neighborhood — Park View — I noticed very quickly that almost all the black people I passed on the sidewalk would say hello. (I’m white.) So I made sure to say hello to ANYONE I passed on the sidewalk, even if I wasn’t sure if that person lived on the block or was just walking through en route to somewhere else — I didn’t want to risk being perceived as a stuck-up interloping white b1tch.
      Interestingly, I find that black people I say hello to on the sidewalk almost always respond, whereas the people who look most like I do — the white 20- and 30-somethings — usually don’t.

  • Rave: Had an amazing time catching up with girlfriends last night. I am so blessed with awesome friendships.
    Rave: Keeping my fingers crossed for good news on the job front for my bestie.
    Rant: Could not get a cab this morning, so I had to take two buses and walk six blocks to get to my doc appt. Brrr.
    Rave: Lots of fun social events planned for the weekend.

    • Uber, if you have a smartphone! The one & only time they couldn’t get a cab for me (in my ~2 years of use), they gave me a $10 credit for my next ride with them.

      • You can even Uber by text if you’ve set up an account first. I did that for my mom when she was visiting and it worked great.

        • Thanks for posting this! I’m determined not to give up my beloved Krazr — so it’s good to know that I can have Uber as an option.

  • Rave: My latest novel – “Son of Fortune” was chosen by the Children’s Book Council and National Council for the Social Studies as a “Notable Social Studies Books for Young People.”

    Rant: It could be the kiss of death if YA readers think it is “educational!” (It is really an adventure story as dystopian as the Hunger Games, and with a higher body count! )

  • GiantSquid

    Revel: Going to NYC for my birthday this weekend and seeing Mr. Squid who’s been away all week!
    Rant: Worried my dogs and the house are going to be punks for the dog/house sitter.
    Rant: I am not someone that should have to deal with the general public regarding work issues. So many user errors due to lack of reading or following directions. Hard not to come across as rude when communicating with them.
    Revel: Popcorn. Mmmm…popcorn.

  • Rave: first yoga class in ages and slept like a baby after.
    Rant: crowded yoga classes. Any studios in the district that do not cram people in like sardines? I’d like to circle my arms overhead without poking my neighbor in the eye.

    • saf

      LIghthouse Yoga, Georgia and Decatur. It’s a lovely place, and the classes are really small.


      • epric002

        i just read the class descriptions- it doesn’t sound like they offer any power yoga, or other similar classes- is that right? i practice yoga for the workout, so i’m thinking this might not be the right place for me.

      • Don’t know what neighborhood you’re in, and I don’t know if the class was just not popular or having an off day, but the handful of times I went to Kali Yoga (formerly Quiet Mind) on 14th in Columbia Heights, there were only a few of us in class. Caveat–I think it was a beginner or more gentle class, so maybe the more advanced classes with regular practitioners are more crowded.

    • Have you tried Past Tense in Mt Pleasant? Some of the classes are full but I never thought of them as jam packed.

  • Rant/Rave: After a good discussion with my therapist this morning, she suggested that I take more emotional risks. I do tend to be overly-protective of myself. Where do I start? I’m sort of excited just to think about it!
    Rave: I feel better after the session…it’s been too long.
    Rave: There’s a marked improvement from my last session a couple months ago.
    Rant: The roommates are getting on each other’s nerves and I am right in the middle. There are going to be some “come to Jesus” discussions soon.

  • Rant: Lots of things I want to buy all off a sudden. They’re not necessary, but I can afford them and I’m fairly certain they’d be a quality of life boost. But my thrifty side isn’t going to let me without piling on the guilt.

    • Are the things that you want to buy “investments”? I’m not sure what sorts of things you have in mind: a leather jacket? A sofa? But if they really are quality of life boosts, and things that you’ll enjoy for a reasonable amount of time, at a reasonable cost-per-use, perhaps your thrifty side can recognize that “investments” don’t warrant the guilt that more frivolous purchases might.

    • More like replacements for things that are old or broken or of poor quality:
      1. iPhone case: The one I have is cracked in several places.
      2. Brown boots: I’d bought a crummy pair from Kmart for $10, to hold me over until I found a pair I liked. That was 5 years ago. I don’t have any other brown shoes to wear with skirts, so I keep wearing them even though I hate them.
      3. Camera: I’m a prolific photographer and I’m still using the secondhand DSLR I bought in 2007. The letters/symbols are almost completely worn off the Mode dial. If I upgrade I’d spring for a full-frame DSLR (so it feels like a true upgrade and so it will keep me satisfied for at least a decade) but use the same lenses.
      4. Fine mesh strainer for cooking: I acquired mine in college, when someone left it at the group house I was renting. A decade later and it’s full of holes so some of its utility has been lost.
      5. Battery for laptop: The current battery is pretty dead and only holds a charge for about 10 minutes. The laptop’s 4 or 5 years old but it’s working great and I have no plans to replace it anytime soon.
      6. Haircut: I haven’t had one since June but I think the weather’s the real reason my hair’s been looking like crap… still, it would make me feel better.

      • (Feel free to talk me out of or into these things!)

        • Sure! I’d be delighted to! lol
          1. The case is cracked. You bought it to protect your phone. Obviously it’s done that. This case deserves a rest (and decent burial), and your iphone deserves a new, even more protective case. You’re protecting your investment in your iphone. That’s a GOOD thing!
          2. I’m kind of horrified at this one. Boots are on sale now, PLEASE just buy a new pair. Try Nordstrom Rack or DSW if Zappos makes you nervous. GOOD, comfortable, well-fitting shoes are important. Crummy, cheap, things that you hate have no place in your life. (Note: I was told, as a child, that you can tell a lot about a man (person) from his shoes. You do not need crummy, cheap, hateful vibes in your life. For sure!
          3. I know very little about cameras, but it sounds like you’ve thought through this purchase in a careful way — including your ability to re-use the lenses. And it sounds like a new camera would truly be something that would enhance the quality of your life. Since you can afford a new camera, I say go for it. But keep or gift the old one — since it still sounds usable.
          4. A strainer strains. Yours doesn’t. If this is something you use regularly, just buy one that works. It’s time. Really.
          5. Be grateful that you have a laptop with batteries that can be replaced. Replace it now before it dies completely in the middle of something critically important. And before you find out that the batteries that fit your computer are no longer made, and prohibitively expensive on ebay. Yes, I am speaking from the voice of experience.
          6. June? June?!!!! It’s time. Really. Go somewhere that will pamper you and do a good job. You will feel better, your hair will look better, and if you have split ends, your hair will be healthier. And before you leave, schedule your next cut for late April.

          Not that you asked, but if you need to purchase a winter coat, a bathing suit, or stuff like down comforters, now would be a very good time to do so. Thanks for letting me loose on this! πŸ˜€

          • Ok, I just scheduled a hair appointment (I honestly don’t see a difference after getting my hair cut which is why I do it so infrequently). I’m going to go ahead and order the phone case and battery online, and buy the strainer at Hill’s Kitchen because I love that store. I’ll try to drag myself to a shoe store before all the boots are gone, although I could see this not happening. I think I’ll wait on the camera until I get my tax return so it feels like I didn’t spend my hard-earned income on it (plus it will incentivize me to get my taxes filed sooner). Oh, and you just reminded me that we don’t have a comforter and have been meaning to buy one! Thanks so much for your thorough analysis! πŸ™‚

          • Sure! My pleasure! Wow! It’s great that you’ve already put some plans in place! As long as you’re headed towards the internet, you might want to browse Zappos for ideas. My favorite brands (Ariat, Frye, Doc Marten) are pretty expensive, but I’ve had some that lasted for well over a decade, and got my price-per-wearing down to well under a quarter. I think holding off on the camera while until your taxes are done is a perfect plan. It also gives you time to research exactly what you want, and to find the best combination of price and service before you make your purchase.

            PLEASE, pretty please don’t put off the boots! It’s cold out there, and your feet deserve better!

          • I DO have other boots, you know πŸ˜‰

      • These all seem like reasonable, not frivolous things to buy. Sorry I’m not helping! The mesh strainer should be easy (and inexpensive) to replace. Boots are, or will be, on sale so that can appear to your frugal side. Can you donate the old camera so someone else can use it?

        • No that’s very helpful! I think I’ll hold onto the camera for a bit to determine if I’d ever want to use it as a backup (a good idea if I’m ever doing a paid gig) or in situations where I’m worried about the new one getting damaged or stolen. It’s only worth about $100 but if I don’t seem to be using it I’d love to give it to an aspiring photographer!

      • Aside from the DSLR, these are very small purchases that we all need to make at one time or another in order to function. You seem to have a neurosis about spending money – maybe consult with a therapist on it?
        A lot of these things are true needs – you need functional boots to keep you warm. You need a laptop battery to do your work. You need a mesh strainer that actually works to make meals. You need a friggin’ haircut! Feeling extreme guilt over such small purchases isn’t normal.
        Also, if you made these purchases slowly throughout the course of the year, you’re much less likely to feel a financial hit (either mentally or in reality). It’s less stressful to spend $80 on the boots this month and then spend $20 on the strainer next month. If you buy everything at once, it becomes more stressful.

        • Seriously? A neurosis? I think it’s fine to hobble along with things that are semi-working.

          • Yes, this is definitely a neurosis and well-documented mental health issue that numerous people suffer from. There are therapists who specialize in this. The guilt often lends to stress, hypertension, anxiety, lack of sleep, and a host of other knock-on health issues that can affect your physical well-being, relationships, and even job performance.
            I’m all about using things until they are worn out (I would never buy a “new” car due to the loss of value as soon as you drive off the lot and I’m still chugging along with my iPhone 3GS after 4 years!). But these are reasonable purchases that no relatively middle-class person should feel guilty about or need to be convinced to buy. In fact, they would save her time, make her more productive, and generally enhance her well being! Time + productivity + feeling good about yourself = money in your wallet in the long run.
            There’s so many tangible benefits to these purchases in improving your life that well outweigh their financial costs.

          • A middle-class person that scavenges for discarded food or haggles with someone over a $5 purchase is neurotic and needs therapy. There’s a difference.

        • Twenty dollars!!! For a strainer!!!! Oi! Well, you can if you want to, but Rodman’s or Giant, or even a dollar store will have a perfectly serviceable strainer for a whole lot less than that!

          • Yeah, it’s not so much an unwillingness to spend money as it is to not get rid of old items. I also tend to not realize how old/obsolete/broken something is until something makes it apparent (like today I could tell these boots are not keeping my feet warm at all). I also hate shopping! I think my spending is above average on certain things, like housing, pet supplies, charitable donations, travel, and gifts to other people. I just have a harder time justifying these little material purchases, I guess.

          • Hmmm. So maybe your shopping strategy could be to get carefully chosen, top-quality items, so you can keep them for a while.

            And you might want to ask yourself how come you find it easier to purchase things for your pets and for other people …. and see how you react to your answer.

          • Well, I buy my dogs high-quality nutritious food, just as I like to eat high-quality nutritious food (but it’s expensive for dogs and not as much for humans). And I try to buy gifts that are special, even if it means spending more, because I appreciate meaningful gifts so much more… So I guess it means I like to treat animals and humans as I’d like to be treated.

        • Neurosis? Therapy? I hardly think your armchair analysis is accurate. What’s wrong with being frugal? It sounds like many of these things are working (except for the strainer), and sometimes that’s good enough.

      • Everything on your list, except arguably the camera, isn’t functioning like it should–that’s a pretty good reason for replacement, if it’s in your budget! Though I totally get the stress when all of those things pile up at once. Says the person who got a new coat (to replace a decade-old one), a new laptop hard drive and a new haircut this month and is REALLY glad she did.

      • That was already on my agenda and will be the first one I’ve been to. I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully everyone won’t be walking around with their eyes downcast πŸ™‚

    • Please get a new pair of boots. Check out Macys or DSW.

      • I have no luck at those stores. Whenever I go there on a mission to get something I end up walking out frustrated and empty handed. They tend to stock shoes that are better for people with long, slender, flat feet (the opposite of mine). Unfortunately they’re practically the only game in town when it comes to shoes!

        • Then Zappos is your friend. Boots on sale, free shipping both ways – hard to go wrong. Or, check out Marshalls. It’s hit or miss, but you may just get lucky.

          • I find Zappos even more frustrating because I have to mail so many things back and forth. I have found shoes at Marshall’s/Ross/TJ Maxx though!

          • After writing this, I had to look at boots on sale at Zappos. Not on sale, but I saw a pair of short red Frye boots that I really really want to get….

          • Go for it! Frye’s are wonderful once you break them in, and they can last for decades!!!!! And Zappos gives you up to a year to return things if they’re unworn.

          • Seriously considering investing in a pair of Frye’s, but how bad is the break in period? ALL of my boots right now give me blisters. I’m willing to get some if the period after the break in is worth it!

          • I have four pairs of boots and none have needed breaking in. Old pair of Dingos (20+ years old), Dansko, Uma, Kenneth Cole (plus another four pairs of short boots). The boots should be comfortable the first time you put them on (and good to shop in the afternoon/evening).
            You can see why I need a pair of red Frye’s….

          • justinbc

            Piperlime (owned by BR / Gap) also regularly does sales on Frye’s. I got a pair there, and they needed a substantial break-in period for me, but mainly because I have large calves from running and they would always rub the wrong way.

          • This is in response to the question about Frye’s and the break-in period. Obviously it depends somewhat on your particular feet and on the boots that you choose. I’ve had Frye’s made from softer, more flexible leather that were comfortable right out of the box. I just wore them in the house first for a few days, then wore them out running errands before wearing them for a full 10 – 12 hour day.
            I’ve had other pairs that were stiffer, with very stiff bits around the toes and heels, and with those I’ve actually wet them, worn micro-waved heated socks, and taken as long as it takes before wearing them out for a full day with a lot of walking. But I have to say, that end the end, those Frye’s have been among the most comfortable shoes that I have ever owned.

          • I had a pair of Dingo’s last year that were very comfortable, but so poorly made that the heels and the soles were completely worn down in less than 4 wearings. They were red. They were cute. They were comfortable. But they were a total waste of money. I guess I should have stockpiled a few pairs 20 years ago. πŸ™

          • Does anyone find the Fryes to be too Western-inspired? I’d like a pair of classic long-lasting boots but feel like they’re not quite my style. And Doc Martins are too combatty. The boots I like the best tend to be Nine West but they’re not the kind of shoe that will last a decade.

          • Lots of Fryes don’t have that western look, at least that’s my opinion!

        • So tempted….not that I NEED another pair of boots.

        • As someone with long skinny feet I have to disagree with you. I ordered over 10 pairs of boots last year and sent them all back. I could take all of them off while still zipped.
          I swear by Nordstrom Rack, I got my boots and many other shoes there. I don’t have to talk to a sales person, I can try on everything, and the selection is very good and I say that as a size 11!
          Frye boots are great and a long term investment. Go for it!

        • No, actually, opportunities for shoe shopping are everywhere! I like Nordstrom’s Rack — but I admit that that could be a nightmare for someone who doesn’t like to shop. Nordstrom’s is great for shoes, and their customer service is awesome. (i.e. They measure your feet and track down your size if they don’t have it in stock.) Nordstrom’s also tends to have a wide range of sizes — including narrow and wide widths for women — which are hard to find.

  • houseintherear

    Rave: Starting on my newest project, Cat Shelves, tonight! It will be a DIY masterpiece.
    Rant: Being a woman and going to Home Depot is basically the worst experience ever.

    • Especially when you tell them you’re building Cat Shelves!

      • houseintherear

        haha, true!
        Actually I didn’t ask for help, just needed lumber and brackets. I was referring to the near-constant sexual harassment in the form of remarks, noises, and body movements. I wish I could say this is because I’m a hottie (not that being a hottie means being deserving of these things)… I just happen to have boobies and ovaries, so I guess that makes me fair game in a Home Depot.

        • Interesting. I haven’t had this experience at all. Which Home Depot did you go to? Maybe the fact that I often look like I’m about to stab someone when in HD deters any harassment lol.

          • houseintherear

            The one in Aspen Hill, MD… I will say this rarely happens at my usual Depot, the one on Rhode Island Ave. Perhaps it’s cultural, whatever, I don’t know. I hate it. πŸ™

          • Ah ok. I always go to Rhode Island Ave or Hyattsville (which is amazingly wonderful and nice compared to the RI Ave one). That’s pretty crummy either way. Sorry you had to endure that :-/

        • Yuck! If you ever go to that HD again, maybe you should start off in the tools department. If you’re walking around with a pickaxe, people tend to leave you alone. Even when you’re a hottie. (I’m sure you’re just being modest! grin)

    • Um, maybe it’s the Cat Shelves. I can’t speak for your Home Depot, but I’ve had some pretty wonderful, and enlightening experiences in hardware stores — including Home Depot.

    • Really? In what way? I haven’t found that to be true and I’m there every other weekend.

    • Have you tried Annie’s Hardware at 12th and Upshur Street in Petworth? It’s awesome, locally and woman owned. The staff there is really, really helpful and they have a lot of stuff for such a small place. I would highly recommend them.

    • justinbc

      What the heck are “Cat Shelves”?

  • Rant for possible scam, rave for mild entertainment value:
    Of the responses I’ve received to my Craigslist ad for my basement rental, one totally reads like a Nigerian money-transfer scam. (except that it has an Anglo-sounding name attached). Wondering if it is in fact a scam or if this young woman writes like a Nigerian scammer.
    “Hi! I recently came across your Craigslist ad and am interested in potentially renting the offered space. I wrote pertinent information for you to know about myself as we move forward. My apologies for having the message become so lengthy.
    “I tried to open the upcoming days of my schedule to view advertised living spaces in the DC area. Idealistically, I would like to meet the head of the rental/the landlord, housemates, and view the offered rental space ASAP. ”
    This was followed by a SIX-PARAGRAPH personal statement of sorts.

    • I came across some that were obviously 100% scammers and others that were pretty questionable but could just be someone who either speaks english as a second language or has poor writing skills. Either way, I did not respond to them if they even remotely smacked of a scammer.

    • Could be a legit response by someone whose first language is not English. I’m curious though, since you’re the landlord, and they should be giving you the checks, what sort of scams do you think it could be?

      • My guess is that instead of making a security deposit for amount X, they would send a check for X + $1000 (or whatever additional amount) and then ask me to wire them the $1000. It would then turn out that the check was bad and I’d be out $1000.

    • justinbc

      Every property I’ve ever rented out receives these emails in droves. We’re hiring a property manager for our next purchase because I’m honestly sick of sorting through the 100 bogus emails of fake or non-interested people to find the 5 who really want a place.

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