Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user J Sonder

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.

177 Comment

  • gotryit

    Rant: Got a Notice of Offset from DC Office of Tax & Revenue saying that they’re keeping the entire amount they owed me for my 2013 return, but no reason why. It looks like they just decided that the amount they owed me was instead owed to them – and woohee, they can just deduct that exact amount from my income tax.
    Rant: On hold for 40 minutes of a “two minute expected hold time”.
    Rant: The lady that finally picks up tells me that I owed money for my 2009 taxes (it was a complicated year – part active duty out of state / part DC resident). But that they never F-ING sent me anything. Just decided to start taking money from this year’s tax return. That has to be illegal.
    Rant: DC government makes me want to be a libertarian.
    Rant: ranting too much.

    • i second your final rant

      • You mean _you_ are ranting too much, or Gotryit is?
        Gotryit seems like a pretty reasonable dude to me, not someone who rants about anything and everything. OTR has certainly taxed his patience; I think his rant is justified.

        • gotryit

          Thanks – I couldn’t care less if some anonymous person thinks I’m ranting too much (at least their snark is decent / semi-amusing). But I would like to get myself in a better mood – anger is too easy.

          • Gotryit, you have my sympathies. I live in fear of OTR messing up my taxes. Actually, I live in fear of having to deal with the incompetence and ineptitude of any DC agency- hence, why I’ve maintained a drivers license from another state for over 10 years! Good luck to you.

          • Oh please. DC’s government agencies are no worse than (oftentimes better than) any other state’s. After living in Virginia for three years I’ve come to appreciate how competent and helpful DC is, in comparison.

        • Re. “OTR has certainly taxed his patience” — I did not actually intend this pun. 😉

        • To anonymous at 11:00 am, unless you are a member of the military a student, a member of congress, or a member of some other group entitled to reciprocity, you very well may be breaking the law when you drive. D.C. requires you change your license within 30 days.

          • Yeah, I suspect that person will have some kind of complication/legal issue at some point and will immediately blame some DC agency for ineptitude.

          • Nah, I don’t own a car, so it doesn’t matter. I present the same license every time I vote in DC, and nobody asks. It’s a non-issue for the carless. And even if there was some penalty, I’ll take my chances in the District. I can’t avoid taxes in DC (they’ve got me there), but I want to be below the radar here as much as possible to avoid the fraudulent tickets, the crazy fines, and the other nonsense DC employees come up with every day for people just trying to live their lives. I’ve heard enough stories on this blog about fines and tickets being incorrectly handled, and your recourse involving having to visit a gov building during business hours, only to speak with surly and uninformed people. No thanks.

          • Yeah, and if Alabama or wherever you’re from had a blog with a R/R/R section I’m sure you’d see similar complaints. These problems are universal.

          • I don’t see how having a drivers license from a state you don’t live in protects you from any of the tickets or fines you mention. DC police can give tickets to any driver breaking traffic laws, and the others would be related to a piece of property (a car, a house, whatever) so again, your drivers license status isn’t relevant.

          • I think you missed my point: I want to be off the radar as much as possible in the District. A drivers license is just one component of that. People who have license plates here have been ticketed for being parked in places they never visited. Just the fact that you’re in the system makes you vulnerable to their mistakes. Hell, you can even get tickets for parking in the correct spot at the right time with all of your info up to date. This is well-publicized. The less information ANY DC agency has on me is better in my book. This is why I don’t bother owning a car- too much hassle with DC. I couldn’t imagine buying a house here unless I could afford to pay a personal staffer to deal with the inevitable problems DC government would pose (i.e., permits, taxes, assessments, waste management, etc…). And to the commenter that said these problems are universal: yes and no. There are levels of competence that vary wildly from one place to another. DC’s corruption issues and incompetence woes spring not from opinion, but from fact. You’re not going to have the worst school system in the country and produce a great local government at the same time. C’mon now.

          • Why are you worried about phantom parking tickets if you don’t have a car? So you’ll forever rent (which has its own share of potential problems) because you’re afraid the city might over-assess your house? Seriously, you need to ditch the tinfoil hat. Fairfax County had excellent schools but their DMV is a nightmare.

          • gotryit

            Anonymous 12:34, thank you for reminding me why I don’t want to associate with libertarian / conspiracy theorists… a personal staffer? really?

          • You live in a very sinister world indeed. Might be better to go off the grid entirely.

          • I actually totaled up all the hours I spent dealing with the DMV when I first moved to the area, and it amount to not days, but WEEKS of my time. I probably could have used a personal staffer then! But this was in Virginia, not DC, so it doesn’t really support Anonymous 12:34’s claim.

          • Nah, I don’t like in a sinister world. I just recognize that DC has got big problems when it comes to basic public administration issues. I’m not a libertarian- I’m just someone who doesn’t want to deal with the crap DC government doles out to all of you fine folks (see: the DYRS jails/half-way houses being built to or already next to people’s houses). If you’re fine living that way, have at it. In the meantime, my mission is to avoid it when I can. It makes life a lot less stressful.

          • Yeah, I don’t get why this guy isn’t off the grid entirely. So rather than be in the system in DC, you’d rather be in another state’s system? That sounds annoy to deal with. If you’re that paranoid you shouldn’t even be online posting comments in case someone’s watching.

          • Where are you from?

          • Also, all of the things he (she?) is concerned about (DYRS houses, parking tickets) are totally and completely divorced from who issues a drivers license or how much info DC has about you. So it’s not just extreme paranoia, it’s misplaced paranoia.

          • Eep. I moved out of VA a couple years ago, have a VA license but never switched it to DC although I haven’t driven either. I alerted the VA DMV so it’s technically no longer valid, but never got around to going to the DC DMV because I had a crazy first few months, and then I was afraid I’d have to retake the road test and I have a) never driven in a city and b) never parallel parked. If I go to switch it after all this time, can I get fined although I’ve never driven? I never considered that, I just use it for an ID here, and it’d be nice to be able to drive when I go home to my rural hometown…

    • A similar thing happened to me when I lived in NoVA. It was only a couple hundred, but it was for a parking ticket I supposedly received years before when I wasn’t even living or working in the area. No notification, no proof, just a bitchy lady in Richmond telling me they’re not giving back the money they took out of my tax return. Really frustrating out of principle.

    • They overcharged my house taxes for 2012 and charged our mortgage company (that i have direct deposit with). Some idiot marked our house vacant instead of our neighbor’s, hence the higher rate. In January of 2013, we had a whopping $6k taking out direct deposit and sent to DC towards taxes. We were told we owed another $12k before the end of the year and they included late fees. It was a nightmare dealing with them and the bank. By the time it was straightened out, we had paid nearly $10k in taxes to the bank, who in return paid it to the city. (the bank was threatening to start foreclosure when we refused to pay it). In the end, are taxes were adjusted to the correct amount and we eventually received a refund minus $1250. The bank has refused to refund the balance due to DC refusing to refund them the balance. It’s over a year, multiple emails/phone calls/visits to DC offc, and no refund. This isn’t the first time we’ve had issues either. In 2008, my husband purchased a car, paid the title tax and moved out of DC shortly after. After multiple calls and being told we would receive a partial refund, it’s 2014 and we still have not received it. We moved back to the city in 2010 and they had the nerve to try to charge him again!

    • That happened to me. It turned to be a combination of a math error on my part, bad mail forwarding by USPS after I moved, and some interest and penalties that compounded. And of course DC had the money I owed withheld from both my federal and state tax refunds, so that was annoying. But they were pretty nice about explaining the problem to me, and since it all originally stemmed from me messing up a very simple subtraction problem.

    • gotyrit, the SAME thing happened to me. A complicated tax year in 2002 resulted in what I expected at the time to be a very inflated assessment of $1,200 for that tax year. I diputed it via phone and was given very few details, none of which I really understood. I ended up paying the full amount that I was assessed and then, inexplicably, I received two checks, several months apart in 2009 with absolutely no explanation. One was for about $300 and the other was about $800. I contacted the DC Office of Tax and Rev before cashing the checks and they told me that they did an audit and determined that I overpaid my 2002 taxes.

    • Rant: I have to wash my hands and brush my teeth in the kitchen sink because the bathroom sink pipes are frozen.
      Rave: I made a mean pot of coffee this morning. Working from home and sipping my fine brew feels very indulgent right now.

  • epric002

    rant: it’s cold enough that i’m wearing long underwear.
    rant: i think i’m fighting off a cold. hoping the zinc and ecchinacea work.
    rave: friday?

    • I am wearing tube socks. This can’t be life. I was ok with winter until last weekend showed up.

      • epric002

        i’m over it. i like the 4 seasons, including winter, especially when it snows. but it is march tomorrow. the temps are supposed to be on the INcline, not the DEcline. i can’t even bring myself to read the capital weather gang’s latest post about this sunday/monday storm. UGH.

    • I felt like yesterday was worse. That wind! I don’t mind brutal cold as long as it’s not being slammed into me.

    • epric002

      chronic uber-rant: stupid-short suspenses for taskers. i swear they do this to force people into concurring without comment. mother effers.

  • Does anyone repair watches anymore? I’d love to know where to take a nice-but-not-luxe watch that stopped working. (It’s a self-winding watch, or whatever that’s called. No battery.)
    I’d really love to know of a place downtown, Dupontish…

    • There is a high end watch shop at Pentagon City Mall called Tourneau that has a repair shop I think. I take my vintage Omega Seamaster collection there from time to time but not sure how much they can do exactly.

    • there’s a little place on 14th and L, called Han Time Engraving, where i’ve had a watch band repaired. not sure how detailed of a repair you are looking for but they were able to do that fine

    • I have a vintage watch that stopped working, and I had no idea what to do. After searching through some watch collectors’ forums, I actually ended up sending it to Paul’s Watch Repair, which is in Sacramento. Good service and reasonably priced.

    • Swiss Watch Works in Georgetown, Wisconsin Ave right at P St (across from Marvelous Market). They have a lot of high end watches in the window so I think that’s their niche.

    • Try Boone & Sons and Connecticut & L. It’s a jewelry store. They have replaced watch batteries for me. They may also do repairs or be able to send it to the right people.

      • +1 for Boone and Sons. I live in Petworth and travel down there when I need a watch repair. They’re surprisingly cheaper than anywhere else I’ve taken watches. And very nice too.

    • There’s a guy at the corner of 18th and I, right above the Subway sandwich place. There’s also a dry cleaner and shoe repair guy in the same little shop, so a little confusing if you dont know what you’re looking for.

      • I have also used him for batteries. He is fine for some things. For example, he could not replace the gasket on my waterproof watch, which is not a top-end watch but still nice. So, depending upon the watch and what you need, he might be ok.

      • Mr. Kim! A couple tips when dealing with him: (1) don’t leave anything there (if you need a battery, he’ll do it while you wait, especially if you go on a weekday), because the shop is a mess, and (2) offer to pay cash (it’s usually cheaper)

    • saf

      Not downtown, but…

      Go to Watch Guy. No, I don’t know his name. He’s in the basement of Rodman’s on Wisconsin Avenue.

      • +1 The Watch Guy at Rodman’s is great! Very reasonable prices and will often fix things while you wait. I’ve used Chas. Schwartz and Tourneau — and highly recommend them, although they can be pricey. I think there might also be someone at the jewelry store in the Chevy Chase Arcade.

        • anonymouse_dianne

          ++1 the Watch Guy at Rodman’s. He’ll change your batteries while you wait. He’ll tell you if your watch is worth fixing. And if you are regular customer, like I am, he will give you a discount.

  • Rant – When people misspell my first name in an email… especially when my first name is part of my email address.
    Rave – Friday! Going to NY this weekend to visit my niblings.
    Rave – The word “niblings”

  • Rave: Love that pic. I miss horseback riding!
    Rave: Amazing the difference that a good night’s rest makes. I am no longer Ms. Grumpy Pants.
    Rave: Looking forward to a night out with my dear friend. We are celebrating her much deserved promotion.
    Observation: Took food to new parent friends last night. I definitely want to have a spawn at some point, but the early days of life with a newborn just seem overwhelming. I felt a great deal of gratitude for the fact that I could go home, eat a bowl of pasta, sip some bourbon, and enjoy the quiet of my couch. I am glad that I have friends who don’t sugar coat parenting, and it is good that I have reminders to just enjoy the place where I’m currently at in life. I have a tendency to always be looking ahead to the “next thing” and am trying to be more present and appreciative of everything I have. Nice to have those realizations that sometimes I’m doing that.

    • I love your 2nd rave. I’m in same state of mind 🙂

      • And by “2nd rave” I meant your observation about wanting kids in the future, but appreciating your life as it is right now.

    • Ha ha. It is pretty rough in the beginning, especially with the first one. It is completely overwhelming. However, people get through it and some even decide to have more than one. It is a ton of hard work and shatters your social life for a while but in the end, I think being a parent is one of the purest forms of human love and affection that you can experience.

      • gotryit

        I agree – I’d call the first few weeks / months voluntary torture balanced by the good moments. Most people are strong enough to get through it, but having family / friends to help out / take the edge off is huge.

        • doing it with no family nearby is very difficult. And no friends stopped by or brought us food or anything. My mom came down and brought us a ton of food.

          That said, when you have a difficult baby (I’m talking difficult, not special needs or anything medical, just a baby who wont sleep, like ours…or a baby that won’t nurse…like ours), it isn’t fun.

          Even though our kid is damn cute, I can’t see myself ever going that again and wish I had considered a little longer just how much my life would change (I’d only ever been around pretty easy babies, and since no one I know had kids, the issues with BFing and whatnot weren’t on my radar).

          Tack on the mommy guilt…

          • In Mexico they have a tradition where the mother is not allowed to do anything but rest for 40 days after the baby is born. They set up a network of friends and family to stay at her house and do the cooking, cleaning, and baby care while she gets to sleep, receive massages, and play/cuddle with the baby. Sounds nice!

          • Hang in there. It is harder when they aren’t interacting as really new babies. Just wait, it gets easier and is a lot of fun. Also, don’t let the breast feeding cult get you down if you are having trouble. My kids were formula raised and are doing just great.

      • The first year is the worst. When I lived through it I knew it was rough but didn’t really appreciate how rough until it was over, which is just to say that like many things in life worth doing, one buckles down and does what needs to be done.

    • I like your perspective – acknowledging wants for the future while appreciating the good things of the present.

    • In my experience, a committed and involved partner makes ALL the difference. Even if you’re both overwhelmed, you’re in it together. One or the other can usually dredge up a hidden reserve in times of need. If I had been trying to go it alone, I don’t even know how I would have survived.

  • Rave: great picture. I miss riding. Someone needs to shoot that groundhog.

  • rant: fighting a sinus infection from hell. and i am hosting 5 friends from out of town starting tonight all weekend. i don’t want to be miserable while they are visiting! i’m on all sorts of medicine and have been resting for two days, but i haven’t been able to kick it yet.
    rave: i am excited to see my friends. it’s like a mini-college reunion with some of my favorite people.

  • Rant: Commercials for President’s Day sales. Does President’s Day last two weeks? And the Easter candy is already in stores. I’m ready for my vacation (next week!)

  • Rant: I ask my boss a question about a rule that I never interpret correctly. He directs me to the rule. Rinse. Repeat.
    Rave: at least I’m working from home, so I can be comfortable while I feel like an idiot.
    Rant: I realized if I turn my closet doors into bifold doors I’ll lose the back of the door shoe storage. Would it be weird to have one bifold door and one normal one? That’s still 12 pairs of shoes with no home :-/

    • Do you have room on the closet floor for a shoe rack? The one I have has two rows so clothes can still fit on the closet rod without touching the shoes

      • Not really, I keep my laundry basket under the dress portion and on the other side there are two rods and little space under the skirts that hang on the bottom rod. I do have an amazing boot organizer in my coat/entry closet. I could put shoes on the back of that door, which would work, but be less ideal than having them all in one closet. It’s not out of the question though.
        I am a shopper, it’s true. But I have taken pains to be ruthless getting rid of stuff. It might be time to cut deeper.

        • 12 shoes is not that many at all. I despise shopping, especially shoe shopping, but I must have around 20 pairs. And I’m constantly getting them repaired, so it’s not like they don’t get used! With all the different kinds of weather, and different situations/occasions, we need a lot of different shoes here in DC.

        • Twelve pairs of shoes sounds almost like an ascetic, self-denying number. 😉 I haven’t done a shoe census in a while, but I have a bad feeling it’s upwards of 50 pairs.

        • I bought an old glass curios cabinet from a second hand store and store my shoes in there. It even has a light:)

    • Underbed storage for the shoes!

      • I am very lucky; our new place had enough closets that I could dedicate an entire one (with a light in it!!) to shoes!!! Lofty as it sounds, it gave me a dose of realism – in that I really need to think HARD before buying more.

        • That’s wild! I don’t even have enough closet space for clothes (just enough for my 2 suits, 3 blazers/jackets, and 5 dresses). I’m guessing you don’t live in a turn-of-the-century rowhouse. 😉

          • I turned the trunk room (that tiny room over the front door of most DC rowhouses) into a walk-in closet, complete with angled shoe shelves. The tiny little closet IN the closet is just for linens. *smug*

          • Is that the same as the vestibule? Because I’ve tried putting shoe racks in there and it just impedes too much on the walk-through width of that space.

          • No, it’s the “third bedroom”, or baby room, or trunk room. That tiny upstairs room that *might* fit a crib (but not a crib + changing table). I have seen several people use it as an office. Only one person I know uses it as a bedroom, and then just guest space. So I put built-ins all around and it’s perfect.

          • I turned one of the “trunk rooms” in my house into my “shoes, bags, and accessories room.”
            It doesn’t have its own closet, though.

    • msmaryedith

      Jeslett, how about this? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001F51AHG/ref=oh_details_o07_s01_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I ordered it recently for a regular door, but I think the hooks could be placed at the right place along the bifold to still make it work? And it’s a soft backing so it would fold/bend when you opened the door, I think!

      • That’s exactly what I have. The bifold door wouldn’t be able to fold too much with that on one of the panels, but it might still be a solution. I could cut it in half, put it on one side of the bifold door and only lose 6 pairs of shoes.
        This all comes from yesterday’s discussion of bed size. I think I am going to try to channel my favorite DIY bloggers, Young House Love, and try, try, TRY to have some patience. I love the fabric and nail head trim on the headboard. I am sure I will buy a bigger bed someday, but right now I don’t need to A. put myself in a situation where I have no choice but to take on the bifold door project and B. buy a new mattress, box spring, frame or at least a middle support for the current frame, regular sheets, and flannel sheets. It sounds like just a mattress at first, but then it’s all the other stuff and we’re looking at somewhere in the $1000 range when it’s all said and done (depending on the mattress cost. I don’t think I’m scoring a comfy queen set with the frame and delivery for $250 like I did 10 yrs ago with the full set.) My awesome boyfriend gave me some good perspective yesterday and it helped me calm down and realize I’ve done a lot already and I don’t need to do it all at once. It’s not in my nature to be patient or to be at peace with aesthetics I don’t like, but I’m trying.

    • houseintherear

      I would like to toot my own horn for a minute and tell you about my recent shoe storage solution. I bought peg board, lots of it, and spray painted it the same color as my bedroom wall. Mounted the edges on 1X1 wood pieces, and screwed it to the wall. Bought pegs for the peg board, and now have *all* shoes hanging there. It has changed my life! So easy to clean the floor, and no more shoe dust. The peg board could even be cut into strips and screwed in along door frames, or above doors, or above windows… the possibilities are endless. And Home Depot did all the cutting for me for free!

      • This is a great idea – could be used on the back of a closet door too so as to hang more than 12 pairs of shoes : )

  • rant: being micromanaged. At some point, if you feel the need to micromanage people to such an extent, just do everything yourself. I’ll never understand how people become managers with this type of mentality.
    rave: Friday
    rant: I love winter and all, but this is enough.
    rave: thanks for the advice on renting a place out furnished! Still want to rent it out, regardless of furnished or unfurnished.

    • Emmaleigh504

      My micromanaging manager likes to give me tips on how to micromanage the people I manage. It seems he want’s everyone to be a micromanager. It’s maddening.

      • I think micromanaging is getting worse. There are no resources in the gov’t for managers to actually learn how to manage. For me, I have military supervisors so everyone that comes in every few months has no idea what they are doing. I just got yelled at for doing my job because my supervisor had already done it.

        • I do supervision training for one government agency, another government agency requires supervision training for managers. There’s a place in Charlottsville VA that offers a week (or two?) of leadership training for government employees – I believe this is through the Center for Creative Leadership and the training is highly rated.

          • our problem is the rotational aspect of our supervisors. I believe that civilians should have civilian supervisors for continuity. But, no one cares what I think 🙂

      • I work for a NGO and for the first time in my career I have a micromanager. I sometimes now catch myself micromanaging other people–it’s insidious and infectious!

  • RAVE: Got a straight razor shave and haircut before work this AM. Ahhhhhhhh, so refreshing, cleann, and smooth.
    RANT: I got a bloody nick on my chin from the shave and the sensitive skin on my neck was inflamed.

    • Nothing better. I was living in the Middle East for a number of years, where straight shaves cost a dollar or so. While they don’t always come with the frills of an expensive one here, you can afford to go every other day.

      Now I just do it myself. As such, well versed in the bloody nicks. While it has probably stopped bleeding by now, styptic pencils are your friend. Do deal with the inflammation, witch hazel.

  • Rant: The horse in this pic looks like its up to no good.

  • skj84

    Rant: Sick and depressed. I’ve had a sinus infection all week and nothing I’m taking is working. I’m still having panic attacks and just feel like I can’t do anything right. I’m off from work for the next few days and honestly all I want to do is stay in bed. I have two social events this weekend and I just don’t have the energy or the right mindset to attend, but I don’t like flaking on engagements.

    • Anonynon

      i feel like there has been so many people with this infection. I have had it for like two weeks (constant nose blowing, the coughing is going away). Is there something crazy going around? It has made the last two weeks really not enjoyable for me :/ sorry friends for being grumpy

      • I had a lingering sinus/cold thing for two weeks last month. There’s definitely some kind of miserable cold strain going around.

        • Anonynon

          its literally been the worst winter i can remember. iv had this sinus thing for two weeks iv had a breif cold at least 3 times. Its still not over!!! I remember going seemingly years without being sick. In high school i use to never miss a day

      • skj84

        Yeah, combined with the weather I have not been in the best of spirits this week. The infection is so bad my teeth hurt. I can’t stand aching teeth. If i’m not feeling better by tomorrow i’m going to the Doctor. I hate taking antibiotics, but I hate feeling miserable even more.

        • Anonynon

          I dont think antibototics (at least for me) would do anything. I am not coughing up ‘phlem’ so i dont think its the normal bacterial infection (which i have already got this winter once and almost died from how painful it was when i woke up one morning). I am just coughing up clear mucus constantly (its not discolored). No idea what it is, but it seems to be winding down a bit but has just been lingering for way to long. I keep saying ill go to the doctor but i need to find a new one and am lazy

        • anonymouse_dianne

          Antibiotics won’t help a cold. I’ve had this miserable thing for two weeks now. I bucked up and got the Aleve 12 hour sinus and cold med that you have to get from the pharmacy and sign for it. so worth it.

    • saf

      Being sick is a valid reason to cancel.

      That said, if it is more than sick, please take care of yourself and deal with that too.

  • Rant: inability of Cleveland Park to hold on to retail or restaurants lately. Is the turnover normal? It’s a few of the same places.

    Rave: Patrick at Palena. What a great bartender.

    Rave: recording music all weekend!!!!

  • RAVE: great band of horses show last night at the lincoln!
    RANT: people who bail on a planned weekend last minute and neglect to address the financial aspect of it. You know you owe me money, but now I have to write an email basically saying ‘sorry you cant come, cut me a check.’ I feel like I just dropped a bomb telling them that…and am just awaiting some nastygram in my email..

    • This is why I don’t buy tickets for friends anymore, or at least not until they’ve already paid me. I know it’s more convenient just to have one person buy all the tickets, but after dodging a bullet a couple of times by saying “you know, I just think I’ll buy mine” and having everyone cancel last minute, it’s worth it.

  • Rant: dcra denied approval to build deck on the new home. The home has one of those interior alleys with windows (dont know the term for it) between both homes and they want the deck to wrap around and cover the alley.

    • How can you do that without encroaching on your neighbor’s property?

      • That was my question/concern..they told me that if I ever wanted to extend the home that I will have to infill the alley. They are calling it a non-conforming courtyard. I don’t see what would be the use of wrapping the deck into the alley other than making my home an easy burglary target.

        • Is this one of those u-shaped areas between the rear parts of 2 row houses? Or is this a passageway that goes clear through from front to back?

          • It’s half of the U shape. So basically L shape. The neighboring home wall is extends down the alley with that homes alley on the other side of the home. There are no windows on their all facing my home/alley.

          • Didn’t know that this shape is non-conforming. There are lots of houses like this all over DC. Seems like their insistence on wrapping the deck around is more form over function. You’re not altering the shape of the house itself from an L (or P, depending on how you look at it) but since decks are considered part of the structure I guess they figure that’s good enough. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, as you’re creating — like you said — useless space that only encourages burglars. Can you get a special exception?

          • I’m hoping. I’m having the architect go down and try again see if he gets another person and a different result. If not then I will try and go down to the home owner’s center and see if I can get them to let me plead my case and see if they grant it…it would totally duck if I can’t get approval. The flow onto the would be deck is set up perfectly. Fingers crossed.

    • Wait, they want you to make a bigger deck than you proposed? Isn’t that a bonus?

      • It would be in a 3ft wide alley. Would basically be storage…plus I’d have to dig down about 5ft. So there is clearance for the rear basement which would now be covered by said deck.

  • Rant: DCPS lottery time with no good in boundary options! Even as a household with two advanced degrees and the wherewithal to gather, sort, and analyze the data available to us it’s still a mind-bending exercise. They say the lottery gives equal chances to everybody who participates, but that clearly isn’t the case. The more educated you are the better chances to have of placement beneficial to your family, because you can figure out to a certain degree what out of boundary schools are just dumb to even attempt and how to rank the remaining pool. Throw that in with all of the charters in the lottery that do NOT have good admissions data and now it’s back to being a crap shoot. We saw a lot of wonderful schools, and there are ones we would be totally happy sending our kids to, but the anxiety is insane. And our backup (BACKUP!) is private school which would stretch the budget to extremes even with generous financial aid (assuming we would even like the school better than our top DCPS choices).

    And, no, we are not moving to the ‘burbs 😉 We’re committed to making the city and all of its resources work with and for us.

  • Rant: Yesterday I had a follow-up appt at Washington Hospital Center for a jaw x –ray. The DR in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery seemed confused as to why I was there and argued with me that I should be following up with Ears Nose and Throat (ENT). It was ENT that gave me the referral 2 weeks ago for an x-ray–it’s not like I’m randomly making appointments with health professionals just for the heck of it. Finally he said “Well let me go get your chart (Hey, good idea!) and then came back a few minutes and told me to follow him to get an x-ray. After the x-ray he took me to ENT and told me a resident would see me later. I have an appointment with my Otolaryngologist next week but I figured that if I could get a resident to review and give me the OK for solid foods, it was worth the wait. I was taken back to an examine room and after about 20 minutes the nurse came in and was all apologetic and told me that the resident had told the DR in Oral surgery that I should make an appointment to review. She wasn’t sure why the DR had brought me over and dumped me.

    Rave: Washington Hospital Center Angry Birds with Bitter Greens Smoothie last night (Newman’s Own Sockarooni Pasta Sauce with ground turkey, pepperoni, chicken broth, arugula, buckwheat and flax seed in a passive-aggressive Oster session. )

    Rant: Seriously Google should give me a dollar every time I say “Otolaryngologist” since I’m sure people pretend to know what that is and then turn around and look it up.

    Rave: My Big Fat Greek smoothie today (Ground turkey, chicken broth, olives, spinach, lemon juice, thyme, flax seed and yogurt did the Oster Horos this morning.)

    Rant: A few more days of liquid diet!

    • So sorry to hear this!

    • Bummer! Having to make a separate appointment for a review seems gruelingly unnecessary. On the bright-ish side, those of us who are avidly following your menu posts will get a few more. Today’s options sound yummy — and I actually snort-laughed when I read the name of the WHCABwBG one. Thanks for sharing your menus and your sense of humor. As one of the shivering masses I really appreciate the opportunity for a bit of morning laughter!

    • I just contributed a dollar to the Broken Jaw “What’s an Otolaryngologist?” fund. Although I’m sure you’re looking forward to solid food, I’ll miss your inspired smoothies 🙂

  • Can anyone recommend a good accountant?

    • Gelman, Rosenberg and Freedman — with an office near the Bethesda Metro are excellent. They’ve helped me handle some complicated family financial stuff with competence, efficiency, and kindness.

  • Anonynon

    Rant: I am so sick of ranting about weather but its the biggest nuissence in my life right now.
    Rave: Starting to finally break out of this Sinus Infection from hell that has been taking over my life for the better part of two weeks. I havent followed up with the girl i went out with on wednesday, figuring a friday text message is probably better received then a pointless one on thursday night with no intention of doing anything that day anyways. Going to a friends house warming saturday in alexandria, wohoo adult parties (he is now living with his fiance, he is 25)

    • Should have just sent it yesterday. She could have made plans by now, thinking you weren’t going to contact her. Sometimes when you try not to seem too eager, you end up seeming less confident. Don’t overthink these things, it’ll just drive you crazy.

      • Agree – it’s a mistake to assume that a message is pointless unless it’s to set a time and place to meet. Sometimes the point of a message, especially at that stage of a potential relationship, is to let someone know you’re interested.

        • And if you text/e-mail/phone to do something that same night, it can sometimes give the impression of “I was hoping to come up with better plans for tonight, but I didn’t, so hey, wanna get together?”
          Maybe text now to ask about meeting up Saturday afternoon or Sunday?

          • justinbc

            +everything everyone said.
            You should always talk/message/text/whatever people whenever you want, waiting to do so because of some unwritten rules of dating communication never works out.

  • Rave: surprise birthday bash for my very cool boss
    Revel: there will be champers and an early release!
    Rant: I’m afraid my bees won’t survive the winter. I checked them out 2 weeks ago when it was warm, and they seemed healthy, all things considered, but these vicious non-stop cold snaps can’t be helping.
    Rant/rave: My new mentors are filling me with knowledge, confidence and passion to the point of making me want to get as many hives as possible. #obsessed

    • How cool about the bees! Though sad if they don’t make it. I’ve been wanting to set up a hive on my building’s roof. Missed out on a couple DC Honeybees classes the last couple of winters. Care to share some leads on where you got started?

      • I started keeping bees last year after taking a quick course with Jeff Miller at DC Honey Bees. That was a very basic course (only 2 afternoons and the second afternoon was about making candles & soap from beeswax, not animal husbandry). I jumped in headfirst with lots of gumption and minimal knowledge and bought a hive and a package. I only got stung once (on the face!) and managed to avoid swarming or mass die off.
        I’m taking a course right now through dcbeekeepers.org at UDC. It is very in depth and makes me realize how much I don’t know. I’m buying a package (just a queen and some bees, it takes a full year to establish a hive and harvest honey) and a nuc (an established mini-hive, harvestable honey in the first year) for this spring. If my existing hive doesn’t survive the winter, the package will replace the dead bees. If my current hive survives…well then I will have 3 hives!
        If you’re interested in beekeeping, check out dcbeekeepers.org. They have monthly meetings and they do other events too. You do not need to be a beekeeper to attend, anyone interested in apiculture is welcome!

        • Thanks! I’ll check out the monthly meeting and maybe next year I’ll take that extension course and get started after years saying I’m going to do this. Good luck with all the hives.

    • Teehee, it makes my day when British people say “champers” for champagne.

      • In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not British. My partner is a brit and so is my best friend so that’s where I picked it up. The brits have better words for certain things:
        snog=make out
        wankers=maryland drivers

  • Rant: People who bitch about something they were so excited about. You chose to do that cross country trip you dont get to bitch about it.
    Rave: get to see some aunts and uncles tonight 🙂

  • Rant: Still job searching :/. Honestly, the positive feedback from the interviews I do get has just made it harder, because I keep thinking that one time it will actually work out. Always the same answers though: “position cancelled” or “sorry, internal candidate.”
    Does anyone have advice on career coaches with experience in international development? I’m starting to worry as I see my unemployment period become noticeably long. I’m worried that it is starting to overshadow my experience.
    Rave: Health, motivation, and a sunny Friday.

    • Ugh, I feel you on the getting positive feedback from interviews and then the ensuing let down. I always end up feeling like I’ve been seriously lead on to believe I’m the top candidate. I also sympathize with your “noticeably long” unemployment period. But try to remember that the narrower and higher-skill your field is (like international development) the longer it’s acceptable for your unemployment period to be. Sometimes it takes many months or more than a year to land the right high-skill position. (Sorry I don’t have any advice, just my sympathy/empathy.)

      • Thanks for the sympathy/empathy. I also know that my position is a tricky one. I was very fortunate to receive the responsibilities that I did in my last positions, but they were field-based and don’t line up all that well with job levels here in DC. I am very thankful to be able to take some time to try to land the right job, but also try to maintain a sense of urgency.

        • What kind of work are you looking for?

          • Ideally, development projects in the Middle East. My expertise is in youth programs and cross-cultural exchange, but I’m still relatively fresh in my career and keeping an open mind (though maintaining the general regional focus).

    • Devex has a career advice blog and career webinars. They also offer a “career account” – one of my friends has used this and said it has been very helpful

      • Devex is great. I have the career account and definitely make use of it. I’m also thinking about their CV writing service. It is definitely a resource that has helped me so far, and I would recommend it to others. Worth it for the <$20 a month.

        • Same friend also uses a service through LinkedIn to improve her profile and lots more. This also seems to be paying off for my friend. It’s something offered directly by LinkedIn, not through an independent career coach.

  • Rant: While heading up to Silver Spring last night, I got cut off by a car who went straight in a right turn only lane, and then watched this car swerve back and forth cutting multiple people off as they jumped out of the travel lane into the lane that was clearly blocked by parked cars just a short distance ahead and back…They had one of those special friends of the mayor/council low number plates.

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