Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe in DC

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.

145 Comment

  • Poll: How much credit card debt do you have?

    ME: 4800

    • Me: $0
      No debt of any kind.

    • I pay it off each month so no debt

      • Rave – Did some yoga at home last night and it felt amazing. I haven’t been able to go to class in a long time because of my stupid, never-ending cold, so I’m trying to get into a home practice. It went better than expected!
        Rant – It looks like my trip to Florida to this weekend will not go as expected because of the storm. I usually love snowstorms but not this one.
        Question – Dear PoPville experienced travelers, do you rebook flights in anticipation of bad weather? My flight is scheduled to depart DCA at 7:30pm on Thursday. How do I handle this, should I rebook my flight now or just wait and see what happens?

        • Oops posted this in the wrong spot

        • Did you just do the poses, or did you follow a tape or video? I always just rush through poses and forget how to transition between some of them when I try to do yoga at home.

          • I did some sun salutations on my own then followed a “yoga for the winter blues” video from this YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/yogatic

            Doyogawithme.com is another great site for yoga videos.

          • I do yoga mostly at home because the classes I can go to (right after work) are always packed to the gills. I joined yogaglo.com; monthly fee is the cost of one in-person class and they have a huge, constantly growing sortable library of classes to stream from 5 minutes long to 90 minutes. I do need occasional classes though for the motivation.

        • I typically see if I can try to rebook in anticipation of bad weather, as long as taking an extra day off and having lodging wherever I’m going is no big deal (so I’d be likely to rebook if I was visiting friends or family than if I was planning on staying in a hotel). I’ve found that in the instances when I have waited, it’s been too late and others have taken up the flights immediately following mine, so I have to wait longer than I’d like. It also depends on the length of the trip. I don’t want a three day weekend cut short by a day, but if a two week trip is cut a day short, it’s no big deal.

        • Call your airline and see what they suggest. Can you go a day earlier? It’s to their advantage to avoid weather-related cancellations so I’ve found them pretty reasonable about switching flights in anticipation without penalty.

    • None. Big ol’ mortgage, no other debt (car, educational, etc).

    • Zero dollars. Pay it off every month.

    • 8K. On the bright side, I have a 200K mortage on a street where the average mortgage is 600K and I am paying mine off in 15 years.

      • I obviously don’t know your financial situation, but personally I would focus on paying down the credit card, which almost certainly charges higher interest rates than your mortgage.

      • I addition to the above advice, pay down first the card with the highest interest rate. I have two cards – one with a 12% rate and another with a 17% rate. I make the minimum payment on the 12% card and make much larger payments on the 17% card to get that balance finished first. I only have about $5K between the two cards, so I’m hoping to be done with both by the end of the year (which will really help my credit score).

    • I used to be really good at having $0, but my financial situation changed dramatically this past year. Currently sitting at about $5K. Using my tax refund to pay that shizz down.

    • $0 – pay it off every month. Do have a mortgage, small student loan payment and new car that will be paid off in 6 months.

    • binpetworth

      None. Only debt is a mortgage that I plan to pay off early (but not that early–23 versus 30 years).

    • justinbc

      $0 in CC, but do have 2 house mortgages and about to have a 3rd. No car, so no debt there, but still a tiny bit of grad school left to pay off (the % rate is so low there’s no rush).

    • More than you, but all of it was from grad school. Plan to have it fully paid off in < 24 months…

    • $3500. Had it all paid off for a while, but then I did some renovations and the holidays came around and I’ve just had a hard time paying it down since then. Ready for my tax refund!

    • No debt of any kind. Thankfully.

    • 0 credit card debt; but one whopping mortgage.

    • Only debt is 75K left on my mortgage. I would’ve paid it off in a year or two but I refinanced so I could do some work on my house. Thankfully student loan free – paid off both undergrad and graduate school loans many years ago. And I pay off my credit cards each month so no carry-over debt.

    • Zero but I used to have about 12k. Paid it off 10 or so years ago and never looked back. Anecdotally, a colleague of mine recently revealed to me that she and her husband have $85k in credit card debt. That blew me away.

      • Must have used it to finance home renovations? That’s nuts.
        My co-worker’s current boyfriend used to have $100K in CC debt with his ex-wife. But his parents are rich and they paid it off for them when they divorced. Must be nice.
        I have $5K in CC debt from grad school (was $10K). Paying it off as fast as I can. I’m only making minimum payments on my student loans, which will be forgiven after 10 years of government work anyway.

    • This may look overwhelmingly like people are financially smart, but those are just the ones who are posting. Those of us with CC debt may not want to air out their figures…

      • Agreed. I know lots of people my age (late 30s) who are swimming in cc debt. And while I posted earlier than I have none, I’m about to open a new LOC with a no interest promotion and charge a fancy vacation on it. 😉

      • To be clear. I struggled financially for a long time so I did not always have it together. I married a smart woman that put me on the righteous path. Otherwise, I would have been screwed.

      • I have about $15k, down from $16k. Hoping to use my tax refund and a freelance check to knock it down to about $14k, but it’s still going to be a slog.

    • I charge almost everything to credit cards but I’m constantly paying them off. Every time I get paid (twice a month) 47% is automatically transferred into my mortgage account, and 22% goes into savings, while the remaining 20-30% goes to paying off the balances on my cards. Then I have a blank slate from which to charge all my expenses for the next two weeks.

    • I pay mine off monthly. Credit card interest is like giving someone else money for nothing! I know it’s needed in some situations…but those should really be rare. I tell my brother this all the time…it’s like talking to a brick wall!

    • According to NerdWallet:
      ….Based on an analysis of Federal Reserve statistics and other government data, the average household owes $7,123 on their cards; looking only at indebted households, the average outstanding balance rises to $15,270. Here are statistics, trends, studies and methodology behind the average U.S. household debt.
      ■Average credit card debt: $15,270
      ■Average mortgage debt: $149,925
      ■Average student loan debt: $32,258

    • $0. I also pay it off each month.

    • janie4

      $2,000. I’m paying it down slowly and will put $500 of my tax return towards it.

    • I fondly remember the easy-credit card years in the 1990s when I got 2-3 offers a week to open a new card – no fee – and transfer the balance from another card at 0% interest for 6 months. I’d get a cash advance or run up expenses on an old card, transfer the whole thing to a new card, pay no interest – rinse and repeat. I was up to around 16 cards at one point, never paid interest and actually bought 3 (distressed/cheap) condos this way.

    • I have about $12k left, down from $40k five years ago. I’m slowly chipping away at it.

    • $0. I’m old school. I still use cash for most things things — which makes it easier for me to budget:- i.e. if I can’t pay for it, I don’t buy it, and pay off my credit card balances at the end of the month. I was raised with very Old School values about debt — which should only be for housing, education, or health emergencies — and not even then if you can avoid it. .

  • Rant: NPR pledge drive
    Rave: It’s sunny today, even if it is kind of chilly!

  • Potential Revel” SNOW! I’m taking Friday off, and Monday is a holiday, so closing Thursday could give me a 5 day weekend. I would really like a 5 day weekend.

    • I’m ready for the snow, and looking forward to it. I’m a contractor. If the federal government closes, I have to use paid time off (and I hardly have any left) or work extra hours to make up for it. I actually prefer a delayed opening. I have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, so I never have trouble getting to metro on snow days.

    • Ditto. Couldn’t be happier for my mini-staycation.

  • Photo: I did it one piece at a time, and it didn’t cost me a dime…..

    Rave-ish: back at work today, my cold seems to be on its way out.

  • gotryit

    Rave: I made it to work in ~20 minutes by driving at about 7am. It was far less crowded than I thought it would be, and lights seemed to be timed well.

  • What in the name of sweet baby jesus was going on around the hospital this morning?? Extending all the way past CU on Michigan, on N Capitol for a half-mile in either direction. It took me an hour to get past it. AN HOUR to go one mile (perhaps less).
    There ought to be a congestion fine for big construction projects. If your project ties up traffic, you pay. The money can be used to clean up after you, or to hire traffic control officers to try to mitigate. (Directing traffic away from the area along detour routes, for example.) That would create an incentive to time the heavy traffic-snarling work for non-rush-hour periods.

      • Accident involving a garbage truck from what I heard. I think it completely closed down Michigan for a while.
        Anon 10:13, if you don’t do it already you might want to follow local news and gov’t on Twitter and check that for traffic updates in the morning. I think I saw about 15 different tweets about this road closure before I left the house.

    • I’m fairly sure there was an accident on 1st st NW and Michigan and they had to close off Michigan between North Cap and 1st. That diverted a lot of traffic onto Irving, which has construction. Then when there is an ambulance coming to either Childrens’ or Medstar, they have to stop traffic to let the ambulance through (happened twice while I was waiting for the light at North Cap and Michigan). The three issues just made it a mad house.

      • Thanks for the detail. The radio stations (and I listened to them ALL over the course of that hour) had nothing to say about it. (Lots about the beltway, though.)
        And another rant: What is the point of traffic reports? They repeat the same information every day. So people who take the beltway should assume that it’ll be “stop and go at 270”. But something out of the ordinary, like this morning at the hospital, was actual news.

        • Ha! I’ve had that thought many times. At one point in my life I commuted between Rockville and Reston and would think “why don’t you just tell me when the American Legion bridge *isn’t* all jammed up”…

        • houseintherear

          Really? That’s weird. DC101’s traffic reports were all over it.

        • I saw it on news 4 and heard it on one of the radio stations. But, you’re right, a cluster on North Cap usually doesn’t make the traffic reports and it drives me nuts too.

        • I heard about it several times on WAMU in the course of 45 minutes (even with the pledge drive!)

  • Rave: It wasn’t pitch black when I walked home after spin last night. I have to hold of to those promises of spring to get through the last leg of winter.
    Rave: XPN radio live stream.
    Rant: I was up too late watching the Olympic coverage. I’m dragging at work today.

  • justinbc

    The sooner the better. This one has been so much colder than the previous two that we got lucky on.

  • Rave: Started using myfitnesspal (recommended by someone here) – outside of tracking what I eat, it is really helpful to see not just the calories but the carbs, protein, sodium, etc. And tracking exercise at the same time.
    And rave: Lost two pounds

    • Exact same as me, down to the two pounds! Keep it up!

    • Congrats to you both! Good work!

    • That’s awesome! I don’t know if I was the one that recommended MFP, but I’m always promoting it. Food logging is just so much more effective than other weight loss methods. Take the non-calorie tracking with a grain of salt, though. A lot of entries in the database don’t have all the nutritional info inputted, so you end up with an inaccurate representation of how much sodium (or whatever) you’re consuming. I also think some of the default thresholds are questionable (like if I eat two servings of fruit I’ve already exceeded my sugar allotment for the day, which is ridiculous in my opinion).

      • I’ve seen a few member submitted calorie/sodium/etc counts that didn’t make sense. Deli ham with zero sodium? But for the most part they make sense, and I’d also ignore “too much sugar” from 2 pieces of fruit!

    • I’ve lost over 20 pounds but I don’t recommend how I am doing it.

  • Re: your rant. He gets weirder every week! Although Cassandra did ask him to send her home as soon as he knew he didn’t want her, so I think it was pretty fair of him to send her home. Also, she’s way too young for him.

  • Rant: Saw something shitty on Metro this morning. AA lady sits down in seat on Metro train next to older W dude. Older W dude gets up and stands next to door. Train slows as it comes into Fort Totten and another AA lady walking to the door to leave starts talking loud to seated AA lady saying stuff like “Sister, he just didn’t want to sit next to you cause you’re black. Things don’t ever change in America.” Seated AA lady kept composure and told her calmly “In this day and age you shouldn’t even think like that.” The lady who was leaving walks out of the train car and kept calling the seated lady “brainwashed and ignorant.” The lady who walks out of the Metro car, stuck her head back into the train and yelled at the seated lady: “Well maybe he didn’t want to sit next to you cause you’re fat!” That hurt me and I wasn’t even the target of the comment. It was totally uncalled for. I’m an AA woman and I was pissed. Meanwhile, older W dude got off at the next station, Brookland. When I got off at Gallery Place, I wished the seated AA lady a nice day along with several others (of different races) who heard the exchange. She beamed and thanked us in response.
    Rave:tall white mocha latte on a cold morning.

    • Having someone bid her a nice day probably made her morning. Funny how a few nice words can salve many nasty ones. 🙂

    • Damn, your rant strikes a nerve in me. It drives me absolutely nuts when people “interpret” other people’s looks and actions. Everything from “that person gave me the stink-eye” to claims of racism like you talk about – you can’t really know what’s going on in that person’s head, and there’s always more than one way to interpret a situation if you’re not determined to only interpret it one way.

    • I was on Amtrak once when a woman of another race, and reeking of perfume, took the seat beside me. If I moved it would be clear I was moving to avoid her, and I wrestled for a long (stinky) time over whether I should explain to her that I wasn’t moving because of race, but because she stank of perfume. I don’t remember what I finally did – I think I just sat there and endured it.

    • So she had a problem with the white man ostensibly standing up because he didn’t want to sit next to a black woman, but she had no problem yelling at that same woman that she was fat? All this unkindness in the world hurts me to my core.

  • Rave: Officially decided to aggressively start saving to buy a condo at the end of my current lease
    Rave/Rant: There are just so many decisions to make. How do I choose a great neighborhood, building, size of condo, when the city and my life are constantly changing??
    Rant: Commitment issues are real.
    Rave: So excited to start the search!
    Rant: Scared I will be outbid for everything I want.

    • gotryit

      Have you considered renting until your life isn’t constantly changing? I’m normally a huge fan of buying, but not unless I’m projecting about 5 years+ of relative stability. Renting lets you change when appropriate.

    • Don’t put the cart before the horse. Focus on the aggressive savings, as that will be stressful enough and lead to significant changes in your lifestyle. And whatever number you’re focused on hitting, add $15K for closing costs.
      Buying is a huge money suck. Perhaps also explore first time buyer programs from NACA. They are great.

    • binpetworth

      Congrats! My advice: forget about narrowing down neighborhoods now. Pick your ceiling figure for what you absolutely don’t want to spend more than, and only look at units that fall below that. Figure out the 2-3 amenities you really don’t want to live without (e.g., walk to grocery store, in-unit laundry, near Metro) and consider compromising on everything else. Be open and you’ll find a place that’s right for you!

    • Thanks for the advice everyone! I certainly know I have a long way and many compromises to go before I get to the fun part of actually visiting and picking a place, but I am just excited for the next step.

  • justinbc

    Rant: Forgot my ID badge in yesterday’s pants pockets, realized this morning just after I got on the bus. Luckily it had only gone one stop so I didn’t have to walk far to get home and retrieve it. Unfortunately the next bus was 20 minutes late, and accordingly at about 90% capacity. Thankfully the bus driver let 3 of us squeeze on, but it was a slow, packed ride into the office, arriving about an hour later than planned.
    Rave: Dinner at Pasta Mia tonight, one of their final servings before they close up shop for good. I’ve been meaning to go to this institution for over 6 years now and just never made the time to wait in their lines, but the closing announcement finally spurred us to make a group effort. Let’s hope they’re still continuing with good service and food.

  • Rave: I’ve been using a Lose Weight hypnosis app for less than a week and I can already see positive, effortless changes in my eating habits.
    Rant: Unexpected estate taxes. Rising property values aren’t a good thing if you DON’T want to sell.
    Rave: Role models, mentors and teachers — sometimes when I’m least expecting them.
    Rave: Broken Jaw’s menu descriptions. Yesterday I tried the ginger apricot cream cheese. A tiny, yummy spoonful makes a great treat!

  • Rave: after an annoying Pepco mix up I finally got my first bill. It covered 10 weeks, but was less than one month of electric baseboard heat in my last place. I’m so thrilled!
    Rant I wanted to watch the last group of the dog show last night, but I was just too tired. Hopefully tonight I can stay up for best in show.
    Rave: after watching Maria Sharapova show Mary Carillo different types of food I was jonesing for some of the cheesy bread, khachapuri. Mari Vanna has it on their Sochi menu and it is delicious!

    • I can’t figure out why there are no Georgian restaurants around DC. I mean, OK, there may not be much of a Georgian community here, but the food is so good and different without being strange and inaccessible. Good to know Marivanna has khachapuri, at least temporaril!

  • Rant: Recently started commuting between Fairfax and Brookland (hour and a half each way, on average). I miss my commute between Petworth and Brookland (7 minutes each way…sigh).

    Rave: Commute time has increased because I’m in the process of moving in with my boyfriend. So, yay. 🙂

    • An hour and a half doesn’t sound too bad for that commute. I used to do a similar commute, but in reverse, so the traffic was much worse and it took longer on average. I can certainly empathize!

    • Whoa- are you sure he’s worth it?

      • I don’t think he’s the problem, it’s that the job is in Fairfax. Assuming she wants to live in the city, what would her other options be anyway? There are neighborhoods closer to a highway that might shave off 10 minutes but it’s not going to make a significant difference.

        • Unless she moved AND got a new job, she’s living in Fairfax now. The only thing that changed was the Fairfax part, so it sounds like the job is still in Brookland and she moved from Petworth out to Fairfax to live with the boyfriend.

          • Yeah, I guess I jumped to the assumption that the job was in Fairfax because that’s more of a center of employment than Brookland (also, because it’s *only* taking 1.5 hours I assumed it was a reverse commute).

        • Wait, I’m just realizing I misunderstood. So she works in Brookland, used to live in Petworth, and is moving out to Fairfax? Yeah, you’d better be really sure about that. When I was doing the commute mentioned above, it was because I’d moved in with my girlfriend, and I sort of regret it. We had below-market rent and were able to save up for our place in DC, but the commute was really draining. The end result was great, but I feel like we gave up three years of our life living out there. My health deteriorated with that stressful commute, and I lost a lot of my social network because it was too hard to stay connected to friends in the city. Hopefully this is just a temporary thing with some end goal that will result in a shorter commute for you.

          • +1. That’s one hell of a commute. Are there any alternatives? Does he own his place in Fairfax, or is he renting? If the latter, can he move to D.C.? Where is his job?

          • Yeah, unless this is a true compromise (like he works in West Virginia and has a similarly long commute from Fairfax) this doesn’t seem fair to the OP. If the job locations actually are that far apart I think they should both start looking into job relocations. Despite what some people claim a mega-commute is really not sustainable or healthy.

      • This is why you should never date anyone who lives further out that Clarendon.

    • Can you work flex time so you only have to do that commute 4 days a week?

    • Audiobooks! You can get them on CD from the library, or download them online and transfer them to a portable device. I just listened to Neil Gaimen “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.” Really good. In fact, would be good for a family car trip

  • Only debt is 75K left on my mortgage. I would’ve paid it off in a year or two but I refinanced so I could do some work on my house. Thankfully student loan free – paid off both undergrad and graduate school loans many years ago. And I pay off my credit cards each month so no carry-over debt.

  • epric002

    rave: awesome vacation in curacao!
    rant: back from curacao. just in time for snow.
    rant: company switched transit benefits companies and it’s the absolute pits. not only was the transition terrible, but the new company doesn’t even have online account management- you have to email/fax/mail in a form each month to make changes. WTF?! this is 2014!

  • Man Bob Costas is a trooper. Dude has to be in agony. I have had the dreaded pink eye before and I can’t imagine trying to make it through hours of broadcasting under bright lights. Get well soon Bob.

    • It looks like the infection is in both of his eyes now. Hope he gets better soon. Agreed that pink eye is dreadful.

    • I feel bad for his makeup people –I hope none of them get it! I’ve also had pinkeye and it oozes and oozes, so he must be getting his eyes wiped down at every commercial break.

    • Apparently it’s gotten worse and they’re getting Matt Lauer to fill in tonight. As you said, Anonther, hope his makeup and other folks are being careful, and not using his makeup on anyone else! I’ve had pinkeye and it’s a beast.

      • And so contagious. I have visions of all of these NBC staffers traveling back from Sochi (right incubation time!) and giving pinkeye to everyone on their flights and then boom! we’ve got a worldwide epidemic.

    • Just saw that Matt Lauer is going to take over for him.

    • houseintherear

      PSA: Pink eye is caused by poop getting in a person’s eye (and then can be contagious from there). Poop I tell you! POOOOOP!

  • Rant: @ myself…. i know i am more than ready to make this industry jump to venture cap or private equity but for some reason i have been hesitant on going all out for a new position. I want to be in pursuit of this new position as if I did not have a job at all right now

  • Rant: Pop, lately, when in the middle of reading someone else’s post, the page reboots and lands somewhere else on the page (I think this is happening when new posts come in?). Then I have to try to find where I was again.

  • “Green Lobster Smoothie” today. Lobster Bisque(Pret Manger) spinach and flax seed.

    • That sounds better than my lunch!!

    • I love these updates! Congrats on the 20lbs…at least there is SOME bright side. And hopefully you’re over halfway through this by now so you have less to endure than what you’ve already come through.

    • Yum! Thanks for the update! I really do look forward to them! And now I’m totally jonesing for lobster and spinach — two of my favorite foods! 🙂

  • Rant: I just discovered that my mortgage servicer, Green Tree Servicing didn’t pay my 9/15 DC tax bill. I figured this out when they sent me a large escrow refund check yesterday. Seriously, you didn’t try to figure out why there was extra money? You suck and you WILL pay the $#492.35 in penalties on my taxes now!.

    • They are the WORST. BOA sold my healthy loan to them and it’s been a nightmare. They even claimed I didn’t pay my mortgage ($was deducted from my account) and sent me crazy letters. Contacting them to fix the problem was not easy. I’ve even decided that I might just refi with my credit union to get away from them….

      Green tree financing – my rant for the YEAR. Thanks BOA

  • gotryit

    Rant: reading court arguments of those against gay marriage and it’s making my blood boil. Gah!

  • Rant: I couldn’t file my DC state taxes on Turbo Tax – it gave me an error message telling me DC’s forms are not ready. Is this just an electronic filing thing or just a Turbo Tax thing? I have no problem filing someplace else, but I am so confused.

    • I got the same error message. My understanding was that the D.C. government hasn’t finished creating all of this year’s forms yet, so Turbo Tax is waiting for that to be done before they can file for you. You should be able to sign up for Turbo Tax to send you an automated e-mail letting you know when the forms are complete and that you can resume filing.

    • Same here .I use H&R Block Tax Cut, which I recommend highly, but in any event, DC hasn’t published its forms yet.

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