Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user wolfpackWX

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.

44 Comment

  • Rant: No maternity leave for federal employees (and most Americans actually)
    Rave: Thankful for FMLA permitting me to take 12 weeks, even if most will be without pay when I run out of saved vacation. It’s better then nothing!
    Rave: Snow days! Since I have been saving all my vacation for maternity leave, the snow days have been a welcome chance to stay home and get some additional rest while pregnant.

    • The US is SO far behind on Maternity/Paternity leave (and vacation time). It’s infuriating.

      (semi-related rant- did anyone see the Cadillac commercial playing during the Oscars last night? It was basically legitimizing/glorifying America’s lack of vacation time: America (and Americans) are great b/c we work so hard! Also- what’s better- having the entire month of August off or driving a fancy car! The car, clearly! Ugh.)

      • I saw it, and I scoffed at it! Ugh. Yeah, let’s further glorify the fact that we overwork ourselves to the point of misery and never actually enjoy life. I work with people that actually feel guilty about (or talk lots of crap about those that do) taking their earned/alotted vacation. Like, they legitimately feel bad about taking a couple of days off of work. But I digress…

        • I will never NOT use all of my vacation days. I get the guilt- but it goes away pretty quickly once you’re exploring a new place and/or hanging out on a beach.

      • When I read about that commercial (still haven’t seen it), I thought it had to be tongue in cheek or a joke. How wrong I was! Perhaps I was naive, but I thought conspicuous consumption- especially at the price of less time with family – was out of vogue. Vacation time is not just for fun- it is a necessity for good physical and mental health, not to mention creativity. With technology, we should be emphasizing how to work smarter and more efficiently in order to maximize free time. The goal shouldn’t be who can stack up the most Caddys, smartphones, iPads, etc… Moderation in all things.

      • I worked in Switzerland for a while, and people worked fewer hours than in the US but got a LOT more done. When they were at work they were fresh and focused.

      • Saw it and loved it, mostly because it was epic trolling of most lefty DCers. For the record I think vacation policy should be something that you figure out on an individual basis with the company you work for, negotiating your own preferred mix of pay and vacation. For example, I get 27 days vacation (work for a non-US headquarted company) and have never used all of that. Would much rather have, say, 20 days off and higher pay instead. To each their own.

        • You know that the only reason you get that much vacation is because the non-US headquartered company you work for is under the regulations of the home country, which dictates vacation policy? Or are you really so naive that you “individually” negotiated such a generous leave policy? You’re a free-rider.

          • Reading comprehension fail. Never said I negotiated that policy and in fact I said I would rather have fewer days off in exchange for more money as I don’t use the days I have.

    • Rant: when I tell people that federal government does not offer maternity leave they argue with me and tell me I must be wrong! That has happened to me multiple times!

  • Does anyone know where the snow day deals are today?? Trying to get out of the house!

  • Prince Of Petworth

    From WMATA:

    “All Metrobus service (all routes, all lines) will remain suspended for the entire day today, Monday, March 3. Metro expects to restore bus service on most routes tomorrow, although some routes may be subject to detours due to road conditions.”

  • Rave: Homemade avgolemono soup and King Cake coming for lunch. Love snow days.
    Rant: I should probably be working instead of cooking.

  • Rant: At work today. My employer has no maternity leave policy either, and since we’d like to start a family in a few years, unless I’m really sick, I have to be here so I can accrue leave.
    Rave: I spent most of the weekend in the kitchen. My first attempt at bread was a success. Thanks to all the recipe suggestions that I found here. I intend to bake my way through them.
    Rave: I have a ton of yummy lunch options this week since I spent most of the weekend in the kitchen.

  • Re: Maternity Leave- why should parenthood be treated and supported differently from other life choice’s and obligations? Why not have blocks of PTO that anyone can use for personal reasons – including maternity & paternity leave, but also paid leave for medical and family emergencies or even sabbaticals?

    • I can’t speak for all Federal offices, but most DO have this. They have a medical leave bank of some kind (under various names) for such emergencies (serious illness, caring for ill/elderly relative, family friendly leave, etc – not sabbaticals that I know of though). It is separate from your normal SL and vacation. However, you are NOT permitted to use these banks for maternity/paternity leave as the rules are you cannot use the leave to “stay home or bond with a healthy child”. Fortunately, you can use it for physical recovery from childbirth at some offices, so at least there is that (recovery is generally approved to be 6 weeks, and you must use up all your sick leave and vacation days first before you can ask for approval to obtain additional leave from the leave bank to complete the 6 weeks).

      • Are you referring to the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program? My understanding was that employees had to directly donate annual leave to another employee who is accepted into the program. We get all-employee solicitation emails occasionally at my agency, usually for recovery from surgery or some other life-altering event. Don’t recall seeing any for pregnancy w/o complications (not that that means it’s not eligible).

        • I think it goes by different names at different offices, but yes that sounds like it. However like you said, donations cannot be made for maternity/paternity leave, (unfortunately – I had a very kind friend who wanted to give me some!). Where I am, individualized leave donations can only be made after the effected employee has exhausted all their own leave, plus a certain percentage of the existing generic donated leave supply and after review & authorization to request such is granted. But again, not for maternity/paternity. Most everyone I know burns whatever leave they have on mat/pat, then goes back to work and if they get sick or their child gets sick they go without pay (as simple illness/dr appt would not quality for use of the donated leave supply) or, if their office allows, they “borrow” from future earned leave.

          • Thanks for the info. It seems odd to me that the leave bank can’t be used for maternity/paternity leave, and even odder that the other leave has to be exhausted. I’d imagine that the chances of an infant getting sick are pretty high if they have an older sibling in school or daycare, and handling that with no pay would only add to the stress.

  • Rave: Snow day = soup making day. Today’s soup is curried leek and potato.
    Rave: Soup in the freezer from previous snow days (toasted orzo and chicken, fish chowder, kale and white bean). I like making soup!
    Now I want to make avgolemono soup : )

    • I’m making pozole with ojo de cabra beans and chicken. Wish I had some pork butt to go in but I am using homemade stock.

    • Rave: A freezer full of soup and stews makes me feel rich.

      Rant: Insanely delicious spinach soup makes me eat too much of it and suffer. . .

  • skj84

    Rave: Snow Day! I was already scheduled off today as it was so I’m not missing work. Going to chill all day.

    Rave/Rant: Went to friends dinner bday. Got there and realized I was completely miserable. So I bailed and went to the concert which was so much fun. I should’ve just gone to the concert in the first place. I feel bad for bailing, but service was super slow, I wasn’t sitting anywhere near my friend and I really didn’t wan’t to spend the money as it was. Yes I realize this makes me sound like a terrible person.

    • I can relate to your Rave/Rant. I actually avoid birthday dinners – especially if they’ll be attended by 6+ people – at all costs. It’s usually more hassle than fun (ordering, splitting the check, etc.) and I’d rather do things like that in much much smaller groups. And I’ve found that I’m a much happier person (and better friend) when I can avoid situations that I know are gonna put me in a less than stellar mood.

      • skj84

        Oh yeah, the more people the more stressful. Unless it’s a place where the menu is set price I just don’t like doing group dining.

        Personally I think a happy hour, or cocktails and dancing are better birthday plans for adults. Less commitment on everyone and bit more casual. And more fun, you can move around and socialize better. Of course YMMV.

      • Totally agree on birthday dinners. And I feel like our generation has lost the meaning of “hosting” – if you want people to get together with you, then you should host the event and pay. Unless someone does something in your honor (in which case they should pick up the check). When it was my birthday, I invited just a couple of close friends to my fav restaurant and I paid for dinner, for everyone. I refuse to do that funky math plus add $5 for the birthday girl/boy’s food. Ugh.

        • Maybe it’s a generational thing. Or an economic thing. Or a depends on who’s in your group of friends thing. Most of my friends can’t really afford to take 8-10 people to dinner at a nice restaurant for someone else’s birthday, and might find it odd to host their own birthday dinner. Most of my friends also prefer doing dinner — because we like to talk and like to eat– to doing things like happy hours or dancing, where we can’t really do those things as easily or as comfortable. Yesterday I went to a lovely birthday dinner where I met and chatted with new people, enjoyed an all too rare chance to catch up with an old friend, and ate well. At the end, someone kindly took the lead in adding a tip to the bill and dividing it by the total number of people — minus two . Most of us kicked in a few dollars more to ensure a generous tip. It was pleasant and painless. And no hard feelings — something that can easily happen when some people host their own birthday parties, some people host them for others, and some people get overlooked. A good time was had by all.

          • skj84

            While friend wasn’t expecting anyone to pay, the place that was chosen was increadbily loud. Too hard to have a conversation across the table. And it wasn’t budget friendly.

            I think hosting a dinner at ones home would be more preferable. I don’t always mind going out with groups, but I feel like not everyone is used to group dining etiquette or procedures which can lead to stress. I also work in a restaurant so I get really sensitive when people start complaining about stupid things like pre fix menus for groups, or cake cutting fees or even auto gratuity. Or are just plain rude to staff. And don’t even get me started on dividing the check. . I’d rather just keep things simple and the bigger the group I feel the harder it is to satisfy everyone.

          • I think that “dividing the check” probably deserves a “Rant” all by itself! I’ve had miserable outings (work related) with people who didn’t seem to understand tipping (as in left NOTHING at all), or dividing the check, leaving the most conscientious folks or those last to leave holding the bag. Not fun! I think what makes this work is when people have pretty similar ideas about what “reasonably priced” means, and pretty similar ideas about sorting out the payment part. Glad you enjoyed your concert!

    • skj84

      True, Which is why I decided to at attend. But I was miserable. And nothing about that party was making me feel good about being there. And at some point I thought my unhappiness worth their happiness? If I’m clearly not enjoying myself what is the point of staying? Yes I know it sounds incredibly selfish, but you know what? I’d rather not spend 3 hours in misery when I could be doing something I love. My time is important to me. I’ll make it up to friend in a manner we’ll both enjoy later.

  • Rant: It’s still winter
    Rave: One more snow day!!!
    Sidenote: does anyone have T-Mobile service in the city? how is the reception?

    • I use T-Mobile’s prepaid service.
      The service is generally decent. I struggle a bit in old buildings, as well as supermarkets (though this is something that has happened pretty much everywhere, and I know that some other services/phones are similar). It is likely also a function of using an unlocked, grey market, international phone.

  • Rant: My boss who is ever so particular about how people use leave and sign in for teleworking and so forth, didn’t bother to send us a note about her status until 11 am, even though she has the only blackberry. Okay, so I have moral high ground of being responsible, but she’s the one who has to run a meeting on Friday which we are not ready for.
    Rave: letting my dog off leash for a block so she could romp in the snow!
    Potential Rave: the yummy if not totally healthy sandwich I’m going to get from Dupont Market (assuming they are open).

    • Rant: “Rave: letting my dog off leash for a block so she could romp in the snow!”

      • Rant: “Rant: “Rave: letting my dog off leash for a block so she could romp in the snow!””

        • Rave=Rante: Okay, I feel the anger, but I assure you that on the said block there was not ONE person or dog or car. As soon as we reached a block with people, cars, dogs, she was back on leash and behaving very well. I believe very strongly that domestic dogs have to live within the constraints of people, but their owners can make judgements about what they are capable of doing responsible. If they are not responsible, I will feel it as much as you, I hope.

  • Rave: African peanut stew for lunch.

    Double Rave: The bowl of snow I’m about to mix with some coconut milk to make Snow Day ice cream.

  • Rant: Supermarket crowds before a storm… just in case you need 24 rolls of toilet paper before the snow stops.
    Rave: Contributing to the pre-storm crowds so I can sit at home on a snow day and make a big pot of chili.

    • But not because of the snowstorm… because it was on sale!

    • If you’ve ever lived through a major weather event and/or blackout WITHOUT toilet paper — well, it’s a memory that stays with you.

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