Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user ianseanlivingston

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.

165 Comment

  • RAVE: UCONN!!!!!!!! Fantastic game by the Huskies! #bleedbluetimestwo
    Rave: My car passed DMV inspection today, after failing last week!
    Rave: Can’t stop smiling! UCONN!!!!!!!!

    • Wooohooo!!!! But seriously, why can’t the men get any respect? I feel like even with their 4 championships they’re still not considered a college basketball power house. And Dorris Burke, who is great, but what was she thinking, asked it UConn is the new Tennessee. UConn was the new Tennessee like 10 years ago. Now they’re just UConn and no one else is close.

  • gotryit

    Rave: fireplace renovation is going well. The stone company just came out to measure for marble fabrication for some parts of it, and I’m continuing to work on the wood part. Yay.
    Rave: just found a great DIY for dust control while I’m sanding: box fan + furnace filter. So simple, I wish I had known / thought of that 5 years ago.

  • Rave: UCONN!!!!!! Fantastic win by the Huskies last night! #bleedbluetimestwo
    Rave: My car passed inspection this morning, after failing last week.
    Rave: Can’t stop smiling! UCONN!!!!!!!!!

    • Sorry for the double posting. It seemed like the first one didn’t go through, so I tried again.

  • Rant: Biked to work today (15th street cycle track) i think i hit every single major light on the way down. U street, Rhode Island, K street, I street. Kind of frustrating when you cross one major interection waiting up to 45 seconds only to get to the next intersection and wait another 45 seconds. Does anyone have a better route to get down to the white house? I feel like i always have this issue with 15th street.
    Rave: Happy to have biked to work for the first time this year

    • That’s why I don’t take 15th St downtown – the lights are poorly timed.

      • suggestions?

        • Take 11th street. There’s a bike lane for most of the route and the lights are pretty well timed.

        • Depending on my destination I’ll take 14th or 16th St. Both move better than 15th St – at least going south.

        • 17th St (southbound only) is also decent, depending on your destination.

        • I also take 11th. It’s better timed than 15th, and there is less traffic than 14th (which is a death trap, in my opinion). If you’re going toward the White House, you can take 11th to Vermont and then either stay on Vermont until you get to McPherson Square or take M from Thomas Circle to 15h and pick up the cycle track there.

    • gotryit

      First, thank you for stopping at the lights (that’s the only way you’d have that complaint).
      For a better route, 14th street moves well, but there is a stretch that doesn’t have a bike lane. It’s downhill, so generally not hard to mix with traffic, if you’re comfortable with that.
      For a slower route, you can go with 11th street.

      • Yeah i live between 14th and 15th between just north of florida. Maybe i will give 14th street a shot now since Louie construction seems to be completed. It also is much easier than weaving my way over to 15th street on florida. Any tips for dressing/packing for work? thats my other big issue is i dont want to wear a full dress pants shirt and tie while riding so i pack that stuff but then it takes me a while to do that, unpack at work ect

        • gotryit

          Personally, I wear dress pants, shirt, and tie in the 45-55 degree range. Below that, I throw a bike jacket on (and gloves, etc.) If I go at a reasonable / semi-slow pace, I don’t really break a sweat.
          If it’s warmer, or I feel like biking fast, I pack my dress clothes in panniers then shower and get dressed at work (rather than at home). I find that dress wool pants pack nicely without coming out wrinkled, and I’ve switched to non-iron shirts that also come out looking nice.

        • You should be fine in dress pants and shirt. Leave the top two buttons undone (and sleeves unbuttoned too depending on weather). I also leave my dress shoes at work and wear a pair of Vans that I commute in (walking or biking depending on evening plans, weather, etc); this has the advantage of allowing your dress shoes to last longer/resole less frequently. I have a 1.5mi bike ride and find that I rarely get sweaty and can adjust my hair in the elevator doors reflection on the way up from the parking garage.

        • My office has a business casual dress code, so I can get by with khakis and a dress shirt, no tie. In colder months I wear thermal underwear (the thin kind you can get at REI or Target), hoodie and winter jacket, thin cap under my helmet and gloves. I wear my casual shoes and switch to loafers that keep in my desk and change to boxers after I’ve warmed up some. This week I’ve been getting by with a windbreaker and think cycling gloves.

          Everything I need (bike stuff, book to read on metro, lunch, etc.) fits in my backpack. I have a pretty short ride (around 2 miles to metro) so I don’t have to worry about getting too sweaty or wrinkly.

        • If you’re trying to get to the South bound portion of the 15th street bike lane, taking Florida doesn’t make sense because the South bound portion doesn’t start until V street. Anyways, if I were you, I’d still take Florida but I would stay on it as it merges into New Hampshire and take that across 16th and turn left down 17th and take that all the way to the White House.

        • I wear my work clothes on my bike – if it’s hot I’ll bring a t-shirt to wear on the way home because I’ll be biking uphill.

        • http://henty.cc/us/ This works great for me on a 10 mile ride.

        • Look up the Henty Wingman. I use it for 10 mile commute, and my clothes come out unwrinkled and clean.

  • Rave: puppy quickly becoming a wonderful full-grown dog.
    Rant/Question: How do DCers get around the city with their dogs? Obviously metro and bus are out, and Car2Go has a no dog policy. Our dog is huge, so biking is really out. Is my only option really just hoofing it or (eek) driving? I’d love to bring him to the cherry blossoms this weekend.

    • justinbc

      Generally just walking. I also tried to keep mine away from festivals / parades / etc where there are lots of people. She’s great around folks, but those situations are usually so crowded that most people aren’t looking down for your dog, and will often walk into or step on them if they’re just trying to get through. It’s not quite as bad as people with the double-strollers, but it’s still obnoxious.

      • What do you suggest that people with two young kids do? Stay at home until they are 4?

        • justinbc

          They’re certainly allowed to take them out, doesn’t mean those giant double-strollers are any less obnoxious. There are other ways to transport your children, as other parents have proven.

          • gotryit

            -1 obnoxious? It’s one good way to get kids around.

          • I have to agree with Justin on this. Today’s giant strollers presumably make things easier for parents, but in crowded spaces (Metro, festivals, etc.), they’re not so great for the people who aren’t wielding them.

          • epric002

            i also agree with justin and anon. i get why parents use them, but that doesn’t mean they take up any less room/are any less obnoxious to people trying to navigate around them.

          • justinbc

            Yes. Something can be completely practical to you as a user while also extremely obnoxious to those around you. I’m not at all advocating you not use them, do whatever you like, just be aware of how frustrating they are to others especially in high density areas like festivals (see: Crafty Bastards last year, where they shrunk the fair space in half, and seemingly half the attendees were buggy bumping the entire time, leaving little room for others to walk).

          • gotryit

            Do you feel the same way about wheelchairs?

          • Totally agree. It’s not just the width of the stroller that’s the issue – it’s the parent(s) yapping on their cell phones, walking 2 miles per hour and totally not paying attention to their surroundings that gets me. Sort of like a SUV on the sidewalk.

          • Wheelchairs are pretty uniform in size, and the people using them don’t tend to have much choice in the matter.
            As far as strollers, nobody seems to be using the simple “umbrella strollers” anymore; they’re all the giant/behemoth variety. Like I said, I can understand why parents like them, and if they’re pushing them on spacious sidewalks, it’s no big deal. But they can be a nuisance in crowded areas — I wish people would opt for umbrella strollers instead in those situations.

          • justinbc

            @gotryit I’m trying to be as conciliatory as possible here, but you just seem to want to argue. I think I’ll let the half-dozen other responders who’ve pointed out similar frustrations speak for me on this one. As was pointed out below, I was primarily referring to the situation with the dog, and trying to use a comparison for why it’s generally a bad idea to bring them into overly crowded public situations. Sorry if you somehow took that personally.

          • gotryit

            I avoid crowded events in general because it’s just a heck of a lot harder as a parent of two, and not worth it. But sometimes it’s something I want to bring my kids to. And if it’s outdoors, say a slightly muddy / uneven area, the jogger (yes, double) with big wheels is a lot more manageable than an umbrella stroller.
            I see your complaints the same as drivers complaining about bikes taking a lane of traffic. Sure, I’ll take a bike lane when I can, but if not – too bad for you.

          • gotryit

            justin, it’s unnecessarily judgemental. Sure, there are some parents that are clueless. But I get it – sometimes my kids get in your way. Especially in a double stroller. I’m not blind to the downsides. But I sometimes make that choice anyway. So lay off the judgement?

          • Before I had kids I would bemoan the double strollers too. It is inconvenient to walk behind them in a crowded space, even more so if the stroller is moving slowly or is oblivious to others. But since I had kids, giant kids, I learned that the double wide stroller is the only option for extra tall kids like mine (or people who have a lot of stairs, or who don’t have the space to keep extra strollers). I try to keep the stroller out of situations like these but sometimes I don’t have a choice. This isn’t meant to reply to Justin, who I thought was pretty evenhanded in his complaint, but to all the people complaining about parents with strollers — guess what? We used to be single people too. We have chosen to stay in the city, fight to make it a better place, and raise our families. Sometimes this will be inconvenient or puzzling to people without kids, but please remember we are part of the community too.

          • Pointing out a fact (big strollers are big and take up space) and voicing an opinion (I don’t like that) are not the same thing as being “judgemental.” Although, come to think of it – “judgemental” – is a ridiculous term anyway. The same way as “haters” is.

          • I’m with Justin on this one. I somehow managed to raise 3 relatively closely spaced children to adolescence without resorting to a huge double stroller. It’s just not that hard if you try.

        • Get the type of double stroller that has front and back seats instead of the type that has the two seats next to each other.

          • Exactly, there are alternatives in the market that do not require taking up the entire width of a sidewalk.

        • Well, that seems to be the only reasonable option, so yes.

        • Sell them or send them to a relative until they are 12.

      • You just opened a can of whoop @ss with the double stroller comment.

        FYI – I fully agree!

    • We had the same issue when we recently adopted a dog, and were surprised to learn that many taxi will allow larger dogs without carriers.

      • so true. I’ve taken many a cab with my dog. Just be sure to tip well!!

        • thanks to both of you for a (relevant) answer 🙂

        • Do you call for a cab, or hail one with your dog? I have a large husky mix and can’t imagine getting a cab to stop if I was standing on the street with him.

          • There are some apps that let you include a note with your request, so only drivers who are ok with that will accept the ride. Taxi Magic allows this. UberX does not, so I text the driver as soon as one is assigned and let them know. I have only had one driver cancel the ride.

    • Uh oh, my question got parent-jacked…

      • If the dog’s big enough, can’t you saddle up and ride it? (just trying to get away from the stroller theme…)

      • Blame Justin for his absurd stroller comment.

        • To be fair his comment was actually about the dog. If you blame anyone it should be the overzealous, self righteous parents who feel the need to always defend everything they do.

          • To be fair, his comment about the stroller was gratuitous and in no way necessary to make his point about the dog. I mean, I agree with him (for once), but logically the comment was irrelevant and unnecessary.

          • Let’s be honest people are only freaking the fuck out because of who said it. Chill out parents I’m sure there’s stuff that single people rightfully do that annoys you too like flaunting their use of birth control and condoms and anonymous sex in your face.

          • “Let’s be honest people are only freaking the fuck out because of who said it.”
            There’s probably some truth to that. On the other hand, you reap what you sow.

        • Justin’s comment regarding the double stroller is not absurb.

          As Anon at 11:06 points out, they are burdensome in crowded spaces for most folks other than the parents.

          • I also am too important to be inconvenienced by children. It gets in the way of my walking-while-texting.

    • Use car2go with your dog and when you’re finished, call them and complain that a previous user must have had a dog in the car (I’m kidding. Kind of – they catch on if you keep reporting dog hair in the cars you used.)
      Seriously, I have a 90 lbs dog and generally either stay within walking distance or get a rental car if I can get a decent rate and just vacuum it well before turning it in. I suppose you could also vacuum a car2go after dropping the dog off, but you still risk violating their policy and getting fined.
      You can also put the dog in a double-stroller, but some people might get upset.

      • Car2Go plus a sticky lint rolller that fits into a purse 😉
        Though seriously, people actually take the time to call Car2Go to complain about pet hair? Or a dirty interior? I ain’t got time for that.

      • Car2Go plus a sticky lint rolller that fits into a purse. No problem! 😉
        Though seriously, people actually take the time to call Car2Go to complain about pet hair? Or a dirty interior? I ain’t got time for that.

      • justinbc

        LOL @ that last image.

    • I’m curious – would your huge dog really enjoy the crowds and/or the cherry blossoms? I have this image in my head of an. Irish Wolfhound gazing at the lovely blossoms amidst a sea of tourists.

      • Yeah he would. He’s a Bernese Mountain Dog, and the breed absolutely adores people (more so than other dogs or even food). We’re also trying to get him accustomed to large crowds and big events, and think this would be the right next step.

  • msmaryedith

    Rant: My horrible, shady Director has decided that I should become a self-employed consultant (along with one of my coworkers–I’m afraid the third employee is getting canned). She’s given us a terrible-sounding two-year contract to look over. It actually IS more money, but not enough–I’ll lose my health insurance, worker’s comp, unemployment insurance, social security, etc. We would be working from home, and I’d be responsible for “supplies” (though I think she would provide my computer and a printer/scanner–but not land line, internet, ink cartridges, etc). Plus the new contract asks me to give FOUR MONTHS notice to terminate. Totally overwhelmed. Has anyone been in this boat before? Do you know of someone I should try to talk to?

    • binpetworth

      I am sorry but that is completely ridiculous. In addition to looking for a new job immediately, I would advise you against signing any contract that requires four months’ notice. If you want to stay on temporarily while you’re looking for other work, draw a line and say, “Since I am being asked to take on a significant financial burden I will only sign a contract to give maximum one month’s notice.”

    • That can be against the law for an employer to do that. You can contact the wage and hour division of the DOL.

      Below is the Dept of Labor website that outlines this:

    • That’s insane. Don’t sign a contract that gives you all of the risks and none of the benefits. I think the 3rd employee is actually getting a better deal if it means being eligible for unemployment benefits and subsidized health insurance while she/he looks for a better job.

    • There are online paycheck calculators to figure out how much more you’d need to make as self employed versus on a company’s payroll. Don’t forget that you’ll be responsible for the employer and employee portion of payroll taxes. Generally, they should increase your pay by almost 30% plus supplies to cover all of the lost benefits and employer contributions. The one benefit may be that you can take on other other clients and make more/have a foothold for transitioning to another job while on this contract. I’d show them the accounting that shows what they need to pay you as an independent consultant so that you can have the same benefits and after tax take home pay. Ask for that salary, make sure the contract allows you to do work for others, and reduce the termination notice and penalties.

      • msmaryedith

        She did say we could take on other work, so long as it didn’t impact our ability to get this job done. We will be expected to be at regular meetings, etc (at least weekly, perhaps more). So I couldn’t decide “I’m going to take a job in North Carolina” or whatever without the FOUR months notice (my current agreement requires two weeks notice to resign in good standing).

        I’ll look for the online calculator–she is NOT offering us 30% more (once you deduct what they are currently contributing to pay the premium for my health insurance, her offer is only 9% more than my current gross salary). And she specifically said I would not be provided office supplies since I’d be an independent contractor. And I do some work travel, which I would now be expected to pay for upfront and then be reimbursed by the company (within 30 days, but still–at this point, I have a company credit card I use for all my work travel expenses).

      • msmaryedith

        Also, do you have a suggestion for the paycheck calculator?

        • try paycheckcity.com/calculator/salary/

          You’ll have to work backwards using your existing paycheck and then add in the things you’ll have to pay for yourself like full health insurance premiums, employer retirement contributions, employee and employer SS, etc. depending on how you set it up, you may have to pay for some of these with after tax income which further raises your salary requirement.

    • msmaryedith

      She IS actually offering us more–and trying to make it sound like “see, this is so beneficial for you!” But I’m not sure that once you take into account what she is taking away from us/expecting us to provide ourselves that the amount she is offering will cover it. I really do worry that this is a way for her to be able to pull the plug without owing us anything after (unemployment, health insurance). I’ve been worried for a little while that she is trying to sort-of close down the company, and everyone I’ve told about this so far has been like “one of two things is happening: a) the ship is sinking, or b) she wants out.” I can’t understand why she would choose this path if the company was in good shape and she planned to keep it afloat for a while.

      • She’s not offering you more. She’s offering you a slightly higher salary which doesn’t make up for the costs you will incur. If you do set up as a consultant, a number of those costs are tax deductible but it doesn’t seem that you’re looking to be a consultant. It may be that you’ll need to take this route while you look for another job.
        But I wouldn’t sign the contract she’s offering – it isn’t in your best interest to do so.

        • msmaryedith

          I hear what you are saying and I agree–I just don’t know how to find another job by June 1 (when she wants this signed). I have not been actively looking.
          I do not plan to sign this contract.

      • Ugh, four months’ notice is ridiculous, for either a contract worker OR a salaried employee. Maybe it varies, but in my field (national nonprofit orgs) I have NEVER seen any requirements for that much notice. Closest to it was language in our policies that strongly, strongly encourage employees at the C-suite level to give three months’ notice. And technically, most of us are at-will anyway, so we can quit anytime, although at my current company we are strongly encouraged to give at least four weeks’ notice, and there are adverse consequences for giving less (for example, with less than four weeks’ notice, we can’t get our vacation-time cash-out and we relinquish the right to get re-hired in the future. Not to mention burning bridges that you usually don’t want to do in a small field).

    • GiantSquid

      Don’t sign anything. That four months notice is ridiculous!

    • Why does it matter if the contract says 4 months notice? It’s not like she can do anything to enforce it.
      Or is this different if you’re an independent contractor? Some sort of “breach of contract” where you have to pay her a penalty? Last time I checked, you are allowed to fire a client (that’s what she now is to you).

  • Rave: Thanks to all the support and advice yesterday regarding how to talk to your partner about money. I found a lot of great information on the apracticalwedding website. My partner and I have scheduled a financial summit on Sunday afternoon, and we’re planning to hold regular monthly meetings so we can assess the budget, track our financial goals, and work as a team. I’m feeling much more optimistic and upbeat about this issue than I was yesterday morning.
    Rave: Sunshine! Fresh air! Warm(er) weather! I love the spring.
    Rant: I’m realizing how sedentary and out of shape this winter made me. Yes, I hit the gym a couple times a week. But adding in more physical activity (hiking this weekend, walking a lot more) has left me knackered by the end of the day. I’m sleeping like a rock and still tired in the morning.

    • Don’t know if anyone suggested it yesterday, but mint.com has been helpful for me to get a visual of where our money goes each month. You can connect multiple accounts to it, so if you two have separate accounts, you can still do some joint tracking of income to expenditures. I really like it, and it’s free.

    • Monthly financial meetings with your partner – that strikes the organizer in me as genius! Thanks for that idea. As the person who does the financial planning/schedules joint bill payments/thinks about debt and savings, that would be a much better way of communicating financial info – and avoid having to pester/inspire panic in my SO about the steps that we both need to take.

    • Hooray! So glad you found apracticalwedding.com posts and comments about money helpful! That makes my day. It’s cool to see how many different ways there are to do things and how many couples wrestle with the same questions – one has school debt, one has credit card debt, one has trust fund, one likes to save a lot, one likes to splurge, etc etc. the only thing that seems to be a requirement is transparency and communication. Good for you guys.
      Oh, and one last thing that I have told others when this topic has come up – something my mom told me when I asked her advice – It’s not like you need to decide now how you will always manage money for the rest of your marriage. You are not set in stone. My parents had different arrangements and priorities at different phases of their life. I found this simple but liberating. We don’t need to decide now that we will ALWAYS put X% in our 401ks. or that we will ALWAYS pool our money in one account. We can just do that now, b/c that works now, and if/when we need to change that, we can.

  • Rave: Great season finale to Justified last night. It set up what will probably be an excellent final season. Plus, Nick Searcy was on Red Eye this morning.

    Rant: Have to wait until next fall for the final season.

  • Rant: Sick sick sick. Yuck. Lymph nodes are swollen and hurty. I want to go home but I’ve got a full day of working both my jobs.
    Rant: I swear I’ve been at work for hours now and it’s only 10:25 am. Sigh.
    Rave: The Missy Elliot Pandora station is helping me get through the day.

    • Hope you feel better soon.

      My roommate has been raving about the Missy Elliott Pandora station too. Must be pretty good!

      • It’s all the music from my junior high/early high school days with some 90s hits thrown in. It’s fantastic.

        • ugh I feel old if you were listening to Missy Elliott in Jr. High….

          • If it makes you feel any better, I was listening to Missy from 8th grade when Supa Dupa Fly came out, to college, when Under Construction came out. Even if you were listening to Supa Dupa, I still don’t consider you old, I just think you have good taste in music!

            Rant: Missy needs to come back to us and make more music!

  • epric002

    rave: afternoon run in RCP w/the dogs yesterday.
    rave: i think spring is finally here 🙂
    rave? agreed to dog-sit a potential foster dog this weekend. this will be interesting 🙂

  • Rant: Moving. I hate unpacking. How did we get this much junk? And how do I get rid of some of it without my husband noticing?
    Rant: Haven’t found tenants for our other place yet. Starting to get worried. I prefer not to sell it just yet, but we might have to.
    Rant: Before I left for my “can’t find childcare” leave, I was told my position is being eliminated.
    Rant: Being told “enter public service! It’s great to serve your country, and what you lack in salary you’ll gain in job security!”. Seriously?
    Rave: being home with my adorable baby makes it hard to find the motivation to look for childcare or a new job. He is a pretty happy guy and the laughing is contagious

    • Good luck with the unpacking and the rental. I mean this as helpful feedback–when I saw how much you were asking for your condo, I thought it was too high. Is there wiggle room on the rent you’re asking?

    • Lower your price? I saw your listing and that location is great, plus the place is in good shape.
      It should get snapped up immediately, as most rentals are only on the market for a day or two if the price is reasonable. If it hasn’t been snapped up already, it’s priced too high for Logan Circle.

      • The price was what the management company recommended and it includes parking – if I listed it for $2900 plus $200 for parking, it would just be shady (in my opinion). Lots of places we compared it to are in bad condition, don’t have parking, or aren’t in as good of a location. If someone looked and said “I’ll take it for $3,000 but not $3095” we might be open to it, but lower than that and it’s expensive for us to carry that and the place we are living now so we’ll sell it, use the profit to refinance our other property and then sell that when the lease is up. It’s not the end of the world but I feel like SO much is coming up around 11th and P, it would be stupid to sell it right now.

        • Why not break up the price? Maybe you’ll find a person who wants to rent just the unit, and then you can rent the parking space separately for $200?

        • To be honest, I think $2900 for a 1BR with a small open office is way too high for your apartment in that building on that block. There’s no “luxury” amenities. For comparison, 1BRs in The Jefferson just a few blocks over from you on 13th Street are going for $2400-2700. And that is a full service “luxury” building with gym, multiple entertainment/game rooms, roof deck with pool, in unit laundry, etc. You’re in a worse location (I admit that’s debatable) and charging significantly more.
          Your management company is wrong, IMHO.

        • Why is it shady to not force someone to buy something they might not need/want? Also agree it’s priced too high. If you can’t make it work for significantly less you should sell it.

        • Seems like it’d be worthwhile to try first advertising the unit as $2,900 with parking available for $200/month, and if that doesn’t work, either try lowering the price or listing it for sale.

  • Rave/Rant: Working hard to turn things around at work and climb out of this hole I’ve been digging all winter.
    Rave: Walked to work this morning – so much better than sitting on a bus and the weather was so perfect! Might even go on a short run later today!
    Rant: Did so because I hyper-extended my elbow (I think) working out yesterday (stupid plank-jacks) and it hurts badly
    Rave: Got into the GCDC soft opening today for lunch! So pumped!

    • PLEASE let us know how GCDC is. I have high hopes!

      • It was delicious!! Obviously because it was soft-opening they had some kinks to work through (ran out of one type of bread and salsa, missed a few orders, weren’t serving the more elaborate tots, etc) but they more than made up for it (especially because it was 50% off)! The manager walked the line handing out free samples of their tomato soup and thanking everyone for their patience. I got the Cemita (manchego, avocado, salsa, chorizo) which was very very good! Anyway, I’d definitely wait for them to get in the stride of things if you want to be fully impressed but it was great and I’ll definitely be back! I’m interested to see how they do in the evenings/with happy hour!

  • all-smiles #1: weather is nice.
    all-smiles #2: the stitches in my leg are holding up, even when riding to work!
    whinge #1: getting shoaled by fair-weather cyclists at every red-light on the ride in today, and then passing them within half-a-block.
    whinge #2: seeing cyclists jump up to ride on the sidewalk downtown when they don’t feel patient enough to wait in traffic, confident enough to split the lanes, or considerate enough to walk their bikes on the sidewalk.
    whinge #3: being expected to apologize for foolish/amateur cyclists who ride like idiots, or worse, being lumped in with them as a generalization every time cycling infra gets discussed.
    all-smiles #3: my coffee tastes great today 🙂

    • I’ve got your back on whinges 1,2 & 3. LivingSocial or BYT or some sexy group like that should promote a tour of all the ghost bikes around town, with relevant photos, gifs and vines of how awesome/hip/funny/loved the cyclist was right before he/she got dragged 2 blocks by a dumptruck/squashed between 2 SUVs on cellphones. Sorry to be gruesome.

  • Rant: I am making a slight career change (not too far from what I am doing now, it is a normal career path for my field), but there is no opportunities in my current department and I thought there were none in the whole company. I was ok accepting that and knowing that in a couple of years I will have to change job. However last week, out of the blue there were an internal job posting from another department for exactly what I am looking for. I could not believe it. I talked to HR they told me I had a good chance of getting it because there were no other internal candidate and the posting was still in the internal phase. But this week I talked to the hiring manager and he discouraged me from applying which make me think that I won’t get it if I apply. What I could get from it is that there is an external candidate for this job they want to hire (my guess). I dont want to take the risk to upset my current team/manager (who are great) if I am not going to get the job. Anyway I went from liking my current job to wanting to leaving and now been looking for job outside the company.
    Rant: I had already started dreaming about the new position, now I am pretty unmotivated. I hope I will find my mojo back.

    • I wouldn’t let the comments from one person discourage you. Apply. If you don’t get it, you tried. But to take yourself out of the running right away seems odd to me. Good luck! Maybe your rant will turn into a rave!

      • This is the comment of the person who would be making the selection. Also he told me it is a short term position. Since I will need to let my current boss know when I apply I think it is not worth it.

  • rave: I biked the long way to work today.
    rave: Upper Caucasia has some beautiful neighborhoods, forsythia and cherry blossoms everywhere.

  • Rave: BIG tax refund! I don’t care what the finance gurus say about interest-free loans to the gov’t. The emotional boost of the refund is worth the lost investment income.

    • I completely agree, and I’m the same way. I always have extra withheld from my check because I’d rather get a refund at tax time than break even or have to owe. Totally a matter of personal preference, and sometimes a function of how you manage money. For me personally, I am too afraid that if I get that money in my paycheck, I won’t put enough away (despite my good intentions) to cover my bill come tax time. And even if I did invest that money myself–realistically, at my income level and with the relatively small amount of withholding, I would hardly reap anything in interest at all.

  • Rant: Fat cat will not understand that Skinny cat gets the same exact amount of food each day, only spread out into more feedings (because she eats slowly and otherwise you would eat all yours and hers too.) Fat cat has perfected the perfect dagger stare of betrayal and loathing.

    Revel: Dog just eats whatever.

  • skj84

    Rant: Job Hunting. I lost my dream job less than a month after starting. I’m now unemployed for the first time in my life and I’m starting to panic. I don’t even know what to put on my resume in regards to the job I just lost, I’m embarrassed to tell people I’ve lost this job and I’ve really never had to do the whole job search thing before. I feel so overwhelmed. I just want to lay in bed all day, but I know I need to get to stepping on looking for a new position. I’m terrified that I will be looking for a long time, I’ve known many people who are more qualified than me who spent months or years looking for a job. I don’t have a college degree and was pretty lucky that I stayed in the position I held before I took my new job for a while. Now I don’t know what to do.

    Rave: I’m pretty sure I can dip into my 401k if the going gets bad. I don’t want to and I know I will be penalized, but at least I have that as contingency. It’s the only reason I’m not in full panic mode.

    • First, take some deep breaths. You’ll get through this.
      How about signing up with a temp agency? What field are you in?

    • How did you lose a job less than a month after starting- did they cancel the position? Take a minute to relax, and then start writing (yes, writing) out your plan. Draw a list of all your contacts- work your LinkedIn network (if you have it), look at family members, friends, and other social contacts for potential leads. Come up with a multi-thronged approach at job searching: informational interviews, personal contacts, targeted job listings for the companies you’d like to work for, attending talks/meetings where you can meet new contacts, etc… Check out “What Color is Your Parachute” at the library for good job-hunting techniques and inspiration. Also, consider going to college. You can get loans for this, possible job opportunities on and off campus (I picked up my current job after seeing it advertised in my university job base), and ultimately a degree that will make things a little easier in the working world. With degree inflation nowadays, an undergraduate degree is needed for so many jobs that never requred that sort of education long ago. Good luck. Things will get better.

      • It was because of a requirement they never specified. Not school, but another essential function. I guess I could look at this whole thing as a blessing in disguise if they were that disorganized but still it stings. I have 3 years of college under my belt. I went to school in a creative field and decided to leave early to peruse that field. Unfortunately that decision has come back to bite me in the butt hard now that I’m a grown up with bills to pay and no job.

        • Ah, well, with 3 yrs left, you could always finish it up. You’re closer than someone starting from scratch. Don’t be afraid to let everyone know you’re looking for a job. This kind of situation happens to everyone (Most of us have had a situation where it was a bad fit or we got fired). Nothing to be ashamed of- just keep your chin up and keep plugging away. I second the recommendation on temp agencies. I found my second job through a temp agency. It brings in a little cash and allows you to network and continue to look for something more permanent.

    • That happened to me once– I took a job that seemed great, and they “let me go” within ten days, saying it “wasn’t a good fit”. They gave me a nice severance, but still… huge blow. I never really figured out what happened.
      Re: Resume: I think you can leave it off, and then explain in subsequent interviews what happened. I think less than six weeks and you can consider it a probationary period that doesn’t reflect your work history.
      Now: Activate your network. Tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW that you’re looking for a job. Every job I’ve gotten in DC, I got through personal connections.

    • anonymouse_dianne

      I lost my job with one day notice, about 8 months after getting a promotion and raise. I wrote about it here:


      Hope this helps.

      • skj84

        That was a really helpful read anonymouse_dianne! Really helped me get perspective on things. Thanks for posting!

    • I also got laid off after 5 months at a job. It was awful and destabilizing and just totally shitty. I’m SO SORRY. Good advice here (except ‘go to college” – I would vote against that). One thing I did when I was unemployed and job searching, I committed myself to sending an email every day by 10 am to my parents and bff saying the 3-5 things I was going to do that day. (email X person, attend Y event, submit Z application, etc.) and I felt held accountable to that. sometimes they replied with feedback, othertimes no. but that’s how i started every day. See if you can find a friend or someone willing to be on the other end of that line for a daily email. writing down your intention for the day can really help you execute.

      • skj84

        Thanks for the advise everyone! I’ve been trying to send at least 5 applications since I found out. I guess I need to swallow my pride and ask friends for recommendations and open positions. And organize myself. I have sent my resume to a few temp agencies so hopefully they will help out a bit.

        • What is your field skj84? Popville members may be able to assist you with job lead ideas. I was in your predicament last year and want you to stay encouraged! Some words of advice:
          File for unemployment
          Consider canceling cable and cutting out other unecessary expenses
          You don’t owe friends/family a detailed explanation of what happened…a simple “it wasn’t a good fit” or “things didn’t work out” should suffice
          If you want to complete your degree consider jobs that have tuition assistance
          Take breaks from job searching to get fresh air, see friends, treat yourself to gelato or a cup of coffee (collect all your spare change to pay for treats)
          Take advantage of all free activities in the metro area
          Use the library to get books/movies for free
          Save receipts for expenses associated with job hunting; you can deduct some of them on your 2014 taxes
          Best of luck!


  • Have any of you driven or biked along Florida Ave NW between Georgia and 5th Street? What in the world?? They have better streets in Bangladesh. Seriously, that segment has been like a BMX dirt bike track for 6 months.

    • Sounds like a good candidate for the annual potholepalooza (see later posting about this)

      • Often, the issue is not “potholes”, but rather, monster-cracks and uneven surfaces. When I used to live there, Mt. Pleasant St was notoriously uncomfortable to ride on, but there weren’t really many genuine potholes…

    • Shit is beyond pot hole patching… that entire stretch needs to be completely redone. I’ve seen cars blow out tires on it.

  • GiantSquid

    Revel: I’m hoping that my talking to Mr. Squid about getting help for his depression is getting through
    Revel: Bought some gorgeous sunflowers yesterday for him, very cheery
    Revel: finally wrapping up a project that’s been a pain in the butt but client is happy with it and the paycheck more than makes up for the headaches.

    • Please tell him someone on this listserv said the best thing they ever did was get help. I didn’t even know I was walking around with a dark cloud until it lifted. One day I found myself singing in the shower and realized it was something I hadn’t done for years…and with treatment it’s only gotten better. Of course life isn’t always sunshine and roses…but my perspective on things is a whole lot better. And I’ve got motivation to get things done. Just yesterday I took care of an outstanding tax issue that has been hanging over my head since 2012. At the time it just seemed too big to bear. Treatment for me has included an anti-depressant. This is the second one I tried. The first had no impact whatsoever. I wish Mr. Squid well!

    • Giant Squid – how were you able to urge Mr Squid towards treatment? My husband is struggling right now and it seems like my attempts to address it or suggest treatment backfire. I try to do it in the most neutral and supportive way possible, but he seems to just recoil and dig his heels in. Any suggestions on how to get through in a way that can be well-recieved?

  • Rant: Will Lyman’s Tavern ever open?

  • Question – should I post an opportunity to come and help me garden in my yard on the community listserv? My thought process is not as much that I’d be getting free help (well that’s some of it) but that there are people who enjoy it on a limited basis that might want a morning or an hour or so, that otherwise don’t have the opportunity. Or am I just going to get a response from the neighborhood anonymous person that’s being a smarta*s?

    • Well, there is *always* the chance of getting a smarta*s response, unfortunately. Although it may help minimize that chance if you’re able to offer something in return to your free helpers–doesn’t have to be money, but maybe a token little something from your garden, if you grown fruits/vegetables/herbs/flowers. Or if not, maybe a little something else to sweeten the pot…bagels and cream cheese, a post-gardening beer, mimosas…or something else along those lines? I say go for it, since there may well be people who’d like a chance to do some gardening work outside, meet a couple of new folks, and have some interesting conversation while getting fresh air.

    • I think it’s a great idea — just give some thought to what you’re offering as you post it. Are you offering someone a chance to plant, nurture, and harvest some flowers and veggies for their own use — or is your expectation that someone will come regularly for a few hours a week and do your weeding? I’m not suggesting what your expectations should be — only that you be clear about them. I’d bet that there are more than a few apartment-bound folks who’d like the opportunity to play in the dirt, and to have access to something more substantial than a window box. I think Anonymous @1:13 had some great suggestions.

  • Rave: Feels good to be taking some constructive steps toward tackling youthful financial mistakes that have been dogging me for quite some time. Now I just have to tighten up my spending and budget, and make sure I keep the momentum going.
    Bit of rant, bit of rave: Might be time to break up with my Big Bank for good. I appreciate the convenience, but…man, I’m not getting much out of the relationship anymore. Applied for an installment loan to consolidate some higher-interest credit card debt and was offered an APR 4 points lower from a credit union vs. from Big Bank–when credit union doesn’t know me from Adam, and on the flip side I’ve been an account-holder at Big Bank for 15yrs AND have a stellar payment record on the Big Bank credit card I’ve held, also for many years (which itself has an exorbitant APR, higher than store cards, which generally tend to be the worst). I mean, I have no problem with a financial institution wanting to manage their risk and make a little profit, but…there’s capitalism and then there’s flat-out gouging.

    • I broke up with my big bank for a credit union about three years ago and I’ve never looked back. The customer service is so much better at the credit union.

      • That is good to know, thanks! I had some trepidation after reading terrible reviews of a few credit unions on Yelp, et al, but I had to remind myself that almost every institution gets *some* bad reviews and people with bad experiences are generally more motivated to post than are satisfied or neutral customers. I don’t really interact with Big Bank much, but when I do it’s mostly on the phone, where they are usually unhelpful and CLEARLY just reading and repeating lines off a canned script. (Not the call center person’s fault if that’s all that they are trained and empowered by management to do, but it is frustrating and makes me want a bank where staff will be able to communicate with ME as an individual customer.)

      • I hate the credit union that I use. Opened my account back in high school (in mid-twenties now) and was linked to my parents’ accounts. Never stopped and questioned the service I was receiving until I became financially independent after college. Now I just realize that some of the personal attention has dropped (maybe because I’m no longer linked to the higher dollar amounts in my parents’ accounts), and they always seem to be a day late and a dollar short when it comes to banking innovations. They have also been cutting customer service staff, so spending 15 minutes on hold every time I call is getting old. Not sure if it is industry-wide or just them, but they seem to be losing the intimate service qualities that would otherwise compensate for the lack of useful services that some of the larger banks offer.

    • Do not hesitate to switch to a different bank or credit union if you are dissatisfied with your current one. Like anything, not everyone will like each service, so you should find one you like. Remember, you are one of many many customers of Big Bank and they can’t please everyone, and anyway their main interests in you are 1) whether they can make money off of you by lending you money, or 2) whether they can make money by using your money to lend to someone else. Credit Unions are generally a bit better because they are driven by profit motive as much and they tend to have a smaller customer base. But whether it’s another Big Bank or Credit Union, find one you like. Hell, you can always be a customer of both if you want.

  • Rave: The weather
    Rant: The heat is still on in my building. Our board member in charge of “house and grounds” says that its city law to keep heat on until May 9, although it adjusts with the temperature.

    • City law dictates temperatures, not dates, for when heat needs to be available. And it’s internal temperatures (68 during the day, 65 at night), not outside temps. It’s an easy google to turn up the code to share with your building manager.

  • Query: How much do people typically tip movers for an in-city move? It’s a one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom apartment and should take about four hours.

    • I had two guys unload a pod for me and it took less than 2 hours. I tipped them each $20.

    • I usually do $20/person plus buy them lunch depending on the time of day. I think it should be %-10% of your total cost, split between the number of movers.

    • justinbc

      Usually about 25-30% of what the move quote was. That is some hard ass labor, and I have really heavy stuff that I would never want to try to move myself.

    • I moved last weekend (one room of a townhouse into a studio; 20 stairs included in the townhouse, and my furniture is HEAVY). I paid $279 for what wound up being a 3-hour move. One hour was spent with the poor movers lodged in my stairwell under a mid-century dresser.

      The movers were good about it–they could have gotten away with charging me much more–so I tipped them $40.

      That’s about in line with what I’ve done in the past. This has been my smallest move with professional movers, but I’ve tipped probably between $40-60 each time.

    • I did a mini move recently. After a couple of hours reading heated online debates about tipping movers, I basically found a theme of $10-20 each. The two guys that helped me ended up saving me some money (thought we would need a 3rd guy, and that it might take longer), so I just gave each of them $20 and we were all happy.
      If you don’t already have movers, I ended up just renting a Uhaul and using one of the labor companies they promote. So much easier than dealing with the companies directly.

      • Thanks, everyone, for the advice. I did already hire movers and we used them for our last move, too, so I think I’m going to stick with them. Of the three moving companies we’ve used over the last four years they were the only ones who did it in the time quoted and without breaking anything. You would think with moving this often I would know how much to tip, but I can never remember what I did last time.

  • Rave: I can take a sick day when I need to. I think it’s just allergies and lack of sleep, but I slept until 11 am. I’m not capable of anything even close to that on weekends, so I’m taking that as a sign this was necessary.
    Rant: worn down, headache, at least the throat swelling went down.
    Rave: I was going to make pizza for dinner, but I’m making it for lunch instead.
    Confusion: The office of tax and revenue apparently wants me to fill out a commercial income and expense report, but I don’t own commercial real estate. I called them and left a message, I hope they get back to me because I’m confused.

  • colheights67

    Rant: Did my taxes using one of the “free” programs listed on the IRS page. Fed went through OK; DC return has been rejected — it says the “original” must be filed. Does that mean I need to mail it in? The filing program gives no clue of how to fix the problem. The DC tax office, naturally, has busy phone lines; they don’t even keep you on hold. Just says, “All lines are busy; call later.” Click.

  • Rant: I think it’s time for me to move on from DC. Pretty much all of my close friends moved away and socially I feel isolated. I’m open to meeting new people but it seems like I’m never up to par for people here. Never rich enough, struggling enough, outgoing enough, reserved enough, political enough, hip enough, etc. I’m over it.
    Revel: I decided that until I can move out of here I’m going to do what makes me and only me happy, no matter how ridiculous/expensive/nerdy/misunderstood these things may be. Once I’ve started doing that, things aren’t as bad.
    Rant: I’m not seeing many jobs in my field in the cities I want to move to.
    Revel: It’s not stopping me from looking.
    Revel: I’m leaving the country for vacation in a few weeks.

    • Once you start doing the things you want, maybe you will meet other people who enjoy doing those things, too.

    • yeah dont blame the city, thats a generalization that just wrong. Sure people are a little prentious here, but i am thinking it will be the same in many urban areas in the united states. Everyone has there quirk

    • It seems like you’re projecting some insecurity onto the people you meet. Of course there are some that are those things – but if you’re judging people as one of those upon meeting then maybe you’re too judgmental. While you’re looking in other cities, try to change your perspective ever so slightly and see if that doesn’t help a little. I was miserable at my job a few months ago. It turns out that your attitude towards things is as important as the situation you’re in (in some instances). Good luck!

    • I feel you, crisp. I’ve lived here for eight years and it’s the hardest place I’ve ever lived to meet people, compared to three other large US cities. And by meet people, I mean real friends, not acquaintance friends whom I’m happy to see once every few months. Everyone is too busy (me included), and when I do meet someone cool, they move away. For various reasons, I cannot move and have to settle for just visiting my real friends in other cities every once and a while. But if I could move, I would.
      Yay for your vacation! Have a fantastic trip! And good luck getting a new job in one of you chosen cities!

    • Also – know that it is cyclical. I’ve lived in DC since my 1980’s Mt. Pleasant group-house days. Have had many close groups of friends eventually break up and move elsewhere. It makes for a really crappy, lonely time for a while, but eventually you meet other people, work on establishing new friendships and expanding your group (takes some work and initiative but is well worth it.) and moving on to new, rich circles of friends. (While still keeping the old ones! Make time to visit. )

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