Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user  Ted Eytan

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.

326 Comment

  • My boss recommended that I take some media training, as in “how to speak to the press”. My group mostly does printed trade press, not TV. Anyone have any recommendations? I asked this before on POP and someone suggested (thank you) http://invisiblelight.com/conscious-speaking.php but the group seems to focus more on public speaking.

  • Rave: Made a dark chocolate salted caramel pie – yum. Enjoyed it with a bunch of my husband’s colleagues from around the world.

    Rave: Sunshine in the afternoon yesterday meant a beautiful uplifting day at the barn.

    Rant: Trying to prep for three different interviews means my head is spinning. Also trying to get my French and Spanish up to snuff without combining the two.

    Rave: I have three interviews to prep for!

  • Rave: We had some architects come look at our potential master bathroom remodel and discuss the possibility of instead converting it into a 3rd bedroom. After a year+ of saving up, I am so excited to get the process moving.
    Rant: It’s increasingly clear that our year of savings hasn’t been enough, this project is going to be so much bigger and more daunting than I anticipated. Our house is such a weird hodgepodge of old, bad reno jobs, even the architect was like “wow it’s going to take a long time to figure out what is going on in this house.”

    Clearly the bedroom conversion will cost a lot more but I’m kind of curious what Popville things. Rowhouse in Bloomingdale, currently upstairs there are two very large bedrooms each with ensuite bathrooms. The master bathroom is enormous, it’s actually an old bedroom converted. Our options are to keep the current layout but with a much nicer updated master bathroom; or convert the bathroom back into a tiny third bedroom (like a study or nursery size) and create a smaller master bathroom of the existing bedroom. How much more do you think the extra bedroom would get us on re-sale?

    • justinbc

      My answer to all of these types of queries is “how do you use the space?” If you’re planning to have a kid (or another kid, depending on your current status) then a nursery might be useful. If you do a lot of work from home then an office might be useful. If you do none of those things then pimp out that bathroom and enjoy the heck out of it. Unless you’re planning to sell your house in the immediate future then your enjoyment of the space should come ahead of how much some potential buyer might like it.

      • I agree with Justin completely.

      • Thanks for the response! I think we’ll probably sell it in about 5 years. Truth is we’re pretty low maintenance/not picky. The current master bath is AWFUL (huge jacuzzi tub, tiny little locker room shower, and a single vanity. So, the only thing that is important to us is that we have a better bathroom.
        What’s leading to all this turmoil is that, if we’re going to pour $20k into a brand new bathroom, it wouldn’t be *that* much more to add a third bedroom (since we’re going to basically tear it down to studs anyway since it’s all so old and poorly built). So in terms of resale and getting our investment back, the third bedroom starts to make a lot of sense.
        As for us, we may have one kid in this room which would make a nursery convenient; but we already have the empty second bedroom so that’s not really a dealbreaker either way.

        • Andie302

          Based on this response I would totally go for the third bedroom and a nicer but smaller master bathroom. You’re going to get more money out of an additional bedroom. It’s hard to quantify exactly how much (because the SF doesn’t change) but it’ll be attractive to a much larger buyer pool with the third bedroom, even if it’s small. Plus, just by shrinking the master doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome….you can fit a fantastic master bath into a relatively small space.

        • justinbc

          I think the value of the extra room for many people exists when having a kid + guests (such as the grandparents) comes into play. It sounds like you don’t really care about the bathroom amenities that much though, so if you’ve already got a tub in the second bath maybe eliminate that from the master design, make a really nice double head shower and then create that extra room. Personally I would go with the luxe master bath (we’re redoing ours as well and eliminating the obnoxious 90s jacuzzi too), but I also know that kids are never going to be in my future.

        • I don’t really know why people want a huge master bedroom or a huge bathroom. So, I’d add the 3rd room.

        • Emmaleigh504

          or! you could use the extra space for 2 master bathrooms, one for each of you.

        • I think a 3rd bedroom, for resale purpose, is very important. There are many people who want to stay in DC but can’t find a place with enough bedrooms. I know that’s one of our problems (even if we don’t have another kid, having a guest room or “den” would be great). But remember, you do need a bath tub if you are going for that type of market in resale (so many people have told us “can’t you just give your kid a shower?”)

          • Yes! I should have mentioned that the second bedroom’s bathroom has a full size bathtub in it. So we’ll still have an upstairs bathtub; it’s just the master bathroom that we want to eliminate it from.

          • Lol, we shower with our daughter 75% of the time–it’s just easier that way, but partially because our bathtub is gigantic & hard to reach into, so giving her a bath without taking a bath with her is difficult in our bathroom. But that may not work for all kids/families.

          • Emmaleigh504

            If you have more than 1 kid, can I recommend letting them bath separately at a youngish age. The oldest ALWAYS takes advantage and sits in the front with all the hot water until the youngest resorts to the only thing she has, a toothbrush. In the kidney.

    • My first question would be “how long do you plan to stay in the house?” Nothing in life is guaranteed, but If you’re thinking that you’re going to stay in the house for a while, forget resale value and do whatever will make living in the house most pleasant for you. I have just finished going through a major renovation and perhaps committed a couple of resale value “no-no’s” (You’re still going to have to go upstairs to pee and who knows if anyone besides my girlfriend and me will like the master bedroom) but screw it. With any luck, they’re going to take me out of that house in a box (in the mid 2040s) or I’ll retire to France in 15 years, so the benefit I get from having the space used my way will outweigh any potential diminished resale value.
      And who knows, maybe there’s someone out there with my own tastes waiting to snap the place u0p when I go.

      • justinbc

        I’m completely of the belief that no matter what the design, there’s always a buyer for it, especially if the materials used are of good quality. Ultimately what sells a house in DC is location, not faucets and paint colors.

        • You mean I spent all that money on Restoration Hardware faucets/had all those fights with the girlfriend about paint for nothing? Rats!

          • justinbc

            I’m a sucker for almost anything RH, so that was money well spent in my opinion 🙂

          • I got lazy and spendy at the end of the process and ended up doing most of the master bath with an RH credit card I got immediate approval for on line — vanity, faucets and hardware, medicine cabinets and lights. I hate myself for it, but every time I go in to take a shower I feel like a much cooler person than really am (and every time I shave I feel like Edison bulbs are not the most practical illumination around the mirrors).

    • Any good Architect recommendations from popville? We are planning on extending our 2nd floor out (over the current first floor extension) and adding 2nd floor balcony., and bathroom remodel.

      • How much money are you willing/able to spend?

        • On the entire project around 80 to 100k. Really don’t want to go over 5 to 7k for architect. Never worked with one before, so not sure about pricing out the architect.

          • justinbc

            Most of them will either charge hourly or a fixed price as a % of the job. I would recommend Four Brothers, but they may be a bit out of that price range. Worth calling for at least an initial estimate though.

          • FWIW, our architect quotes have been around $3000-6000 (depending on if we want them to consult throughout the process) for just the master bathroom redesign. I imagine that a project that involves completely new construction it will be more.

          • Oh_Sweet_Thing do you mind sharing the name of the architect (s?) you used. I live in the same area and want to have someone come by to talk “art of the possible”. Anyone more knowledgeable know if architects do that for free? Obviously no drawing up of plans, but thoughts on general placement of appliances/fixtures to make the most of space?

      • Mario Pareja is really easy to work with and has awesome ideas.

        His info is here: http://www.upa4arch.com/

    • I don’t want to highjack your thread, but on a tangential topic… I’m thinking of tearing out my gas fireplace and putting in cabinets/a desk. I know this is a pretty minor job, but I’m a first-time homebuyer and it will be the first big thing I’ve done to my condo. I also hate the way my living room furniture is arranged, so maybe there’s a better plan? What’s a ballpark estimate for a consultation with an interior decorator? Will s/he assume that I plan to go forward with it immediately? I really want to make this stuff happen, but it’s going to need to wait if it’s more than about $5,000. Anyone have a good referral?

  • Rave: I’m a better ice skater than someone from Minnesota.
    Revel: Date 4 this weekend. Still going well, and I have no complaints. There is hope out there folks!
    Rant: Looking tired as hell after all these hours.
    Rant: No time to get my hair done.
    Rave: We fought over the check; she won. Can’t say that happens too often.

  • justinbc

    Rant: First day back in the office in about a week, was definitely hard waking up at normal hours today!
    Rant: Latest pair of shoes hit their 500+ mile mark, need to order some new runners and new cross trainers at same time, ughh.
    Rant: Had a dream it was in the 70s today. It definitely is not.
    Note: I’ll be gone pretty much the whole month of February, so someone else will have to setup a HH if you guys want to do one. Hopefully that darn streetcar is operational when I get back and we can do H Street in March…

  • rant: I wish 3 day weekends were fri-sun rather than sat-mon, if only because I have a lot more trouble starting the week on tues. Maybe that’s just me.
    rave: spinach and gruyere quiche. I made one last week and its already gone, thanks to my fam. Bought ingredients to make it again so I can eat the whole thing on my own. Quiche is amazing comfort food, somehow.

    • Mmmm that quiche sounds awesome. My husband doesn’t eat them so I don’t make them but you’ve convinced me I should just make my own to devour :-D. Enjoy your personal quiche!

      • Emmaleigh504

        “My husband doesn’t eat them so I don’t make them” I have never understood this attitude. Of course you should make one for yourself of you enjoy them!

        • justinbc

          More importantly why doesn’t eat quiche?!

          • I hate eggs (used to feel really sick in the morning growing up and attributed it to the smell of my mom’s greasy eggs growing up), so I don’t eat quiche even though everything else in a quiche appeals to me. But I recognize I’m weird and should probably try eggs again at some point to make brunch reservations easier on everyone 🙂

          • justinbc

            That’s understandable. My mom has the same aversion. She just turned 60 and is finally starting to try things like omelettes.

        • Haha – yes well it’s more a matter of if I’m cooking I’m feeding both of us and if he’s cooking he’s feeding both of us so alas, I don’t necessarily want to cook something just for myself. same deal with meat – he’s vegetarian so I’m not cooking two meals (one meat and one veg) and I’m not asking him to cook meat for me.
          Anyways, quiche it is!!

          • Emmaleigh504

            I guess I’ve been around too many happily married people who cook together, but different meals. My grandparents actually had 2 kitchens in one for days they decided to eat different things. They also had 2 master baths…

          • totally go with the spinach and gruyere recipe on onceuponachef, i added sliced cremini mushrooms with the shallots and it was a super good idea (if you like mushrooms).

  • hammers

    Rant: improper use of the word “myself” as in, “please send it to myself and hammers”. It bugs me. A lot.
    Rave: Yesterday’s beautiful weather and a great train ride from NJ where I got to sit in the sun and soak it up for the firt time all year.

    • That always bugs me a lot too.

    • Big +1 to your rant. It also drives me nuts when people incorrectly use “I” rather than “me,” as in “Please send it to Hammers and I.” AAAAGH!

      • hammers

        Agree that “and I” is grating, but “myself” just has that air of trying to dress up your language and sound more intelligent and snotty, but it is just so wrong. And common. Ugh!

        • the worst offenders of improper “and I” use comes in the show Parenthood. We CRINGE when they do it, and it’s often. So does my boss. Who is a high ranking army officer.

      • binpetworth

        And let’s not forget people starting sentences with him and her, e.g., him and I are going to the movies. I hear it frequently, even among people who are well educated.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I feel sorry for people who use “myself” incorrectly; it’s like they are trying to sound smart and well educated and failing so miserably.

      • I always try to use the rule for I, me, and myself. It goes something along the lines of if you take out the other people in the sentence and its just you…what sounds correct.

        ex: “please send it to blank and hammers” if I say “please send it to me” it sounds correct. So therefore “please send it to me and hammers” should be correct.

        ex: “please send it to blank and hammers” and I say “please send it to I, or myself’ it becomes obvious that is not correct.

        Just something I say to myself just to make sure.

        • But we’re always supposed to put the other person first though, right? So- “please send it to Hammers and myself” wouldnt be right (Please send it to myself). But “please send it to Hammers and me” would be correct (please send it to me).

          • Yes, that’s right. Other person first. When I was a kid, I would say “Can you make lunch for me and Babette?” and my mother would say “Babette isn’t mean!” (Me an’ = mean, I guess)

    • Oh man, I’ve ranted about that so much recently. Drives me nuts!

  • epric002

    rant: pretty sure i broke my big toe on sunday playing with the dog. doctor’s office was closed yesterday. have a noon appt today.
    rave: still have my walking cast from my ankle sprain last spring (same foot!) so i’ve been clunking around in it. i just want a smaller boot!
    rant: puppy did not do well at k-9 divine. he was incredibly insecure about his foot and was “offensively defensive” to other dogs. poor guy. back to training to see if we can boost his confidence.
    rave: radiator repair was much easier/cheaper than predicted!
    rant: we really need to replace our boiler. we knew when we bought that it was ancient and on its last legs, but apparently we need to replace it before it dies. i guess i need to do some boiler research?

    • Epric – I totally forgot to respond to you last week regarding our doggie play date, I was stuck in a late meeting on Friday. May is going to obedience class at Spot on Training on H St, tomorrow is her first class! I hope she does ok being around other dogs, she might be too distracted to do anything. We took her out for a long walk in the park yesterday and realized we need to work on her leash manners before we attempt walks with other dogs. She’s a bad leash puller and darts all over paths and sidewalks. We’ve started introducing her to the gentle leader head harness so hopefully that will help us out.

      • epric002

        no worries. let me know when you’re ready to try! puppy does very well walking with other dogs but apparently a big open field with lots of new dogs was just too much for him. good luck with the gentle leader! we tried that with grouchy corgi and she just wasn’t having it. now we use a slip-lead on her and an easy walk no pull harness on the puppy. another suggestion is the harness lead- didn’t work for puppy but worked great for my brother & sister’s dogs who also pull a lot. last suggestion for pulling- this one takes a while but we’ve had great success with puppy. EVERY time she pulls you immediately stop moving. as soon as she looks back at your, reward and start walking again. you will have a VERY slow walk (or maybe a couple) at first but she should start learning that pulling does NOT get her what she wants. now we’re at the point with puppy where as soon as he pulls/we stop he comes back and sits next to us, we give him a treat and we keep walking. and don’t worry if she’s distracted during training- training will eventually help her learn how to pay attention even in really distracting environments 🙂

  • Rave: Going to get the grand tour of a house with a room for rent on Thursday. Fingers crossed it’s great, the roommates and I get along, and that I win the “housing lottery” without too much hassle!
    Rant: Need to work on mustering up the energy to be more social and meet new people, and improve my ‘work-life balance’ in general [even though that term makes me shudder a little]. Easier said than done when there’s only so many hours in the day.

    • Good luck with your house tour! And can I ask why that term make you shudder? I ask because I used to feel that way about it and now think its so, so important to have that balance.

      • The balance *is* important, but the term itself has become a bit of a meaningless corporate buzzword that people say but often don’t seem to mean. It’s over-used and under-applied, IMO. (Plus the fact that we even have the term kind of means there’s something wrong to begin with. Isn’t work part of life?)

        • Thanks, Shawess! And Krampus took the words right out of my mouth. I think most people agree it’s important, but it’s often difficult to practice. (I’m actually working on a Master’s as well, so it’s more of a Work-School-Life balance, which really throws things off.)

          • That makes so much sense, and you’re reminding me of my own life in grad school — I felt like I never had a moment for myself, let alone time to have a real personal life. I guess this is one of those things that can get better with age. For the first time, I feel like I’ve mostly found that balance, but it would have been really tough to do while in school, especially if I was working at the same time. I hope you find it earlier than I did in any case 🙂

          • Thanks, Shawess! I’m glad I’m not the only one who has felt that way. I managed to snag a 4-day workweek in my old (kind of crappy) office last spring, which made things so much easier. Now I’m in a much better job, but with no options to have a weird schedule. It’s a trade-off. But it’ll be over soon-ish. 🙂

          • I’m glad to hear that the end is near and hope you’ll treat yourself to some really good time off (or another treat) when you finish grad school. It will be good for your productivity, too, I swear!

        • Emmaleigh504

          Work is part of life, but so many people and companies thing work is life.

    • justinbc

      Go to a PoPville HH, you’ve already got one thing in common with the people there.

      • True! I really want to! If you guys do Lost & Found (or really anything near Chinatown or points westward, since I can take the bus home) I’m going to try really hard to come!

    • Although it may only make a difference to me, I think of life-work balance (vs work-life).

  • Rave: Puppy vacation was the best. I adore my little guy and am so happy we could spend the whole week (actually ten days) together.
    Rant: We both cried this morning when I had to go back to work. He brightened up when he realized he had a new squirrel toy to play with. I wasn’t as fortunate.
    Rave: I seem to have broken my coffee addiction (mostly) and have replaced it with more water drinking.

  • Rave: Successful hunting of information which always makes me do a little happy dance.

  • SFT

    Rant: The kiddo is cutting molars and doesn’t want to eat. It stresses me out, I don’t want him to be hungry!
    Rant: My colleague has been out quite a bit lately, so I’ve been picking up his slack. It’s shocking how much stuff he has let slip (aka totally ignored), so I’m pulling double duty and bringing his projects up to pace. I don’t understand how some people stay employed!

    • I think that’s a common response (not eating when teething–perhaps particularly for molars). Does your kiddo have any favorite foods? My friend’s daughter ate a LOT of bananas and banana-flavored food during that time because it was her favorite food. My daughter will almost always eat cheese/mac n’ cheese (we add tuna fish & peas to round it out). Good luck–molars are the worst!

      • SFT

        He loves cheese! I buy him fresh mozzarella and if I don’t cut him off he’ll eat the whole container. Right now that’s all he’ll eat with some grapes and hummus thrown in. We are trying mac n cheese n peas for lunch today. I hope it works!

      • I’m still trying to find my kid’s magic food. Right now it’s pickles and oranges. Both just so void of major nutrients (fat, calories, protein). It’s driving me nuts and he’s still on formula. I just wish he’d go “this shit is gross!” and start eating and drinking whole milk reliably.

        • SFT

          Wow, pickles! That’s a pretty intense food little taste buds, I’m impressed. My guy started eating oranges recently, and could probably eat his weight in clementines. I think they sting his gums right now as teeth are cutting through, so he’s off of oranges. I’m just going to feed him whatever he’ll eat right now, and hope that this doesn’t cause other issues (i.e. picky eating) down the road.

          • I actually find that my son really likes chewing/gumming on english cucumber spears- they’re ‘hard’ and cold. I peel them, cut them into spears, and take SOME of the seeds out (for an older kid, prob not necessary). I think they make the teeth coming through feel better.

          • My daughter seems to be going through apple slices like crazy these days, possibly for the same reasons – I think her canines are coming in.

  • Rant: stressed about leading a team at work. I’m not a good decision maker and my boss’ boss is on the team.
    Rave: olives, wine, reading
    Rant: my black boots broke and my cobbler said it’s not worth it to fix them. Last time I bought tall boots, not snow boots, it took over a dozen pairs to find one that fit. So I’ve ordered six pairs. I’ll be shocked if there’s even one contender in the bunch.
    Question: Accountering- what’s the email for your refi guy? My google-fu is not up to textdoc levels and I can’t find it. Or anyone else who has someone they suggest refinancing with, let me know please!

    • Have you contacted an internet lender yet re: refi? Recently, a client reached out to NorthPointe (out of MI) and was raving about the ease of the process. Everything done via email and phone.

      • I haven’t yet, but I was thinking about checking one out.

      • justinbc

        We used one when we purchased our primary residence. The terms and rates were by far the most competitive, but the communication process was a massive pain in the ass.

        • Accountering

          I disagree completely. I much prefer everything being done via e-mail and phone anyways. If your mortgage guy wasn’t good, I can see how this would be a pain, but if you are dealing with a competent mortgage guy, I think online is much preferable.

        • I typically refer clients to lenders when making purchases, but I think online lenders for re-fi’s have a distinct competitive advantage with cost-savings. Some don’t charge closing fees (up to 6%), only a one-time fee for the service provided ($500 in one case that comes to mind).

    • Just bluff your way through it and don’t overthink. Remember, half the managers you know (that I know, anyway) are total half-wits with completely unwarranted confidence in their own decision making skills. and yet they’re in supervisory positions. Probably the worst that can happen, if you can exude a little false confidence, is that you’ll screw up and get promoted.
      (FWIW, my girlfriend, who has been my boss at several points over my career, used to make up great sounding stuff on the spot in key meetings, spit it out as though she’d been cogitating on that very strategy for weeks, and then offer to do a memo by “first thing tomorrow” where she actually filled the details that she hadn’t yet actually considered at that point. It worked wonderfully.)

    • Andie302

      Michael Steren mikes @ mtgcapital. com is the guy Accountering uses. He’s super responsive. I also have referred clienits to Greg Kingsbury and Chris Jordan (you can google their names and the word mortgage and do their applications online). They are all very professional and I would use them personally. Compare their fees and get a break down of closing costs with your quote to avoid any surprises.

    • justinbc

      Todd Sheinin @ New America Financial a local institution based out of Rockville

    • I’ve heard good things about Cardinal Bank which I think is an online set-up. They’re picky but so far my neighbor hasn’t found better rates (pre-these crazy low rates).

    • hammers

      oooh! Who is your cobbler? In the neighborhood perhaps? Sorry to hear about your black boots, I may have some with a similar fate. Good luck with replacing!

      • Omg, you don’t know about Philip’s Shoe Repair??? He’s the best, on Upshur, next to Fia’s.

        • emvee

          Does he do bags, too? I have some great purses that were my mom’s that are coming up on 40 years old that need some TLC on the straps, but I haven’t found anyone I trust enough with them.

          • Yes, he does many things. He’ll tell you if something is worth fixing or not. If I’m unsure if something can be salvaged, I take it to him and ask. He’s more than happy to take a look and outline what he can do.
            They don’t take cards and they close at 2 on Saturdays. I usually just pay cash when I drop off. Sometimes if it’s a quick fix I get lucky and he does it while I wait.

        • jim_ed

          +1 for Phillp’s. He does great work and his shop is as close as you’re going to get to entering a time machine back to 1961.

          • Exactly what I thought… it’s like you are walking into another world. The shop made me think of Geppetto from Pinocchio but for shoes.

  • 16th Street Heights Residents: Does anyone live ON 16th Street? We’re looking at a house on 16th and wonder how bad the noise would be. The house meets many of our needs otherwise.

    • I used to live on 16th St (though a bit further south, near Mt. P) in a second floor apartment facing the street and rarely had issues with street noise.

  • Rant: Harsh re-entry to the office after a three-day weekend.
    Revel: The second best thing about a three-day weekend is a four-day work week.
    Rant: My boss, who is generally great (though crunchy) and who understands that I’m frustrated with my job, is being kind of a jerk about a TDY I want to take that would get some important stuff done while seriously boosting both my professional and personal happiness. And I found *nothing* to apply for in my job search this weekend.

  • Rant: Trouble falling asleep–>didn’t get up to run this morning. Argh.
    Rant: Conflicting advice from two sets of plumbers/HVAC folks about whether our newly installed water heater needs an expansion tank. Anyone have any idea? The only DC code I’ve found on the subject is within a section on hot water boilers, but the text refers to “any hot water system”. They also have conflicting advice about whether it’s problematic to have a furnace on its side in the ceiling, where it’s been for 30+ years. But that’s a problem for a later point in time, whenever we end up replacing the furnace.
    Rave: Lovely weekend. Lots of time outside yesterday. Family yoga class at Yoga Heights was awesome. Got to see the Orangatans on the O-line yesterday. Fun times with friends.

    • jim_ed

      Re: Expansion tank – the answer is maybe? If the hot water heater has a check valve on it, making it a closed system, then you likely need an expansion tank. That said, I can’t say I’ve seen many of them on hot water heaters in the city. Definitely a must for boilers though. Re: the furnace – depends on how old the unit is. easiest way to figure it out is to copy down the model #, find the installation guide online, and see if it allows for horizontal installation. If it doesn’t, it could be an issue as it could potentially not be drafting correctly, which can be a serious health issue.

      • Thanks – ugh, so confusing.
        As for the furnace, it’s been there for several decades so the question will be related to when we replace it. So I guess we’ll have to investigate the new model to see what’s feasible.

        • jim_ed

          Many new furnaces can be installed horizontally, or even upside down if needed, so replacement shouldn’t be a problem (assuming they can get the old furnace out/new one in without cutting walls or ceiling). With your furnace being 20-30+ years old, It should be replaced sooner rather than later. Also, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have it serviced annually at that age to make sure the heat exchangers aren’t rusting or cracked and leaking carbon monoxide into the house, if you’re not having that done already.

          • Good to know, thanks! That’s consistent with what one of the HVAC companies said. We do get our furnaces checked out somewhere between annually and semi-annually–and just had them checked out recently. We also have carbon monoxide detectors on each floor. Our furnaces are gas rather than electric, so my understanding is that they may last longer, but we do get them checked out regularly. The fan motor is starting to go on the downstairs furnace & our usual HVAC folks said they couldn’t replace it, so we’re anticipating needing to replace the furnace in the next year or so.

  • Rave: packed lunch today! this is such an accomplishment for me.
    Rant: as expected, I spent a part of Saturday night at a show dodging an online date/attempted friendship gone awry. Eventually gave up hiding because I shouldn’t let jerks ruin my night with my friends.

    • Anonynon

      was he a jerk or it just didn’t work out and was awkward for both of you, thus making him a jerk?

      • Anonyon: I posted about this a few weeks ago. Summary: we agreed to be friends (his idea first!). when I tried to hangout just as friends, he mentions he only hangs out with friends naked and had a sex dream about me. I said that wasn’t cool. He said it was a joke. He got mad. He posted mean stuff on the internet. We are not friends.

  • Rave: The Alpha Phi Alpha brothers singing and praying at the MLK Memorial around 11AM yesterday were absolutely amazing and made my day.
    Rave: The restaurant week menu at DBGB was delicious and is an insanely good value. You will not leave hungry.
    Bonus Rave: Wondering around City Center with my spouse, chuckling as we counted luxury brands we’d never heard of. Lots of bored sales people standing in empty stores is a little sad, though.

    • epric002

      glad to hear about DBGB- i’m going on sunday with friends. specifically, what do you recommend on the RW menu?

      • We did the lunch menu, but there are a few items that carry over to the dinner menu. I had the duck pate, salmon, and chocolate sacher. My spouse had the grilled kale, roast beef panini and the passion-coconut sundae. The pate was excellent, but the grilled kale salad was even better (I had never heard of pickled crosne, but now want to keep a jar on my desk). The salmon and lentils (which is on the dinner menu as well) was really good, perfectly grilled. For dessert, the passion-coconut sundae is totally the way to go. It looked like the Frenchie burger was very popular, too.
        As far as I could tell, every course was a full, regular portion (not the slightly smaller versions many RW menus have), hence the awesome value. Service was very professional, as expected. However, you can quickly add a crazy bar tab if you go for 2+ drinks.

  • Pablo Raw

    Rave: Uneventful weekend other than
    Rant: Embarrassing computer mistake, had to invest hours and $ on fixing things.
    Rave: Back into street photography, but it’s hard to leave my cozy and warm place.
    Rave: My flickr account passed the 1 million views yesterday. It doesn’t mean much, it’s just a bit surreal to think that my photos have been viewed so many times.

  • skj84

    Rant: I wore my contacts today and can barely see. Time to throw this pair out. I

    Rant: I have a feeling my extra contacts are in a box in the storage facility. I’ve tore the house apart looking for them, and nothing has turned up.

    Rave: At least I can wear my sunglasses today!

  • Question: we are considering enclosing the area underneath our sleeping porch to make another room of our basement in a pretty standard Petworth rowhouse. Has anyone done this? If so, any lessons learned? Do you have a contractor you’d recommend?

    • I’d be interested in recommendations for this as well. We have a basement with a “garage” that was cinderblocked out at some point in the past (think the front of the house part of the basement unfinished accessible area, cinder block wall to separate the back part which is the “garage” although it is not usable as such). We are thinking of taking the cinderblocks out and enclosing the area back into the basement.

      Also question for everyone:
      If you were going to finish your basement that probably has 6-6.5 ft ceilings, but were not planning on making an English basement rental…would you spend the money on digging down for extra headroom?
      We are more looking at this as additional living space, extra bathroom instead of potential rental income.
      Either way something needs to be done as it is weird and choppy with the current “garage” and nothing is insulated in any way – so that needs to be fixed.

    • I did this in 2013 as I needed the additiona storage space and a full size washer/dryer when my boyfriend moved in. Overall, the project went pretty smoothly. I will say that all my utilities are located on the back of my house and getting Pepco to move them was a HUGE PITA!!!! It also makes the project a lot more expensive. Due to permit requirements, I did have to make this portion of the basement 7ft. So, even if you don’t plan on digging, if you want it to be legal for resale, then you should pull permits and they will require you to dig. I do have some water issue in that part of the basement now, which I never had before. Luckily, I chose to tile it, so it isn’t that big of a deal. However, be aware that with the dig out, there is less places for the water to go. I’d recommend making the concrete come a few inches above the natural grade outside to keep it off the foundation sill. Overall, the total cost was about $25,000. You won’t gain it back in resale, but it has been a life saver for us in terms of how we live!

  • Andie302

    Rave: Great long weekend visiting with friends and family. I had girl-time, family-time, time with Accounterings family, got some stuff done, and did some shopping to boot.
    Rant: My dog is too neurotic to play with a laser pointer. I used it with her for the first time last night and while she is SUPER excited to play with it, she wouldn’t pay attention to anything or anyone for 45 minutes following the play session because she was looking for the red dot. I’m not sure we can use it again. I know that her wagging her tail is a good thing, but it was almost aggressive while she was awaiting for the dot to reappear.
    Rave: Potential HH at Lost and Found…I haven’t been there yet and have been meaning to check it out.

    • epric002

      i recently read a good article about why playing with laser pointers can be really bad for dogs. this isn’t the exact article, but a number like this come up when you google http://www.dogingtonpost.com/laser-pointers-could-be-bad-for-your-dog/
      basically, there is never a “reward” for a dog when they’re trying to catch something that doesn’t exist, and it can lead to serious problems if your dog is neurotic/obsesses over it. they suggest always having the pointer land on some kind of reward, toys or treats, so that the dog can “catch” something.

      • Andie302

        Thank you! My dog has OCD anyway…I should’ve suspected her reaction. She also seems to have above-average vision (and is always jumping off the couch to chase shadows that I barely notice) so I should’ve known this might happen…but it was just sad.

        • epric002

          you’re welcome! i’d never used a laser pointer before so i never considered how it could be bad to use. the first article was really sad b/c it talked about a dog that had REALLY gotten neurotic about it to the point that she chased every bit of light she ever saw and had to be rehabbed back to being ok in the daylight. crazy!

        • My previous dog would snap at invisible flies (or, flies so small that they were invisible to me). His vet said King Charles spaniels were pre-disposed to this behavior; it was strange to watch

    • Andie302

      Additional rave: My old VA office is being reorganized under the current Assistant Secretary that my new organization is working for. This.is.going.to.be.so.much.more.effective for upper management decision-making. I am stoked!

    • Bartenders were nice and knowledgeable. Good bourbon selection at a good price.
      Crowd was uber basic, uncomfortably crowded on a weekend night.
      Would be a good spot to hang out on a slow and quiet afternoon. I’d avoid Thurs, Fri, and Sat nights.
      Will need to scope out happy hour. My guess is that it will be really busy, since it’s the “hot” new bar in the ‘hood and Dacha is only sporadically open.

      • I went a few weeks ago during the work week and it was nearly dead, but maybe that was because it was freezing out? The 18th is a Wednesday, so it might be fairly “safe.”

      • Yeah, I’ve gone half a dozen times during the week and there are not many people there around happy hour. I’ve heard on weekends it can get very crowded.

  • Rave: Put in an offer for a condo over the weekend!! I am supposed to hear back today, so I clearly can’t focus on anything but my offer.
    Rave: Tax return sent (on the first day of filing, woo!) and I should be getting back close the $3000. Excited to have some extra funds if first rave gets accepted.

  • Rave: Three day weekend!
    Rant: Was taking it easy after being sick last week and went a bit stir-crazy. Also harder to keep depression issues at bay when I’m not staying busy.
    Rave: Saw Imitation Game last night, thought it was pretty good. Did not read up on Turing ahead of time though so I did not expect the ending… Pretty appalling.

    • emvee

      I went to see Imitation Game on Sunday and a fellow movie-goer totally spilled that one for me. I read up after, and it seems there’s actually some controversy around the appalling ending in question. Regardless, still horrific.

      • Boo on spoilers! =/ Yeah, I looked it up afterwards as well and saw the movie might’ve made it out to be worse – but still…

        • Emmaleigh504

          How is it a spoiler when he’s a famous person? It’s common knowledge how he lived and died. Haven’t seen the movie, but everything I’ve read said the movie downplayed the horrible things that happened to him.

          • I’m personally not bothered by spoilers ever, but I could still see how someone mentioning it at the beginning of the movie could be a bit annoying.
            I’m sure that’s true. I think what I’d read about was just about a part of it -the movie’s implication that his death was a direct result of what happened to him, but there’s some controversy about whether he did actually commit suicide or if it was an accident (his mother didn’t think it was suicide), and it was longer afterwards than the movie had implied. Still absolutely appalling, regardless, but I think that’s what some of the controversy is about that emvee mentioned.

          • A friend asked me if I saw “Selma” to which I excitedly replied “Yeessss!”. She chastened “Don’t tell me! Don’t tell me! I haven’t seen it yet!”

            I said:


            Get out of my car.

          • Emmaleigh504

            But he’s a real guy who is famous!I just don’t understand how it could be a spoiler or annoying to find out about his life before the movie. I just don’t get it, and I’m coming at it as a person who hates spoilers.
            Gumball, if that actually happened, I really hope you put them out of your car.

          • Emilie – LOL she just burst out laughing once she realized how ridiculous she sounded!

    • His life was very sad indeed.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: The guy just outside my office is talking. I’m not sure if it’s making me suicidal or homicidal, but someone needs to die b/c his voice is so annoying.
    Rave: Finally found a chili recipe that I can make that tastes so very good.

  • Future Rave:
    Gin & Gardening gathering in February! At the last HH, Sunday Feb 1st was discussed but that’s also Superbowl Sunday. I’m not watching the game but maybe other gin drinkers and garden lovers are also football fans.
    Preferences for Feb 1st or Feb 8th? Venue probably in Columbia Heights or thereabouts, early enough to get home for Downton Abbey

  • Rave: housewarming party was a success
    Rant: stupid boy drama. He stayed 45 minutes after the last guests hung out, chatting with me and my roommates. When they went upstairs, he was pretty much or the door immediately. I don’t get it. It’s not like we haven’t had adult time before!
    Rant: the county really botched the rollout of the laptops. We’re two short.

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rave: Visit with Emilie and Donna.
    Rant: 6 a.m. came awful early this morning.

  • emvee

    Rave: Long weekend, community service in Rock Creek Park yesterday!
    Rave: I binge-watched Transparent this weekend, and it’s phenomenal.
    Rant: I had the best meat + veggie CSAs before I moved here, and have not been able to find anything remotely comparable in DC. I’m looking for something with local produce to feed three adults that, preferably, delivers to work or home. A meat CSA would be ideal, too, but is not as much of a priority. Does anyone have one they love?

    • It’s not a CSA, but I love From the Farmer (fromthefarmerdc.com). They are local and the quality is as good as or better than anything from a farmer’s market. They don’t do meat, but they do eggs and bread. Relay Foods is also a good local delivery service with both local and non-local food. They have produce boxes and a full selection of grocery items and I’ve had very good experiences with them.
      As for actual CSAs, I haven’t found any that deliver directly to homes and offices. I know some people love their CSAs that delivery to drop-off spots (especially the one at Smucker Farms on 14th), but I can’t recommend any myself.

      • By the way, if anyone wants a $20 credit to From the Farmer, email me at Shawessdc at gmail. They have one of those offers where we can both get credits for new accounts, but that’s not why I recommend them. I recommend them because I use and like them 🙂

      • emvee

        This is helpful! I’m a little nervous about FTF leaving goodies on my stoop at odd hours, though. Seeing as we had problems with neighbors stealing mail out of our mailbox (I’ll miss you, New Yorkers of last fall!), I don’t think I’d trust my neighbors in the slightest when it comes to respecting my basket of food. I tried Relay once and was pretty disappointed in the quality of the produce. I was unaware of Smucker, though, and that location’s not too bad for me!

        • FWIW, From the Farmer delivers very early in the morning (around 6 AM, I think) in plain cardboard boxes. I’ve never had an issue with stolen boxes even though I have had several other package thefts. The produce is definitely better than Relay Foods. That said, if you’re near Smucker Farms, people definitely seem to like their CSA. I hope you’ll let us know if you try them and what you think~

    • Pablo Raw

      What kind of community service?

    • I forgot to comment on Transparent — I love it too. Season 2 can’t come quickly enough,

  • This Logan/Shaw room for $1170 seems like a really good deal in case anyone is in the market (Fridaygirl?) washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/roo/4855225907.html

  • Rant: coming back after a long weekend is the worst
    Rant: I was a total degenerate and manwhore this weekend *facepalm*
    Rant: spent too much money
    Rave: weather was quite nice yesterday and Saturday. enjoyed a lovely, long hike in RCP. petted horses at the RCP stables. i really want to go horseback riding.

  • Pablo Raw

    Date: 2-18-15
    What: Karaoke in Chinatown.


  • Rave: Checking out Dram and Grain on Friday night. Excited that someone surprised me with a reservation 😀
    Rave: New work shoes that I bought for a steal already garnered me 3 compliments this morning.
    Rant: I’m having a hard time sleeping. I already go to bed pretty late, but was worried about work stuff (that I procrastinated on – totally my fault) and the anxiety/nervousness kept me up until nearly 4am. 🙁
    Rant: Having a difficult time finding lodging for my ski trip. Everything is booked up! 😡

    • Anonynon

      Dram and Grain is awesome….like really awesome and the drinks and food are on point.

      • Related Rave: Adams Morgan. On the weekend (yes you read that correctly!). I went out on Saturday night in Adams Morgan with a few friends for the first time in at least a year or two and was pleasantly surprised. Things were subdued, affordable, and mature. Had a really lovely evening stopping by Bedrock, Cashion’s, and a friend’s improv show. U Street, 14th, and Shaw seemed to have stolen the riff-raff crowds.

        • justinbc

          It’s changed a lot since I first went there 7 years or so ago, so much to the point that when people say “this is a nice change for the neighborhood” it makes me think they haven’t been there in quite some time.

          • I regularly visit Adams Morgan on Sunday afternoons and on quieter weeknights. This was just my first time out on a “busy night” in a long time. I’m sure the fact that we are in the doldrums of winter and it was a holiday weekend helped stem the tide of misbehavin’ students and suburbanites.

    • Aren’t you going to share about your hot tub party? 🙂

      • Did not end up going out of town. Things were mostly booked up or overpriced, so we decided to stick around DC. :-/
        That said, I want to plan a Shenandoah cabin rental weekend for March 😀

    • (I assume you’re talking about your Switzerland ski trip?) Could you book someplace that’s not in a ski town, then drive to ski first thing in the morning? I realize it’s not the same as having a cute chalet or the like, but it would definitely open up your options. I bet Montreaux would be lovely next month.

      • Snow levels are at record lows in much of Switzerland due to global warming. 😡
        Thanks, Obama!
        Yes, we might try to do that. Though, we found a guy renting a bedroom in his nice apartment on AirBnB and his place is right next to the lift. However, he’s in the smaller town (Wengen) without many bars or restaurants (rather than Grindelwald, the main hub).
        But $100/night total for two of us isn’t too bad! Prices were already a bit crazy before the forex shock.

        • Emmaleigh504

          nosy question: are you going with a love interest or a pal? either way I hope it’s fun.

          • An old friend/pal who lives in Europe 🙂

          • Emmaleigh504

            With hook-up potential? 😉 Or is it by chance a single dude in Sweden? Cuz I need the Swedish equivalent of a green card. (I should probably find out what that’s called, too.) 😉

        • Remember that a lot of the ski slopes in Switzerland are connected. You can actually take lifts up and ski down into a different town and cover 20 miles. BUT you have to pay attention to bus schedules or have another plan for getting back to your starting point. (Yes, I have been stuck!)

  • This morning around 10am I was in a meeting downtown and there was a sudden huge plume of smoke that went up in the air towards 15th and K is (judging from where I was at the Reagan building). Any ideas on what happened? It was very disconcerting.

  • Anonynon

    Super Rave: The AC Unit or whatever it was that was in the building next to me that was buzzing so LOUD for months has magically stopped (it would start up at 6am sometimes and last for 30 minutes at a time, so annoying!) but i haven’t heard it in a few weeks so i think it was fixed.
    Rave: Just found out I got a phone interview with Capital One tomorrow – yay for random LinkedIN recruiters making my life easier.
    Rant: I might have two dates this week or I might have none, why do I feel like they both will get canceled? One I wouldn’t mind, but the other I would.
    Rave: The Decembrists CD just came out, liking it so far!

    • Anonynon

      welp looks like date is happening tonight

      • Yaaay 🙂

      • Is that the one you cared about?

        • Anonynon

          this would actually be the one I didn’t care as much about…well I don’t even know anymore. I saw this girl a few times before the holidays and then she gave me a lame excuse when I asked her out on a really fun date that i had planned. Now she is back and asked me out again (she asked me out the first time too). The one tomorrow is a first date, which is always fun getting butterflies before 🙂

          • I had the same thing happen a while back, but her lame excuse went to a break off right after, and I couldn’t think of seeing her again. You’re a better person than me for giving it another go. First dates can be great; 2nd/3rd dates are even better since you’re pass the where are you from, what’s your sign, etc.

  • Pablo Raw

    Rant: one of my eyeglasses’s temple broke; it’s a nice ray ban blue frame I was not expecting that.
    Rant: When is Warby Parker going to be in DC? I keep procrastinating about getting frames online.
    Rave: I have another RB frame, the temporary solution will be to have bicolor frames for a while.

  • Rant: Expensive weekend. Turns out the hard drive on my 3-year old Macbook Pro was failing (hence the painfully slow speed), so I had to have a new one installed and likely lost all my music. It was probably all crap anyways, right? But cost $200. Then went out and bought a new laptop that’s more compatible with my school needs (I needed something that will run SAS, a statistical analytical program, and wanted to be portable so I wasn’t tied to one location). Got a pimped out laptop so I hopefully won’t have the same issues again.
    Rave: Managed to save all my new photos (in theory, still need to check), so I can start editing my 3,000+ mom&me vacation photos!
    Question: Anyone have a good (cheap) photo editor for PCs? I’m used to iPhoto, but would like to trade up at some point to Photoshop, just need to fill the coffers back up 🙂 I have used Picassa before, but found I liked iPhoto better.
    Dating rant for those of you who enjoy them: I need to start ignoring what my friends think of my relationship and focus on what boy and I think of our relationship. Boy and I have been dating for 4.5 months, but didn’t see each other for about a month during the holidays. One friend of mine is SHOCKED and worried that he hasn’t stated telling me how he feels. I think that he just isn’t used to it (is from a family of all boys…), and that his actions are speaking louder. But she had me panicking/doubting everything for a good 24 hours until I was able to spend some quiet time with the boy – that’s when I realized she didn’t know him well enough to make those comments. Besides, can’t I just be happy where we are, and hope that we have a future together, and live in the moment? My relationship is not hers, and she has no right to judge. At least her heart is in the right place?

    • Pablo Raw

      The Gimp. It’s free and at least for my needs, as good as photoshop.

    • justinbc

      “At least her heart is in the right place?”
      As long as she backs off when you tell her “I got this.”

    • Don’t let your friend’s neuroses and insecurities bleed into your relationship. Yes, she can share her thoughts and maybe a month long separation would drive her crazy. Her heart is (probably) in the right place.
      But if you’re happy with how things are progressing, don’t give her words another thought. A month long separation isn’t ideal, but it isn’t indicative of any underlying issues. She’s jumping to some pretty far fetched conclusions.

      • She wasn’t concerned about that side of things – she recognized it was hard and annoying, and that the issue stemmed with me (I had about a 15 day+ vacation with my mom just after Christmas). It was more that he hasn’t told me he loves me yet. We’ve only been together for a few months, and he’s initiated every other big step of our relationship (moving from dating to official relationship, meeting the parents, etc.). I’m comfortable letting him take the lead on our relationship, especially since I don’t want to plan a wedding while in grad school and working full time. He knows how I feel, and I know he likes to take care of me/protect me/be there for me, and I’m trying to just enjoy my first truly healthy relationship since high school.

        • This is just my experience, but the one or two guys who have told me they loved me in 3 months or less are the ones who, looking back, I should have trusted the least. Actions do speak louder than words. You’re fine.

          • **Disclaimer: So I don’t sound like a huge player, the L words were exchanged in another country. But I don’t think it was a cultural thing to say it so soon. Anyway — point being, I think you’re doing fine!

          • I don’t think 1-2 guys can make you a player. LOL

          • Emmaleigh504

            Yeah, totally confused why you would be a player from this comment. Sounds like dating.

          • Oh, I don’t know. Maybe a poor choice of words. I guess I’m self-conscious about my dating life after the whole bagelboy incident.

          • Emmaleigh504

            no need to be self conscious, we are all friends here 🙂

        • Isn’t it kind of a jump from “he hasn’t told me he loves me yet” to “I don’t want to plan a wedding while in grad school and working full time”?

          • That’s actually a great point. Didn’t catch that one…

          • It’s just what my friend was looking towards. She just got engaged so I think that’s part of it – she wants to see me engaged and planning my own wedding so that now that hers is essentially planned she can have fun with mine (she will not be helping me with mine). And that was just my way of saying I’m not in a rush, I don’t need to be married any time soon, I just want to enjoy my relationship as it stands. My other friends are just really excited for me that I’m happy and doing well. This one seems one-tracked towards love and marriage. It hasn’t even been 6 months, we haven’t had any issues yet, I hope we never have any issues, and I like taking things day by day (until this friend freaks me out).

        • Actions speak louder than words, and it sounds like he’s committed to you if he initiated becoming “official” and meeting the parents. Some of us just don’t feel comfortable saying “I love you” less than ___ months into a relationship, seems a little much that early on.

          Have you told him you love him? And he hasn’t said it back? Is that why she’s worried? Or is it because he just hasn’t said something like, “You’re amazing, I’m so happy to be with you, etc etc”? Plenty of people out there feel uncomfortable expressing their feelings like that.

          Just my unsolicited 2 cents.

          • FWIW, my sig other and I have been together for 8 years, and are lifelong committed. I think we’ve each probably said “I love you” twice over those 8 years.

            Some people say “I love you”, while others show it. He and I both tend to be the type to demonstrate rather than vocalize, so it’s very rarely said. And it’s fine, because neither of us need to hear it – we both know 🙂

          • Anonynon

            that is the best!!!!! I want your relationship 🙂

        • Anonynon

          Yeah I wonder where bagelboy is too…hopefully crushing some bagel bites somewhere having a good old time 🙂

  • Pablo Raw

    The Gimp. It’s free and at least for my needs, as good as photoshop.

  • I Dont Get It

    Rant: Day Gazillion with the flu. I’m back at work but still a little out of it.

  • skj84

    Can anyone recommend a good grab and go lunch spot around U street? I have an audition at Source theatre, and will probably have just enough time to grab some carry out before I have to head back into the office.

  • RAVE:I am so grateful to the Popvillian who recommended the miniseries Black Mirror here. I binged watched the series this weekend (sort of easy to do as its sadly only 6 episodes)
    RANT: in the middle of a photo shoot on sunday, my little Canon S100 may have died. Got a lens error message and lens won’t retract. grrr…..according to the internet, this is fairly common for this camera but it usually happens early on, not 3-4 years on.

  • Can anyone recommend a carpenter/designer/other professional to build a wall unit with doors? We were hoping to have something like this (www.roomandboard.com/catalog/living/bookcases-and-shelves/addison-wall-units) built to our measurements.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Question: Would it be unethical to tell a candidate that they along with one other candidate have a second interview? And not tell the second candidate? Theoretically, there will be 2 positions open even though only one position is open now. I have no say beyond recommending for a 2nd interview. So would it be unethical? To tell Anonymous that their info has been forwarded for a second interview?
    I cannot wait til we hire someone! It’s long overdue.

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