Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns

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.

Happy holidays all – we’ll be back to our regular posting schedule on Monday.

102 Comment

  • Ally

    Rave: Received my first ever art project/Christmas gift from my 6 month old: His footprints on a Christmas canvas decorated and titled “Mistletoes.” Our awesome babysitter orchestrated the whole thing. And managed to get all the paint out of his toes!
    Rant: Stuck working Christmas Eve and flying on Christmas day. With a cold. Small potatoes.

  • binntp

    Merry Christmas to all who may be celebrating tomorrow!
    Rave: Of all the gifts I managed to get for folks this year, I’m most excited about what my cat is getting in her stocking. Of course, she’ll feign non-chalance πŸ™‚

    rant: this freaking rain

  • Rant: My basement flooded last night. While it wasn’t as bad as it could be, it wasn’t great either. The whole hall area was damp and muddy, my bathroom is wrecked. Thankfully my room was fine, I have hardwood floors. But my roommate wasn’t so lucky. Neither were my suitcases, I hope I can find a way to salvage them.

    Rave: Looking at the silver lining of things, the flood unintentionally assisted in my organizing project. All the leftover moving boxes soaked up most of the water in in the hall so I had to toss them. Now we have a lot more space in the hall. Also I’m heading home today, so at least I don’t have to deal with waiting for plumbers and such. I did mop as much water up to the best of my abilities last night.

    • what part of DC is this in? (im in a floody area too and am not in DC today — so I am wondering if im coming home to a flooded basement)

  • dcgator

    Rave: Early morning RRR
    Rant: (Basically) No one is working, so today I’m putting the over/under at 50 comments
    Rant: Early morning fire alarm at the office
    Rant: Want to just go home
    Rave: I’m just being whiny, and feel fine today

  • I have a question. I am approved to take medical m. in DC. I’m interviewing for a job and think the chances are likely that I will be hired. A drug test is mandatory. When do I disclose that I take it? Once an employer finds out, can they not hire me? How best to handle? I’d appreciate any helpful advice. Thank you.

    • Ally

      Guess it depends on the employer’s policy and what they do and don’t allow.

      • I believe if you’re a Fed or supporting a Fed (i.e. most jobs in DC) you can’t use it because they follow Federal policy.

    • I would be careful… an employer is not required to allow your use even with medical prescription. It is entirely their discretion and they have no obligation to hire you… even if you think you could do the job just fine.

    • Are drug tests required randomly after you start working or just pre? Basically I’m asking if you can stop using it for a while then go back once you’re hired.
      Unfortunately mm is so lax that a number of people have cards who really don’t need them, so saying I have permission to use it carries little weight.

  • Revel: bought a used lovesac on Craigslist. It’s super comfy but damn, is that thing enormous. It took two of us pushing to get it into my friend’s hatchback.
    Revel: making all my doctor appointments this week. Today was the dermatologist and I got a bunch of Rxes for a skin issue I had been ignoring for a while
    ?: I got a lot of the same advice from my dermatologist that I had received from my psychologist. Just interesting, that’s all.

  • Rave: Random beach trip planned for this weekend. I love being married to someone as spontaneous as me.
    Rant: The fact that it’s warm enough to head out to the beach on Christmas weekend.
    Rave: Blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

    • Couldn’t help but notice your handle “Rabbit”
      You wouldn’t happen to be spontaneous and dedicated enough to adopt a sweet Holland lop rabbit? We are looking for a new home for our rabbit “Nutmeg”

  • SouthwestDC

    Last minute gift suggestions for my dad? I’m stumped.

    • I had the same issue this year. I ended up getting my dad a gift card to one of his favorite breakfast places.

    • Does your dad like whiskey? Nice bottle of whiskey would make any man happy. (except me, I like gin)

      • Oh, jumping off that you could get him locally created whisky. Or do what my sis did for my brother. She got him a growler of local craft beer. We were going to create a six pack of beers from each state we’ve lived in, but neither of the beer shops were stopped by sold singles.

        • SouthwestDC

          I’ve done craft beer in the past, but now he’s on arthritis medication that you’re not really supposed to be mixing with alcohol. So that’s out.

    • My dad like paraphernalia of his favorite team. I got him a cellphone case a few years ago which he loved. Also baseball caps. I think all dads love caps.

    • binntp

      Is your Dad a tinkerer like men in my family? A gift card to a hardware store is good for those types.

    • I Dont Get It

      Is there an athletic team he follows?

    • I Dont Get It

      What about something like a membership for a year in the Dollar Shave Club? Also order some nice soothing shave cream from them. I might do this for myself today since I let mine expire!

    • These might be considered practical stocking stuffers rather than gifts

      Coleman 5319-700 MicroPacker LED Mini Lantern – These are really useful for power outages
      LED keychain
      Hand crank emergency radio/flashlight for a car

      • SouthwestDC

        He’s a practical kind of guy so he already has multiples of the first two. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has the emergency car radio/flashlight too.

    • If he’s local, a subscription to the Smithsonian associates might be good. It includes a magazine subscription which has info on the exhibits and gives discount tickets for various shows. I think second city comes most years, for example.

  • Rant: I could’ve worked from home today and chose to come into the office. So far I have accomplished nothing except back and forth between my roommates and landlord about the basement. I leave in 2 hours.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Rant: Christmas orphan
    Rave: Christmas orphan. Anyone care to get together for brunch or early supper on Christmas? Maybe Black Squirrel or Busboys and poets. Leaving early so get back soon.

  • That One Guy

    With the exception of when we lived in South America, I’ve spent all my Christmases on the east coast. I don’t know how to deal with this warm weather in December. So confused.
    Still a little grinchy but starting to get into the giving mood.
    Happy Festivus.

  • Rave: The Dabney. Yum. Especially their take on eggs benedict – buttermilk biscuit w/egg, ham, foie gras, and whipped maple.
    Rave: 68 inches of snow in Utah, and more to come.

  • I Dont Get It

    Rant: ME! I kept putting off some dental work or a possible medical procedure and now I have a large (for me) amount left in my FSA. Scrambling now to spend it but definitely a large amount will roll back to my employer. BOO!

    Rave: I bought all sorts of treats at While Foods this morning for tonight. I’m looking forward to Christmas eve!

    • Do you wear glasses? Get new glasses or prescription sunglasses from Warby Parker or another online company. Tons of band-aids? Sunscreen? Anything to avoid losing money!

      • Could you get LASIK or something in the next few days? (Or would that be way more $ than necessary to use up the amount in your FSA?)
        I neglected to set up an FSA for calendar year 2016 or to make an appointment to see whether I’m eligible for LASIK. So no LASIK for me until 2017. πŸ™

        • I Dont Get It

          LOL I don’t need LASIK but thanks for the suggestion.

        • IDGI – IMPORTANT!!!
          Sorry for the caps, but wanted you to know that the IRS permits employers to extend the deadline for using FSA funds to March 15 of the following year. This is optional, but many employers do it, and you should absolutely check it out.

      • I Dont Get It

        I was already looking into that. Good glasses are a waste to me since i break them all the time but I guess it’s still better than letting the money roll away.

        • Get a lot of cheap glasses! Try Zenni Optical.

        • I Dont Get It

          Lots of glasses but I’ll still have a lot left over. I’m really embarrassed. Maybe the door-to-door Colonoscopy guy will be in the ‘hood this week.

          • This happened to me last year πŸ™ I was too embarassed to make one gigantic purchase in the store so I made multiple (still pricey) purchases. Neti pots are/were surprisingly covered under FSAFEDS so someone might be getting one for Christmas this year πŸ˜›

      • I like the idea of getting new glasses to use up money in the FSA.
        Are there any over-the-counter products you use that are on the pricier side — allergy medicine?

    • tonyr

      Can anyone list the advantages of an FSA over an HSA? I kinda skimmed the literature at work, but the fact that HSA money rolls over, year-on-year seems to make the FSA option kinda pointless. Genuine question. Also can you get your doctor to give you any expensive prescriptions in advance (assuming that you have some that is)?

      • There are no advantages, but some people are ineligible for HSA (like if they have other insurance or something). I think that’s the only reason that dinosaur is still around.

      • Hmm, I think I’ve been using the terms interchangeably… probably because I’ve never actually set one up myself.
        Can any fellow federal employees tell me whether we’re eligible for both kinds or just one?

        • I forget the reason, but I think Feds are ineligible for HSA.

        • FSAFEDS (Federal FSA program) is broken into 3 types: Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA), Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account (LEX HCFSA), and a Dependent Care Flexible Spending. You can enroll in any combination except you cannot have both a HCFSA and a LEX HCFSA


        • Oops, I put a link so my comment is awaiting moderation.

          FSAFEDS (Federal FSA program) is broken into 3 types: Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA), Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account (LEX HCFSA), and a Dependent Care Flexible Spending. You can enroll in any combination except you cannot have both a HCFSA and a LEX HCFSA.

          The FSAFEDS FAQs are actually pretty helpful. I think the Federal program is slightly different from private sector FSA programs so the same terminology doesn’t necessarily apply.

        • An HSA (health spending account) is required to be tied to a high deductible health plan; an FSA is a stand-along account. Both use pre-tax money to fund, but an HSA permits rollover; an FSA is use-it-or-lose-it (hence the reason for this thread). If you have an HSA, you are by law not eligible for a FSA (other than a limited benefit FSA. The ways the funds in each can be used are generally the same.

          • With FSAFeds, you can roll-over some (I think up to $500) for the next year. In the past, there was no roll-over, but you could include expenses up through the end of March. This year, there is the roll-over, but you can only include expenses up through December 31. I did discover, though, that filing an on-line claim was not difficult, a matter of attaching a PDF of the statement from the insurance company, which for some insurance companies can be done by logging into your account. No need to get additional forms from you dentist or other provider.

      • That One Guy

        FSA is beneficial if you know you’ll need dental or vision services in the coming year and want to have access to all funds right from the gate. In essence the benefit is you get the money to spend up front even though your deductions occur throughout the year. With an HSA you’d have to wait until you had the money in your account in order to use it.

        Note, you’ll need to figure out what expenses are eligible for FSA spending under your plan. .

        (Someone correct me if I’m wrong but your plan must be categorized as a high deductible plan in order for an HSA to be available as an option. If that’s the case then the FSA, if offered, is limited in its uses. Hence the mention to vision and dental above.)

      • A FSA is a use-it-or-lose-it account.

        An HSA, however, is a permanent savings account that is yours forever (regardless of where you work, etc…) While of course you can use the funds for health expenses, you can also use the account as a long-term savings supplement. The funds can be invested, just like an IRA, and you can contribute a little more than $3000 annually. The contributions are tax-deductible, the account is tax-sheltered, and the funds will not be taxed when withdrawn if they are used for health costs. Thus it is a triple-play tax move. Plus, if you build a large account over the course of your life, after you reach retirement age the funds can be withdrawn and taxed/treated just like IRA distributions–even if they aren’t for healthcare expenses.

        HSAs are awesome if you already max out an IRA every year. It’s a great place to stash and invest tax-free cash. Plus it’s always there in the case of health emergencies. One caveat is that to contribute to an HSA you have to have a high deductible health care plan (something like a $1500 annual deductible or higher).

  • Rave: Had a pretty good time eating waffles with my coworkers this morning. One of my coworkers brought in a waffle maker, batter, whipped cream, nuts, strawberries, chocolate chips, coffee, juice, and donuts into the office and invited the few folks who are here to eat.
    Rant: I feel fat.
    Rave: It’s Christmas Eve!
    Rave: My gifts to families have already shipped and will get to their destination earlier than expected. I ordered late and I knew I’d miss Christmas but I thought they wouldn’t ship until New Years Day.
    Rave: 1/2 day at work today.
    Rave: It’s already 10 until 11.

  • Rant: Haven’t had time to read RRR in forever.
    Rave: Two weeks of vacation!

  • Bear

    Rant: First time ever that I’ve had to work on Christmas Eve.
    Rave: At least I’m working from home, and there’s not much happening so I can hopefully get some other stuff done, like holiday baking. Pecan pie, rum cake, and gingerbread cookies are all on deck for the afternoon.

  • Rant: Work stuff.
    Rave: Snuggly kittycat on lap.
    Rave: My irises are still blooming!
    Rave: Somehow I am in a good mood despite the aforementioned work stuff and other things.

  • I Dont Get It

    Bonus Rave: Mark Zuckerberg is giving $4.5 million to 100 Facebook users!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Bonus Rant: Seemingly intelligent people in 2015 who repost this crap. In fact one person when confronted with the Snopes link debunking it said “Well it does’t hurt anything to try.” Yes it does hurt that I know some people this naive.

    • SouthwestDC

      My girlfriend reposted that for some reason, and her brother thought her account had been hacked because she’s too smart post something like that. πŸ™‚

  • Rave: Watching one of my favorite childhood Christmas movies, Jim Henson’s A Christmas Toy. Anyone else love it like I do? It’s wonderfully dark for a kids’ movie.

  • Trying to decide whether to spend my afternoon off museum-ing or doing something else. I feel like I don’t go to museums as often as I should (or as often as I’d like to)… but on the other hand I have a lot of stuff at home that needs to get done, and now that it’s stopped raining, I could even get some outdoor tasks done too.

  • I Dont Get It

    More Rants: I went to Whole Foods at Noon to avoid the crowds. Around Noon I realized I was missing my phone so yes I was at Whole Foods fighting the crowds. Ugh!.

  • That One Guy

    Copier part fell out of a moving truck and landed in the middle of the street. A meter ticket person and I moved it out of the road. My back felt a little funny while lifting the thing. Stupid moving people, how do you drive off without making sure the back of your truck is closed. I’m going back to grinch mode now.

  • Rave:
    The simple joy of buying the elderly woman’s lunch at an upstate NY diner while on holiday travel and telling the server to tell her it was from Santa. ..

  • Rave : Christmas

    Rant: My dog decided that chewing up the top post on our bannister was a great way to get some fiber in his diet. Any recommendation for someone that can help us get this fixed. We’ve been wanting to refinish the bannister for a while now, so Gollum probably did us a favor with his chewing, but it looks hideous now, and I must fix it.. Help.

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