Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Paul Sirajuddin

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.

161 Comment

  • Rave: I need to figure out what to do for my birthday in two weeks! I don’t think I’ve done birthday festivities in 5+ years, but this feels like the time. I need some cheer after the holidays.
    .
    Rant: Each day I feel more and more like I’m being treated as an unpaid intern even though I have been a paid employee at the same federal agency for three years now. I reflect on all the good reviews I’ve gotten from past offices, and awards I’ve won, and think this can’t possibly all be because of my attitude or work ethic. I really need to get serious about leaving the government. When I raise an issue, I don’t even think my office sees that it’s not the issue in itself, but the *principle* of the thing — the way I’m viewed and treated.
    .
    Rave: Supportive family and friends who will be proud of me even if I decide to run away and do something totally different somewhere else … and may even want to come with me/welcome me with open arms to their cities and homes.

    • I Dont Get It

      My birthday is next week and looks like I’m stuck that night going out with some co-workers from California who will be in town for meetings. Needless to say there is no way in heck I’m going to mention it is my birthday!

    • I also have an early in the new year birthday – not till Feb, but having something to look forward to sure helps get through the post-holiday blues, not to mention getting through February itself.

    • Enjoy your birthday! It’s great to have a celebration to look forward to.

    • The govt can be REALLY tough for a young person. I had so many ideas of what my job was going to involve and all the amazing things I’d do. I did get to do some awesome things, but it was mostly reorgs, new boss every 3 months, and not enough work to even keep busy let alone make a difference. Just make sure you really want out because as I am sure you know once you leave it can be hard to get back in. Some people will act like you’re giving up the only job in the world, but only you know what’s best for you!

      • “….and not enough work to even keep busy let alone make a difference.”
        .
        You hit the nail on the head with that one. I have been concerned about leaving and not being able to get back in. But I also have (perhaps silly) concerns about staying here indefinitely thinking that this is just how work is, when I may excel in my work (and be much happier) outside of government.

        • Be careful what you wish for. You could be sitting at your desk in the private sector at 10 pm on a Friday doing mindless paperwork on unreasonable deadlines for the almighty dollar. Find the employer who most closely matches your values and goals or start your own company if you want things to be done the right way(subjectively speaking ). Otherwise, enjoy that free time and predictable schedule and count your blessings, it’s a dog eat dog world out there, and the grass is always greener.

      • “Some people will act like you’re giving up the only job in the world, but only you know what’s best for you!”
        Growing up in the DC area, particularly a Fed-heavy bedroom community, a lot of my friends were raised with the thinking that one’s greatest career objective should be to get a Government Job and keep it. Now, this was largely still in the days of getting a job because you knew someone, but I have a few friends who were in your situation 10 years ago and stayed. 10 years later, they are still miserable only now it’s more difficult to leave. You are still so young. My advice is to stick it out until the end of your degree program, and then start looking; there is no harm in looking while you are employed (that’s really the best thing to do). Yes, being a lifelong Fed has some major benefits, but for some of us, there are more important things in life including finding work that fulfilling and gratifying to us. Only you will know what is best for you in the long run.

    • <>

      Have you ruled out the idea of finding a different Fed job in a different agency or at least office? Unless there’s more to it than how you’re treated in this particular office, maybe don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Either way, good luck.

      • Agreed — I think some of these issues must be office-specific or agency-specific.

        • They must be agency specific because I’ve been in a few different offices, and one was actually GREAT management and work-wise (but was mostly contractors) and my last office and this office are having very similar core issues.
          .
          I would love to try working at a different federal agency (particularly in a more case-load oriented position like immigration/consular/investigations/etc. vs a policy position) but I’m not sure if I have the right experience/skills, and unpaid internships to get said experience/skills are out of the question at this point. Too late. [textdoc, you’ll notice i’ve mostly given up on asia policy…. oh well.]

      • Easier said than done. I was and sort of am in the same exact position. A big misconception is that once you’re in, it’s super easy to move around, get experience, and find the position you’re looking for. In actuality, a lot of times the jobs are only offered to outsiders because they are trying to beef up their personnel count. Another issue is, if you’re good at your job, they’ll do anything to keep you from moving around because more-than-likely, the person coming in behind you will be your stereotypical fed worker and is more trouble than it’s worth.

  • Rant: I’m cold. Really, really cold.

    Rave: Going to see Editors next month – haven’t seen them perform in years, looking forward to seeing their new lineup.

    Rant: Just unsettled/rattled. Really symbolic dreams all night.

    Rave: The problem co-worker may finally be on his way out of here.

    Rave: Actually doing work that means something today (yesterday was so much stupid administrative work taking over my day) means the day will fly by!

  • albany

    Rant: Too cold for the bicycle.
    Rant: Micromanager boss.
    Rave: Leftovers for lunch and dinner!

  • Rant: I was hoping for the new year that my tenant would pay her rent on the 1st instead. I know the lease stated she has until the 5th to pay it- but still Ughhh.
    Rave: Thinking after this year I won’t rent out the apartment any longer. Last tenant was great, this one NOT bad but feel like at any moment she can become trouble.
    Rant: This weather should not exist- ever!

    • Re: your first rant and rave. I don’t know your situation, but if it’s ONLY the rent being due on the 1st vs. the 5th it may just be because she’s lived places that have emphasized the 5th as a deadline and so she doesn’t realize some people like it by the 1st. I always pay my rent by the 1st because I feel weird if I don’t (I grew up in rented houses and this was how it worked) but now my building is always like “Uh, you know you can pay it between the 1st and the 5th right? We’re not in a rush” if I give it to them early.

    • I’m sure there is more to it than on time but later than you prefer rent to denote her as one step from trouble. I’m curious, why did you give such a long grace period? Grace periods while customary certainly aren’t mandatory. You can pay your mortgage on the 15th without a late charge, so if it’s simply a timing issue move back your mortgage payment.

    • The holidays throw off everyone’s schedule, especially if they were traveling. Especially this one where NYD was on a Friday, so the mail probably wasn’t even fully processing on a normal schedule until yesterday.
      .
      If you absolutely need the payment by the 1st, why didn’t you stipulate that in the lease? IIRC the 5 day grace period isn’t mandatory, though it does appear to be typical market practice in the DC area.

    • If you wanted rent by the 1st you should have made that part of the contract. I don’t see what the issue is.

    • How about have the tenant set up a direct deposit? And what makes you think she might become trouble? Seems like a lot of income to give up.

    • Hmm, maybe talk to her, but yeah guess you should have stipulated that in the lease. I think it’s nice to give people 5 days though…after all money can get tight and you have until the 15th to pay the mortgage. I have lived places where they didn’t cash the rent check until like the 8th, 9th, or 10th! I found that annoying. Even more annoying up here in Canada (well at least Toronto) is you have to give them 12 post dated checks when you sign the lease! Yet our landlord always takes 4-5 days to cash it.

  • Rant: On the one hand, it’s winter and it’s supposed to be cold. On the other. Yikes. This morning was rough. Almost set my asthma off. Time to get a new inhaler!

    Rave: Heavy winter foods. Bring on the winter padding! I want all the mac and cheese, and soup, and mussels. I had pumpkin soup for dinner yesterday. I’m looking into easy risotto recipes. I just want to stay inside and eat all the things.

  • New year, new health insurance, need a new doctor. Textdoc, you got some links to past discussions for me?
    And anyone else, got someone you love who takes United? My thing is that I rarely go to the doctor, and when I go, it’s usually for something pain-related. I get routine stuff like antibiotics from doctors in the family. I always worry that I look suspicious only going to a doctor when I want something controlled that I don’t want to ask family/ friends for.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: I have the post vacation blues.
    Rave: hot tea.

  • Oh, and a rave: New baby kitty (who is no longer a baby) is so full of love he cannot contain himself. He gets up on my lap and frantically mrows and rubs and purrs and chirps and acts like he would like to somehow crawl into my skin with me. It makes it very hard to go to work.
    Related rant: scratching. He’s already destroyed an armchair, and my quilted bedspread is next. Doesn’t matter how often I trim his claws. Claw caps aren’t staying on very well. *sigh*

    • HaileUnlikely

      I realize this is going to be a in individual- [cat-] specific thing, but my wife and I put inexpensive fleece blankets over a couple of our new chairs, which our cat hasn’t yet learned weren’t purchased specifically for her scratching pleasure. Fleece seems to be her favorite substance to scratch on, so even if she moves the blanket slips out of place a little bit, she still scratches the blanket rather than the exposed chair. We also put another fleece blanket on top of our comforter, so she can dig her claws into that instead of into the comforter itself when she’s purring and kneading away at night while we’re sleeping. Our cat is a bit more…well…mature (she’s 17), but this has gone far to protect all of the kitty-scratchable things that we care about.

      • justinbc

        +1 on the fleece on top of the furniture. Also the “Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy” is amazing for providing scratching alternatives if you don’t already have sisal posts around.

    • Great tip, thanks Haile! I may resort to that for the living room furniture when I’m not home to throw things at him, and for the bed all the time. Sad… it’s a very pretty bedspread, I hate to cover it.
      Another cat query: WHS spay & neuter clinic is “experiencing unusually high demand” and therefore not scheduling appointments. But City Paws said to expect to pay $400 to get NBK snipped. Any thoughts?

      • Try getting a price quote from Petworth Animal Hospital — in my experience, they’re a good bit cheaper than the shinier/newer veterinary practices.

        • Textdoc – do you know of any slightly more holistic vet practices in the area? Ones that aren’t going to push me to buy ScienceDiet and similar corn-filled foods?

          • None of the vets I’ve been to (Atlas Vets, Petworth Animal Hospital, WARL) have pushed me to buy any kind of food.

          • Ok, good to know. I haven’t been to any vets around here yet (thank goodness!) but I have had mixed experiences other places I’ve lived.

      • justinbc

        We got both our boys snipped at District Vet in Brookland, like $600 for both of them including the two office visits, meds, cones, and fecal samples. The vets were really friendly and great with follow ups, highly recommend them.

    • I’ve always had cats and never experienced any issues with them scratching furniture because they always had suitable replacements. What surfaces have you given him as scratching appropriate? My suggestion is whenever he starts to scratch on something he isn’t supposed to, tell him no, and immediately redirect him to his designated scratcher. I’ve found that kitties pick up really easily on redirects when it’s for instinctive behavior (e.g., scratching, litter box).
      .
      I grew up in the country in the south, so my cats always used firewood as their scratchers. However, moving to DC made acquiring firewood a little difficult. I found this (http://www.petsmart.com/cat/scratchers/whisker-city-cat-scratcher-zid36-5175252/cat-36-catid-200086?_t=pfm%3Dcategory) at Petsmart and my little furball LOVES it.
      .
      Best of luck!!

      • He has three corrugated cardboard things– one flat (the bergan turbo thing justin mentioned), one at a slight angle, and one nearly vertical, which is part of his carpet-covered cat tree. He uses them, but not as much as the chair, even though he loves the catnip I sprinkle on them. He also likes scratching the wicker basket which holds shoes. He might like that sisal thing you posted better than the cardboard. I think he likes the vertical stretch, and as he gets taller, the cat tree scratcher isn’t tall enough for him…

        • You want the “SmartCat Ultimate scratching post.” They show up fairly often on Craigslist. Glue a square of carpet on the top so they can climb all the way up.

          http://www.amazon.com/SmartCat-3832-Ultimate-Scratching-Post/dp/B000634MH8/ref=sr_1_3?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1452010578&sr=1-3&keywords=cat+scratching+post

          • Quotia Zelda

            My cats have – and love – that post as well as several other scratching items, but they still love to scratch chairs, the walls, etc. Some cats just love to scratch. I think I need to try the fleece throws for the living room chairs!

        • I’d recommend trying some different scratching surfaces (sisal, carpet) — maybe he just doesn’t like the cardboard all that much.

        • Victoria, a slightly off-topic question — what was the canned cat food you recommended a while back?

          • I’ve recently started NBK on Canidae, which comes in 13 oz cans (at petco) and is therefore much cheaper than similar quality foods. Giant bonus: much less stinky poop! Not odor-free, but so, so much better than when he was eating iams and fancy feast and the like.

          • The least-expensive options for quality canned food are Dave’s brand and Trader Joe’s. I order Dave’s online, and order cases from TJ.

            And I’m lucky with scratching, since my dog has trained herself to chase away any cat that starts scratching furniture.

        • Echoing textdoc here! Sounds like he has options, which is great! Perhaps experimenting with a variety of surfaces will help (may also hurt your wallet). Personally, my cat refuses to use the cardboard things, but it took me a while to figure it out. Also, a friend with two Bengals has several sisal ones that are designed to hang from doorknobs; those may be useful with him being so tall and liking vertical stretching.

    • We’re going through the same thing with our 7 month old cat at the moment. I’ve tried foil (he jumped right up and pranced around), blankets (he likes to crawl under them and scratch away), and tape. A two pronged attack of making your furniture unpleasant to scratch along with surrounding him with desirable scratching options to redirect him seems to be key. We’ve had the most luck with tape- I just use the wide transparent packing tape along the edges of our fabric dining chairs and pattern strips of double sided tape over that since they aren’t supposed to like stickiness on their paws. It’s not pretty and you’ll find yourself sticking to some double sided tape in passing, but hopefully it will only be temporary. The other key thing is finding suitable scratchers as others have said. Our cat particularly likes the horizontal cardboard scratchers and I’ve heard this scratching post is an excellent vertical one that I’m about to try next http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3261+10345+11277+10290&pcatid=10290
      Apparently cat’s have different preferences for the position they like to scratch in (horizontal vs vertical) and the material (some hate the carpet ones, others don’t do cardboard, etc.) and you want to make sure you have scratching surfaces in each room that you have furniture you care about. Best of luck!

      • I knew someone who placed clear office mats upside down so the “spikes” are showing so whenever the cat jumped on the sofa, it was deterred by the uncomfortable feeling (note: the “spikes” weren’t sharp enough to hurt the cat). It’s a little extreme and obviously only effective if you want to keep him/her off the furniture at all times, but the cat learned!

    • houseintherear

      I have cats and have fostered lots of kittens, and my very best advice for scratching is to invest in a loosely woven type of area rug. For example, on Overstock dot com, search for “Hand Woven Cantara Leather Rug”… I have two of those, and the cats love to paw at it and scratch but it never falls apart or looks bad because of its frayed design. Those rugs coupled with a variety of scratching posts and pads have kept all of my kitties off the furniture and bedding.

    • If New baby kitty is still fairly small, have you tried clipping his claws? I started clipping my cats claws when they were little. They are like 10 now and don’t love it, but do put up with it. I sit them on my lap with the cat facing out and use nail clippers and just quickly clip the front feet (not the back ones). Then I give them a treat. Like I said, they don’t love it, but they put up with it and my chairs and couch stay unscratched.

      • Yes, I clip them frequently. He’s thrilled with the attention and the foot massage. But he still manages to do plenty of damage.

  • Rave: Fantastic two weeks in the motherland! Delicious food, amazing friends. I miss it already.
    Rant: Back to reality. Project is officially over. They want me on the next project but they don’t even have a ballpark timeline at this point so job hunting it is. Sigh.
    Rave: Still really really happy I left my old job because I was beyond miserable there.
    Rant: Serious jetlag. I’ve been up since 3am and now I’m just hoping I don’t crash in a couple hours and repeat this cycle.

  • justinbc

    Quick poll for Jan 14th HH: Barcelona on 14th St (4-6PM, $5 wines, $20 pitchers of sangria, $4 bar bites) or Biergarten Haus on H Street (4-7PM, $6 half liters and $10 liters, sausage platters $8, other food specials vary). They both have heat lamps and big outdoor fireplaces for some bundled up boozing.

  • Rant: Shingles. Having to call immune suppressed people in my life and tell them to keep an eye out and see… (newborn nephew, 96 yo grandfather)…
    Rave: Sick so watched Jane the Virgin and plowed through my thank you notes last night. Also, treated myself to a double peanut butter magnum bar. Oh man that was good.
    Rave: Back on the bike – sunny and beautiful. Even with shingles and the cold, I was so damn happy to be biking in my city on my bike 🙂

    • Oh no, I’m so sorry about the shingles. That really sucks….

      • Thanks – since it’s been about 2 weeks, I’ve already been dealing with some gnarly symptoms and pain. It’s just good to have a diagnosis to explain why I’ve been feeling like shit.

    • I hope you feel better. And please take care of yourself. I can’t help but think the shingles is a way of your body screaming SELF-CARE to you. You obviously have done so much to support the people in your life in the past year as they go through hard times. Give a little bit of that time and attention to yourself as well. Gods know you deserve it.

      • Thank you! I’m trying – but the stresses don’t go away. I have to somehow find a physically and emotionally sustainable way to support and care for my friend as it’s obviously untenable right now but it’s hard…

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: I called a coworker by the wrong name yesterday. I’m still mortified.
    Rave: Upcoming conference.
    Rant: In downtown Atlanta. That place is desolate.

    • I was just there a few months ago for work and enjoyed myself more than I expected to. The World of Beer there was fun, and I had a wonderful dinner at Max’s Wine Dive (OMG their fried chicken!).

  • Rave: the return of preschool and work. I was just off for like 2 weeks and my kid was totally stir crazy towards the end – he was so happy to return to school yesterday and I was thankful for an extra day off to recover.
    Rant: I do miss waking up whenever we wanted, including snuggling in bed as a family
    Rave/Rant: Back on the training and healthy eating wagon. I’ve got a WONDERFUL personal training team and have been meeting my daily personal goals (i.e. not eating off my son’s high chair tray while he eats, drinking more water which is a big issue for me at my new job). I also packed great snacks/lunches and have been sticking to my dinner/cooking plans. We’ll see how it pans out now that we’re back at work.
    Rant: My trip to DC – I LOVED seeing my friends, visiting the spa and getting my brows back on point…but the Palomar wasn’t great sadly. They are renovating and blame that for the 75 degree hotel room (not great, especially on warm Christmas weekend) and the complete lack of water pressure.
    Rave: The employees there are amazing, and they offered me a free stay to make it up to me.

  • Rant/Rave? This weather. I love wearing sweater and drinking hot tea and coffee and snuggling under covers. But I hate having to go out when it’s this cold. Can’t I just hibernate?
    Rave: When it’s this cold, my kitties are extra snuggly. My Russian Blue sleeps under the covers at my feet.
    Rant: Warm bed makes it so hard to get up!
    Rave: Grateful for having a warm bed.
    Rant/Rave: Big work project is coming together nicely, but there are so many little details to take care of I’m going a little crazy, and it’s totally taking over my life right now. I just hope it goes well!

  • justinbc

    Rave: Oh, also, “90-day-visa” coworker just got back from finally visiting his long distance love in Vietnam! 3+ years of listening to phone calls and it’s now actually a reality. More updates to follow once I get stories.

  • Question: Are there any puzzle fans out there? I’m interested in having a couple friends join me to put puzzles together this winter, and I’m wondering where I can find some interesting themes/designs? I found a puzzle palooza website, but it was too overwhelming to weed through. Any suggestions/favorites?

    • Depending on where you live, Labyrinth Games and Puzzles right off the Eastern Market metro has some great puzzles at all difficulty levels and price points. My spouse and I love doing puzzles and have bought two from there. They also have some very beautiful pricey puzzles that have these really interesting cut in design pieces that match the theme of the puzzle (hard to explain…). We’ve always wanted to buy one of those because they look truly amazing but they range upwards of $70 I think.

      • Super…I think I’ll check it out on Saturday. I’m overdue for a visit to Eastern Market anyhow, and should enjoy it before it gets too crazy once TJ’s is open. I’m happy to hear there’s a place where I can just browse and pick the one I like.

    • I love puzzles, and cross-stitch projects, and other detailed mindless diversions like that. But I never know what to do with the finished product. I don’t want to hang samplers on my walls, or give them to other people. What do you do when you’re done with a big puzzle?

  • I Dont Get It

    Rave: I had a good conversation with my dad last night. He was on a 10 mile bike ride but stopped to answer his phone! They are putting him on an experimental drug for his bone cancer that costs $8000 a month and he’s been worried since neither Medicaid or TriCare will cover it. The good news is that the program he is enrolled in has decided to pay for it for him.
    Rant: Not sure why he is in an experimental program.
    Rave: I think my sister and I are going to see him at the end of the month in Florida. I’ve been wanting to go to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa and looks like my sister is in. Poking around the website I found a $30 upgrade for an interactive session with with African Black-Footed penguins in an up-close and personal setting. OMG penguins! I’m gonna tell my sister to bring a big purse so we can steal one!

    • AHHHHHHH! Penguins! Do it! I did a “Backstage” Penguin pass when I visited the International Antarctic Center in New Zealand, and it was sooo fun. Just be prepared to discover that penguins are really quite smelly! 🙂

    • AHHHHHHH! Penguins! Do it! I did a “Backstage” Penguin pass when I visited the International Antarctic Center in New Zealand, and it was sooo fun. Just be prepared to discover that penguins are really quite smelly! 🙂

    • If you’re up for a drive north, you can also swim with manatees. I’ve been to Tampa a bunch of times to visit a friend that used to live there and then for work – and I am CRUSHED that I found out about this after my last visit. The penguin encounter sounds amazing. Glad you’ll be able to spend some quality time with your dad!

    • Glad to hear that IDGI Sr. is in good spirits (and good physical shape). Fingers crossed on the experimental drug working for him!
      .
      I never would have guessed that penguins are smelly animals.

  • Rave: I’m wearing a new outfit today for work today and it looks great! Also, it’s definitely boot weather and I love my newish boots–they look good with the outfit.
    Rant: …bloating. Seriously wth.
    Rant: Flying today. I’m a nervous flyer no matter how many times I fly!
    Rave: Warm beds to snuggle in. We bought a new mattress and new bedding this summer and have only now realized how much warmer it has made our bed this winter.

  • Rant: Catch 22. Ibuprofen and black coffee are not what you want to put into a semi-vomity stomach, but there’s no way to even pretend to function at work without ibuprofen and black coffee.
    .
    Rant: Have to take a job interview call while feeling far less than 100 percent. Fortunately, these first-round screener calls (from the headhunter) are pretty rote.
    .
    Rant: Supposed to be collaborating on a “nice” dinner with the daughter this evening.
    .
    Rave: I’ll probably puke or feel better by noon, and put this behind me.

    • I agree with you on your first rant. I had a migraine at the end of last week and was tetering between not functioning because of migraine and not functioning because coffee/ibuprofin. There has got to be a sweet spot in there somewhere.

    • Pablo Raw

      This is a latina mom (my mom) solution: coca cola. She used to give me that when I was sick, don’t ask me how it helps but it is something I still do. Hopefully it will work for you too!

  • Rave: boss is out of town.
    Rant: the cold.
    Rant: that picture. Ahh!
    Rave: had a dream with Jason Alexander in it. I don’t remember much else, but I woke up chuckling.

  • Rant/Rave: Wanted to get this year off to a good start so decided to start taking vitamins, any thoughts on the benefits of fish oil vs. cod liver oil? Should I take both? Last time I took vitamins I was hangry all the time and slightly nauseated. Hoping to not repeat this…
    Rave: New York this weekend!!! Going to see my two best friends and hopefully get some good food and catch a show. Hamilton is totally booked, oh well. Open to other suggestions!

    • If you’re looking for a musical, Spring Awakening is fabulous (and you can get discount tickets on TDF). As for a play, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is absolutely mind-blowingly good. Enjoy!

    • I saw School of Rock over Christmas weekend and it was great! If you liked the movie, you’ll like the show.

    • Why did you decide vitamins are the way to go? Most dietary supplements have been pretty thoroughly outed as useless at best. (Exceptions are things like folic acid during pregnancy, a specific supplement for a diagnosed deficiency, etc.)

      • Side note to the folic acid thing – My allergist at Hopkins said that they are currently doing a study regarding the increased use of folic acid in pregnancy and the increase in food allergies, and there is also a study regarding the increase in folic acid and autism. No clue how it will turn out, but it’s interesting.

        • Interesting!
          There was a study that linked the increase in asthma in inner-city children to the increase in packaged food and food cleanliness. Long story short, if your food is too clean (if you eat only packaged products from ultra-sterile factories) you’re at higher risk. And they key may be roach droppings.
          Then again, there’s a wonderful site full of meaningless statistical correlations…

          • Oh, that’s interesting too! lol, and you’re right, there’s a study for everything! Correlation does not always mean causation, that’s for sure.

          • I’d read that roach droppings in inner-city living environments were thought to be a leading cause of asthma.

          • When Middle Anonachild (the one with the super severe environmental allergies) was tested, the allergist made comment that they see a lot of kids with cockroach and rat allergies who live in DC, and that we were lucky she didn’t have them.

          • I definitely might have gotten something mixed up. I was told about the study by a doctor friend who probably read a synopsis. But maybe ingesting the roach dropping prevents the respiratory reaction. That might be it.

          • There are definitely studies that exposure to allergens and germs at a young age makes one healthier… could be that?

          • Sure. This was specific to roach droppings and the increase of packaged foods, though.

    • Fun Home and The Color Purple have been getting rave reviews. Plus you can do the virtual lottery for Hamilton. Put your name in at 9:30am day of show and get the chance to win 2 tickets for $10 each. They were doing the lottery in front of the theatre before each show, but have moved to the virtual format for the winter.

    • I’ve taken a brand of fish oil called Nordic Naturals – which is a bit pricey but a) does not upset my stomach and b) does not give you gross fish burps or breath.

      • Bear

        I love the Nordic Naturals too. As for folic acid, there’s some research out there that it’s not particularly well absorbed in a lot of people, especially those with the MTHFR gene mutation. Methylated folate is more easily absorbed, and still cheap.

  • Rave: The cold is officially on its way out. Good riddance!
    Rave: honey and lemon.
    Rant: We found a tick on the dog yesterday. And by “we” I definitely mean “SO texted me a picture of one he pulled off with tweezers which was a gross message to get without any warning.” I definitely had chalked up the weird skin-tag-looking thing under the dog’s eye to just his old man lumps. Nope. Not so much. He’s up to date on all his meds and I spent last night going through every square inch of skin on him for me, but I feel like a negligent pet parent.

    • Maybe a new preventative that covers ticks as well.

      • He’s on Frontline Plus that’s supposed to cover fleas and ticks, I think this was just a rogue one that got through. :/

      • No preventative will repel ticks though. They all are designed to kill them when they bite, but the ones that claim to repel ticks don’t work (according to my vet, and my friends’ vets, etc.). I wish someone would come up with a real way of keeping them off! There is nothing I hate more than discovering one on our dog. It grosses me out for days.

  • Rant: 2 metro trains offloaded directly ahead of me on 2 different lines this morning.

  • Rant: Creepy dude playing 20 questions.
    Rant: Pm making up lease provisions. Nice try!
    Rant: Weekend in limbo.
    Rave: Cool boss.
    Rant: I have an old man dog, and I’m wondering how much longer we have together. Time for doggy adventures.
    Rave: Getting into the habit of sleeping early.

    • On the old man dog subject – I have an old man dog as well and he gets around pretty slow but normally does okay. However recently he has fallen down the stairs (hardwoods – he was fine just shaken up) and has a really hard time getting up and down them. I would keep him on the first floor but he is inconsolable if he doesn’t sleep in the same room as me (this has been a 14 years in the making)…and he is heavy and very stubborn about not being picked up. Any ideas on how to make steps easier?

      • BF has an old lady lab, and her difficulty with stairs is she can’t seem to manage her momentum. Have you tried walking down the stairs with the dog, or perhaps using those stair tread things to avoid slipping?

      • they sell things that go under your dogs belly with straps so you can do assisted lifts. We got one from the vet when your dog had ACL surgery. It’s tricky at first but takes the weight of the joints while letting them do the walking.

      • My dog has a bad hip and cosaquin has been wonderful. He rarely limps now and steps seem fine. I buy it in bulk on Amazon. I also feed him science diet healthy mobility which is heavy on the fish oil.

      • My old man dog was slowing down a few months ago and I bought him some glucose and chondroitin supplements that have done wonders. He even gets up and down the stairs to our 3rd floor apartment without any trouble. Five stars for Doctors Foster and Smith supplements!

      • Thanks! He currently gets chondroitin supplements but it sounds like we should try cosaquin as well. I was thinking about getting the stair treads but its almost like his back end has too much momentum and his front can’t keep up – its weird. If that doesn’t work perhaps the sling situation might help.

        • I feel like someone on PoPville had installed carpet stair treads to make things easier for their senior dogs. IDGI, might this have been you?

          • I Dont Get It

            Yes at MPresidents recommendation I bought carpet tread for the stairs last summer and one of these days I’m gonna install those suckers.

        • houseintherear

          I put in temp treads for my old westie who had CCL surgery in the fall and is also lazy as eff. I first bought a pack of treads from Home Depot- not the prettiest things, but fine, and super cheap- and taped them to the stairs with double sided tape. But I got sick of the ugly so I ended up getting Flor squares, cut into thirds (they cut them for a cheap fee before shipping), and using two next to each other on each stair with double sided tape. Much cooler looking AND they cover the entire width of each stair so doggie can’t avoid walking on them (which he was doing, for no good reason).

  • Rant – I have a dry cough and sore throat and now I’m afraid I have whooping cough.
    .
    Rave – I love the cold weather!

    • Whooping cough was characterized for me by sudden strong coughing that wrung all the air out of me, every few minutes. I felt mildly coldy a couple days before the coughing started in earnest, but never really ill. They don’t call it the 100 day cough for nothing. Miserable.

  • Rave: Great vacation. My daughter is a little speed demon, graduating to black slopes in Utah. She is both fearless (always choosing the harder slope) and tough (apparently she had the mother of all falls, although I wasn’t there) and was completely unfazed by it. Plus, friends who hadn’t previously met really hit it off.
    Rant: Inevitable colds for the whole family following vacation.
    Rave: House nearly finished (other than inevitable punch list items) – looks fantastic.
    Rave: Moving Saturday!
    Rave: Trip to NYC cancelled this week.
    Rant: WAY behind on packing.

  • Rave: After getting stood up by the realtor last week, I reached out to an old friend who is a realtor, and he hooked us up with a realtor in the area we will be moving to. I am so excited, and still hoping on the house we were supposed to see last week.
    Rant: People who wouldn’t know a goddamn boundary if it smacked them in the head – repeatedly. Navigating this whole previous marriage thing is not always easy. There’s a lot of awkwardness involved. There’s a lot of room for hurt feelings. The only thing we have to avoid or limit bad situations are boundaries, and when one person out of the four does not respect these boundaries, it has a domino effect for us all. The one person who continually ignores boundaries does not seem to get it, and she is going to end up screwing up not only her relationship with her ex, but her relationship with her BF and me and my BF’s relationship. It’s just so effing ridiculous and tiresome!!

  • Revel: A belated congrats to PoP on the new addition!
    Rant: So SO COLD…
    Query: Any advice on custom closets? Since my roof needs unexpected repairs, I’m going to build one out in my master bedroom following the demo. It was supposed to be a future project so I haven’t done enough research yet! Container Store has a sale for 30% off Elfa right now and there are similar options at Ikea and on a million different websites. I like the idea of talking through the design with someone since I don’t really know what I want. Also, I’m comfortable installing it myself, but would consider working with a contractor if they were budget-friendly. Thanks for any insight you can provide, popville!

  • Late need for a plumber especially one who experience with hot water heater issues? After my furnace was installed, I’ve had nothing but problems with the hot water. They may not be related, but it seems to be.

    • I always recommend Matt Smith but I’m not sure how he is with hot water heaters. You could call him and check! 443-996-7686. Fingers crossed it gets resolved quickly!

    • HaileUnlikely

      Have not used the following specifically for a how water heater, but of three plumbers I’ve used so far in DC, the one that I’d recommend is Aspen Hill Plumbing. They are licensed in DC, have good reviews on Consumer Checkbook, and their owner has been very responsive via email when I’ve had questions before or after the completion of work.

      • I made an appt with sears because they were available tomorrow, but I’ve made contact with aspen hill in hopes they’re available instead. Just trying to cover the bases in case it’s not the heater.
        Fingers crossed.

      • justinbc

        I used Aspen Hill for my last job after some recommendations here and they were great.

  • Rave: I’m actually enjoy this wintry weather.
    Rave: I’m making slow progress on decluttering the apartment. This is my winter improvement project.
    Rant: Babies, even the tiniest of ones, require a lot of stuff.
    Rave: I see my bestie at the end of the month. I miss her so much, and I can’t wait to have her back in DC, even if it is only for a weekend.

    • Artemis, we are on the same decluttering the apartment before baby schedule as you. And I also signed up for Apartment Therapy’s January cure to help with getting the whole house in top shape. I need to organize the pantry so it’s less exotic spices, and more basic stuff we can actually use to make food. 🙂

      For baby stuff – i’m only getting a baby bjorn bouncer and a hanging cradle from denmark/sweden/somewhere north for the first few months. Will see if that’s enough!

      • You can always buy/borrow more stuff from friends if you feel you need it. I think the minimalist approach is the way to go. And the January Cure is a good idea. I have done it in years past. It may be just the kick in the pants I need to get the apartment in order.

        • We’ve found consignment stores to be a great place to get all kinds of baby stuff. So much of what you need for a baby is only used for a short period of time, so it’s possible to find things in good shape at a discounted price. In this area, we’ve found Kid to Kid to be pretty reliable (huge selection, decent prices). Also, you really don’t need much before they arrive and not all babies are the same. Just because someone else couldn’t live without X item for their baby doesn’t mean you’ll find it useful for yours. If you wait until you see what your baby is like and buy as needed, you’ll end up with fewer things you never use. We went in with a very minimalist view of things and have ended up with a little more stuff than I would prefer, but it all gets a lot of use and makes our lives easier in big ways, so I’ve come to terms with it.

  • Pablo Raw

    Rave: Comedians in cars getting coffee
    Rant: Photo contest and as usual I have no clue of what to submit

  • janie4

    Rant: My half of my house failed inspection for DCRA. No hard-wired smoke detector, and paint peeling in certain places. Plus no hand rail down the basement steps. Now have to scramble to get this fixed in the next couple of days.
    Rave: Inspector will still let tenants move in this weekend.

    • We failed the first time too. Just get it fixed…especially the smoke detector. You can buy a handrail yourself then hire someone to install it? (We failed on that too, but it was the one going upstairs). You’ll pass the second time.

      • janie4

        Good to know this is common. I’ve got a call in to my contractor about the handrail, and he’s going to send over his iron guy to do it. And I have a painter who I’ve contacted. Hopefully he can squeeze me in this week. Now all I need to do is find an electrician to hardwire a smoke detector.

        • My girlfriend’s rental property also failed the DCRA inspection for the basement stairs handrail and for a miniscule amount of peeling paint on a ceiling. They should have a Top Ten list so people know to get these things done ahead of the inspection.

          • Dcra website has a pretty detailed primer on housing code regulations. Those 2 things are definitely on the list, and many things are easy to ignore like sq ft requirements, etc.

  • One of my neighbors (a young woman) was viciously attacked while walking home last night at 10 pm. A man came up from behind her and started choking her, and another man started punching her in the face.

    Fortunately, she was close to home and several neighbors heard her scream, chased off her attackers, and called the cops. But the assholes got away, and no one got a great look at them.

    Never saw an alert about this assault–how the heck do the police decide what to post?? I would always want to know if my block had a couple of vicious assailants on the loose.

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