Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Jamelle Bouie

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.

189 Comment

  • RANT: Anyone else feel demoralized and isolated by the insanely high cost -of-living in DC? My spouse and I do not come from a lot of money, but are both fed gov attorneys who by any objective measure make a good combined salary. But lord, between the hefty student loan payments, extortionist monthly child care costs, and generally insane cost of living I feel like I am drowning here. We bought a home closer into the city than we probably could afford, but as working parents the thought of a long commute and even more time away from our child was heartbreaking.

    It’s also hard to find people to relate to with all the privilege in this town…I’ve met so many people who live in [insert trendy neighborhood here] and work in small non-profits but somehow have the money to hire a nanny and travel to South Africa or Sonoma for their vacations. I try to be grateful and not lose perspective, but I can’t help it sometimes.

    • Either you decide that their good qualities compensate for this annoying habit, or you realize you prefer to not be around them. You can’t fix other people’s personalities.

    • Srsly. I’m on a Hill staffer salary, and don’t see how I can stay here once I procreate. Having a second income would be a huge help, but the neighborhoods I want to live in aren’t affordable (even though I don’t need a ton of space to be happy) and childcare costs are insane here. I just don’t feel like it’s worth the high costs. It doesn’t help that I really don’t like the DC suburbs, so that limits my choices. I don’t know what it is, but I didn’t mind the Philly burbs where I went to college or the time I’ve spent in NYC suburbs. A trip to Rockville though and I feel like my soul dies a little.

      • Your problem lies in this following statement.. “neighborhoods I WANT to live in”. There are plenty of great, if sleepy neighborhoods you can live in (and not be in constant fear). The neighborhoods you WANT to live in were often neighborhoods in transition at one point too. So, find a dwelling you can afford that have long term potential, and move there. (Specifically in the city). While it might not have the best restaurants or cool places right now, perhaps one day it will be the next H St or Brookland… or wherever it is that you now covet. And then you will own in a high value neighborhood, but paid for it in the non-trendy prices. Just my two cents

        • @AA. Even in the neighborhoods you describe, it is impossible to find a small home for anything less than half a million dollars. And even those are few and far between.

          • Sleepy doesn’t mean wealthy. I mean look at areas like Woodbridge, Ft Totten, Brightwood, etc. Mostly sleepy, not trendy and generally affordable.

          • You can find condos esp. studios for under 500k even in trendy neighborhoods. Maybe you’re not getting to the house right away, but buying a home is certainly doable.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            Woodbridge, Ft Totten, Brightwood all have home values that have recently skyrocketed over the last couple years.

        • Oh, I completely acknowledge that’s exactly my problem. Unlike most folks on this blog, the neighborhoods I covet are somewhat boring, the Capitol Hills (at least the safer parts), Cleveland Parks, to an extent Georgetown/Glover Park. I know there are some sleepier residential areas in the city, but they tend to not be as metro accessible so I’d also have to spend money on a car, and I do really like being close to restaurants and other amenities (doesn’t even have to be the trendy ones).

          • As I posted above think outside your norms. As of right now you have champagne wishes and beer income. You either have to 1) change your wish list 2) change your income or 3) be more open to stretching your comfort zone. Explore a little. If staying in DC is the long road and you get hives at the burbs figure out what you are willing to do to get ahead. Love, your mother. 🙂

        • right on. i bought in [insert trendy neighborhood] when people were still getting mugged and shot. locked up my house like ft. knox and now i can’t afford my street. if i were to buy again, i’d buy in trinidad. bloomingdale/eckington and h street are just going to converge on top of it… and union market is expanding, etc. etc… you can do it here. and NOTHING is more expensive than NYC, so… perspective.

          • I did this too! Life sucked for a few years and every day I had anxiety. When the neighborhood got trendy and I got a bit older, I sold and was able to put a hefty down payment on a house in a much nicer area and still have a somewhat affordable (for this area) mortgage.

      • OP here. And just make things more depressing, if you want to live in walking distance to a metro in Rockville, the land of strip malls, it’s still expensive as shit.

        • The right side of the red line tends to be noticeably cheaper than the left, but moco is expensive for how far it is.

        • OP – you’re kinda losing me here with saying you want to live in Rockville. There are any number of cheaper ‘burbs than Rockville, Bethesda, or any of the Northwestern MoCo ‘burbs. For example, Silver Spring, Takoma Park (though certain parts are very expensive) in MoCo. If schooling isn’t an issue for you right now with young children, I would consider PG County – Greenbelt or Brandywine are metro accesible (and there are a number of good, cheap by DC standards private schools around there if schooling is an issue). Is it that you want to live more cheaply so you aren’t competing or you want to keep up with the Jonses? Because if you just want to keep up with the Jonses and be pretend to be a HSES family on a MSES budget, then I really have no advice for you.

      • I had a second job when I worked on the Hill. It was essential. I was dead every day from exhaustion, but I could pay bills and put some money away. It perpetuates rich people working on the Hill because they’re propped up by mom and dad. Frustrating.

    • I often feel frustrated, particularly having grown up in a low-income household and not planning on having a second person’s income anytime soon (which would at least making housing slightly more affordable). At the same time, I have not heard anything different about any other major city in the U.S. You need to decide if the good outweighs the bad in any particular place. I think the overarching umbrella of wealth disparity (from housing, to travel experience, etc.) are issues across the country. I don’t think it’s DC’s fault.

      • Costs are going up for sure, but when I considered moving to Chicago or LA last year, it was really surprising what you could get in great areas (taking into account the need for a car in LA), especially in relation to comparable neighborhoods in DC.

        • LA has gotten extremely expensive, compared to when I lived there (2006-2008). I have a friend moving back to LA and was asking me about my old neighborhood, which sadly since I left has become over-run with hipsters, effectively white-washing out all of the interesting character of the neighborhood and replacing the dive bars, El Salvadorian bakeries and local shops with artisanal craft-cocktails, yogalates studios and single-drip, micro-organic, free-range coffee.

        • The question though is whether salaries are just as high there, too. I suppose they might be for the private sector but I don’t think government employees get as high of a locality pay. (I couldn’t be wrong on this. Haven’t checked the numbers in a year or two so maybe someone can correct me.)

          • Both LA and Chicago’s locality pay adjustments ( 27.65% and 25.44%) are larger than DC’s (24.78%) in FY 16. Having parts of far out WV and PA count as part of the metro area really drags DC’s pay adjustment down, I think.

          • Chicago has a higher locality pay; not sure about LA

          • OH wow, that surprises me. Is that recent? I could have sworn I looked at the locality pay for 2015 (or maybe it was 2014) when I considered moving back to LA and telling myself that DC and SF were the highest….

          • L.A. gets Beverly Hills and we get pa and wv. Makes sense that la would be higher.

          • Yeah, that’s FY 16. There are quite a few adjustments larger than DC’s: SF/SJ, San Diego, Chicago, LA, Boston, NYC, and maybe a few others I missed.

          • West Virginia and Pennsylvania are in DC’s metro area? That’s nuts.

          • Well in that case this is lame and I am moving. -_-

          • When I worked at a certain hospital, I knew several people who commuted every day from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The cost of living being so low there combined with the salaries being so high here made it worth it… I, personally, could never do that.

    • I sympathize with you. I do not come from any money whatsoever. I came to this city as a divorcee. Luckily I only had to do a year of daycare, but that was not easy at all. It is very difficult to relate to people with privilege. I find it very difficult sometimes that I cannot take afford to take time off to volunteer at my kids’ school or go one field trips, let alone take actual vacations since my leave is eaten up in sick and snow days throughout the year. Sometimes I just *really* wish I could take “mental health days”, but that just is not in the cards for me at all. My kids will not be having spring break trips to [insert foreign destination here] or fancy summer camps or anything else that their peers may have. But what they do have is a mom who loves the hell out of them, an appreciation for hard work, and an enjoyment of the simplest things in life; going out for dinner will always seem like a treat to them and not just a give. Things like a day trip to an amusement park are remembered as “the best days ever!” and they still appreciate trips to the pool and all love their “crappy” DPR summer camps. At the end of the day, my kids are happy and healthy and that’s all I can ask for. If I sat back and compared myself to other parents I would go insane.
      My suggestion, OP, is to find a circle of parent friends who are more like you. Also, understand that many people provide for the lifestyle they live through credit and are absolutely swimming in debt. Also, super happy family facades often hide crumbling, bitter marriages. Everything that glitters is not gold, and that is especially true in this city.

      • Hear, here!

      • Thank you. Also, I am in awe of anyone who can raise kids on his or her own for any period of time. Hats off to you.

      • “Also, understand that many people provide for the lifestyle they live through credit and are absolutely swimming in debt. Also, super happy family facades often hide crumbling, bitter marriages.”
        .
        YES TO THESE THINGS.

      • “Also, understand that many people provide for the lifestyle they live through credit and are absolutely swimming in debt.”

        I totally agree with Anonamom on that. Yes, there are some people in DC who are very cash-wealthy, but there are also people who just finance, finance, finance. Also, it’s not just DC as I am always blown away by how much some of my friends in NYC make (granted it’s even more expensive than DC!). Also, living up here in Toronto there’s a ton of money as well. It’s crazy–people have nice cars, houses, and cottages at the bay. As others have said I think you’re going to see this stuff in any big city.

      • binpetworth

        I grew up in a household like yours (single mom healthcare worker, no major travel, cheap parks & rec activities) and I can attest that I had a happy childhood. It also did a helluva good job preparing me for living on a modest income as an adult, so you go, girlfriend! Your kids are gonna turn out just fine.

    • HaileUnlikely

      It’s all about who you associate with and surround yourselves with. I am aware that the types of folks who you describe exist, and that there are lots of them, but I personally don’t know any such people, and I’ve been here for 12 years.

      • Haile – if you have school-aged children, they are very hard to avoid.

      • I used to not know anyone like this either – and then I moved to the suburbs. It’s astonishing. Luckily, the ones we’ve met have been very down to earth, but it’s still jarring to hear my daughter come home and talk about friend X who is going to [insert destination] for a week, and ask if we can go. Umm, no, because said trip for a family of 3 costs $10,000 or so. But, it’s useless to bemoan the fact that some people are charter members of the lucky sperm club.

    • Not everyone did everything the same way, nor do we all have the same priorities. My spouse and I bought a house in Petworth in 2007, so we didn’t pay that much for our house. We both have low 6 figure salaries and no student loan debt, not because our families are wealthy, but because I went to undergrad on a full ride scholarship and worked my way through grad school at a time in my life when my salary was high enough to cash flow the GW tuition costs. My spouse had an 80% scholarship to his undergrad school and didn’t get a higher degree. We have chosen not to have children. We live very simply in terms of possessions, cars, etc. So we easily afford our unrenovated, not fancy house in a [insert trendy neighborhood] and our fancy-looking vacations are typically paid for with points/miles from the extensive business travel we do. We were very lucky to be of an age and financial position to buy our house at a time when the markets were down and so-called trendy people weren’t interested in our neighborhood. I don’t think we’re unrelatable, we just haven’t taken the same path as some of our peers (grad school is required, have kids by 35, etc). I would never say we aren’t privileged, but I don’t think we’re living on some plane of privilege above your average DC 2 lawyer couple.

    • Yep. Costs in DC are much higher than elsewhere in the country even MD or VA. Before I moved out of the city, I would cross the bridge for my shopping once or twice a month and buy bulk (if you have the space). If you do a comparison on grocery costs, it can easily be 20-30 percent cheaper, even at Whole Foods and Costco! Now that I’m back living in VA, I’ve also noticed that my utilities on a larger/not-as-insulated house are about half of what they were at the DC house.

    • My spouse and I don’t have kids so I cannot related there, but I can totally relate to most of the rest of your rant. Neither of us came from money at all (for example, my dad was enlisted and my mom stayed home, when he retired from the military when I was in starting high school our household income was around $35k/year for a family of four) and we both have massive student loan debt. I transferred colleges and ended up graduating from GWU, where I experienced the same thing of “It’s also hard to find people to relate to with all the privilege in this town” but I’ve been lucky enough to find some good friends who either come from similar backgrounds or come from more privileged backgrounds but are self sufficient and in the same boat as me now.

    • Yeah. I’m single right now so I’m okay, but I worry about long term prospects for buying a house or starting a family. (Especially in combination with my student loans.) However the job market in DC is one of the best in the country for my field, so that may keep me here.

    • I never really experienced this until I came to law school. I went to school in state in VA where I was pretty average and those who were more wealthy did not brag. Then I went to DC where I made a decent salary for my age so I never really felt a difference from my peers. And then I came to Michigan where it seems like every undergrad has a Canada Goose jacket and a new luxury car. The law students are more of a mix; though someone (who went straight through from undergrad and therefore has no work experience) did just inform me she would not take an unpaid 1L internship – as the majority of us do – because her time is worth a significant amount of money. I laughed.

    • Late to the game on this but…the cost of living was the the deciding factor for us moving away. We could either live in the Maryland burbs and have long commutes and never see our child while also paying a lot for housing…or live in the city (where we always did) and pay a fortune for enough space for us – which isn’t large, we currently live in a 1200sq ft home. When we factored in the cost with other inconveniences like crime, metro being less reliable, and childcare/education, it just became overwhelming. We made good livings, but it never felt like enough once we had a kid. The relief of not longer being in that environment is AMAZING. I miss DC every day – there’s so many wonderful things. But we were working just to pay for essentials like modest housing and childcare and it was insane simply because we wanted to live where our commutes were easiest.

      Having a child definitely makes DC much, much more difficult.

      • I think it’s also different WRT student loan debt. We are one of the few couples we know with zero student loan debt due to a variety of circumstances. I don’t know how folks with kids and student loan debt do it. It’s shocking to me how difficult it is.

    • Just wanted to say I hear you on being a working parent, and suddenly being terrified at the prospect of a longer commute. My husband and I have a seven-month-old and we rent an apartment in Columbia Heights that isn’t going to work for us for much longer. We also make a good combined salary by any objective measure but I have no idea what to do about our living situation, especially because it will probably mean trying to find someplace more affordable, and thus farther away from work. The existential despair of having to stay at the office a little late, then rushing home to find your baby already down for the night: Oof, words cannot describe.

      Should we start a revolution maybe?

      • when the reality of what being a working parent means hits you, it’s like a truck ran you over than you can’t recover from if you want to stay in the game. It’s awful. You might enjoy participating in this: https://www.flexjobs.com/having-it-all-movie I believe the movie goes all day.

        Getting home and rushing to spend an hour with my child was not what I wanted in life. It’s not THAT much better now, but I have flexibility and an understanding boss which is worth it’s weight in gold. It took a 50% pay cut to get there. As I’ve heard, why do we need to win the boss lottery in order to be better parents?

      • To be perfectly honest, there are times when the only way to get through this is to completely deny those feelings exist and convince yourself it’s worth it. I started a 2hr per day commute when my youngest was 3 months old. Everything about it hurt, but I just kept trucking telling myself it was worth it. Was it really in the end? I honestly don’t know. But I don’t dwell on how things could have been, just how they are. I think at the end of the day, there are so many (SO MANY) decision we make as parents that we can allow to haunt us, I just chose not to let this one get to me.

    • Yep. I went to a top tier law school and am a working attorney, my husband has a PhD and is a well-paid civil servant. We live in south Arlington (NOT the overpriced on-the-metro part of Arlington) in a one bedroom with our 6 month old. I have reasonable student debt. I wouldn’t say we struggle, but that’s because we are very very frugal. We’re planning to move out of the metro area before we buy because we couldn’t possibly afford to buy a place big enough for what we expect to eventually be a family of four.

  • QUESTION: What is the best way to deal with friends that are constantly bragging? I have a friend and she and her husband always talk about they have the “best” of everything. Every restaurant they go to is the BEST. Every vacation they go on is the BEST. Every car that they own is the BEST.

    • Sorry, replied to the wrong post. Either you decide that their good qualities make up for this annoying habit, or you realize that you don’t want them around. There’s no way to fix other people’s personalities at this stage in life.

    • I hesitate to get too into easy psychoanalysis as it’s so often wrong (for example, contrary to myth, some of the people I know who talk the most about sex are having the most sex), but….content yourself with the wicked thought they are likely very unhappy and desperately insecure.

    • Either avoid them or find some way to tolerate it. (Maybe playing a mental game of “BEST” bingo?)

      • My husband and I do this! How many times are they going to brag about their bratty kid during a two hour long dinner?

      • That One Guy

        I vote for doing something like clearing your throat, fake coughing, sniffling, etc. every time you hear best. See how long you get away with that before they catch on.

    • Quotia Zelda

      My BIL is like this a little. “Oh, of course we only buy X coffee because anything else is crap and of course we only vacation in X place.” He’s otherwise a wonderful person, though, so I just roll my eyes internally and focus on his good points.
      And think to myself when he brags about his family’s 250-acre ranch, “Oh, how cute.”

    • hammers

      maybe get them a thesaurus.

    • Ha! Do we have the same friends? My husband is much politer than me and listens to them when they find the need to tell us about there FABULOUS lifestyle. He will reply with a positive response such as “sounds like you had a great trip” or “glad to hear your kid is doing so well”. I, on the other hand, keep quiet, occasionally slip up and jokingly say something smart or I find a reason to not go out with them.

    • If they’re friends, you’re happy for them. If they’re acquaintances and it bugs you, sever the relationship. You can’t change their behavior, you can only change your attitude. And I find a personal attitude adjustment helps a LOT with people like you describe.

      • This! I can’t deal with people like that, so I don’t. Isn’t life too short to hang out with annoying people or people who make you feel insecure?

  • Rant: The always lovely other Mrs. Rabbit shared her not so lovely cold with me. I feel like death warmed over.
    Rant: I hate when things don’t go according to the time frame that I want them to go by. Everything in my life has now been shifted back by at least a month.
    Rave: Planning our 5 year wedding anniversary weekend getaway.

  • Rave: Booked flights for a week in Thailand in August! Feel so fancy!
    Rant: Hopefully bf’s work isn’t crazy by then and we don’t have to postpone/cancel (used miles so cost to cancel is only $150 – not bad for flights that would have cost $3k on the low end (coming back in biz like ballers))
    Rant: There’s a reason I never book vacays so far in advance. Too many unknowns! Soooo impatient!!!!
    Question: Anyone have suggestions for visiting Thailand in August? Looking for some picturesque beaches that aren’t drenched by monsoons

    • Kukki Bakemono

      That’s awesome! I’ve heard amazing things about Thailand from friends who have traveled there so I’m sure you’ll have a great time. There’s a guy I follow on Youtube by the name of Mark Wiens that travels all over mostly Asia and lives in Bangkok so if you want some ideas of cool places to eat, maybe give some of his videos a watch? He makes really amusing “foodgasm” faces when he really likes something, haha.

      There’s Koh Phi Phi Leh, but my buddy told me it was dirtier than he has seen in pictures. I usually hit up TripAdvisor before I travel someplace to get an idea of what other travelers thought of the top spots to see in the city I’m visiting.

    • I went to Thailand mid August through mid September 2 years ago, it rained mainly when I was in Chiang Mai (northern Thailand) for a few hours. I went to the island of Koh Samiu, scuba dived in Koh Tao, full moon party in Koh Phangan, then fly to Krabi and took a ferry to Ko Phi Phi Don. The beaches at Koh Phi Phi Don were a little dirty, but I took a day trip to close by Koh Phi Phi Leh (The Beach movie). It was the clean and Maya Bay is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I went late afternoon to avoid all the crowds. It rained there for maybe 2 hrs during my 3 day stay. If you’re there for only a week, I would visit Krabi and take a day trip to Koh Phi Phi. If you want to stay near Bangkok, Hua Hin has great beaches/resorts. I follow this well known blogger on twitter and his website: Richard Barrow

      Also if you fly in Thailand, highly recommend Bangkok Airways.

      Hope you enjoy my birth country!

    • I went to Thailand 2 years ago mid August through mid September and it didn’t rain that much and when it did it was for maybe 2 hrs, except for northern Thailand in Chiang Mai. I went to Koh Samui, Ko Tao, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi. If only there for a week, would recommend flying to Krabi and taking day trips to Koh Phi Phi. Maya Bay is beautiful and go really early or late in the day to avoid crowds. I went late in the day and only my tour group was there at Maya Bay. If wanting to stay near Bangkok, Hua Hin and Koh Samet are nice. I follow this guy, Richard Barrow on twitter and his blog. He is a well known blogger.

      Enjoy my country!

  • Rant: Toddler managed to make my phone do a factory restart last night.
    Rave: At least everything is backed up & easy to re-configure.
    Rave: I learned my lesson?
    Rant: Grumpy. Is this week over yet? I’m hoping next week will be better. Ugh.

  • Rant: This week was the worst. Murphy’s Law kicked in first thing Monday morning and lasted through late last night.
    Rave: It seems like today is looking up a little.

  • Rant: I think I drank too much coffee this morning.
    Rave: It’s getting me through this report I’m working on for work in record time.
    Rant: I hope I’m not making too many mistakes in it.
    Rave: Took care of myself last night. Did my best not to stress myself out over things I can’t control. Eat a good dinner of jambalaya and cookie dough ice cream. Reading about folks suffering from mental illness lets me know I’m not alone.

    • You’re not alone! Latest statistic I read was that nearly 1 in 4 Americans will experience mental illness at some point in their lives. I wish this was something we talked about more as a society.

  • Rant: First day back at work after 3 weeks of being in Ethiopia (1.5 weeks work, almost 2 weeks vacation!). I have soooo many emails to go through.
    Rant: And two inboxes to go through. We are changing our website, which is good, but that means changing our emails, which is annoying. Somehow, the tech people convinced my organization that it is impossible to keep our old email addresses forwarding to our new ones for more than 2 weeks, so my old email will no longer work at all. Really frustrating because I’m sure I’m losing a lot of contacts.
    Rave: My basketball team won last night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Rave: Ethiopia! So, so so amazing – food, history, nature, luxury (amazing massages for about $10), and reliving my Peace Corps days in a village with a current Volunteer.
    Rant: It’s cold here – I miss 75 and sunny weather. But I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining about having taken an amazing trip, because now I’m humble-bragging all over the place.

  • Rant: I spoke with my friend who lost his baby a few months ago. The whole situation is just heartbreaking. And his honesty, courage, and grace throughout are just humbling. I don’t even really know what to say, but think the important thing is to not disappear on him.
    Rave: Swimming this morning: I love the older ladies who do water aerobics, and it feels so good to be in the water.
    Rant: Still not sleeping well.
    Rave: I somehow feel very awake even though I’m running on less than six hours of sleep.

  • Rant: Co-worker is unreliable. When I need her, she is M.I.A.

    Rave: Looking forward to this weekend! Warm weather in the 60’s!

  • Rant: Stress seems to be wreaking havoc on my stomach, as well as on my one kitty’s stomach – cleaning up kitty poo is not fun. She’s not acting sick or in pain, and she really really really wants to eat anything that’s NOT the homemade bland food diet of blended cooked rice and cooked chicken. Wondering if my stress is something she’s picked up on and it’s upsetting her tummy (she has a very sensitive tummy, especially when she gets stressed!), or if it’s something more malicious, like a parasite or bacterial infection? \Hoping this clears up soon, because I would really like to avoid a trip to the vet if at all possible!
    Rave: It’s one day closer to the weekend.

    • Usually if the rice/chicken diet doesn’t work within 24-48 hours it’s time for a vet trip. 🙁
      Good luck!! Hope you both start feeling better!

    • Try Petworth Animal Hospital for your kitty — I think they’re closed Thursdays, but open Fridays.

      • I haven’t heard great things about them beyond they’re good for the basics. And I’m nervous they’ll be too rough with her – she gets so anxious that it gives me anxiety! They’re my back-up plan if I can’t get in at some of the other places. It’s not that I want to spend a ton of money, but I don’t want to a)risk having her made so anxious that she aggravates her condition and/or is permanently afraid to get in her carrier and b) that has the set up to diagnose more complicated issues, if that’s what it is. Blerg.

  • Rant: Coworker I despise is becoming my boss.
    Rave: I knew it was time to find a new job anyway, so this is just the kick in the pants I needed.
    Rave: Almost Friday!

  • Neither rant nor rave: Going to Oakland next week for work.
    Rave: I have a day and a half to sight see in San Francisco. I’m hoping to visit Alcatraz. Any suggestions for places to eat or what to see?

    • FtLincolnLove

      If you’re planning to visit Alcatraz, be sure to purchase your ticket in advance. My husband and I went last April during the tail-end of our honeymoon, and I was CRUSHED when I realized you needed to reserve tickets to see the island 🙁

      If you’re a fan of dim sum, I highly recommend Yank Sing! It’s one of my husband’s favorite restaurants!

    • If your work in oakland is around 19th St BART, I’d recommend the following for lunch:
      Belly on San pablo.
      Stag’s Lunchette on 17th St/uptown
      Ike’s Place
      Molcajete on Webster for mexican

      If you’re closer to city center/12th St:
      Cam Huong on Webster St (banh mi)
      Ole Ole Burrito Express on 14th St

      If you’re not downtown, I probably could give you a suggestion or two for whatever area you’re in (I’m from and now back in oakland)

      San Francisco:
      El Farolito or La Taqueria in the Mission for a burrito
      Saigon Sandwiches near Civic Center for banh mi
      dim sum. Yank Sing is indeed good, but a bit on the pricey side.

      Honestly, the Mission District is the most accessible area that has LOTS of restaurants and bars.

      To see:
      Twin Peaks will give you a great view of the City
      Walking along the Embarcadero (which you’ll see if you take a ferry to Alcatraz)
      Golden Gate park
      The De Young Museum (which is in GG Park)

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: motivation at work is low and has been for weeks, I fear I will get a talking to later this month.
    Rant: Camper flats I ordered might be too snug. I can’t tell if they will stretch out with wear or not. They are leather, so probably?
    Rave: not teleworking today.

    • Love the terminology “a talking to!” That’s what I got when growing up, so I now know I can survive them as a grown-up when the occasion demands every once in a while. And I know you can, too:)

  • Rant: Yesterday evening while walking the dog, I witnessed a teenager finish drinking a Capri Sun and purposefully throw it on the ground despite being 5 feet from a public trash can (and walking in the direction of that trash can!). Not the first time I’ve seen something like this, and I’m still a little irrationally mad about it. The lack of respect some residents have for our neighborhood is both irritating and frustrating.
    Rave: Almost the weekend, and good weather is forecasted. Can finally take the toddler outside for some extended running around!

    • Litter infuriates me too. Probably a good thing that I usually see only the litter, and rarely the litterbug in the act of littering.

      • I didn’t say anything for a few reasons, but god knows I wanted to. I probably could have chastised him for a full 5 minutes without taking a breath.

    • this. this infuriates me beyond reason (your rant).

    • I have raised my kids not to litter, and yet the other day, oldest Anonachild throws a wrapper on the ground as we are leaving school. Cue the conversation of why would you do that? shouldn’t you have pride in your school? why are you making extra work for other people? that is disrespectful! blah blah blah.
      His answers? I dunno. I guess. I don’t mean too. Sorry.
      Ugh. Kids! Even my own sometimes!

      • I commend you on continuing to reinforce this 🙂 I do see more kids doing it than adults, but I also live across the street from a school, so my population sample is skewed. I have still seen plenty of grown adults doing the exact same thing as this teenager, so I can’t even use the “kids being kids” excuse (not that it is an acceptable excuse). I’ve even seen the school parents do it while picking up their kids a few times. Absolutely infuriating.

  • Petty but frustrating Rant: had to repeat my order 3 times this morning to a distracted starbucks worker. Each time I asked her to please leave plenty of room for milk. Get my coffee and it’s basically overflowing. Ask said employee to pour some out, proceed to get eye rolls.

  • Rant: heavier than I have ever been and not feeling a proportional amount of motivation to lose it.
    Rant-ish: I’m going to the beach and I want a fun, different, not too pricey new bathing suit, so I ordered a killer plunging suit from Asos, only I am too tall. I can barely stand up in it and I definitely can’t bend over in it. The ones they do make in tall don’t look as good. #tallgirlproblems
    Rave: had a nice night catching up with a friend last night.
    Rave: breakfast smoothie. I am trying to like this new PB2 thing, it’s dehydrated peanut butter, so you can get the taste without all of the calories from the oils and fats and it’s okay. Real PB is better, but left unchecked I will put a quarter cup in the smoothie. That’s almost 400 calories of straight PB. 3 T of this stuff is about 70.

    • I tried that PB2 stuff before…not my favorite! What about leaving PB out of the smoothie and adding other things? Chia, flax seed, etc.

    • Sometimes I’ll do a teaspoon of real PB in addition to the PB2 and I find that it tastes a little more like the real thing that way (which, duh, because I’m using a little bit of the real thing!)

      I also looooove mixing PB2 in with vanilla (or plain) yogurt. I eat it plain or mix it with some cinnamon and use it as an apple dip!

    • I hear you on the heavier than I have ever been thing. Part of me wants to be motivated to lose it and the other part just wants to pretend it isn’t happening. Sadly the pretending part is winning and well that’s obviously getting me no where. I really do wish I could out run a bad(ish) diet, then I’d be set!

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: I love my job, but I can’t stand the conditions under which I’m doing my job right now. We’re severely understaffed and the senior leadership is managing things is such a way that even my director, the ultimate yes man, has expressed dissatisfaction.
    Rant: Once again, Ayyám-i-Há has sneaked up on me. I have a week to figure out what I’m going to get my parents and send it to them.
    Rave: Hanging out with the Eldest and Middle Zeldas last night, talking about art and watching funny Youtube videos.
    Rant: We stayed up too late, and my elderly self is feeling it today.

  • Rant: Increasingly troubled about job stuff.
    Rant: In a bad, cranky mood.
    Not feeling very rave-y at the moment. 🙁

  • Rave: Duck fat and thighs arrived. Cassoulet prep begins!

  • Rave: Unexpectedly getting some acoustic covers in my life tonight.
    Rant: Have to go to Clarendon Grill to do so. Whyyyyyy
    Rave: Bryen O’Boyle is worth it!
    Rave: Generally feeling better about life – I should’ve been more proactive six months ago when I started back-sliding. I will have to remember that.
    Biggest rave after a scare: Found a big lump in my left breast on Monday night. Went to the doctor yesterday, followed by a sonogram and mammogram yesterday afternoon. All clear. So glad that a) it’s nothing serious and b) I have healthcare that allowed me to establish that very quickly and stop stressing that it was something serious and c) my boss is super supportive and didn’t bat an eye about it.
    Rant: Still have to see a surgeon about it to be safe.

    • Forgotten rave: Miss Mocha got fixed yesterday! She’s recovering now 🙂 The ladies of the family had a big day yesterday.

    • Emmaleigh504

      Glad it’s clear. Hopefully the visit with the surgeon is good too.

    • So stressful–but so glad that all seems just fine. Fingers crossed on the surgeon visit.

    • People still go to Clarendon Grill?

      • Hopefully like 12 people so that we can sit there and yell out what we want him to play tonight. I still haven’t figured out how he gets paid for this – because by midnight the place will be empty (at least if the last time I went was any indication). Either way, this girl doesn’t have to work tomorrow, so I’m there.

      • Lol yes, the demographic/age range hasn’t changed though so when you get sick of it at 24, there are plenty of just-turned 21 year olds right behind you to keep them in businesses.

    • Glad to hear you’re all clear. Sending good thoughts for the surgeon visit.

    • Andie, that’s so stressful! I’m glad it’s okay.

    • Happy to hear all is clear, and hoping the appointment with the surgeon eliminates any remaining worries!

  • Rave: Excited about making plans for hosting events at my house. I haven’t wanted to do it for a long time and now I’m so ready to get back into the swing.
    Rant: Distracted today.

  • Rave – I finished my C25K program!
    Rant – The program assumes you can run 5K in 30 minutes by now, but I can’t. I ran 2.48 miles in 30 minutes. What’s the best way to improve my time? If I keep doing 30 minute runs, will I get faster? Or should I be running for a longer period of time?
    Rant – Anyone want to rent out their fenced in yard to me this weekend so I can play fetch with my dog in peace? I seriously wish people would do this.

    • That One Guy

      Maybe shorten your stride or sprint the first 1k to get your time down?

    • A trainer once recommended a speed drill program to increase time. An example is a 45 second sprint with a 1:30 recover – do that 10-15 times for your workout. As you can sprint longer, increase it to a minute, 1:30, then 2:00 for less reps.

    • What is your goal? To complete a 5K or run 30 minutes? If you want to improve your speed, try interval training. It’s a lot like the start of C25K: 30 sec fast, 1min slow, repeat 5-8 times. Or choose intervals that work better for you, gradually lengthening the fast relative to the recovery (slow).

      • My goal is to run a 5K. Sounds like I should start doing interval training!

        • I also think interval training is a great idea and a great help to improve speed. But if your primary goal is to do a 5K – and you don’t care how long it takes you – another strategy is to slow down to pace where you are able to run for a longer period of time. Each time you go out, focus on incrementally increasing your distance and stop looking at the clock. If you’re already doing 2.48 mi, it won’t take you long to get up to a full 5K. If you want to improve both speed AND distance, then you probably should do both – interval training on some days, and longer runs with a distance rather than time goal on other days.

          • +1. Yep, exactly.

          • Thanks for the info. I’m new at running and I’ve been using the C25K app which notifies you when 30 minutes is up, because it assumes you can run 3.1 miles in 30 minutes. Maybe I’ll do a run without it and see how far I can get.

        • It might also help to focus more on the distance than the time you’re running. When I tried C25k I used the timing option (vs distance which relied on my unreliable GPS working) and found that I was more likely to keep my pace slower. If I focus on a distance and think about getting it done as fast as possible I’m more likely to subconsciously go a bit faster. However, might want to take this with a grain of salt as I’m still more of a jog/walker than a runner.
          .
          This on top of the interval suggestions. I think the C25k app I had also had an option for intervals so you don’t have to be staring at a watch. You set the interval length you wanted and the number of intervals and it would give you prompts when to speed up/slow down.

  • Rant: Fiance leaves for back to back to back international work travel today. Not looking forward to all the time changes.
    Rave: Just bought tickets to visit him when he’s back.
    Rave: Grateful to have a good friend from real life (not law school) getting his MBA across the street. Looking forward to getting dinner with him tomorrow night.
    Rave: Got approved to have two dogs in our apartment next year… so begins the hunt for Tiny Dog #2!
    Rave: Cat I am watching has bonded with me, maybe too much. Greets me at the door, insists on being on my lap while I do homework or watch TV, and follows me around the house. Still not a cat person but it’s cute.

  • Rave/Rant: Just got my new chipped bank card. Glad its here, but not thrilled about having to change all my cc card information in my auto paid accounts.

    Rant: My iphone is on its way out. I need to update the OS but there is no space left, even when I delete photos and apps. And its cannibalizing Apps! I want to upgrade to a 64 gig, but I’m not eligible until May. So frustrated. It ate my GoogleMaps app, Snapchat, I can’t take any more pictures. Stupid phone.

    • Ugh! I feel you on the phone. I’ve got to work on this but it keeps getting pushed down on the list of priorities due to other “crises” type things that are gonna cost money I don’t have!

    • not sold on these chip cards yet. The whole approval process seems a lot slower than swiping.
      Has anyone come across them at restaurants yet? And if so, do they bring the whole credit card terminal to the table like in Canada and Europe? If not, then the whole transaction is still insecure since the card is leaving your sight. Oh well I just wish more places would catch up with the times and accept NFC payments so I can just tap my phone and be done with it.

      • It’s weird. I got my chip card, but it doesn’t work any differently than it did before. Up here in Canada with our Canadian debit or credit we use the whole credit card terminal and have to enter a PIN. With my US credit card that now has the chip there is no PIN so how is it any different?

        • because we decided to adopt the “chip and sign” rather than the “chip and pin” system. So basically the only difference is that you stick the card into the terminal rather than swipe it. You still have to sign it.

      • It’s slower, but maybe 15 seconds slower. I never feel held up, and I use my card all the time.

        Legal seafood is the only place I recall having table side payment, but it was long before chips came to the US. Maybe it’s not that hard to do?
        You can pay through the open table app for many places too.

        • I did not know you could pay through the open table app! Wow. I get out of hospitality and 2 years later everything changes!

    • Re: phone space issue.
      If you download Google Photos as an app, you can backup all of your photos for free to Google’s cloud and then just delete them all from your phone. That’ll free up lots of space for you I’m sure!

    • Couple of hints:
      .
      1) Delete the FB app. It’s horribly inefficient in terms of memory usage, and also eats up your battery life with the voracity of Rob Ford at a hot dog eating contest. When I deleted mine, it was taking up more than a gig of memory. Using FB via a browser let’s you do the same things whilst consuming much less energy and memory resources.
      .
      2) Sign up for Apple’s iCloud service at 99c per month. You get 20gb of storage, which will free up a lot of space currently used to store full-resolution photos/videos. Assuming your current phone is otherwise doing fine, $12/year is a lot cheaper than buying a bigger phone.

      • I have iCloud and it hasn’t helped a bit. It seems nothing is being saved there.

        • There’s a setting somewhere that allows you to store full-resolution photos in the cloud and only store small thumbnails on your phone. (It downloads the full-rez version if you open/edit it.) make sure you’ve selected that option – that alone saved me several gigs.

  • Question: Can anyone recommend good make-up tutorials on YouTube? I bought a bronzer/blush/highlighter compact for the first time, watched a few things, and still don’t feel like I have a good clue how to use it well.

  • Re: the conversation above about cost of living in DC, especially with kids… I wonder what the barriers to entry are in the childcare market? I expect the licensing and insurance is insane. But given the huge unmet demand, is there any way to even break even for an individual owner of a childcare facility? Why aren’t more people getting into this?

    • Add to that cost of real estate, child/caregiver ratios that necessitate large staff ($$$) – it’s not a cheap business to get into.

    • I know that Mary’s Center used to (maybe still does?) offer a course teaching people how to open an in-home childcare business (maximum 5 kids, only 2 younger than 24 months). Our older child went to a childcare center run by an immigrant woman who had gone through the program, and it was really great situation.

    • That One Guy

      Maybe it takes a special rare type of person who will take care of other people’s child and remain sane. The image of a handful of rugrats running wildly a la Lord of the Flies is a little scary.

    • I thought about this myself, but people told me that the cost to insure and maintain really doesn’t leave you with much of a profit. Then add to the fact that taking care of kids (especially multiple that aren’t yours) is really, REALLY hard work I imagine there aren’t a ton of people that actually want to get into the business.

    • I think home child care is a low barriers to entry thing to do; a larger business is not, with more regulations, etc. The real problem with both is that most people with kids are strapped for funds and can’t, (or if they can, don’t want to, have other priorities) pay a lot, so there isn’t a ton of money to be made. Child care workers are paid notoriously low wages. You have to run a fairly large business, with multiple locations, paying your workers low wages, to make much money off the business.

    • When I lived in the ‘burbs, I knew one or tow women who chose to open daycares after their kids were born. None of them are still running daycares. I think the barriers are: 1, dealing with someone else’s kid is not the same as your own – you need a special temperament to handle it (this is also why a lot of people don’t stay teachers for long); I would think that in DC this would be especially true. 2, regulations are no joke and are more than some people can handle on the paperwork end (for the record – I think there should be even more regulation so I don’t consider this something that needs to be changed). I know at least in MD, there are very specific space requirements for home daycares that are probably even more difficult to meet in the city (if they are the same or similar). 3, it is expensive to run a business and difficult to start a business period; what’s the statistic? only 1 in 5 small business survive the first 3-5 years?

    • All that has been said. Labor is the cheap part, unfortunately. “Day Cares” generally require no skills for their caretakers, and they tend to earn a wage too low to even send their own kids to those facilities. The ratio is hard in terms of space (8-10 kids in a room with expensive real estate). There aren’t enough educational facilities for young kids (actual preschools with teachers who have degrees in childhood development or early childhood education). It’s basically like the JCC is your only option there.

    • I have no interest in taking care of children. I’m pleasantly astonished to have kept my own in one piece this long. I can do the finance/ management and the regulatory stuff, etc. But I’d have to hire an “educational director” or something to oversee the stuff that involves real children. And then a small army of caregivers.
      I have started and managed successful small businesses in the past. This market is tickling the entrepreneur in me. The business end is what intrigues me; the idea of a home daycare kind of horrifies me.

      • I think one of the barriers in DC is that there are specific requirements for what the space looks like, and first-floor real estate is very pricey.

        • Yes, interesting point! I saw a big office building downtown being evacuated once, and it became clear why daycares have to be on the ground floor. They were wheeling the babies outside in their cribs.

          • My daycare was in a basement because it was created before that regulation went into effect & it was grandfathered in. Evacuations required carrying the babies in backpacks & arms because they had to use the stairs. Now the building is being renovated & they had to move the daycare space to the first floor with its own entrance to make it code-compliant.

  • Rant: I’m pretty sure I’ve been wearing the same outfit since Monday. I’m not sure what’s worse — the possibility that I haven’t been able to shower or change clothes since Monday, or the fact that I can’t remember if I last changed clothes on Monday or Tuesday. Certainly not yesterday. My shirt definitely has some baby barf on it, too, and I only care sooo much.
    Rave: At least I was able to get a haircut this weekend.
    Rave: The babies are doing so well. As my awesome aunt says, the little one had doubled her birth weight while her sister has doubled her chin. Oh, and there’s “tummy time.” It’s crazy to watch developmental progress take place right in front of you..

    • Also, to piggyback on SKJ84’s rant, I’m seriously frustrated with Apple. First my laptop died in November. Then, within the two months that I was in the hospital and newly home with the babies, my battery and camera both failed and required me to either go to the store for a fix or wait 5+ days for a mail-in repair. Then my photos app on my new laptop failed while I was try to make my husband a photo book for Valentine’s Day and that book still hasn’t arrived. Their customer service is somewhat helpful, but very silo-ed, so there’s no one I can find to complain to about my overall dissatisfaction with their product. It’s just one-off fixes. Ok, I’m done ranting now 🙂

    • Glad to hear the babies are doing well! Hoping you’re getting some semblance of sleep.

      • Ha! “Some semblance of sleep” is exactly what I’m getting! I literally do not understand the conventional wisdom of sleeping when the baby/ies sleep. That means nothing else would ever get done!

    • glad to hear it’s going well!
      Haircuts…at one time, they were an errand. For moms, their “me time”.

  • Rant: Really starting to wish I had kept my GI appointment in January. I’ve had a persistant cough for a few days coupled with difficulty swallowing and I am really starting to suspect the Allergists’ initial thought of silent GERD.
    Rave: Self-medicating starting today. Hopefully it will get better. Thank you formerly Rx only OTC Meds!
    Rant: Silent GERD is most likely due to all the stress going on. Issues with the BF’s ex/possible pending custody battle…. Work already getting tough and knowing that it will be even tougher starting in about a week…. etc, etc, etc. So much is out of my control that it causes the control freak in me to freak even more.

    • I had exactly that. A nagging cough and difficulty swallowing during a time of terrible stress. ENT checked it out and said to start with regular doses of mild antacid. It has really helped.

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