Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Tim Brown

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.

175 Comment

  • Rant: Left my lunch bag on the 63 bus last night.
    Double Rant: It has my keys in it.

    Rave: No one’s at the office today, so I can get a lot of work done!

    (But seriously, let me know if you found a bag on a 63 or 62 bus last night!)

    • jim_ed

      Have you tried contacting Metro’s lost and found? It’s shockingly competent compared to the rest of WMATA, and I’ve gotten back several things I’ve lost on metro.

  • Rave: uber’s $4 pool ride
    Rant: my house is literally on the border of true map. Tried to ride home last night and I was $4.60. So changed destination address 1 block away and it was $4
    Rave: frugality. Saved .60 cents by walking 1 block
    Rant/Rave: while on this uber adventure home, it was raining and I came across a bizarre scene: the forthcoming Anxo cidery is around the corner from my house. They were doing night work and a DC govt employee (said he was in Charge of all public space permits, forget his name) was randomly driving by and saw some safety violations. I spoke with him, very nice man, was on the phone with an inspector. I appreciated the civic duty he was exhibiting, but i also felt bad for the workers who were being yelled at. I know that place has dealt with permitting issues, theft, and a variety of problems, so i feel for them. But it was also interesting to encounter a DC government employee who went above and beyond to do his job.

  • Rave: I’ve been really productive at work lately.
    Rave: DH is back tomorrow night! Looking forward to snuggles and date night on Sunday.
    Rant: Approaching our one-year anniversary and my converted yellow to white gold wedding ring (which was my grandmother’s) is already turning back to yellow. Any ideas of where I can take it for rhodium plating in the area that won’t charge me something ridiculous? My jeweler in CT charges me very little to do it, but I won’t be back there anytime soon.

    • My wedding & engagement bands are being rhodium plated at Shah & Shah while they fix a few other things, and I was pleasantly surprised at the low-cost of the job. Definitely give them a call to ask, particularly if your regular travels take you downtown.

      • Thanks, I will check them out!

        • Emmaleigh504

          While you are Shah and Shah, have fun trying on all the sparklies!

          • Somehow, that was very overwhelming for me! I’m sure I’ll get used to it with future visits 🙂

          • Ha, I will. My rings are very low key. I have tiny hands and when engagement ring shopping I tried a 1 carat ring and it looked ridiculous IMHO. I think my DH was relieved when I told him I wanted something smaller and just one diamond. My grandmother’s wedding ring that I wear is probably worth like, $50? It’s so tiny and nothing special but has extreme sentimental value.

          • Emmaleigh504

            Trying on the all the sparklies led to an impulse buy for me; Shah and Shah can be dangerous in the best way. 🙂

      • how long do they need to do it?

        • I don’t know–presumably less time than they’re taking with my rings, because my engagement band needed several prongs tightened, one rebuilt, and one diamond replaced. That plus rhodium plating is taking 7-10 days. I think rhodium plating on it’s own is usually pretty quick (doesn’t it largely involve dipping into a solution of some kind?).

    • I have my grandmother’s old ring that I want to turn into my wedding band (9 small diamonds in a square that I want to turn into a diamond band). Would Shah & Shah be a good place to have this done?

  • Rant: I hate being in the office on Fridays, it’s so quiet and boring.
    Rave: It’s still Friday.
    Rave: Excited for the Gatsby picnic at the Cathedral this weekend.
    Rant: Judging by the weather I’m going to have to add tights and a jacket to my flapper dress.

  • Rave: New job is SO MUCH BETTER in every sense of the word.
    Rant: So hungry this morning….
    Rave: Treating myself to an early food truck lunch after my morning meetings.
    Rave: It’s Friday!

  • Rave: Friday. ‘Nuff said.

    Rant: This weather! Just leaves me so tiiiiiiired all of the time.

    Rant: My body is definitely getting older, even though I’m still young at heart.

    Rant/Rave: Spent so much time stressing over my Performance Review, and the boss just handed it back to me with a rather glowing paragraph. So much stress for so much nothing!

  • Rave: CAPS WIN GAME 1!!!
    Rant: These late-night games are going to be tough.
    Rant: Especially when coupled with a congested baby waking up–food sensitivity or a cold? Maybe both? Just realized his dinner had some egg in it, but his big sister developed congestion overnight too.
    Rave: Thank goodness it’s Friday!
    Rave? waiting to find out the real diagnosis with mtpbaby’s eyes–so glad we didn’t have to wait more than a few days!

  • Rant: Wife’s flight to Jazz Fest was canceled.
    Rave: Was able to get her rebooked on different airline . . .
    Rant: . . . at double the cost.
    Rave: She’s really looking forward to this trip, and could use a break.
    Rave: Father/Daughter Weekend!
    Rant: Rainy father daughter weekend. Looks it’s like a bowling/X-box/Jungle Book kinda weekend. Hopefully at least one of her two soccer games will take place.
    Rave: One week to Thailand!

  • Rave: Had my review yesterday, it was the lovely and I got a small raise.

    Rave: Heading to NYC this afternoon. Convinced my friend to join me. I think it will be a nice escape.

    Rant: I have not slept very well since I went to MN (before my father passed) and I don’t like taking sleeping pills, so I’m not certain what to do. Maybe this is normal and I just need time?

    Rant: Why is it necessary for me to take my winter coat to NYC when it is going to be May? Mother Nature, you need to get yourself together.

    • Not sure if this counts in your definition of sleeping pills, but have you tried Zzzquil or just taking allergy medicine? That might help, and they’re not habit forming.

      • Benadryl (diphenhydramine HCl) is actually the ingredient in Tylenol’s “Simply Sleep,” Tylenol PM, and I think some other “PM” combined pain relievers/sleep aids.
        Benadryl (especially if you buy a generic version of it) is much cheaper per mg than Simply Sleep.

    • Have fun in NYC! You deserve a nice escape, for sure. Have you tried Melatonin? It’s not a sleeping pill (well, it’s a pill that’s supposed to help you sleep but it’s not like taking an ambien), it’s supposed to help reset your sleep patterns and my husband uses it for long-distance travel and jet lag. Might be helpful.

      • I’ll try some melatonin — maybe that will help. If not, then I’ll up my game with Simply Sleep or something like that. I do have a white noise app that is helpful in most cases, just not right now.

    • About the sleep thing, it is totally normal. I went through a loss in December and had a lot of difficulty sleeping. I ended up taking melatonin (don’t know if you’d consider this a sleeping pill) which helped get me to sleep, but only used it for a short while as I don’t really like messing with my hormones. I also listened to podcasts or watched (controversial because screens can keep you up) a show I had seen a bajillion times before so it was distracting enough from my thoughts, but not so distracting that I couldn’t fall asleep. During that time my therapist also recommended taking a warm bath before bed and to make it a ritual so that my body understood that bed time was approaching. Insomnia sucks, I hope you don’t have to put up with it too long.

    • Have you tried ambient noise? I also hate taking slipping pills, I’m pretty dependent on the Infinite Storm app, to get me through the night.

    • I actually JUST went to see my doctor about insomnia – I don’t usually have trouble sleeping but it went on for a few weeks culminating in a really terrible night when I didn’t get to sleep until 5 am (I usually go to bed between 10 and 11 and get up at 7:30). Anyway – I also prefer to let things resolve naturally and I told my doctor so, but she suggested Z-Quil as a temporary fix just to get my body synched back up with my normal circadian rhythm. I used it for two nights and it worked like a charm. Third night I was back to normal.

    • SinSa, have you tried melatonin? That always helps me reset my sleep patterns.

    • I really like bedtime yoga. There are a bunch of good ones on Youtube. I tend to get anxious at night and it really helps calm my mind. It has really kept me sane through law school finals.

  • Rave: Loved learning something new last night. Driving a stick shift was such a fun mental exercise – in patience and perseverance. Got to learn with my husband for four hours around NYC last night – had a great teacher and really feel like I got a good handle on it. Now to find a stick shift car to practice more on…
    Rant: Rush hour traffic – great to learn stick shift in, not so great for this bike commuter :-).
    Rave: Earl grey tea and heading to the neighborhood library to buckle down and get some good work done.
    Rant: Finally wrote down all of the written products expected of me in the coming weeks as well as management or coordination that isn’t really part of my job. Feel like my manager doesn’t understand the host of things I have to do and want to make sure i document it.
    Rave: Jackhammering didn’t start until 8:30 this morning. Thank goodness!

    • Have you tried Earl Grey tea BREAD? Oh, it’s to die for….

      • Whaaa? That’s sounds incredible! Any recipe or store you recommend I try out? The most yummy uses of earl grey I’ve tried is earl grey chocolate and london fog (kinda like an earl grey latte).

        • Emmaleigh504

          speaking of Earl Grey flavors, my sister makes a divine Earl Grey Tea ice cream. I love Earl Grey Tea so much.

      • Emmaleigh504

        where does one find this bread???

    • Yay! Good for you on learning to drive stick. I love driving manual cars–though it’s frustrating that they’re harder to find in the States.

    • Great job on the driving! I also learned to drive in rush hour (here though, not NYC!) and it was really terrifying but a great way to learn.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: This cold weather, when will it be warm again???
    Rave: Using friend’s wedding as an excuse to take a long weekend in New Orleans. Excited to see her get married and lucky I can make it a long weekend.

  • Revel: Having a little birthday party tomorrow night and I’ve got quite a few people coming.
    Revel: My students are so sweet; I got lots of happy birthday wishes from them
    Revel: I signed up to run my first 5k (Pride 5k on June 10). I’m about halfway through the couch to 5k training program. My cousin tells me if I continue training I can manage a half-marathon in September?
    Rant: Passover food

    • oof. you probably can just in terms of timing if you’re REALLY on top of your training, but I would not recommend going straight from 3.1 miles to 13.1 miles for the first time ever during a DC summer. my first half was a mid-September race and I wasn’t as well prepared for it as I should have been (despite doing regular 10k races for 2 years before the half) because I just couldn’t be strict with myself about going on double digit runs in the swamp of August in DC. be kind to yourself – find a 10k or, if you really want to challenge yourself, a 10 miler in the fall and then a spring half.

      but WOOHOO on couch to 5k! and your 5k in June! that is AWESOME!

      • I agree with BRP. I went straight from a 10k to a half-marathon, but 5k to half-marathon with DC summer heat? It’s ambitious since most of your training would be in the summer.

        • maxwell smart

          Counterpoint: Committing to a Spring race and then having to run all winter. I used to be okay with cold weather running when I lived out West and the cold was at least dry… but I find the cold here to be bone chilling. Also, a little snow and the city turns into an ice slick. Also it’s dark. Running in the summer is no picnic, however, if you push yourself through swampy July & August, come September/October you will easily be a minute per mile faster.

    • I wouldn’t recommend increasing that dramatically. After your 5K, keep training for a 10K, then do a few of those, and then turn to a half. While it is true you can go from 3 miles to 13 miles in a 12-week training cycle, it’s better to slowly and consistently increase your mileage.

      • +1. I would enjoy the 5k/10k space for awhile and work on improving your form, speed, etc. before drastically increasing distance.

        • Agreed. You could definitely manage a half marathon, but it’s going to be tricky training outside. I did the Hal Higdon method about six summers ago for beginners, for a half marathon in September, and even the walking days were hot, sweaty, and generally miserable. It can be done, for sure, but could be considered a modern form of torture.

          • +1,000. trained for my first 1/2 during a DC summer and hated it so much/was so demoralized by the difficulty of the long runs that i actually haven’t run one since. however, i run 15-20 mile weeks happily every fall and spring since (including several fantastic cherry blossom 10-milers).

    • binntp

      Everyone’s comments here are spot on. Also, wait until after your first 5K and see how you feel. Maybe you want to try and get faster at that distance, or want to double it. Don’t sign up for anything until you’ve got one race under your belt.

  • So looking forward to this evening: I’m going to cook a nice meal and snuggle up with the kids to watch a movie.
    But what movie? They recently enjoyed Men in Black and Ghostbusters. What other classics should I subject them to? No graphic violence or sex and bad words only in situations that actually merit them.

      • They didn’t like ET as much, strangely.
        The Princess Bride went over pretty well. They both LOVED The Secret Garden, but I wonder if it’s because it was the version with Maggie Smith, and they know her as Professor McGonagall…

        • Emmaleigh504

          Have you done Star Wars? My sister’s kids liked that when they were young (I guess they still like it, one never knows with surly teens).
          Bring It On is another classic.

        • My daughter really liked Gremlins! I’m going to suggest Ghostbusters, that’s a great idea.

          • WDC, how old are your kids?
            I believe “Gremlins” — along with “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” was one of the BIG reasons the PG-13 rating was created. It’s pretty scary — definitely not suitable for kids under 10.

          • I do so love it when people without kids (I think), who have never met the children in question, spout off with little gems like, “definitely not suitable for kids under 10.” Anything else you’d like to suggest? We’re having steak for dinner tonight, is that acceptable? Sheesh.

          • But I mentioned below that one of mine is a serious scaredy-cat. That’s probably what textdoc was referring to.

          • DCD — Correct, I don’t have kids. However, I have been a kid, and (more importantly) I was a kid when “Gremlins” came out.
            I remember a LOT of second-graders, third-graders, and fourth-graders being really scared by that movie, and lots of parents talking about it at the time. And it’s not just my childhood memory that “Gremlins” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” were the reason that the PG-13 rating was created; Wikipedia names those very two films.
            If your daughter is precocious in her ability to handle scary films, great for her. But even if WDC’s oldest (who I think is around 10) is equally precocious, her youngest is (IIRC) something like 6.
            I don’t see that there’s any real harm in trying to err on the side of caution when it comes to scaring your kids, or giving them something they aren’t quite ready to handle yet.

          • Also, steak for dinner? Yes please. I’ll provide the movie and the popcorn, you provide the steak.

          • The response to your comment about being scared is below. (And if your kids is indeed dislikes any sort of scary movie, Gremlins is not a good choice. I’ve got no beef with that.) But this was a categorical statement – “definitely not suitable for kids under 10.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but it drives me nuts when parents are hit with uninformed, blanket assertions about how to raise their kids. “I wasn’t allowed to see it, but some of my friends were scared, so it’s inappropriate for anyone under 10.” That’s BS.

          • Scariness is very relative. Littlest Anonachild begged to see Jurassic World, but being 4, I didn’t think it would be a good idea. His dad took him, and the only thing that bothered him was the scientific implausibility of the plot. The Good Dinosaur, on the other hand, was scary to him because the plot revolves around someone’s dad dying.
            Also, keep in mind that what was scary when we were kids really doesn’t register anymore. I personally thought Jaws was terrifying, in fact it put me off going in the ocean pretty much permanently. My kids think it’s funny and completely unbelievable.

          • I guess you’re taking my comment as some kind of after-the-fact implied criticism of your parenting skills. Unless there’s some little smidgen of it that hits home, why aren’t you just laughing to yourself and thinking, “That’s so ridiculous”?
            Lots of 7- to 10-year-olds were scared by this movie. It’s great that your daughter wasn’t… but given that WDC is asking IN ADVANCE, and that a couple of people piped up to mention how scared they were by those very two movies that prompted the creation of the PG-13 rating, why even take the risk? It’s not like waiting another couple of years is going to deprive them of some key cinematic experience.

          • Thank you for your parenting tips, textdoc.

          • HaileUnlikely

            dcd – I think we can stipulate that wdc is capable of critically reviewing input that she receives and using it to inform her decision. textdoc doesn’t think Gremlins is suitable for young kids. You evidently disagree with that assertion, or the basis for that assertion, or both. (And I’m not sure what having a kid or having been a kid or having seen Gremlins changes about any of this – you’ve introduced a lot of irrelevant facts here. The core issue appears to be that such a statement is not factual in nature and thus should not be asserted as such by anyone irrespective of their “credentials.”)
            Back to the point, aside from the merit of the blanket assertion “not suitable for kids under X years of age,” given that the movie officially carries a rating of PG, I suspect many would find it valuable information to know that the movie predates the existence of the PG-13 rating and was a major factor that motivated its creation.
            Anyway, this is getting silly. I think it’s time to move on here.

          • We recently watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with our 9-year-old. I had totally forgotten it and assumed it had all the charm of the first movie. Not only was it terrible, I thought the themes were grossly inappropriate for a 9-year-old, but oddly it didn’t scare him at all. What does terrify him is the original Star Trek series, yes, the campy one. Those episodes often have pretty intense psychological themes that give him nightmares. I guess you just never can tell.

          • Thanks, HaileUnlikely.
            I made my comment in good faith, not as a smackdown of anyone. If DCD disagrees with it, that’s totally his prerogative… but there’s no need to be snarky. People can genuinely disagree with each other without mocking, ridiculing, etc.

          • maxwell smart

            I grew up watching Planet of the Apes, which is “technically” not kid friendly, I guess?

      • Oh god no. ET traumatized me when I saw it as a child. It gave me nightmares for months and left me with a lifelong fear of aliens.
        wdc – how about Hook?

        • Emmaleigh504

          It scared me as a kid, but I loved it. I saw it about 7 times in the theater!

        • Oh my goodness, I’m so glad i’m not alone! ET was so scary to me (not the plot per se, just the visual of the alien). I thought he was the most hideous thing. In fact, “the monster under my bed” always looked like ET when I was imagining it as I leapt in to bed, heart racing, after I turned off the light. Years of nightmares from that movie!

          • A classmate of mine had an ET-themed birthday party (worst birthday theme ever) and I got so afraid that I had his parents call my parents to come pick me up early. I was sent home with an ET poster as a party favor. My older sister wanted to put the poster up on her side of our shared bedroom just to torture me, but my parents banished it to a closet in the basement. For years I refused to go into the basement, knowing that the poster was lurking down there. And I still refuse to watch that movie.

        • I saw ET as a two year old and for several years walked around the house saying loudly “I’m not afraid of E.T.!” just to convince myself that was true. Not actually relevant to wdc’s question.
          . Also +1 for Hook!

    • What about the Labyrinth?

      • I’ve never seen the Labyrinth. Good? Not too scary? One kid is very sensitive to even mild scariness. (I have to hide her eyes during certain scenes, which is why we usually watch movies I’ve already seen.)

        • To echo my comments elsewhere in this sub-thread… if you’ve got a kid who’s sensitive to scary stuff, she should DEFINITELY not be seeing “Gremlins.”

        • I don’t remember “Labyrinth” being scary, but (given what little I remember about it) I think it’s better suited for tweens than for under-10s.

        • I *love* Labyrinth and I don’t think it’s a great one if one of your kids is sensitive to mild scariness. The whole theme of it could be scary, it’s about a goblin king stealing a girl’s little brother and putting her through all these trials to get him back. There are a couple kind of freaky scenes. I loved it as a kid, but I also never got scared of movies at all.

          • +1 yeah, Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies and was when I was a kid, but it’s pretty strange and I could definitely see a more sensitive kid being very scared by the goblin Muppets and the fire monster ones. To say nothing of David Bowie’s eyebrows, which are fantastic but could definitely be scary, too.

    • Kukki Bakemono

      Back To The Future is always the answer. It’s both fun AND educational. Better to teach your kids how many gigawatts are in a bolt of lightning yourself than have them learn that on the streets.

    • Raiders of the lost ark? Goonies? Ferris bueller? Back to the future? Am I dating myself?

      • “Ferris Bueller” has some heavy moments, and (IIRC) a lot of swearing.
        “Back to the Future” would definitely be OK for a 10-year-old. Not sure about younger kids, though.

      • They loved Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! They re-watch it on their own from time to time.
        Goonies is going on the list, for sure.
        Raiders of the Lost Ark might have actually made me pee my pants in fear at about age 6. When the snake came out of the skull? When that dude’s face melted off?? *shudder*

        • Temple of Doom terrified me as a kid, and I still have nightmares about it. When the guy reaches into his chest to pull out his heart? Ewwwwwwww.

    • That One Guy

      Never Ending Story? Space balls (based on your kids already having seen Satr Wars)?

      • YES on both of these too! I can’t remember Labyrinth well enough to speak for scariness level.

      • We read the book The Neverending Story, which is approximately 218x better than the movie. But yes, I bet the kids would like the movie! I’ll stick it in the queue.

    • Oh, and for you people who have young kids and might have missed the family-friendly movies of the last decade: Night at the Museum is fantastic. Appropriate for 4+, and entertaining for parents, too.

    • The Sand Lot

    • maxwell smart

      Goonies. Great story… pirates… sean astin. Need I say more?

    • How about Hook? Or Wizard of Oz? I remember watching those all the time when I was home sick as a kid. I also starting watching Batman with Jack Nicholson as the Joker with my dad when I was around 4 (and LOVED it) but that may be too scary.

      • Also, Princess Diaries and Remember the Titans.

        • ooh second Remember the Titans. Adding Enchanted.

        • We just watched it. Went over very well.

        • maxwell smart

          I know I am going to get hate mail for saying this, but I don’t care. I HATE The Princess Bride. I’ve tried, multiple times and have never made it more than 10 minutes. I don’t get the love people have for it.

          • I feel like the Princess Bride is one of those movies that’s actually gotten more enjoyable over time, as we all hear the good lines repeated in conversation and internet memes. At the same time, it’s gotten harder to enjoy as a stand-alone experience, rather than as a set of amusing cultural touchstones.

    • What about The Blues Brothers? I had pretty strict parents growing up and I remember being allowed to watch that movie. I don’t thinks there’s much bad language and no scariness. Plus car crashes and awesome soundtrack. Still one of my favorite movies to this day.

    • binntp

      The Dark Crystal. One of Jim Henson’s lesser known gems.

    • anonymouse_dianne

      I loved The Incredible Journey (but not the animated version). We had Siamese cats and they were so accurate.

    • The Sandlot (baseball)
      Holy Grail

    • saf

      Have you thought of doing classic movies? Perhaps the Errol Flynn Robin Hood?

      • I loved the Disney “Robin Hood”!

      • Have not considered the old golden age of Hollywood movies… We’ve watched a bunch of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy, as well as several of the big musicals– Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Gigi… They don’t really get all the plot details (which is just fine, in the case of Gigi!) but they love the music and the costumes.

        • saf

          Oh, I loved the big musicals as a kid. Ok, still do.

          Also watched a lot of Elvis movies on Saturday afternoon tv.

        • An American in Paris is also great for all the dancing and costumes, especially the dream sequence at the end.

    • Jumanji is a good one

    • Swiss Family Robinson! I acted out the treehouse and the whole “setting booby traps to keep away pirates” thing a million times as a kid. Also Hook, which has been mentioned before.

      • Oh wait, Hook… it just occurred to me… is that the one with Robin Williams, and the Lost Boys are kind of punky, and their leader is Rufus, I think? We’ve seen that!

      • I *adored* the book Swiss Family Robinson. Kids haven’t read it, and none of us have seen the movie. Is there a particular one that’s good? Or has it only been movified once?

    • The little giants or little rascals. Two of my favs growing up!

  • Rant – I’m running my first 5K race this weekend but I don’t feel ready. I haven’t been able to run for over a week. Plus it will be cold and rainy.
    Rave – A friend of mine is in town this weekend and it will be so nice to hang out with her and get my mind off things.

    • Good luck! I find that I always surprise myself on race days. The energy of the event gets me through pretty well, even if conditions are bad and even if I under-trained. I’m no speed demon and on longer runs I sometimes have to walk, but I pick a light pole on the horizon and say, “When I get there, I’ll start running again!” You are probably more prepared than you think!

    • Yay, first 5k! I’m sure you’ll surprise yourself, like rfff, the energy always gets me going. And pacing yourself with someone random can be surprisingly fun.

  • Rave/Rant: New phone acquired. After spending the entire evening dealing with Sprint/Best Buy. Big thanks to Alex at Columbia Heights Best Buy who went above and beyond to work with Sprint so I could get the deal they were offering. It still didn’t go through, but he stuck with me and helped me find a decent offer. Also Sprint can kick rocks.

    Rant: I met a nice guy on Tuesday and he texted me for a date yesterday. Unfortunately it was the very last text I saw before my phone’s screen died. Like could see it for a bit but not access it. I didn’t save his number either. Hopefully he texts again. He probably thinks I’m dodging him.

  • That One Guy

    Random question from a gentile: is there such a thing as good brand matzah (tasty) versus bad generic version (bland)? I don’t remember matzah being so cardboard like.
    Rant: Going to see family in NJ this weekend. It’s energy draining.
    Rave: Going to NYc tomorrow at least.

    • Generally matza is bland and dry, but egg is better and I just had gluten free matza for the first time and that was even better. Brand doesn’t really matter.

    • Egg matzoh (any brand) is very tasty, but only the kind that they sell for Passover. Some years, it seems to sell out before the holiday even starts. The egg matzoh that you might see in the ethnic section at other times of year is not good. Of course, with enough whipped cream cheese (used to be called Temptee) or chopped liver, all matzoh tastes great.

  • Rant: migraine on my day off. I had such a full day planned. 🙁

  • Rave: I think I’ve finally fixed my rogue toilet — the one that still had a minor leak even after I’d replaced the flapper.
    The other day I finally installed a one-piece thing that sticks on to the existing gasket (?) between the tank and toilet and includes a new gasket (?) and flapper. The toilet seems to have been behaving since then.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Interesting. Glad it’s working. Did it require un-bolting the tank from the bowl and taking it off? If not, I’d be interested in seeing what this thing is – does it have a brand/product name? (My particular model of toilet seems to be prone to leaks between the tank and the bowl if the bolts aren’t adjusted “just right,” where “just right” is different from “fully tightened” and involves a maddening amount of trial and error to arrive at, so if I could avoid ever having to unbolt the tank from the bowl again, that would make me happy.)

      • Nope, I didn’t have to un-bolt the tank. (That was the part I was most worried about — that I would somehow inadvertently break the tank and then have an even bigger problem on my hands.)
        The product I used was the Fluidmaster Universal PerforMax Flush Valve Repair Kit.

  • Rave: Nice trip out west to see family for the holiday
    Rave 2: Backpacking trip to Havasupai falls, 31 miles over 3 days. Spectacular turquoise blue water like in the Caribbean.
    Rant: didn’t pack the Popville shirt, sorry!

    • Nice! Did you hike to the Falls with a group or solo? I’d love to backpack there but I can’t convince anyone else to go and it seems a bit out of my expertise and comfort zone to go solo.

      • I went with a group, I think they discourage people from going solo. I wouldn’t have had the expertise to go solo either, probably best done with friends who have more backpacking experience! It’s possible to have horses carry down your stuff if that helps convince friends to go, and the facilities were surprisingly nice and clean. I was with a hard core crowd that only carries their own stuff though!

        • Thanks for the info. Sounds like I need to find a meetup or a guided group for this trip. In a weird place where my friends that would go don’t have time or money and the friends who have the time and money aren’t interested.

  • Allison

    Rave/rant: Last night I learned to make a single serving microwave chocolate cake in a mug. (I didn’t add the chocolate chips because I had none, but it came out just fine.) This is a rave because I can now have chocolate cake whenever I want within minutes. This is a rant because that’s just dangerous. (Also, no flour required!) http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/2015/04/10/cocoa-banana-mug-cake/

  • Allison

    Hi Guys, I need another professional recommendation! Seeking a reputable plumber who will do work in Takoma Park. I need a 50 gallon water heater taken out and replaced, some connections on the back of the shower switched (hot and cold were connected backwards) and a leaky gasket/valve(?) fixed or replaced on a water powered backup sump pump. Thanks!

    • HaileUnlikely

      I like Aspen Hill Plumbing. A few others here, including Anon Spock and Justinbc if I remember correctly, have reported positive experiences with them. I know they are licensed, bonded, and insured for work in DC; I assume they are in MD too (they are located in MD) but you should verify that. Owner’s name is Dave Glick, and is always very responsive to questions over email (dave at aspenhillplumbing dot com; 301-933-0801).

    • Allison, have you joined the Takoma Yahoo listserv? It’s a great resource for local services. I found my wonderful dog walker thanks to their recommendations. It’s called TakomaDC on yahoo, but it’s for both MD and DC residents.

    • That One Guy

      Regarding the shower, it may be as simple as turning the cartridge upside down. If you have a single handle know to power both hot and cold water give this a shot. Replacing cartridge is likely a cheap expense and easy job to undertake to see if that does the trick.

    • That One Guy

      May I recommend that you guys familiarize yourselves with the type of water heater currently in place (direct vent, power vent, etc.). May help you figure out cost of unit and make you sound more knowledgable when you discuss with a professional.

      Also, make sure you’re not charge for having the water drained from the water heater!

      • HaileUnlikely

        Agreed. Also, if the hot water heater is electric, try to figure out which circuit in your circuit breaker it is connected to, and note how many amps it is (it should be labeled). If your new one draws more current (amps) than the breaker that the old one is connected to is rated for, you’ll need an electrician to replace the breaker (I doubt the plumber would be able or willing to do that). You might want to just get one that can be connected to the existing breaker, but if you want a different one, and the one you want happens to draw more current, you’ll have to deal with that. Anyway, if you have this information and are able to provide it to the plumber, that’ll be helpful and avoid surprises when they show up with a brand new water heater that they can’t install.

        • Allison

          Thanks, will do that guys! We haven’t taken possession of the house yet so I can’t inspect it too closely until after settlement.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Right, yeah. When is your settlement, btw?
            Also, is the hot water heating non-functional or damaged or just old? They often last a whole lot longer than they are rated for. I have a 12-year model from 1997 that is still working great.

          • Allison

            Settlement is on May 10, but we don’t move in until May 19 (have to go to an out of town wedding right after settlement.) The hot water heater is 16 years old (was installed in 2000.)

          • HaileUnlikely

            p.s. By “12 year model” I meant “one that is rated to last for 12 years” (but is now 19 years old).

    • I bought a water heater from Home Depot and (confusingly) it didn’t seem like you could just have your own plumber install it; they had a contractor named Accel doing the installation.
      Do NOT use Accel. Their estimate for the job was something like $400-$600. The actual charge came out to $800. And they installed the pressure relief valve facing the back of the closet housing the water heater, so when the DCRA inspector came by to look at the job, he failed it and I had to get Accel to come back.
      They also failed to remove an obsolete Pepco thing attached to the old water heater. (Apparently it had once been used for some kind of remote temperature reduction and corresponding savings.) The electrical components in the obsolete part shorted a month or two later, and I had to get them to come back AGAIN to remove the obsolete thing and hook everything back up.
      Maybe there’s a way to have your own plumber remove your water heater and install a new one. But if so, it certainly wasn’t apparent to me. (Or my dad, who was trying to help me with the whole process.)

      • HaileUnlikely

        I would recommend never using Home Depot’s installation contractors for anything.

        • I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice. 🙁
          HaileUnlikely, if I have to do this again, how should I do it? Do you first make arrangements with your own plumber, and then tell Home Depot “My plumber will be picking up the water heater on x day”? Or do you have them deliver it and leave it in a hallway until your own plumber gets there?

          • HaileUnlikely

            I haven’t actually bought a new hot water heater yet. I did price out getting a new one back when I first bought my house, because I knew that the one there (which is still chugging along just fine) was well past its life expectancy. When pricing them out, I found that one plumber I contacted would have required me to buy it from him, he would get it from his supplier and install it for a fixed price; another plumber said I he could do it that way or I could buy it myself (e.g., from Home Depot or wherever) and have him install it, but he would not warranty it if I bought it on my own whereas he’d provide a reasonable “parts and labor” warranty if I purchased it from him. This was before I learned of the plumber that I now recommend (Aspen Hill Plumbing), so I don’t know how they do it.

          • HaileUnlikely

            p.s. Three years ago I ordered a security door from Home Depot. I paid for the installation service because they were running a special where the installation (which included delivery) actually cost less than just delivery. It should have been a clue to me that if delivery plus installation cost less than just delivery, installation must have negative value (or at least being done on the cheap by somebody who doesn’t know and/or care how to do it). I was right. They installed it so poorly that I just took the darn thing back down and installed it from scratch myself after the “installer” left. Oh well, it was still cheaper than the standard delivery fee…

          • Was the installer On The Level? (I know that’s who they use for regular doors; not sure if it’s different for security doors.)

          • HaileUnlikely

            I honestly don’t remember, that name rings a bell though.

      • Allison

        Whoa, thanks for the warning! Yeah I was hoping to have a plumber who would do everything (and include the cost of purchasing the water heater in the contract price) as opposed to buying a water heater myself and then trying to find someone to install it.

    • We like HD Johnson. They do HVAC stuff too.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Loosely related new-homeowner tip: I’d haile recommend signing up for Consumer Checkbook, and maybe also Angie’s List. Angie’s List seems to have broader coverage and more detailed reviews, but I have had a few experiences where the service I got was wildly discordant with (worse than) what the reviews suggested one could expect from a given contractor, and then, lo and behold, said contractor was rated very poorly in Consumer Checkbook. I find both of them valuable enough (and inexpensive enough) that I maintain a subscription to both. If I were to pick only one, I’d go Consumer Checkbook, though.

      • We had pretty good luck with Angie’s List, but we usually cross-referenced it with another source. For example, Polar Bear Heating & Air had good reviews on AL and was also recommended by PoPvillagers.

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