Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Beau Finley

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.

146 Comment

  • Rant: Threw a slight fit yesterday when I craved McDonald’s coffee and went out in the cold to get it only to find out that the U St. McDonald’s was “Closed for Maintenance” again. Ugh.
    Rant: Couldn’t figure out why it bothered me so much, then developed a migraine yesterday evening. No wonder I was cranky… it was coming on.
    Rant: Telling my mom I don’t feel like dating because the more people I meet the higher the chance is that I’ll meet someone who is a real jerk (instead of nice people who just didn’t work out timing-wise), and that I don’t think I’ll meet a perfect soulmate.
    Rave: My mom admitting that I’m not necessarily wrong.

    • I feel you with the dating thing. I had a long convo with people I met at a party about what a crapshoot dating can be and one woman who is in a relationship summarized it pretty well, “Even when you think you meet someone great, sometimes it feels like you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.” OMG are we always this cynical?

      • Hah! Apparently we are always this cynical. Different twist on the same problem!
        I’ve dated someone who was trying to find a perfect match, and it seemed like he made himself semi-miserable in the process. Whereas, I just don’t think I’ll ever find someone perfect in the first place, so I often wonder if it would just be better to find and stick with someone who maybe isn’t a “soulmate” but who is devoted to me and is generally a kindhearted person.
        I guess my question is – how does one know when to stop looking? There’s no way that one hundred percent of people stumble across Mr. Right. What about the rest of us?

        • I don’t think there’s one Mr. Right. I think there are a lot of people who can make you very happy, challenge you to always be the best version of yourself, and with whom you can have an amazing life. If you find one of those people, stop looking! It’s a lot of pressure, both on yourself and whoever you’re with, to want the person you’re with to be the only Mr(s) Right that there could be in the whole entire world. (FWIW, I’m happily married.)

        • That One Guy

          This reminds me of a Haruki Murakami short story with a similar title something along the lines of the 100% perfect girl.

        • What about not looking? I mean just date, meet people, have fun. Yes, there will be bad dates, but that’s dating. After I broke up with my ex, I went out at every opportunity, met new people, went on A LOT of dates. I had some great dates, a few terrible ones too, but I look back on that time of my life with good memories.

      • I am not sure if there is a perfect match for everyone. What I do know though, is that for me, it was when I stopped seeking perfection that I found it. I met my BF on Tinder during a “just date around and see what happens” phase. This first few months of our relationship really was about just having fun. Before I knew it we were exclusive without having that conversation, we just wanted to only spend time together. The rest, of course is history. I don’t think I’ll ever let go of the ‘what-ifs’ but I spend less time worrying about the other shoe dropping. I think he’s ‘The One’ but I’ve also been around the block enough to recognize that today’s ‘The One’ can become tomorrow’s ex-husband. So instead we just take it day by day, or I guess lease by lease in our case now, lol.

    • There is no such thing as a perfect soulmate. Even those couples which seem to be that way, you never know what’s happening when you’re not around. Find the 80% of what you must have, and maybe you’ll get lucky on the 20% that you’d like to have but can live without.

      • the 80/20 rule is a great one to keep in mind in relationships, too. You might see someone else who offers you that 20%, but odds are they aren’t going to also have that 80%.

    • anonymouse_dianne

      The Dunkin Donuts on 14th has good coffee. Also there’s always Starbux at 13th.

      • This is true. I briefly considered going to Starbucks (Dunkin’ gives me heartburn for some reason) but decided to just go home and make some coffee myself. It was very much a McDonald’s-specific craving.

    • Pablo Raw

      Right there on 14th St. there’s The Wydown Coffee Bar, much better coffee than McDonald’s or Dunkin…

      • I knowwww. I knowww… I actually love the Wydown and get their pastries often. I can’t explain it — I guess I just wanted a crappy cup of normally brewed coffee! Hahaha…. I guess I could have gone to 7-11 too….

      • Pablo Raw

        hahaha I’m lifting a cross as you mention all those places; if you really are an addict (welcome to the club) you should be making your own coffee at home. It also helps saving some $$$ ! 🙂

        • What I need is a new french press. Or just a cheap coffee pot. I make my coffee at home 90% of the time but lately I’m getting way too many grounds and I just wasn’t feeling it….

          • HaileUnlikely

            I have been very happy with my AeroPress. I Haile recommend it.

          • Pablo Raw

            I use the tiny french press from Target, it’s less than $20 and the first thing I see every morning. I personally don’t mind the grounds.

          • SouthwestDC

            I used to use a tiny French Press at work but then we got a Keurig and laziness kicked in. Does anyone else find French Presses kind of a pain to clean?

          • HaileUnlikely

            Honestly, I never found my French Press a pain to clean, because I didn’t exactly “clean” it more than a couple times a year. The only things that I ever put in it were coffee grounds and really hot water. After I used it, I’d just dump the grounds down the garbage disposal and give the cylinder and the filter/plunger thing a quick rinse and that was it. I suppose if I didn’t have a garbage disposal I’d be less happy about disposing of the grounds/water mix at the bottom.
            Anyway, Haile recommend AeroPress (this is not the same thing as a French Press)

          • SouthwestDC

            Yeah I was responding more to FridayGirl or Pablo. And by “cleaning” I meant getting the grounds out. At home I fill the press with water, swirl it around, and dump it into my garden. After two more rounds of this the grounds are out. But at work there’s no good place to dump out water+grounds. The grounds are actually terrible for garbage disposals (at my last job there was a sign explicitly telling people to not dump grounds down the drain because they kept breaking the disposal). I ended up awkwardly scooping them out of the French Press with a spoon or my fingers.

          • wait, what? Grounds are bad for garbage disposals? Why is that?

          • HaileUnlikely

            Coffee grounds terrible for garbage disposals? Never heard that one before. I suppose if you put a commercial coffee pot worth of grounds down the drain all at once without any water and then just let it sit there for a while, that might not work out so well, but a 2-cup french press worth of grounds with water is totally fine. The manufacturer of my garbage disposal actually lists coffee grounds as an example of an item *to* put down the garbage disposal.
            Anyway, the AeroPress gets almost all of the water through and into your beverage – you are left with basically a solid puck-like coffee formation, which is easy enough to eject into a trash can, compost bin, or wherever you want.

  • maxwell smart

    RAVE: Only working 3.5 days this week. Really looking forward to a long week away from work. Hoping it’s warm and sunny this weekend. 40° this morning? Um…what?
    RANT: Work. Coworkers are starting to make my blood boil. I can’t even be fake nice to them anymore.

  • Rave: Just 4 more days until I get to pick up my best friend from the airport after her month in Tanzania. We’ll only have a few hours together before she has to board her flight home but I’ll take whatever time I get with her.
    Rave: Had a great conversation with the woman seated next to me at the Spirit game on Saturday. I love meeting other people who are as into soccer as I am.
    Rant: I hadn’t realized that smoking was permitted at bars in VA. We went to a bar after my friend’s graduation ceremony on Friday and ended up leaving after about an hour because of the smoke. And there’s nothing like stripping out of your clothes as soon as you walk in the house so you can dump them directly into the washing machine.

    • Only some bars in VA allow smoking. The law they passed stipulates that they have to put in a specific ventilation system to keep the smoke quarantined to a specific area. Very few bars actually did this, so most don’t allow it. Were you out in Fairfax for Mason’s graduation by any chance?

      • I had no idea about the ventilation system thing. I was really clueless that it was permitted at all. I was at the NOVA CC graduation.

        • I thought smoking indoors usually only happened at cigar bars. Assuming this wasn’t a cigar bar, I’m also a little surprised.

      • I can’t remember which bar this is, but I know of at least one place in Clarendon that allows smoking. They have a indoor patio-esqe area that is separated from the rest of the bar.

        • Yes, there are a few. There are a couple in Fairfax as well (Hard Times, Patriots). I have never gone and read the actual text of the law, but there are very specific ways it is legally allowed now, including making sure it isn’t vented back into the non-smoking portion of the establishment. Most places just moved to requiring people to smoke outside rather than change their floor plan and/or HVAC, so the bars you can actually smoke indoors at are few and far between.

  • rant: having to try and find a new way to work with all these upcoming metro shutdowns.
    rave: coffee
    rave: have the urge to watch the cartoon movie 101 dalmatians. lol guess i have a weird longing for a childhood favorite.

  • Rave: It was good seeing the family this weekend! I’ve probably gone home more this year than I have in the past few years combined. Going back up for my Moms Bday in a few weeks.

    Rant: My Mother is still pretty traumatized from her mothers death. I didn’t realize how hard it was hitting her until this weekend. There seems to be some drama brewing between her and her sister in regards to my Grandmother’s will. This worries me so much, I don’t want their relationship torn apart over property. She needs to hire a mediator but she’s too overwhelmed to do so. She didn’t even want to look at the will before my grandma passed, but my grandma made her do it any way. My mom is where I get my head in the sand tendencies from.

  • Rave: Signing a lease today on an amazing house in an amazing town, with amazing schools, in a super diverse neighborhood, with the best partner a girl could ask for! The kids are all super excited too, which is great.
    Rant: Moving. Ugh. Moving.
    Rant: So, so sore. I am really not in my twenties any more and muscles would like me to remember that.
    Rave: Once we move, I can make great use of the YMCA membership I just got… I got it for discounts on summer camp, swimming lessons for the kids, etc, but the Y where we will be living is super nice, and I hope to take advantage of the gym/pool.

    • Hooray for your raves! But boo, you’ll be far away 🙁 We’ll need to catch up before you flee the city!

      • Thanks! We should definitely get together soon (I know I keep saying this, but let’s make it happen!)

    • Congrats on the new house. In case the two rants are related – having your house packed for you is much cheaper than I thought it was going to be and may be the best money I’ve ever spent in my entire life.

      • Thank you! The rants are not related (yet! only day in on the packing), but I did suggest that. His house, not mine. Mine will be much easier to pack up.

  • Query: Has anyone converted from Electric to Gas heating on their home recently? It’s a forced air system, but I’ve got no idea what the conversion may cost. I’d appreciate any referrals you’ve got. This is a NE rowhome.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I don’t know, but a question: does your house have a gas line supplying it? If not, that’ll make it cost a lot more than it otherwise would. My block has no gas service at all.

      • If your house does already have a gas line… is there currently a gas supply going to your furnace room?
        I have gas going to my furnace but not to my kitchen. When I was looking into the idea of running the gas all the way to my kitchen, the estimate was something like $2000.

  • Rave: Nice weekend celebrating my youngest cousin’s graduation from college
    Rave: I managed to not get sunburned because even in my rush to leave the house I remembered to put on sunblock and a hat!
    Rant: Throat is still bothering me but slowly getting better
    Rave: Got my hair trimmed and shaped, and the stylist gave me lots of helpful hints/cheap hacks to help it keep looking good!
    Rant: I am SO not in the mood to be at work today, especially since sh!t hit the fan as soon as I got in. I hate trying to appease entitled people.
    Rave: Soup will be waiting for me in the crockpot when I get home – ya know, since it’s supposed to be so chilly most of the week!

    • I’m so glad I remembered to wear a hat to my sister in laws graduation on Sat! The sun was out in full force. No sunscreen though.

  • Rant: was walking with a friend Saturday night and ran into an armed robbery in progress – 3 guys with guns in the process of robbing 4 girls. My friend ran up to them and luckily the three guys decided to run off. I froze and didn’t know what to do. Have been analyzing the situation and trying to figure out what I could have done differently. Super scary. Luckily no one got shot or hurt. Cops were there quickly but i dont think managed to catch them.

  • Blithe

    RAVE: For weeks, I’ve had a nagging cough, related to getting a cold on top of seasonal allergies. I’ve tried about a dozen things — from old school home remedies to pharmacist suggestions, and finally, yesterday, I’ve found something that’s helping. Yay!
    Rave/Rant: I have not one, but two perfect versatile pairs of spring/summer shoes. Soooooo, where’s Spring?!!!!
    Rave: Hanging out with old friends over the weekend. I really appreciate them letting me play with their children, they seem to enjoy having a few moments of hands-free time, and the kids seem delighted with the attention. Win-Win-Win.
    Rave: Someone accused me of being a “Commie-Radical-Peacenik”. No, That’s “Socialist-Radical-Peacenik”, with the caveat that while I don’t start fights, I have no problem at all with ending them. As my supports from the greatest generation dwindle, I’m treasuring my interactions with the baby boomers.

    • Can you tell me what your cough remedy is? My cough is finally subsiding, but I’ve been having trouble sleeping for the past week because it was keeping me up.

      • Blithe

        The one that’s working wonders is a homeopathic cough syrup by boiron called chestal honey (which has a different formula from the one that’s just called “chestal” without the “honey”. They have it at Whole Foods and CVS, and you can read lots of reviews of it on Amazon. Without being too graphic, you should take the first few doses at home – since your coughing might be quite effective in expelling lots of gunk.

  • That One Guy

    Rant: Stomach not happy today.
    Rant: At a doctor’s appointment for my mom and hearing people talking in the waiting room about how a stomach ache could be a ruptured spleen and that it could turn septic quickly. Um… not comforting to hear.
    Rave: sister found a great little Korean bakery in Annandale next to the H Mart I didn’t know existed.

  • Rant: made the mistake at looking at the really really magnified side of my hand held mirror this morning. My pores are clogged! repeat: my pores are clogged!
    Rave: I look pretty good from the perspective of the other side.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: cat that wakes up with the sun, wants to play, but then wants to snooze just in time for my alarm to go off. Mornings are not fun.
    Rave: work I was dreading got cancelled and now I’m taking my time getting new work.

    • On your rant — I hate it when I’m trying to sleep and my cat paws at me and bothers me until I get up… and then once I’m up and fully awake, she promptly goes to sleep.
      Related rant: I wish I could sleep as readily as my cat does.

      • Emmaleigh504

        Donna wasn’t even trying to wake me up this morning, she just thought playing near me was a good idea. I’m not sure which is worse, her trying to wake me up or waking me up on accident.
        I too wish I could sleep as easily as a cat.

  • Rant. Been sick past couple of days. Can’t sleep at night, have nightmares when I do. Feeling nauseated sometimes, just plain yucky. But fever isn’t quite at 100, so advice is to just hang in there. Fortunately I have sick leave. Who doesn’t hate being sick!

  • Rant: Laptop that I bought last January died, and apparently it is just out of Applecare… sigh. Pricey things. They’re sending it off to get fixed, fingers crossed that it’s nothing more than the flat rate. (Also, I was completely sure I’d bought it this past January. Apparently the year really flew by. I’m terrible at remembering timing…)
    Rave: Really fun weekend apart from that. Finally made it to the EU Embassy Open House, and visited the UK and Finnish embassies. So much walking, but it was a lovely day until it started to pour!

    • Pablo Raw

      I thought you said it was still under warranty?

      • It actually wasn’t – i was mistaken. =/

        • Wow… I think my laptop is on my last leg but it’s 8 years old. I’d be upset if I had to get a new one after a little over a year!

          • My previous computer lasted about 5 years before I could tell it was starting to die. Definitely disappointed that it’s been so soon! They’re going to try to fix it so hopefully that’ll work and keep it kicking for a while… Just very frustrating (and expensive). =/

    • That One Guy

      Was it the display? Apple has had known issues with graphics cards. If it is google it and see if that give you any ammo to try and cut the repair costs.

  • Rant: Re the photo: I’m so pissed off at NC for making an issue out of something that wasn’t an issue before. As a woman who at first glance usually reads as a man, I’ve always gotten second looks as I went into bathrooms; I’ve been chased into, and out of, bathrooms by people telling me I’m in the wrong place, and it’s so embarrassing that I will often cause myself physical discomfort and postpone using the bathroom to avoid going into a multi-stall women’s restroom. That said, I didn’t always experience harassment and most people don’t give me a second glance. Now, thanks to this stupid bill and all the ignorant discourse surrounding it, I am TWICE as visible everywhere I go, and especially when I need to use a restroom. One woman literally tripped over herself to step back out of the stall she had just entered to get a better look at me.
    Rave: Planning a honeymoon in SE Asia. I don’t even know where to start but I’ve got about 3 weeks and am so excited!

  • Rant: I need to get my hair done. I look like a fuzzy pin cushion today.
    Rave: Making progress on my fiction. Half way through a first draft of my 2nd short story by writing an hour a day.
    Rave: Will see therapist today about nagging thoughts.
    Rave: Interest coming back after depressive episode.
    Rave: One of my returning interests post depressive episode is being somewhat of a foodie. Tried my first cannoli on Friday and fell in love. Looking for a good Chicago style deep dish pizza next.
    Rave: Hopefully will exercise today after being off for a week with cramps.

    • Blithe

      I don’t share your interest — but people who do tell me that Vaccaro’s and Piedigrotta — both in Baltimore, are definitely worth the trip! Just in case you want to expand your opportunities to fall in love.

    • I applaud anyone getting more into the food they eat. However, before you go too far to far down the road on your next mission please review Jon Stewart’s missive from November 3013 on Chicago deep-dish “pizza.” He’s spot on.

  • Question: Anyone went through the process of getting their house inspected to convert it into a rental? Do you know if the city will make me remove the stove from the basement(currently used as an apartment-not legal)?

    • Inspection was very simple, but no idea on the stove. Do you have a second kitchen downstairs? Why do you think they’d make you move it?

      • Yes I have a separate kitchen downstairs(I currently rent the basement as a separate apartment- though not a legal unit by zoning- but meet all safety requirements etc). I just don’t know if they will consider the entire house one unit or if they will insist that the basement is illegal because of the kitchen. Ultimately I want to rent them out individually.

        • Hmm, so you’re going to rent the top out legally and the basement out illegally? So what are you going to tell the inspector? Although, I guess they could pass you under the assumption that the basement is part of the whole house. Technically we could rent our basement out or have someone live down there, but we don’t. The inspector didn’t ask if anyone was going to live down there, just checked it out.

          • Yes- that’s how it would end up. I don’t want to convert it to a separate unit. For several reasons- Financing is harder to purchase a 2-unit(think requires a certain amount $$$ down) so would shrink buyers pool. Second- I like the option of it being accessible from the inside for other uses.( in-laws, kids etc.)

          • It’s harder to get financing on a 2-unit? I’ve never heard that before. Wouldn’t be the other way around? The ability to get rental income means you’re more likely to be able to pay the mortgage.

          • Also, I don’t think it’s illegal to rent it out as long as you’re calling the tenant a roommate rather than the tenant of a totally separate apartment.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I suspect (do not know, but suspect) that it would be illegal to rent the basement as if it were a standalone unit whose tenant was not granted access to the common areas of the rest of the house.

          • I don’t think you’ll be able to do what you’re proposing (start renting out the upper floors of the house legally and continue renting out the basement illegally) — I think the inspector will want to see the whole house.
            If you want to keep the basement tenant in place, I think you’ll have to chance renting the upstairs illegally too (or not renting it out at all).
            I’m not sure what happens if you want to rent out an entire house that just happens to have an “in-law suite” in the basement.

          • I have no issue showing them the basement apartment as the interior stairs still exists. Couldn’t I say it’s just extra living space or that I have a roommate? How would they know that I use it as a separate rental? that’s why I’m asking about the stove- as I don’t see any other reason for them to question the use of the space.

          • Are the ceilings the minimum height?

          • Yes- Everything meets code. .Just not converted as a separate unit.

    • Pablo Raw

      Can you explain more? Are you going to rent the house as a whole, or basement separate from the house? I think having a “mother in law suite” in the basement is allowed.

      • I am would like to continue renting the basement separately and not displace my current tenant. It has separate front and back entrances, as well as interior staircase but otherwise totally self contained, kitchen, laundry etc..

  • Rant: Was outdoors for a few hours yesterday and the wind kicked my ass. Feeling awful this morning and haven’t been able to shake off this small headache I’ve had.
    Rave: Finally got the condo on the market on Friday, even had a potential buyer look at it on Sunday. The good news is the two other units that were on the market went into a contingent-no kick out status over the weekend so now my unit is the only one in the building that’s on the market now. Hopefully that breeds bidders!

    • Yeah, I sealed myself indoors yesterday, and took the bus instead of walking this morning, because of the wind. That would definitely give me a migraine, especially with the bright sun.

      • Was lucky to be walking from Ballston to Logan Circle yesterday, so wind was in my back (a nice boost). But man, it was something fierce across the Key Bridge!

    • Update: Got an offer this afternoon, WOW

  • I Dont Get It

    Rave: Toured our new neighborhood office space in the beautiful, old building we are moving to. They did a great job balancing the new with old in this open concept that “supports evolving work patterns and work/life balance while optimizing the use of the facility” except for

    Rant: The first floor lobby that has these stark and inappropriate LED rings of light hanging from the ceiling in the beautiful marble and granite historic lobby. They replaced some classic Federal style chandeliers and although I get that they want to make the building as ”green” as possible, surely there could have been a design compromise for the lobby!

    Ignoring: The sudden low water pressure in my house. I do not see any announcements on the DC Water site so I am hoping that by ignoring this it will resolve itself soon.

    • Too bad on the lights. I thought there are now LED lights that are reasonably good imitations of incandescent lights… was the problem the bulbs, the style of fixture, or both?
      I was similarly annoyed several years ago when I was working in an old federal office building that had changed its lobby lights so that the light quality was really garish and off-putting.

      • I Dont Get It

        t is the fact that there is NO fixture–just these 3 foot wide thin circular tubes hanging from the ceiling–the final product we were told. The large model train that had been in the lobby for years was also missing and I fear it may have been deaccessioned.

  • Pablo Raw

    Rave: finally feeling in control of life after some time dealing with work and corrupt hard drives and backing up information
    Rave: All information is safe
    Rave: All the things I learned from having this problem
    Rave: It was rainy and cold outside anyway
    Rave: I was even able to go on not one, but 2 photowalks this weekend!
    Not Rant, Not Rave: I did a photo session with a family around a week ago, they are from Florida and couldn’t believe DC’s freezing weather 😛

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: I have about 5 million things to do today, none of which I actually want to do.
    Rant: Playing the “is it allergies or a cold” game.

    • Blithe

      Re: your second Rant: Or is it “both”? On the bright side, it sounds like your spl**n is fine!

  • Rave: Wrapping up Law Review application so now I can…
    Rave: purge my closet! I’ve been looking forward to a fresh start and have jokingly been talking about what “brings me joy” all week. Let’s see if that question actually gets me to thin things down.
    Rave: Moving to NY at the end of the week for the summer. Can’t wait.

  • Rant: Walked into my classroom to find that one of the giant school printers was in my room. No heads up or anything, this is it’s new location. I guess it’s convenient, but it means other teachers will be printing/coming in to the class and disrupting my class. The problems with an overfilled school… no copy/break room to store it.
    Rave: 5 weeks left of school! Summer break is actually starting to feel close/attainable!
    Rant: Had one student throw an object at me and another tell me to “shut up” already this morning. Parent conferences to follow…

  • Rant: this “spring” has driven me not only to wear pants at least once a week, but to actually buy more pants.
    Rave-ish: the sun came out for at least a bit this weekend.
    Rant: I kind of want to go camping but I have no one to go camping with.

    • Ha! Me too. I refuse to go back to tights.
      On the plus side, it’s making me realize that work pants (and complimentary shoes) have changed a lot in the past few years and I might actually like them now.

      • I’m into the Laura Petrie (aka Mary Tyler Moore on the Dick Van Dyke Show) cigarette pants or the “soft pants” that came about last year.
        I look back and wonder how I ever wore the Express “editor” pants. Ugh.

        • Yes exactly! Slim high waist ankle pants with loafers. It’s a great look.
          And, oh god, I used to wear Express editor pants too!

  • Rant: No one commented on the unisex bathroom idea/law and whether or not they were for or against it.
    Rave: Flowers ever more, growing and blooming outside the small grey stone church in Georgetown on Wisc. Ave
    Rant: the constant Me, me, me attitudes that seems to permeate everyone no matter what income status
    Rave: the warmer weather coming soon

  • Rave: Amazing, lovely weekend with friends and the fella.
    Rave: It’s amazing how much more confident I feel in this relationship. Nothing’s really changed, but it’s become a part of my life (one I really enjoyed) instead of something taking over my brain all the time.
    Rant: Waiting to hear back from second interview…
    Revel: Sunshine!

    • That One Guy

      I think &pizza is onto something. When you really have to go you go regardless of what the door says. I know I’ve seen women use the men’s room when it was empty and I’ve gone into the women’s bathroom when the men’s was broken. As long as they are single stalls and you’re the only person in there who cares what the sign on the door says.

      • The only disadvantage with this is that the floor near the toilet tends to be stickier in unisex bathrooms. Ewww.

  • It’s probably too late to post this, but who knows… I could try again tomorrow, I guess!
    Question for real-estate savvy folks here (and especially hoping that Accountering and Andie might see this):
    Since SFs real estate market is so insane, we’re seriously considering refinancing our condo already on the theory that we might be able to capture at least 50k of equity just by sitting on our place for six months. My questions are:
    – Is there any reason to advise against this? Our mortgage broker is willing to waive a lot of fees, so I don’t see that as a barrier.
    – Are there any quick and easy changes we might be able to make to add additional value? We’re thinking about updating/upgrading all of the kitchen appliances and fully furnishing our private 300sq.ft roofdeck so it reads as an extra living space. But honestly, I’m clueless about whether either makes sense or if there is better “low hanging fruit.”

    • Accountering

      Hey there 🙂 Great to hear the condo is working out! I am a bit less risk-averse than Andie when it comes to these things, and if the numbers make sense, I would say go for it. For the numbers to make sense though, you need to be able to easily cover the new (higher) payment, closing costs have to be minimal(ideally offset by a slightly lower interest rate?!) and you have to have a solid plan for the 50K that covers the interest you will be paying on it. Assuming all of the above is true, then I don’t see any reason not to go ahead with it.
      As far as adding value, have it professionally cleaned and spotless, put clutter away/in your car or whatever. I have also had luck making a point in person (as well as a printed list to give to the appraiser) of all the improvements you have made since you purchased the place, and really talk up to the appraiser when he is there how you got it under valued because the former seller was looking for a quick sell whatever, and how the neighborhood has improved etc since you bought the place. If you were going upgrade appliances anyways, it makes sense to do it pre-appraisal, as the value of those shiny new things will be baked into the appraisal value, and I think the same with the outdoor space.

    • Why? What are you going to do with the $50k? You’re not really capturing equity, you’re taking out an additional $50,000 loan. That may or may not be a good idea, but a lot of it depends on the purpose of the loan.

      • We want to use any additional equity towards the mortgage itself, ideally to lower monthly payments and our interest rates. Our mortgage lender offers better rates for a higher percent of equity down. Am I totally misunderstanding how it works? (In other words, we don’t plan to cash out.)

        • I see, that makes sense. I don’t view that as capturing equity (though I may not have the right understanding of the term). This seems like a simple math question – figure out what your monthly savings would be, and then figure out how many months at that lower payment it will take you to recoup your closing costs on the refinance. I know there’s a rule of thumb out there for what is an acceptable length of time, but I’m not sure what it is, and it’s highly dependent on your personal circumstances (in particular, how long you intend to stay in the condo). Also, it depends on whether you can pay the closing costs up front, rather than financing them (I’d be leery about doing this if you have to finance the costs).
          We refinanced our mortgage a couple of months after converting from a construction loan to a permanent loan – we were able to drop the rate 3/8 of a point, and will recoup the closing costs in about 16 months. That’s probably at the outside of what you’d want to do, but it sounds like you’d be getting more substantial savings than that, so it’s likely a good deal.
          And sorry if I seemed nosy.

          • Not at all nosy — this is exactly why I asked the question! I think I have a pretty good handle on what a refi might entail, and then I ask questions like this and find out all kinds of other questions we need to ask our lender before moving forward.
            The trickiest part of the process is that we don’t know where the appraisal will come in, so it’s hard to know where we will end up in terms of timelines. But either way, I think we are in fairly decent shape. Our lender will do a refi with zero closing costs to keep us as a customer. I just realllllly want the appraisal to come in high!

      • I tend to agree with this, but I didn’t want to be nosy and ask about the 50k. FWIW, we refinanced our house after only 9 months and it appraised for about $120k more than we paid for it (we did put some money into it in that time though). We didn’t take anything out though, we did it to get rid of PMI and get a better interest rate. It lowered our monthly payment by ~$600 so it was very worth it. I’ve always been told pulling equity out of a home is usually not a good idea. However, I am pretty risk-averse.

      • Andie302

        I think they aren’t actually going to cash it out, just take advantage of better mortgage rates/terms with the increase in the equity.

        • Andie’s right! We have no plans to cash out and just want better terms 🙂 I’m *ridiculously* risk averse, especially when it comes to owing banks a lot of money! And I hate the idea of paying more per month than we need to.

          • Ohhhh, that makes sense. In that case, agree with dcd second’s statement above. I’d calculate how long it will take to recoup the costs, but assuming you plan to stay in this condo for at least a few years it’s probably worth it. I totally understand not wanting to pay more than you need to (getting rid of the PMI was the best feeling!!).

  • SouthwestDC

    Rant: I ate a Wild Child salad from Sweetgreen and now my jaw hurts like hell from all the chewing. Anyone has suggestions for remedies?

    • That One Guy

      Get two McDonald’s sundaes (I personally prefer the hot fudge) and press them against either side of your jaw. Once your jaw is sufficiently numb you can scoop out and eat the sundaes. just remember to sprinkle the peanuts sparingly.

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