Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

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.

176 Comment

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: I will never say it directly to him, but dear God, I hope Youngest Zelda decides not to play baseball in the fall. I do not have what it takes to be a baseball parent.
    Rant: Dad is in the hospital. I’m a mess.

    • I am currently staring down the prospect of two kids in soccer, one in lacrosse, one in gymnastics, and one in karate, and three of the five in swimming lessons too, for Fall. The fate of the Suburban Sports Mom is not one that I ever thought would befall me. I feel your pain.
      In all seriousness, I hope your dad is ok.

      • Best wishes to your Dad! Re: baseball, as a volunteer coach with Banneker LL, I hope we can add more good kids to the program. It’s got to be tough ferrying kids from event to event throughout the week – I don’t have any of my own! – but it is a lot of fun getting out there for practices and games twice per week. Give it a shot!

        • My son currently plays for Banneker – Thank you for all you do!! Honestly, those kids aren’t all easy. But they do all really love the game. It could not happen without volunteers like yourself. Thank you!

    • 🙁 HUGS about your Dad!!

    • Ally

      Hope your Dad gets better, and sorry to hear that. I can also totally relate to the no baseball wish. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to send my son out in bubble wrap if he decides to play any sports.

    • Fingers crossed for your dad — I hope he’s better soon.

    • My biggest fear about parenthood is having my life taken over by my kid’s activities/interests–it’s something my partner and I talk about all the time. Growing up, my mom often told me she wanted me to be involved and interested in whatever I wanted, but that didn’t necessarily mean she was going to attend every game/recital/show–she wanted to be sure I was developing a sense of ownership and didn’t NEED an audience for everything. I don’t know that one necessarily begets the other, but how do you strike a balance? Is there a balance to strike, or is that just part of being a parent, losing yourself/your interests for a few years? Are there parents out there with different models or approaches?

      • “My biggest fear about parenthood is having my life taken over by my kid’s activities/interests–it’s something my partner and I talk about all the time.”

        Same here!! I think if you have three or more kids it’s almost impossible to strike a balance. I don’t know how my mom did it. We plan to only have one kid and utilize the grandparents as much as they’re willing/possible, but it’s tough. I don’t think you know until you have the kid b/c some kids are a lot more work than others.

      • “My biggest fear about parenthood is having my life taken over by my kid’s activities/interests” –
        This is, in a way, what parenthood is about. What I can say though, is that although it may seem like a daunting prospect now, it’s really not so bad in reality. It’s really not even about “losing yourself.” Who you are now is not who you will be when you become a parent. You will change, you will grow, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
        As far as the nitty gritty of it, there is a balance to strike. My kids get that I won’t be at every practice. Practice is their time to learn, and my time to get stuff done. I don’t need to be there at every single one. That is what coaches are for. Honestly, having coached kids before, I preferred the parents who took the back seat and either ran errands or read during practices; the ones who were all about the practices were the ones mostly likely not allowing me to coach their kids properly. As far as games go, I will try to be at every game, but I will miss some. It’s the same with school activities; I will try to be there, but if I can’t it’s not because I don’t want to be, it’s because I can’t. You just have to balance it, be honest with the kids. Never say “we’ll see” when you know you won’t be there. My parents did this to me, and my BF’s daughter’s mom does this with her, and it leads to hopes being raised and then dashed.

      • The years during which your life takes a back seat to your kids’ lives are actually pretty brief. And you can game it to stay more independent yourself and to foster more independence in your kids. My kids take a class once a week that I’ve never seen. They go straight from school, and a neighbor brings them home. They don’t expect me to have anything to do with it.
        And their social lives are carefully aligned with my social life. Their outside-of-school friends are the kids of my friends. Instead of grownups-only dinner parties, we have parties where the kids play video games in the basement and the parents do exactly what they’d do if there were no kids present. (Albeit with occasion “mo-om! he won’t let me…” interruptions.)
        For me, anyway, that aspect of parenting (the activities) hasn’t cramped my lifestyle much.

        • I’ve also found that the outside-of-school friends tend to align with my friends. I think this really is key to finding balance too. This is one thing that I am nervous about for the kids’ new school; here, I have mom friends who are like me (ie, pretty much all working moms, some single moms, same or at least similar political/ideological leanings). I worry about finding the same sorts of moms in suburbia. I know they exist, it can just be hard for us to find each other!

      • There’s really two different things at play here. First, the scheduling/transportation aspect can be hectic (and obviously gets more difficult as the number of kids increases). But, as they get older, this is mitigated a great deal with car pools, trading, etc. (Although this requires good relationships with kids’ friends’ parents, which can bring other stress). Then there’s this: “Growing up, my mom often told me she wanted me to be involved and interested in whatever I wanted, but that didn’t necessarily mean she was going to attend every game/recital/show–she wanted to be sure I was developing a sense of ownership and didn’t NEED an audience for everything.” I feel no compulsion to go to every soccer game, especially when there are two per weekend. Recitals, I try to get to, but there are far fewer of them. (Though when they start having multiple recitals for one piece of music, that’s going to change. Recitals are BRUTAL.) I have never ever felt inclined to stay for a practice.
        .
        Once you hit the obvious benchmarks – no more diapers, old enough for drop-off, and then sleepovers (which is the holy grail, at least when you have one kid), it’s not that tough. Drawing boundaries for yourself is important, though.

        • Having good relationships with other parents is so key. It can’t be stressed enough as a sanity-saver. Being able to call a neighbor and say “Hey, I got a last-minute ticket to this show, can my kids hang out at your place tonight?” is HUGE. (Parents of babies can’t imagine doing this, but it’ll come!) And I feel so smug every time I take extra kids to school, eliminating additional vehicles making the same commute.

          • And having an extra kid around is so, so helpful when you have only one. It is rare that life isn’t easier with a friend there.

      • Quotia Zelda

        Up until now, it’s been fine, but we’ve never been a family that had just tons and tons of activities. With 3 kids, there was a limit to how much any one child could do. (I was always very glad that Eldest Zelda just wanted to ride for fun and not compete). I’ve mostly been able to balance the kids’ activities with family activities and my own interests/hobbies pretty easily.
        Baseball, though, has 2 practices and 2+ games per week, and I’m not a natural sports parent. I’m not into coaching or shouting encouragement from the sidelines. I don’t even care all that much which team wins.
        Plus, I just really hate watching baseball.

        • Baseball is, quite literally, one of the worst sports to watch. Bring a book. I love that my son loves it, but I really was sort of disappointed when he gave up soccer for it. I enjoy watching soccer; baseball? Meh.
          Curious though, since your children are older, how did you manage the limits? I’m really trying to balance the activities. This was pretty easy living here, but now that we are moving and there will simultaneously be more choices and less activities actually run through school, how do I manage it all?

          • “Baseball is, quite literally, one of the worst sports to watch.” You both should watch out for the lightening bolt that’s headed your way.

        • Quotia Zelda

          Anonamom, to be honest, my kids are not the world’s biggest joiners (especially Middle Zelda, who loves nothing more than to be cocooned at home), so setting limits wasn’t too hard. We were also clear about those limits. So, if one of them expressed an interest in X, I might say “that would be a good thing to try when Y is over.”
          With a few exceptions, we’ve tended to avoid weekday evening activities, but it helps that we’ve have a lot of afternoon activities available at school, either as a part of (or compatible with) elementary aftercare or in middle/high school with an activity bus that will bring them home.

    • Blithe

      I’m sorry that your Dad is in the hospital. I hope that he is able to get the care that he needs, and that things go well for him.

    • Quotia Zelda

      Thanks for the good wishes. He will need surgery, but we’re hoping that the underlying cause is not serious.

    • Sending thoughts & well wishes to you & Emmaleigh and the rest of your family. I hope he recovers as quickly and easily as possible.

  • Dilemma: I’m good at my job. No one bothers me and I can come and go as I please. I have a private office with a door.
    But, I’ve been here 8 years doing the same job. There’s no opportunity to advance. I could work here for the next 30 years and I would still be doing the same thing. I got a raise this year that amounts to $35 a paycheck.
    Should I leave?

    • Emmaleigh504

      Do you like your job?

    • I would say that’s a normal raise, assuming you get paid every other week. The only way you can really get a significant salary increase is to change jobs.

      • Accountering

        Meh, or be in a position to advance. If you are in a spot where there is no advancement possible, then yes, $35/paycheck is about what you can expect.

        • But most jobs don’t have an opportunity to advance, or if they do it’s only to a management position that not everyone wants. Nothing wrong with being a subject matter expert if that’s what you enjoy more.

          • Accountering

            Agree with you, especially on the “Nothing wrong with being a subject matter expert if that’s what you enjoy more.”
            .
            Just saying that you can get a significant salary increase if you advance within a company as well.

          • But if it’s at the expense of giving up your expertise to manage projects and people, it might not be worth it. That’s all I’m saying. It depends on how money-motivated you are.

          • +1 to Anon.

          • Accountering

            Agree completely with Anon as well. I think the 75K rule is solid too. Once you are past that, you are financially comfortable, and the extra 10K doesn’t make you happier, just makes you a bit wealthier. At that point, being more fulfilled at work is more important than making the extra 10K.

    • Ally

      Yeah, I guess it depends on why you’re dissatisfied. Do you need/want more money? Are you bored? Do you feel unappreciated? FWIW on the raise, us federal employees haven’t gotten much (if any) of a raise in years, so I can relate.

      • Yes, bored and unappreciated. I used to really like my job, and didn’t mind coming everyday. Now I hate waking up in the morning and knowing that I have to go to work. I don’t need more money, but it would be nice to have. My husband makes almost 3 times what I make and sometimes I feel like I need more so that it’s not all on him.
        But, I don’t have a skilled degree. Any other job I find will be the same eventually. Maybe I should just suck it up and stay with the devil I know?

        • Not sure your long-term goal, but maybe school part-time to get into a more advanced position/new field.

        • Accountering

          This sounds like you should move on… Life is too short to hate waking up every morning and dreading work. You have a degree, and you live in a city that gives you options – I would at least update your resume, start thinking about it. Even if you move to a new position, and get bored or whatever, at least you get a few years of learning, shake things up etc.

        • It sounds like you need to move on to me as well. It might be time to do a thought exercise about your skills/interests/needs and see if you can find a better fit. Sometimes good enough is just that, and it sounds like you want more.

        • You don’t have a skilled degree, but you do have skills. Assuming you have initiative and curiosity, look for a smaller organization where you can grow to fill needs that have gone unfilled.

        • I’m in your husband’s position (make almost 3x what my wife makes). We make financial plans based on my income, not hers. She just started a new job that bumped her pay up 25%, but she went from a super, super stable job to one that could be eliminated at any moment (her new employer isn’t in great financial shape). I encouraged her to make the switch because her current job has a lot more responsibilities and is a great resume booster. Even if she were to lose her job today, she would have an easier time getting a new job now than before.

          Now if my job were a lot less stable (I’m a fed) and/or we had kids, I might think differently, but given our circumstances, I’m all in favor of my wife taking a little risk in her professional life.

    • Hey OP, I’m actually in a similar situation and have set a deadline for myself to find something better by September this year!

      It’s likely that if you’re good a your job, you’ll be just as good at it somewhere else! You can do it!

    • If you want more – more money, more responsibility, more work, more whatever – then yes, go look. You will continue on a relatively level trajectory and continue to have the benefits associated with a long-term, steady and stable position. You may be bored. You may be under-valued. But often the best thing about these types of positions is that they allow you to really pursue your passions outside of work in a way that more high-pressured positions don’t. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a job that is just a job. There seems to be an overwhelming sentiment in this city that one should always be striving for that next big career step – whether it be financial or in title. But a lot of people find happiness and fulfillment in other ways. If that’s you, then you don’t need to look for another job, just stay where you are.

      • Agree. Plus most jobs become boring once you get past the initial learning curve. But that’s ok.

      • +1 yes yes yes to this.

      • +1 I work at a boring, stable, no-raise government job. BUT my work life balance is great and my salary is good enough that I can pay the rent, pay my student loans, and still have enough left over afterward to enjoy my life. (And once my student loans are paid off I will feel positively RICH!) I take language classes outside of work, I exercise, I go to shows, I volunteer, and I host trivia at a bar twice a month. when I meet someone for the first time and they ask me what I do I usually I say I have a boring government job, but let me tell you about all of the interesting things I do outside of work!

      • +100! I don’t base my identity on my job/career whatsoever, it’s just a job. It pays the bills and I’m not miserable. The rest of my life is what’s important to me, and being able to have a 40 hour/week (max, no overtime offered!) job allows me the flexibility to not have to focus on work outside of normal working hours.

    • I’m in a similar position. I have an easy, predictable, well paid, relatively stress free job. I’ve been here for 5 years. It’s nice getting home at the same time every day. I have plenty of time to volunteer and pursue hobbies outside of work. But… it’s boring. My bosses are terrible, there’s zero opportunity for advancement or to even get involved in different things, and being here is depressing. It’s my first job after grad school and I’m afraid of working here for the next 20+ years and doing nothing with my career. I’m trying to get a new job and I hope I won’t be here much longer. Having an easy job is great and all, but going to job everyday where I feel invisible It isn’t good for my mental well being

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Dad in hospital, surgery needed. I hate living so far away sometimes.
    Rave: bought a Swedish-English dictionary and my Stockholm Pass in preparation for trip in a few weeks. I’m ready to go now.

  • Ally

    Rant: Nanny share family gave notice yesterday, so we’re on the hunt for another family. Again. This is worse than speed dating.
    Rave: I haven’t yet pulled out all my hair.

    • as long as the nanny hasn’t quit, it’s not THAT bad. That’s far worse.

      • Accountering

        I agree with J… You still have your nanny, and a place for your kid, just a bit of work to find another family.

        • Fair points, but while needing to find a new nanny would suck, needing to find a new family is a hassle too. We don’t have a nanny share, but I can’t imagine it’s easy to find a family with a kid that lives close enough by to be reasonable, has a similar enough schedule, and ideally with a kid that is similarly aged, and is easy enough to work with when you’re inviting them into your home (or going to theirs) and dealing with some of the tricky issues of dealing with various levels of sick kids/sick nanny/other nanny decisions/etc. Ally is allowed to be stressed about this–I would be too!

  • Rave: Awesome long weekend on a mini road trip.
    Rant: Speaking of leaving jobs. I applied for this Dream Job and I know it will take forever to hear back since it’s a federal job. Don’t know if I should keep applying for other things in the mean time. Or just stay where I am for a while longer.

    • Keep applying for other things in the meantime.
      .
      Are you currently a federal employee? If not — it’s harder to break in from the outside than it used to be, so you should definitely hedge your bets.

    • Accountering

      You should definitely keep applying… It will take a ton of time to hear back, and it likely won’t work out (unless you have an inside path with that department or something) but yes, I would definitely keep applying.

      • This is maddening to hear. We are constantly looking for outside folks, and we’ll often get certs with just a few people. When I talk to people in my field who say they’d like a federal job, they always parrot this back – that you can’t get one unless you have an inside path. It just isn’t true, but I think people believing it is true makes them not apply.

        • Accountering

          What I was referring to is her applying for just this one job. Outside of her having an inside path, she will likely be competing with at least a couple of other people, and as such, not knowing anything about Tract44, she isn’t a shoe-in to get the position.

        • I don’t know what field you’re in, but in my office, when we’ve received the “certs” for job announcements, the “public” cert (the one for people who aren’t currently federal employees) has consisted completely of veterans, many of whom were obviously not qualified for the job.

          • Accountering

            That is what I have heard as well. 30 person cert and every single person is a veteran, so I am wondering if your experience is the exception and not the rule. I could see if you were in a science related field, or something very specific perhaps?

          • Oh yes. As a applicant who is not a current fed, more than once I have gotten notice back saying that there were so many applicants with veterans’ status that they would not even be reviewing any non-veteran applications.
            It’s very frustrating.

          • I think once they fill the veteran quota they want people that are either fresh out of undergrad (so they can be molded to the Fed way of doing things) or already a Fed. There’s too much attrition among people hired from the outside.

          • To Anon 11:31 — That hasn’t been my experience (re. wanting recent graduates or current Feds). And there’s not a “veteran quota” (as far as I’m aware) — veterans are just given a significant boost in their points score, and that boost usually crowds any non-veterans out of the public cert.

      • Accountering

        I am looking at this from a private sector perspective, I now federal is different, so my “it likely won’t work out” was the private sector thinking. If this is a shoe-in, and you are happy where you are etc, then no need to keep applying IMO, but otherwise, I would keep looking.

        • Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Anytime you’re looking for jobs you should always keep applying to other jobs. That just makes sense. I was commenting on the concept that you can’t get a federal job unless you have an inside path. That just isn’t true, at least not at my agency.

          • Accountering

            I’m with you on the applying for other jobs. Seems like we were both talking past each other 🙂 Very interesting at your agency, in my limited experience with federal positions, being a current fed (or more importantly a veteran) is pretty much requirement 1 to even be considered.

          • Maybe that’s true at your agency, but in my experience it’s very hard to get in and I am even a former fed + have a clearance. I can’t tell you how many fed jobs I applied to over the last two years and I didn’t even manage one interview.

          • I got my government job before I even had my college degree. Some agencies are desperate for people.

          • It’s been a long time since I applied, but fed lawyer jobs are tough to get, particularly if you’re not looking at entry level. One difference is when there a new agency/program starting up – I knew a half dozen people when went to Homeland Security when it was starting up. Sometimes I wish I’d done that as well – it’s a much, much easier life – but I didn’t want to deal with the pay cut.

  • Rant: Already starting to have some sort of imposter syndrome type feelings towards the new neighborhood we are moving to. I don’t feel like I fit in with your stereo-typical suburbanite moms (which is one of the reasons I was very happy to move into the city when my kids were young), and I am very nervous about the prospect of moving and making new friends. Part of me wants to be able to fit in, and another part of me knows that I don’t need to. And then an entirely other part of me is wondering what the hell I am worrying about!
    Rant: I will always find something to worry about.
    Rave: Having fun browsing for living room furniture online. I love MCM furniture, and since the house has that sort of vibe, I get to run with it. I’ve had my eye on a piece at a flea market for a while, and it will fit perfectly.

    • In what way do you think the stereo-typical suburbanite moms are different than you? Are those ways in which you’d be willing to change, or differences that would be celebrated among them rather than scorned?

      • I was wondering about this too. I vaguely remember Carolyn Hax saying that in this situation, it’s best to try to find common ground with the other moms, even if you don’t feel like you have much in common with them.

      • When I lived in the suburbs before, there weren’t many working moms. I’m not sure if it’s the case every where, or just because of where I was, but it seemed like there was this clique of moms who ran the show – the PTA moms, the Class moms, the Team moms. The type of moms who threw shade and thought they were better than everyone else. Being in a city of DINKs turned parents where the mom (or dad or moms or dads!) would never give up their career, I have found it so much easier to be involved in school activities, helping in anyway I can (vs how others want me to). I don’t get shade because the cupcakes I brought for the bake sale aren’t home made, or because I send my PreKer to school in stained shirts, I get an “omg, thank you, we’re out of the sugary crap the kids love to buy!” and a “yeah, I’m not buying more white shirts just so they can get ruined in Art Center either.” As far as if there’s differences to be celebrated? I’m really not sure, and I guess this is where the “imposter syndrome” type feelings come in; what right do I have as a mom to be celebrated when I’m not half the mom these other types are? I know it’s silly, but it’s a nagging I have.

        • Maybe they’ll appreciate your inability to make Pinterest-worthy cupcakes because it will make them look better?
          But if you’re talking about the DC suburbs– I don’t think you’ll find a lot of stay at home moms there. The cost of living in NoVA or Montgomery County is just as high as DC so you need dual incomes to survive. And those moms will be doing things even more half-assed because they spend so much time commuting and otherwise sitting in traffic.

          • HA!! Let’s hope so anyway! Although I did once make some really awesome Storm Trooper cupcakes I found on Pinterest!
            Nope, not DC suburbs. Not only am I likely to find SAHMs, but college educated SAHMs, where I am going.

  • Rant: Not in Spain (or France)
    .
    Rave: Was recent;y in Spain (and France).

  • Rant: My friend officially canceled on our trip to the beach. I understand her boyfriend takes precedence, but I feel discarded. I’m still going, but I was really looking forward to going with her.
    Rave: Spoke to sister about her upcoming trip to DC and she may be able to fly in a few days early for Memorial Day. If so we can go to the beach together!
    Rant: The zipper of the vintage skirt I’m wearing today broke. Thankfully able to keep it closed with safety pins. I hope I can replace the zipper without too much fuss. This is one of my favorite skirts.

    • Accountering

      Why did she cancel? I am not certain the boyfriend should always take precedence, if she had plans with you and cancelled, that’s pretty crappy. Unless this is for something major, but otherwise this stinks to me.

      • +1. What’s the deal with the boyfriend? If she cancelled because he’s in the hospital or something, that’s one thing. But if he invited her somewhere after she’d already committed to going to the beach with you, and she bailed, that is just wrong.

        • Accountering

          I am just going to +1 you here haha. My thoughts exactly, but phrased better than me!

        • I keep swinging between saying something to her, or just letting it go. She’s had a rough year, but so have I. I really don’t want to hear about her fantastic trip with boyfriend, and I feel like I’m going to snap if she brings it up.

          • I think you should say something to her. I guess I can kinda-sorta understand her wanting to cancel a domestic weekend trip in favor of going on a longer international trip… but if she was going to do that, she needed to tell you ASAP.
            .
            Is she flaky/thoughtless? Might she have done it on purpose, because she didn’t want to tell you she was bailing?

      • She decided to accompany her boyfriend on a work trip overseas. I get it, he spent a good part of the beginning of the year traveling for work. And this is a longer trip. But I wish I was given more warning. She didn’t tell me she decided to go on the trip with him. I happened to bring up our trip one day and she mentions she’s going to be overseas at that time. Now I have to scramble to find transportation to the beach and all the train prices are super jacked up.

        • Oh, that’s wrong. She should have told you as soon as she decided!

        • That’s messed up. Not cool.
          Did you already booking housing/incur hotel expenses?

          • Luckily no. I’m staying at my Aunt’s condo so the only fee’s would be for my travel there. She was going to drive us down. I’m still going, but now I need a new travel buddy.

  • Rave: Back from Thailand. To many specific raves to detail.
    Rant: After using both the Bangkok BTS and the Tokyo subway over the course of 5 days, I am even grumpier about the state of Metrorail. Why can’t we have nice things, too?
    Rave: Cooking class in Bangkok was one of the best I’ve ever taken (for the equivalent of $35!). I came back with an arsenal of recipes. So, questions: What’s the best wok to get (now that I have a proper gas range that will accommodate a wok, and not just a flat-bottom stir-fry pan), and what’s the best Asian market in Maryland (Wheaton, I guess?) to get my supplies?

    • My best wok was an inexpensive one I got from a shop in NY Chinatown. A chef friend of mine helped me pick it out. I bet you’d be better off buying a wok at an Asian market than buying an expensive one at Sur La Table or somewhere like that.

      • my preliminary research (10 minutes on Google) indicates that a good wok is hand-hammered carbon steel (in at least 14 gauge) with a round bottom. Handle style is based on preference (I would prefer the one wooden handle for easier control). Sound right?

        • That is pretty much what I got. I have a fancy wok, but I always use the cheaper one because it just works better.

      • +1
        Go to the kitchen supply stores on the Bowery and in Chinatown the next time you’re in NYC. You’ll get good stuff at a very fair price.

    • H MART is great for all sorts of Asian ingredients – there are stores all over Maryland and VA. There’s one close in at Wheaton but it’s always super busy. Bonus is that they also sell woks, rice cookers, etc.

      • I second the H Mart in Wheaton as well. They are the absolute best! I got my wok from an H Mart. If ever in Eden Center, Good Fortune market it far superior to the H Marts. And in a pinch, Grand Marts are decent.

        Also, Thai Market in Silver Spring (902 Thayer Ave Silver Spring, MD 20910) that has a lot of the spices, sauces and non perishables specific to Thai food. Not big on the produce, but they also have a bunch of tasty food you can get.

        Finally (and most importantly), learn how to properly clean, season, and care for your wok!

    • My wife likes New Grand Mart in Langley Park the most for SE Asian ingredients. It always has lemon grass, thai basil, and most of the time has thai chili peppers. If you can’t find them there, odds are you won’t find them anywhere else. The Thai market in s. spring is ok, but pricey. Lacks fresh foods.

      • I like Grand Mart a lot better than H Mart. Bigger selection and everything is so fresh. It can be nightmarish on the weekends though!

  • Rave: Interviewed for an awesome job!
    Rant: Waiting to hear back from said interview if I’ll move to the next round So burnt out at my current job.
    Rant/Rave: found a great apartment but won’t hear back until at least next week if I get it. I still have some time before I have to move but starting to get nervous. Really over how expensive everything is in this city.
    Rant: I hate just waiting around to hear back about things! Especially when its raining and gross and I’m overwhelmed with life decisions.
    Rave: upcoming vacations that will get me out of DC and some time off work. can’t come soon enough!

  • Rant: Extremely grumpy today. Not sure why – rainy weather? Still no movement on my tax refunds? crazy chaotic day yesterday? Living 1 block away from the shooting at the Petworth Metro? Feeling like nothing I do matters? I don’t know, but man I am in a foul mood.
    Rave: I know that my feelings do not necessarily reflect reality, and that we’re not going to hell in a handbasket, there aren’t crazy mobs of marauders running through the city, and my work does and can matter. Boss asked me to be a part of a pretty high-level consortium she runs, to provide a different perspective in healthcare. So that’s cool.

    • I’m sorry LBP, I think that the rain and bleakness has a lot to do with people having a hard time getting to a positive perspective right now. I’m about one more rainy day away from blowing off my parents this weekend and booking a flight to somewhere with some sun. Venus maybe at this point?

      • ha! Thanks, yeah, I just have to keep reminding myself that I can choose my perspective, and that I need to choose a kinder, gentler one right now! Things’ll look up, eventually!

  • rant: i dont understand the lack of training where i work. i want to advance, but the training is non existent. correspondence. i need to learn it. i ask for training and i am told “there isn’t any. you need to teach yourself…” WTF. how do i advance if……ugh. whatever

    that’s all. *siiiiigh*

    • What do you mean, correspondence?
      You can do a 10-day free trial of Lynda, an online source for training videos. I’ve done a few for a technical skill I needed, and it was useful.

      • i dont know. that’s what the work is. correspondence. my supervisor said ‘oh we want you to help out more…’ and i have taken a few classes on editing and writing. but the work is not being given to me. why? no clue. i ask constantly. i guess they feel since i dont know it like the back of my hand, i just should not be given the task. sometimes these tasks are rush, rush, rush! I am being wasted. it’s a joke.

        • Wait, so the work is being given to someone else? Can you find out what they’re doing? Maybe ask them to mentor you?

        • That’s odd. Maybe they don’t think your writing skills are up to the task? If they’ve let you take classes on writing and editing, though, they should be giving you some kind of opportunity to practice what you’ve learned.
          .
          Is your job title an admin one?

          • yeah. office admin

            my co-worker ‘sally’ and another woman (this is another rant. long story short. instead of training me, they hired some woman right out of college) are doing the majority of the work. I asked sally when i started to help me, but she says ‘i cant. i dont have time….’

            so i sit here. bored. waiting. they should find another office for me.

          • I think that to some extent, writing is the kind of thing that isn’t completely “trainable” — training can help, but you have to have a certain baseline ability to start with. Maybe your work doesn’t think you have that baseline ability?? If they don’t, though, I don’t understand why they’d be sending you to classes.
            .
            It’s a shame that you’re eager to do stuff and have nothing to do. In my experience, good office admins in the federal government are fairly rare, so if you’re bored in your current position and can’t advance, maybe try transferring somewhere else.
            .
            Have you already talked to your supervisor about wanting 1) more work and 2) more stimulating work?

          • i have talked to my supervisor and it’s a broken record. in one ear, out the other. “i understand. we’ll find something for you!”

            …….crickets……

            i am looking to see what else is out there. i am being pro-active, but it’s a pain. LOL. USAjobs website is the worsttttt. i am on other places like indeed, monster, etc…

          • If I can offer a little piece of advice fro my way too long career as an admin professional: When you’re an admin, 9 times out of 10 you won’t get any training. There aren’t many classes to send us to and they all pretty much can’t teach you anything more than you will learn on the job. If the other admins aren’t helping you or are hoarding work, it’s because they don’t have confidence in you for whatever reason. The only way to get around this is to earn their respect. I have had to do this more than once in my career. It’s never easy, it always sucks, but them’s the breaks, as they say.
            My suggestion would be to stop asking for work and find it. There is always something that can be organized, some system that isn’t automated that could be, etc. In the meantime, is this really what you want? Being an admin really isn’t for everyone.

          • hammers

            agree with Anonamom 100%. You can’t just ask for work you have to make it; asking people for work all the time without taking initiative is adding to the work of the people you are asking. What is that person straight from college doing that you are not? How is she more qualified than you? Why does having a manual for what you are supposed to do not cut it? Regarding being bored at work- this is a repost of my previous advice: Things I’ve done when bored at work: Write an SOP for the onboarding process, travel process, timekeeping process, etc. Edit and improve templates for office products. Create office products. Write a newsletter. Job Shadow. Ask to backbench at meetings. Take minutes/notes at meetings. Join the diversity board. Do desktop training and become the powerpoint/excel/salesforce whatever guru. Anticipate needs of office members, so you arent just tasking them with giving you something to do. Get a lot of face time and offer offer offer. Ask for 15 min of boss time to discuss what he needs, how to make your role more productive. Make work for yourself. Excel at the work you are given. Go above and beyond. Make alternate versions of your products with suggested improvements. Work on how to automate your processes. Take a good hard look at your job description and performance measures- is there something you can dream up that relates to those?

        • hammers

          are you a fed? lots of agencies will have their own correspondence guide complete with their style for writing letters, memos, information papers, and the like.

          • yeah i am a fed. lol

          • hammers

            search your internet portal or whatever you may have to see if there is a correspondence guide.

          • it’s not so much the guide that i need, but the steps. it varies from division to division.

            the work exists. i ask for it

            i am told “we’re okay right now…”

            even though i see that is not the case.

            i am basically being paid to sit around and do nothing. which i do not like. at all.

            if you dont need me, put me where i am needed.

      • Lynda is also free for DC residents through the DC library!

    • I think that’s true at any job, unless you work at a place where everyone is doing the same thing.
      I’m in the same boat. There are no books, no online courses, no experts within the company that can train me. Even at my last job, at a much bigger company, there was only one guy who did what I want to do and he was always on travel. Seems I have to throw myself blindly into the work and learn as I go.

  • Mootje1

    Rave #1: Flying today because…
    Rave #2: Getting married on Saturday!
    Rant: None, even with rain!

  • Rant: When I learned i was having a spring baby, I looked forward to enjoying the best of DC weather with my little one. This didn’t turn out as anticipated. So sick of the rain.
    Rave: At least I’ve learned how to be semi-productive with housework while taking care of the monster.
    Rant: IT band still bothering me.
    Rave: Heading to California to see my best friend this weekend.

  • hammers

    Rant: foul mood. weather. job. nightmares. furstrated all up and down. been in therapy for about 6 mos and it keeps getting harder not easier.
    Rave: possibly considering buying my first place / moving in with SO
    Rant: Do not even know how to start; and said foul mood and complications from depression are kind of a road block.

    • Andie302

      Sorry you’re having such a tough time! Are you looking for other work? This weather is certainly not helping anyone.

      Regarding the buying – get pre-qualified with a lender before you even start looking. That way when you inevitably find someplace you’re interested in, you’ll be in a position to move forward. Let me know if you need recommendations!

      • hammers

        Thanks Andie, I’ll be ok. Just nice to have a place to rant. I’d love to find another job, but I’m stuck with a combo of imposter syndrome (meaning I don’t think I’d find something else) and a good paycheck (that I probably would struggle to match) here so I’m trying to shift my thinking to “working for the weekends” RE the second part: Pre qualified or pre approved? And does it matter from whom? (would it be very foolish to just apply with the people from Zillow who emailed me [WEI]) . BTW all of your advice on here is awesome and thanks for sharing your knowledge

        • Andie302

          They are essentially the same thing. You’ll provide some basic information to a lender and they should give you an upper limit of what you can spend, plus they’ll be at the ready to provide a pre-qualification letter when you find something you want to make an offer on. It should be someone that works locally. If they emailed you from Zillow, I’m willing to bet they are pretty established in DC (hence their subscription to Zillow). You can reach out to sort of shop around. If you contact multiple lenders within 30 days it’ll impact your credit score the same as if you only had a single inquiry (so I’m told). Hope this helps!

    • your rants are exactly what I am feeling right now- frustrated all up and down is a phrase I will definitely be borrowing. I need a ray of sunlight to pop through and turn things around. I hope things look up for you and good luck with buying a place!

      • hammers

        thanks. I hope you feel better too, and get your [lasting] ray of sunshine. And thanks for the good luck, I’ll be moving soonish whether it’s to another rental or buying, so I’ll take it.

        • I’m also moving in the next month or so, so I feel you. Also saw your response to Andie above and am in the exact same position at work- want to leave but have imposter syndrome in terms of trying to get out and get paid a pretty decent amount, more than I would probably make in another job I would want). Things are going to come around, hopefully ranting a bit on here helps!

          • hammers

            we are definitely in the same boat! good luck to you! I’ll try to be kind to myself, as if I were advising you instead of me.

    • Hang in there, Hammers!
      .
      You aren’t obligated to actually get your loan from whatever lender you get prequalified with.
      .
      There are occasional “first-time homebuyer” seminars advertised on PoPville from time to time, usually by a given real estate agency. Obviously they’re hoping you’ll use one of their agents… but you don’t have to, and it might not hurt to go to one of these and get briefed on what the whole process involves.

    • Accountering

      Holy crap! That’s great news on the new future place and the moving in! Congrats!
      .
      As a suggestion, while you have some time, now would be an excellent time to pay $20 and get your credit report (if you haven’t done that in a while.) to make sure there isn’t anything crazy going on. Something silly – unpaid parking ticket, or even a mistake, could be on there dragging your score down. If you can take care of issues on your credit score, you will easily save yourself 1/8% or more. 1/8% on a 200K mortgage is $250/month, or over $5k over the life of a mortgage.
      .
      Andie has a really good mortgage guy – I have purchased three times, and refinanced 4 times, and would only recommend Andie’s guy, and the guy in CA I used for two of my refinances. The rest were all crappy. I think an internet guy (dude in CA) is a little easier to use for a refinance, but someone local for a purchase may make more sense.

      • hammers

        thanks Accountering! I check my credit report regularly actually, and its all clear. My number seems to be as high as it will go without a mortgage. I’m hoping it’s good enough (765) to get me a good rate, despite not having much as a down payment.

        • Accountering

          Woohoo! Yup, anything over 740 will qualify you for the best rates. Your rate won’t change based on your down payment for the most part, but your payment and PMI will (higher principal=higher payment) and (lower down payment = higher PMI.) Keep this in mind as you begin your search, sometimes if you can get 5% down payment instead of 3.5, that will save you $ in PMI each month as it puts you in a lower risk bucket, and 10% is even better.

        • That One Guy

          You may want to look into the DCHFA’s as they have a “TBA” program which basically means they offer down payment assistance in exchange for you paying a higher rate on the loan. It comes with a few string attached but may be an option you can look into.

      • Credit karma gives a credit report with scores and suggestions for free…don’t even need to put in a cc.

      • I think you’re also allotted one free credit report a year — I can’t remember whether it’s from each of the Big Three credit bureaus, or one free report overall.

        • hammers

          One each from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can space them out so you can have one almost every 3 mos. However, in all the years I’ve tried, I’ve never got Transunion to work for me.

          • If you use Mint they’ll give you a new score for free every 3 months and explain the scoring in terms that are easy to understand.

          • Also Transunion is the score you should be paying attention to. It’s almost always a lot lower than the other two so a risk-adverse lender will give more weight to that one.
            But it’s all kind of a crapshoot anyway because the scores the credit bureaus report to YOU are different (sometimes markedly so) than the scores they report to the LENDERS! And the credit bureaus will claim that’s not the case so you feel like you’re going crazy. It’s such a bizarre system.

          • Yes, one report a year free from each of the three agencies, and you can stagger them (although to be honest, I haven’t bothered). Also, some credit cards or checking accounts give free FICO scores. I know that when I log into my Citibank account, there is a link to get a free FICO score. I have also seen that for other cards.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Correct. You can get one credit report from each of the three bureaus once per year. However, the freebies do not include your actual score.

    • Allison

      Hey hammers, hope things look up for you soon! Info dump of things that helped us when trying to figure out how to buy our first place: (1) read a book called Nolo’s Guide to Buying Your First Home — there’s a copy at the DC library if you want to peruse it, but we ended up purchasing it because it was good reference material throughout the process. It’s kind of a high-level introduction to what you need to know. (2) visit a certified financial planner to figure out what you can (and more importantly cannot) afford. The D.C. government organizes a “Metro Washington Financial Planning Day” every fall where you can meet with a CPA for free with no strings attached, and we took advantage of that. Do not rely on a mortgage loan officer to tell you what you can and cannot afford. (3) once you know your budget, you can start thinking about what neighborhoods you’re interested in (4) once you know what neighborhood(s) you might be interested in, visit a real estate agent, who can talk you through the entire process of purchasing a home in more detail than the book. (Ours was fantastic — her name is Danielle DuBois at Long and Foster in Woodley Park.) (5) Time to find a loan! Our real estate agent hooked us up with a great mortgage company who made us a good deal, but you can certainly research and find your own. They will talk to you about what getting “preapproved” for a loan means, and how that can help you when you’re putting offers in on homes.

      • +1 to “Do not rely on a mortgage loan officer to tell you what you can and cannot afford.” They will usually give you a number that’s MUCH higher than what you would actually feel comfortable paying.
        .
        I’m not sure you actually _need_ to meet with a certified financial planner, but certainly it would be helpful.
        .
        If you go for a condo, the condo fee is important to factor in. I made a spreadsheet for a friend showing how a higher purchase price with a lower condo fee could result in lower monthly payments than a lower purchase price and a higher condo fee. And whereas you get to deduct your mortgage interest in your taxes, you don’t get any tax benefit out of your condo fee.

        • Andie302

          This is a fair statement. They’ll give you the upper limit, and then when you look at quotes you have to figure out what you can actually afford.

        • Agreed. We spent ~300k less than what we were approved for. No way in hell I wanted to have a mortgage in the amount we were approved for. I had a number in my head for what I wanted to pay each month and that’s what we tried to rely on.

          • Same here. One thing, that might not apply to the OP but is still worth mentioning, is that you will go through financing hell if you’re getting a so-called jumbo loan, even if it’s well below what you were preapproved for,

          • I told my lender what to write on the letter and to not even tell me what I was “approved for.”

      • hammers

        wow super helpful definitely bookmarking this page with all the advice from Andie, Accountering, Allison et al.

  • Rant: My darling little angels are wearing me out. 23 days left of school, thank goodness!
    Revel: After doing all my couch-to-5k runs on the treadmill so far, I decided to do this one outside. I felt self-conscious in the beginning because I’m overweight and slow (managed a 12 minute mile) but I was able to run for 20 minutes without stopping. Woohoo!

    • Way to go on the couch-to-5k, I have so much admiration for you! Keep up the good work!

    • Accountering

      Try not to feel self conscious for getting outside and taking care of yourself. Tons of people run outside, fast, slow, big, small, and runners don’t judge each other 🙂 Congrats on your hard work and progress!

    • lol, my five year-old came home yesterday tell me exactly how many days were left in school. Apparently his teachers have started a countdown at the end of ever day. Apparently this is a shared sentiment amongst your profession!

      • We are all worn the f out. The kids are all crazy at this point in the year, so I get cranky with them. The ones who have been challenging all year, I’m ready to send them off to third grade where I can love them from afar.

    • Congrats on running outside! When I started running, I definitely was running 12-13 minute miles but like you I was pleased at the fact that I was running for any length of time–it’s an awesome feat. Funnily enough, I’m much quicker running outside than on the treadmill for some reason. For this, and many other reasons, I find running outdoors when it’s nice out much more enjoyable!

      • That’s what I hear from a lot of people. When I started c25k, I did the treadmill because I was afraid of going too fast and collapsing on the sidewalk or giving up right away. But I think I may be over that now!

  • That One Guy

    Today feels like one of those days where a record player, coffee shop/bar and good book all need to come into play.
    I’d settle for a comedy movie too.

  • Rainy grumpy day? You need KITTENS! Check out my current 5 adorable fosters! ( If you don’t want to click a link – on CL – Pets – the headline to search is Kitten-palooza.)

    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/pet/5590548892.html

  • Rave – I had wonderful, well needed, restorative weekend vacation out to rural Virginia. The weather ended up beautiful, and sunny!
    .
    Rant – Back to the city, to the rain, and to my cubicle.

  • That One Guy

    Thanks to videos of otter eating lettuce and dog eating watermelon my day is looking up.

  • DCRA PROTECTION NOW
    We demand Protection for D.C. Residents from the D.C. Regulatory Agency (DCRA) and Rogue D.C. Residential Developers

    You and your home are under siege by developers who are building out (Popbacks) and up (Popups) beside your property without abiding by the DCRA Construction Codes and Rules. DCRA appears to be in bed with the developers which means DCRA is not willing to go against rogue developers to protect D.C. residents. So if you or someone in your D.C. neighborhood has a developer building next door to your house you must:

    1. Arm yourself with the ill planned residential building facts in D.C.
    2. Fight or Flight from your community (Why should you have to leave your home because DCRA will not protect it and you from rogue developers who do not even live in D.C.?)
    3. Stop voting for elected people who are putting developers interest before yours
    4. Discover what the truth is about all this ill planned residential development in D.C.
    5. Share your stories.

    COME TO these Urgent Upcoming Meetings: (Please bring some neighbors with you too) Held at: Northeast Library 330 – 7th St., NE. D.C. 20002 Mezzanine Conference Room 2nd floor

    • Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    • Saturday, July 9, 2016 from 1: 00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Contact: Tolu2 (202) 331-4418 [email protected]
    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/dcra-protection-now
    PLEASE SIGN our petition for, “DCRA Protection Now.”
    We think this is important to demand that DCRA start protecting D.C. residents and their homes instead of rogue developers. Will you sign it too? Here’s the link:
    https://www.change.org/p/tolu2-dcra-protection-now
    PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THIS INFORMATION

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