Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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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.

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186 Comment

  • Revel: went to “Jewish summer camp for adults” this weekend. It was nice to get away and pretend work doesn’t exist.
    Rant: I haven’t gone running in 4 days. I hope I’ll be ready for the race.
    Rant: more farking testing

  • Rave: Awesomely jam packed weekend. I volunteered with WABA for Yards Park Concert series on Friday Decent crowd, and Black Masala rocked as usual. Did not like the new fencing and guards to prevent outside booze coming in. It seemed unwelcoming. The guards didn’t seem super interested in checking bags, I rolled in with my work tote and wasn’t stopped. Worked a cocktail party on Saturday, then had the closing party for the show I did yesterday.
    Rant: I am beat. I didn’t get much time to rest this weekend. Or get any errands done.

  • Rant: Girls on the Run 5K yesterday – in the rain.
    Rave: Daughter did great.
    Rant: 2 hours later, end of the year soccer tournament – in the rain. Harder rain.
    Rant: 8 of 10 girls on the team had run the 5K, so let’s just say they weren’t at their best. The results were what you’d expect.
    Rant: Tired, cold, wet and grumpy third grade girls.

  • Rant: not enough caffeine in the world for me today after mtpbaby was up three times, I got up to expel a noisy cat once, and mtpkiddo was up and jumping around her room (aka my ceiling) early this morning.
    Rant: I think one of the cats woke mtpbaby up this morning too. He was sleepy this morning! It might really be time to bite the bullet & put him in his crib upstairs. Ugh.
    Rave: Got a few much-needed things accomplished this weekend, including going through another set of baby clothes, finding our stash of next-size-up preschooler clothes, and trimming the hair of all the ladies in the house. Here’s hoping my daughter’s hair is less likely to get into everything now!
    Rave: got out of the house closer to on time this morning.

  • Rave: Rocked my 2K rowing test with a personal record and a time significantly faster than my “rivals” on the team. So far, I have the third fastest time on the team, despite my advanced age, and I think I’m entitles to feel like the badass jock I never was in high school (though, for an It’s Academic! contestant, I was pretty badass 😉 )
    Rave: Son and his girlfriend hinting that maybe, just maybe, there could be a grandchild in my future. Someday.
    Rant: Son and girlfriend hitting me up with help for down payment on a house, which I don’t mind in itself, except that the numbers are so much huger than when I got a hand from my parents way back when (way back when a house in Logan cost $220k and lenders were a little more relaxed about down payments).

    • Accountering

      If you can do it, it’s pretty much the most helpful thing ever. Make sure to structure it as a loan, so there is no gift tax, and then if you want you can “forgive” 13K/year. Further, if you put the money in his account, as long as it sits in there for 60 days (two bank statements is all they request) he wont have to do anything with the loan people to justify the cash.

      • Thanks! I was wondering how best to do this. Cynical old dad also wants a clawback provision in case he and the girlfriend break up and they sell the house in two years or, worse, they decide to sell the house, take the money and run. A loan sounds like the way to go. Does this suggest a real estate attorney to set up?

      • Loans have to be disclosed on the mortgage loan application, which can impact the amount of the loan for which they are eligible. Not a reason not to do it that way, especially in light of your other concerns, but it should be a consideration. But I agree, it was much easier when my parents loaned me $12,000 (styled as a gift) to buy my first co-op in 2001.

      • Don’t you sign a document saying that you have no undisclosed debts? This sounds like fraud.

      • or once they’ve chosen a place/loan and need to make the downpayment, Irving Streete can send the funds directly himself to the lender for the payment. Even easier. One form to fill. No attorney needed. A loan officer should be familiar with the process.

        • to add: doing so avoids the loan issues that others have brought up, and the irs gift limit is a non-issue.

          • Why is the IRS gift limit a non-issue? That makes no sense. Money paid on behalf of an adult son is still a gift from the son’s perspective (and subject to the $14K annual tax-free limit).
            From IRS:
            “What is considered a gift?
            Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration (measured in money or money’s worth) is not received in return.”

          • Ok, i was somewhat incorrect. If you’ve given more than $5.43 million in gifts in your lifetime (that exceeded the $14k/person in any given year), it could be an issue. Here is a good explanation of why it is a non-issue for the vast majority of Americans:


          • To OP Anon: the $14k annual tax limit doesn’t apply until you exceed the lifetime max ($5 ish million). Also, if it’s mom and pop together, it’s $28k to EACH person – so in theory could give $56k with no tax consequences, other than a bit of extra paperwork.

        • But does this leave me any claim on the cash in the case of a worst-case scenario (see above?).

          • No, I don’t think so, sorry. No offense, but if that is a legitimate fear, I don’t think I’d be willing to provide the $. Also, as someone once told me: only lend to family if you are ok with never getting the money back.

          • Accountering

            I agree with the above. If this is not a situation you are 100% comfortable with, you should pass on giving them the cash.

          • Also agreed. Only loan money under the assumption that you’ll never get it back. I wish a friend had followed that rule before she meted out upwards of $60,000 to friends “who REALLY needed it,” none of whom would pay her back when she asked. “Can’t afford to right now. Maybe at some point.”

          • I can’t imagine anything more humiliating than not paying back a loan from a friend.

          • First, I like the young lady a great deal and I’m about as certain about them/this as I’m ever going to be about anything. But I’m a realist, too. Sometimes things happen. And, second, in that case, it’s not as though the money was lent for something amorphous, like “getting an education” or “getting my life together” or even starting a business. If the whole relationship goes to hell and they sell the house, they will have the cash (we all pray that the market will stay stable) in their hands (and promissory note from me) at a specific point in time.
            I’m willing — happy — to gamble a little on my son and this woman. I think that they’re worth it. But why not hedge?

          • Accountering

            Put something in writing that you are only giving it to your son? That way if something does fall apart, that is considered a gift, and goes straight to him, and isn’t split up?

          • I’m sure you could have an instrument drafted that requires funds from the sale of a home to repay you. It wouldn’t have first priority (the mortgage would), and I have no idea what, if any, impact it would have on obtaining a mortgage. You’re veering into an area where you need some specialized advice, and someone who knows what he or she is doing, to draft the instrument.
            From your initial post, I thought you’d be gifting your contribution, but now I see it’s a loan? Or a gift, with the caveat that it only can be used for certain purposes, and must be repaid if they don’t use it for those purposes? If it’s the later, I’d suggest you make is a straight loan, and hold in reserve the ability to forgive it if they meet your criteria.

          • Do they have any funds for a downpayment? If so, could this be a second mortgage on the house? When I bought my first house, my parents decided to be my mortgagors (I didn’t have a first mortgage, they were my only mortgage – they offered because it was a better interest rate than the going rate they could have gotten elsewhere). The closing company drafted up a mortgage document, and we all had to sign it and file it with the city as a mortgage. When I sold the house, I was required to pay them back. The risk was that my house would lose value and I wouldn’t be able to pay them back, but that was a risk they were willing to take.

          • Why not co-own with them? It’s easy enough down the line to do a quit-claim deed when you’re ready.

  • hammers

    rant: having some rather unpleasant side effects from new medication. I did not sleep a wink last night, and I ahem- have some stomach troubles.
    rave: since I did not sleep, I got to work hours earlier than normal, so I can depart earlier.

  • Rave: Nice weekend up with the family, enjoyed playing with my little nephew, and the “big reveal” cake-cutting showed I’ll have another nephew come November!
    Not-really-a-rant: Someday, I’m going to need a niece. If only so that there is someone in the family to inherit my jewelry. But the boy genes seem to be quite overpoweringly strong in my family.
    Rave: My brother is so, so happy. And seeing him happy, and hopefully on a better, healthier, stronger, happier path makes me really, really happy. Hoping his gf’s minor disappointment (she really wanted a girl!) is passing and that the rest of her pregnancy goes safely and smoothly. Now the great name battle begins!
    Rant: I’m kind of worried about my parents. Just like I forget I’m getting older (until I have one of those days where you can see all the crows feet with glaring clarity!), I forget they’re getting older too, and this weekend they just seemed so exhausted and cranky. I know that they’ve both been dealing with some age-related injuries/issues, and they’re having a hard time even getting excited about their upcoming trip to Alaska and Denali. They seemed as close to “defeated”, for lack of a better word, as I’ve seen them in a long time, and I don’t know how I can help make things better.

    • hammers

      I really wanted a niece or nephew for a long time, but then I realized my brothers probably shouldn’t have children. Good news about your brother, I hope he keeps it up.

    • I’ve known one person who was incredibly disappointed to be having another boy on her third pregnancy… it was bad. She cried during the ultrasound, and it was almost embarrassing how much she complained about it. I was genuinely worried for the boy before he was born. But after he was born, she was fine. A lot of parents experience some sort of gender disappointment, usually it goes away soon after finding out I’m sure you’ll get your niece eventually, and if not, you can still leave your jewelry to your nephews!
      Also, I share you rant about your parents. My mom helped us with the packing this weekend, and it was a reminder that she is not as young as she used to be. Also, BF’s mom, whom I love dearly, was sounding a bit COPD-ish this weekend. I don’t want to think about them not being around, and the reminders suck.

      • My husband’s aunt gave me some lovely jewelry, because I have girls to pass it down to. And because we have a great relationship. So there’s time! Probably at least one of your nephews will marry a nice woman who is perfect for your pretties.

    • Or maybe one of your nephews will turn out to be transgender and want your jewelry.

  • Rant: Haven’t been sleeping well the past week. 4 nights out of the past 6 I’ve ended up falling asleep on the sofa with the TV on because I kept tossing and turning and thinking about anxiety producing things in bed. This has never happened to me before.
    Rave: Need to start an exercise routine. Hopefully that will help the sleep issues. Also, an improvement in the weather so I’m not so cooped up will help, too.

    • Are we the same person? I couldn’t sleep last night even started taking melatonin again to no avail! And I started taking classes again at my gym, which helps keep my on schedule. Classes are the way to go!

      • Haha, I tried taking allergy medicine and it didn’t work at all! It usually knocks me out. Yeah, I need to look into classes. That’s going to be my job later this week when I finish my homework….

  • Rant: Georgia avenue road work is out of control… Combined with Bus lanes and all the swerving paint lanes, I think it’s officially the worst road to drive on in DC. 🙁

    Rant: I haven’t seen DC paving any roads in years… The ruts and potholes are terrible, and when they fix potholes, they become speed bumps.

    Rave: Latest hobby, sitting on my front porch and enjoying the outdoors.

    • Blithe

      I like your hobby! I also like the idea that I’m not the only one that views sitting on a porch as “enjoying the outdoors”. 😉

      • As long as the rain isn’t blowing sideways and passers by don’t ask me for money I’m in heaven 🙂

    • “Rave: Latest hobby, sitting on my front porch and enjoying the outdoors.”

      Do you live in a climate where the Monsoons have passed and there is pleasant weather for front porch sitting? 🙂

    • Man, I would love a front porch. Or a covered back porch. I have an open patio, which means I shouldn’t complain, but I love sitting outside when it’s raining.

      • Blithe

        The house that I lived in when I was a kid had a sleeping porch upstairs. That was wonderful for summer thunderstorms!

  • Has anyone used Ikea for countertops? I like their manufactured quartz. But I have a large, oddly-shaped counter.
    What was your experience? How’s it holding up?

    • HaileUnlikely

      Yes but mine are butcher block, so can’t comment on quartz.
      If I had a do-over (and I will in a few years…), I’d do butcher block again without a second thought but I’d go another mile up Baltimore Avenue and get a better quality product for about the same price at Lumber Liquidators.

      • Interesting. I don’t know much about butcher block… how sturdy, how sanitary, etc? What do you love about it?

        • HaileUnlikely

          I like that it is a relatively soft and forgiving surface – not going to accidentally break a glass if you accidentally knock it over on the counter or tap it against the side the counter while washing it (both of which I have actually done with granite before), and I like that if anything gets nicked or chipped you can just sand down and refinish the spot yourself in a few minutes without having to hire a pro to to resurface the whole thing, and I generally like the warm appearance of the wood as opposed to the colder look of things that are made out of various types of rock.
          Some people say that butcher block is “impossible to sterilize” and thus “unsanitary.” I’ll concede the “impossible to sterilize” part, but if the surface is sanded down and sealed, it’s no more “unsanitary” than a wooden table, and lots of people have wooden tables. If actually using the countertop as a cutting surface, then, yes, I’d be concerned about the possibility of bacteria growth, but I don’t use it as a cutting surface (one obviously would not use a quartz or granite countertop as a cutting surface either, albeit for a different reason), so to me, the fact that you can’t literally sterilize it is true but not particularly important.
          The only major negative I’ve experienced so far is that I neglected to seal the underside of the countertop where it goes over my dishwasher, and that was a mistake, as it has been drying out rapidly and it has cracked at the joints (which are typically glued) in a couple of places. Oh well, that short section cost about $130 and I installed it myself. Lesson learned, will do better next time.
          I’d get them at Lumber Liquidators rather than Ikea next time because LL has ones made out of maple and cherry, both of which are harder and generally nicer than the oak and birch available at Ikea. (There are lots of high-end places to get extremely nice butcher block countertops whose price approaches that of granite; I think it is common knowledge here that Haile is cost-conscious and generally kind of cheap. The Ikea ones are ok, and for <$300 total, I have no regrets, but the LL ones are only slightly more expensive and are considerably nicer.

          • Thank you so much! Very useful. I’ll look into butcher block, as I quite like the idea of the warmer, more forgiving wood…
            Question for the design-minded: I have original trim in my house, stained almost walnut. The kitchen cabinets are home depot “cherry”, and the appliances are stainless. Would maple one wood too many? Would it look hodgepodge?

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’ll refrain from comment on that one. Design is not my thing.
            If you do end up doing butcher block, I would haile recommend finishing top, bottom, and all exposed edges (especially around the sink) with 3-4 coats of Waterlox (just google Waterlox). I started off with the regular wipe-down with a mineral oil/beeswax product, which works great but needs to redone every 2-3 months. The Waterlox penetrates into the wood and then hardens, creating a really good durable seal. It might need to be refreshed in a few years, but it lessens the maintenance needed by about a multiple of infiniti compared with the mineral oil/beeswax routine typically recommended by the manufacturer. I would *not* use a polyurethane sealer. If it begins to flake or chip you’ll have to redo the whole thing.

          • As a counterpoint, we decided against butcher block for two reasons (we went with quartz). First, Haile is right, “but if the surface is sanded down and sealed, it’s no more “unsanitary” than a wooden table, and lots of people have wooden tables.” However, I don’t use my wooden table for food prep. If we were meticulously neat cooks, and never, ever would spill raw meat on the countertop, we’d be fine with butcher block. We (at least, I) aren’t – quite the opposite, in fact. And it’s not just me being messy – ever get a package of meat that has leaked a bit? I don’t want to set that down on the butcher block. Also, I believe B is less heat resistant that quartz.
            (If we’d had a small, conveniently placed countertop, we’d have done that in BB, with the main counter in quartz. That isn’t how the house is designed – it was all or nothing, so we opted for quartz.)

          • HaileUnlikely

            I agree with the cons that dcd notes about butcher block – those are definitely things to consider.
            The overriding factors for me that tipped the scales in favor of the butcher block were that I liked the look and feel better and that since I was installing it myself I was only going to be out a total of about $300 if I decided I didn’t like it, which has not been an issue in my case.

          • I think the supposed unsanitary nature of sealed wood is highly exaggerated. I’ve been using wood cutting boards all my life. People say butcher block counters don’t hold up under cutting – who in their right mind would cut directly on their counters? Just because standalone butcher blocks are used by butchers doesn’t mean your counter is designed to be a cutting board. Use a board! Your counters will be clean, just like other counters, if you wash them and use safe handing for raw meat. I mean, seriously, raw meat juice doesn’t just disappear from your countertop magically just because it is stone – it WILL migrate to your other food if you don’t clean it off, no different from butcher block!

            As to the too many woods questions – I am sorry you have Home Depot cherry cupboards, if by that you mean the dark red-purplish stuff. If you mean the more medium reddish-orangy color, the color you get when “cherry” stain is used on some other hardwoods, I also feel sorry for you – but not as bad – as unstained light hard maple will look good with this color, and won’t be too much wood, even with your walnut trim. The dark red-purplish cherry cupboards won’t look good no matter what kind of counters you use, so light maple will look as good as anything else. IF you have the stuff that is not particularly red in color at all, but just dark brown, in the same color line as the walnut woodwork, you are also good.

          • @anon – as to your first point, no one is suggesting that spillage doesn’t need to be wiped up from a stone or quartz countertop. Of course it does. The question is what effect the wiping up has on a sealed butcher block.
            As to your second points – wow.

          • @dcd, I know, right??

    • I have Silestone brand and I love it. Zero maintenance, no scratching or staining, it’s made for a slob like me. I once left a cast iron pan on the counter, in a bit of water, and the rust ring came right out. I’ve dragged my full 5 gallon glass carboy across it to tilt it and empty it, with no scratching.

    • Ikea uses Scandinavian measurements for the sink fixtures, so be prepared to buy all of your parts from Ikea, or you might be in trouble. Ikea cabinets and pre-fab kitchen and bathroom counter tops are all made to European Specifications.

      • IKEA’s countertops come uncut, so it’s not a problem to put a non-IKEA sink into an IKEA countertop.
        I’ve heard that IKEA’s faucets are terrible and should be avoided.
        IKEA recently changedd its line of cabinetry products (from AKURUM to SEKTION), so I don’t know what the current cabinet-measurement situation is, but when I put in a basement kitchen a few years ago, the cabinets came in what I believe were standard American sizes.

        • Accountering

          You can combine IKEA cabinets (high quality, I would recommend) with another companies countertops. To me, the prices for IKEA stone seemed to be too expensive on a $/SF basis. We got nicer stone and paid less than I think IKEA would have cost.

        • I’ve been very happy with Ikea cabinets (10 years in rental apt.) definitely not their faucets.

    • Andie302

      Lowes and Home Depot likely have the quartz options you’re interested in as well. You may be able to avoid the measurement challenge mentioned above. I got a piece of quartz in Rockville at Abka Marble and Granite that was apparently excess for much less than retail. It may be worth checking out a few stone places that also carry quartz.

      • I definitely want something manufactured or otherwise sustainable, not quarried. I won’t be a part of that environmental nightmare.

    • Accountering

      I used Richstone Granite in Chantilly. I have used them twice, and they were awesome both times. I would highly recommend. You got to any number of granite/quartz yards (there are tons out in that area by Dulles) and pick your material, then Richstone picks it up from the yard, comes to your place and measures, and then comes and installs. Relatively painless, and can easily be done with one trip to the exurbs.

    • If you’re not doing counters for a whole kitchen – just a smaller or odd space – Comunity Forklift usually has nice granite.

  • Rave: Leaving for vacay on Thursday after work.
    Rant: Feeling a bit uneasy about one of the security guards at work. Last week, he asked me where I was going when I had to leave to work offsite and if I was going to be at work the next day. He’s always really friendly to me when I come into work. But lately he’s a bit more friendly (i.e. complimenting me on my new hair cut). I may be overreacting but as a former victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, I’m a bit on edge.
    Rant: Sleepy as hell in the morning. I hate feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck every time I wake up. I’d like for at least one day where I feel refreshed from my sleep.
    Rave: Reading Sense and Sensibility before bed last night. Had to have a dictionary next to me but it’s actually good.

    • Just reading your description of that security guard I feel a bit uneasy for you. He’s a security guard… not a concierge or other hospitality-related person, so that is a little TOO friendly in my opinion. Have you talked to anyone else at work about this to determine if he’s like this to everyone/all women/etc? While it might still be odd if he does it to everyone I’d be more concerned if it was just you…..

      • I’ve seen him say “Good morning” to other folks but never the same level of . He’s now saying “Hey baby how you doing” for a few days now. He’s an older guy so maybe that has something to do with it but my Spidey sense is going off. I’ll ask other folks at the office about him.

        • I meant to say “never the same level of interaction that he’s had with me.” There are over 600 folks who work in my building so he may have done it and I just haven’t seen it. But also, he knows my name. But maybe that’s from the ID scanner that we have to use to access the building. But to remember my name and face out of 600 folks makes me a bit suspicious.

          • If your spidey-sense is being activated, don’t ignore it–it’s likely being activated for a reason. I did want to mention, though, that one of our security guards tries to learn many people’s names (if not everyone?) and there are at least 600 people who work in my building as well. I think it may be part of the idea of community policing/relationship building. But while he is generally friendly, I get the impression that he’s like that with everyone and hasn’t asked the same sorts of specific questions.

        • hammers

          I thought this was an overreaction until this post, in which he is calling you baby. Ask him to stop; say, “hey, my name is E- don’t call me baby.” From there you can decide if you want to be friendly with him or not. When someone asks me questions, such as where I’m going, but I do not want to foster a close relationship with them, I just say “more work” or something so boring that it stops any conversation in it’s tracks.

          • +1000. That’s WAY too over the line. Tell him to stop. And definitely approach this with someone in your office who may be in a position to work with security’s management on your behalf.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I agree with this. The rest of this sounded awkward but plausibly-innocent, but calling somebody baby at work?! Holy cow.

    • Ugh. Do you work in the same building I do? There is one guard who is very friendly and always tries to stop me on my way in and out to talk. Asked if I have a bf, where I’m going, etc. It all seems rather harmless – but it can get annoying. I now go out of my way to a different entrance to avoid him.

    • Accountering

      As a guy, I certainly don’t have to deal with this, but would simply ignoring him work? No more pleasantries, no good morning, have a good night etc?

      • As a woman, who certainly has been harassed, I’d try this, if you haven’t already – it can and often does work – before starting the complaint route.

    • Read Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear.” This guy’s behavior is worrying — is there a facilities-management person you can express your concerns to?

      • Accountering

        I am all about feeling comfortable/safe in your work surroundings, and life in general, but complaining to his manager seems a bit much, based on what I have read so far?

        • Being friendly is one thing but I think asking someone’s whereabouts is very much pushing it (especially if she’s the only one this happens to). I like to give people the benefit of the doubt because some people really are just oblivious that others feel uncomfortable with their questions, but it’s better safe than sorry.

          • From a male perspective, it could be ice breakers to get some consistent dialogue back and forth between them before he actually attempts to ask her out so that it is not a cold call so to speak. I don’t get the feeling that he is trying to pop on her somewhere.

            He seems like he is interested in her and is trying to break the ice.

  • Blithe

    Rant: People who refer to themselves as “pioneers” when they deign to live and work in long-established urban areas. If that’s how they view themselves, how do they view those of us who lived and worked in these neighborhoods before they got there?
    Rave: Paul Pieper! Herman Burney! Allyn Johnson! My plan to listen to live music at least once a month is going well!
    Rave: I’m going shopping for sun screen today — ’cause rumor has it that the sun will come out tomorrow! 🙂
    Rave: Clearing clutter – on multiple levels.

    • Ugh on your first rant. Do they want a gold star?

    • HaileUnlikely

      They’re pioneers in the same sense as Christopher Columbus was a pioneer. He “discovered” a place where other people had been living for thousands of years and everybody gave him all the credit for it because they didn’t give a f* about those who were there before.

      • I assume you’ve seen the fantastic “Columbusing” video?

      • Blithe

        That was my initial reaction — but I was REALLY hoping that I was somehow missing another possible, and more palatable, interpretation.

        • There’s definitely an unpleasant Columbus-esque interpretation… but couldn’t it also be read in a more face-value way, like “first ____ to do _____”? Even if it’s “first gentrifiers to move into [neighborhood],” or “among the first gentrifier kids to attend [neighborhood school],” which often tends to be the context on PoPville?

          • HaileUnlikely

            I suspect that was precisely the intent, but can also see why somebody not from the gentrifier class would find that to be an ugly sentiment, especially given the extent of the segregation by both race and class in DCPS schools. I honestly do not know whether there has been a single white kid or a single kid of any race from a household with total income >$100K to graduate from my neighborhood DCPS high school (Coolidge) in the past decade. Both my day to day observations and what I have seen in publicly-available data suggests that the answer might actually be No.

          • Blithe

            textdoc, in some ways, the “face-value” interpretation makes it more troubling to me — especially if the “blank” isn’t specified. I’m guessing that someone who views themselves as being a “gentrifier” or as a “pioneer” rather than as a “neighbor” is already seeing themselves as being both different and superior — and perhaps is also assuming that those differences and that perceived sense of superiority are so generally understood and accepted that it doesn’t have to be stated.

    • Columbus isn’t typically called a pioneer – he’s an explorer usually.
      Pioneers are those who settled the west (from the time the west was just west of the Atlantic, to the far west.) They saw themselves as taking the land from the Indians and making a new civilization (or so it is taught us – many may have just been trying to go live someplace they could afford to live, like many so-called ‘gentrifiers’ today.)
      ‘Pioneer’ has never been a positive term when used to describe modern urban living – except by those whose attitude is to disrespect their neighbors. Some so-called ‘gentrifiers’ are this sort, some are just trying to find a place they can afford. You can’t really tell the difference by observing them. Language can give you a clue – if people refer to themselves as ‘pioneers,’ that’s a clue to their mindset.

      • Blithe

        anon — thanks for giving me a few things to think about, along with the reassurance that I’m probably not “just over thinking” the “pioneer” comments.

  • Andie302

    Rave: Got a bunch of crap done this weekend. I call it crap because it’s the kind of thing that you don’t like to do (clean out the bathroom drawers, for example) but you feel very accomplished afterwards.
    Rant: Inevitably this leads to some mess, and we didn’t quite get 100% done with finishing.
    Additional raves: Dog snuggles this morning, breakfast at home, and a beautiful bike ride to work!

  • Rave: my bathroom is so clean right now. I never want to shower again.
    Rant: worst 3rd birthday ever. Little niece was a mess the whole time, older niece, who is frankly too old for this sh–, couldn’t handle someone else being the center of attention and getting more presents. Yeah, the older niece got presents on her sister’s birthday was still upset.
    Rave: beat the crap out of yet another date at mini golf. My coworker was horrified I didn’t let him win. I have invested too much time in my mini golf game since I was a small child to let anyone win.
    Rave: he was very gracious about it and proved himself a fine loser.

    • sorry about your rant, but I love your raves! And I’m the same way, there’s no way I’m “letting” anyone win just because we’re on a date. If I lose, then so be it, but I won’t have gone down without a fight to the end!

    • I can’t stand jealous kids. I’ve been shutting that shit down from the time they were babies. Absolutely no good comes from it, and I don’t tolerate it.

      • Good on you, restraint is a valuable skill.
        These aren’t my kids, obviously, so I don’t really get that much say in it. She’s usually not this bad. They both aren’t. The oldest one called my parents to apologize for her meltdown about an hour later, so I guess that’s something.

        • Goodness, I’d call that a solid win! Little kids aren’t normally very gracious about recognizing and repenting their own bad behavior.

        • It could have just been one of those “perfect storms” of other things not going well, leading to misbehavior, particularly if they’re not usually like this. Still sucks, though.

          • Or too much sugar, which can induce bad birthday party behavior in kids.

          • Bad behavior was nearing its peak before sugar. But then the birthday girl’s cake and ice cream kept touching each other on the plate (god forbid) and that just elicited shrieking. I had to get her ice cream a separate plate so we could all keep our ear drums.

    • After I take a shower I spend 30 seconds wiping everything down with a microfiber cloth. I also pull up the bath mat and hang it up to dry. I haven’t had to clean it in months!

    • I want to play you in mini-golf! OK, my mad skillz have gotten rusty since I was a semi-“pro” at the local mini-golf place long ago, but I still have a passion for the game.
      After all these years, I still don’t understand why people host birthday parties for kids younger than kindergarten. It seems unfortunate on so many levels. I remember the first time I was invited to a i-year-old’s birthday party. It frankly never occurred to me to bring a gift with more than enough “stuff” from his affluent parents (not that they spoiled him, but he was doing OK) and wasn’t even old enough to say “thank you.” Three still seems pretty crazy young to me.

      • +1 to “I still don’t understand why people host birthday parties for kids younger than kindergarten.” Maybe for 3- or 4-year olds, but for kids too young to even understand that it’s their birthday??

        • Accountering

          I remember reading something about birthday parties on Capital Hill, and parents will give you the side-eye if you DON’T put “No gifts” in the invitation. Working on the fact that we all live in small-ish places, and that parents can choose which gifts to give.
          On the few occasions I have been invited to this stuff, I do a donation to the kids 529 plan.

        • The 1st birthday party is for the parents. That first year is HARD, and should be celebrated. With [the parents’] friends, and alcohol.
          People who have petting zoos and kid entertainment and kid presents at a 1st birthday, I got nothing to say to those people.

          • We had a brunch with friends, with lots of bloody marys, the obligatory picture of a cupcake in the face, and a grandparent to look after the little monster afterwards while we napped/slept it off.
            (Yes, little monster. It’s been a rough couple of weeks.)

          • Exactly! And the only other kid there was the nanny share kid, and then only because we’re friends with his parents.
            (next kid did not get a 1st birthday party)

      • Oh, this was the immediate family, both sets of grandparents, and one aunt with cake and optional presents. This wasn’t a thing with invitations and themes and stuff.
        In my family, family birthdays were a given and then friend birthdays were totally separate things. The older niece had her first friend birthday when she turned 5.

      • Blithe

        I agree with wdc. The first birthday is a chance to acknowledge and celebrate everybody surviving the first year, to coo over the baby’s accomplishments, to let someone else hold the baby for a while, and possibly to affirm for older kids in the family that yes, the baby gets gifts and a celebration too. As others have said, parties for kids under pre-school age are usually just for family and very close friends. Full disclosure: I recently attended a first birthday party, and I’m still gushing over how quickly the kid went from being a wrapped up squirmy bundle to kicking a soccer ball with tenacity and focus.

    • I love mini-golf Where does one play around here?

      • There’s a course on Haines Point, it’s the oldest continuously operating course in the country. I think it’s about $7 or so to play. You can buy beer in the clubhouse and bring it out there.
        There’s also Top Golf, which is fairly far and a place out near Merrifield.

  • Rant: Went to a wedding over the weekend, they decided to have it outside in the rain. So as a result I think I’m coming down with a cold, just grand. Had some fun, but I just got this weird vibe from the couple the whole night.
    Rant: Sold my place, in the contract I was told I would get advanced notice of a home inspection. Fine. Didn’t know advanced meant 6 hours, found out Friday morning, rushed home during lunch to make sure everything was straightened out.
    Rave: Fiance’s birthday is Thursday, got some things planned out, hopefully she enjoys it! She’s difficult to surprise so I’ve been enjoying the planning process.

    • You can’t get a cold from being outside in the rain. You probably got it from Metro or something.

      • Also, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know more about the weird vibe the bride and groom were giving you.

        • you are not. I too, would like to know more about this part of the story!

          • I also would like to know.
            (And while cold weather doesn’t give you a cold, cold weather and rain certainly doesn’t help in keeping immune systems in tip-top shape.)

          • During the ceremony someone around us quietly said “no” when the bride was being asked the “do you take so and so” etc. So that was weird, we think it’s a family member so IDK if they know something we don’t. I’ve been to like 6 weddings, maybe it’s just me over analyzing stuff and trying to take mental notes for our upcoming wedding, but at every wedding I’ve been too, I could tell the couple looked genuinely happy. Here the couple was just…IDK…awkward. His vows were awesome, the dude poured his heart out, basically saying the equivalent of he’ll put his life on the line for her. Then when it came to her, it was like “I hope you can put up with my organizational skills.” It wasn’t really in depth at all. Again, maybe it’s just me reading into things, maybe its because I was grumpy after sitting in the rain for a half hour

            I think I’ve been watching way too many episodes of 4 Weddings with the future wifey for me to be this critical lol

      • I’m Hispanic, it’s my upbringing…as a kid if it was raining outside, my mom made sure I was covered from head to toe so I wouldn’t get sick. :/

        • All you need is some VapoRub, you’ll be fine 😉

          • Blithe

            We’re lucky to be living in such modern times! I’m told that before Vicks was a thing, people wore asafoetida bags on a string around their necks to ward off evil germs.

        • Yup. As a fellow hispanic I agree. Getting wet in the rain means automatically catching a cold in my mom’s mind. But as the other person said, Vicks cured everything in our household.

      • Yes you can. Cold germs are all around us. Sometimes we succumb, sometimes our immune systems fight them off easily. I know I always succumb after getting chilled in the rain, like clockwork.

  • Revel: The other Mrs. Rabbit’s naturalization oath ceremony has been scheduled. This has been one crazy adventure that I will be happy to see end.
    Rave: My parents are coming up to see “their other daughter” take the oath. They’re too cute.
    Rant: The timing of all of these things may overlap with the latest baby-making attempt with the RE. This may result in us having to spill the beans on this little secret. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  • Rant from last week: Golf umbrellas on city sidewalks. At least giant strollers (which I also don’t like much, but don’t get angry about) serve more than one person and more than one purpose and don’t block the user’s view of all the people they might inconvenience. Umbrellas that are five feet across? What gives them the right to take up that much public space?
    It’s… you know it’s coming… ENTITLED BS

    • I lift my golf umbrella way higher than other peoples’ heads. So basically they get a temporary canopy as I walk by them. It’s pretty easy to be conscientious with a golf umbrella, if the person is willing to try and mindful of their surroundings.

  • Revel: Two out of six foster kittens got claimed yesterday!
    Also – finally found a shrub I’ve been searching for (2 years) at Homestead Farm garden center! Amazing place -(they also have a little farm with goats & lammas etc.) – and worth the drive (near Annapolis)

    • What kind of shrub? That;s a looong search.

      • A “pom pom” Juniper – looks like a little Dr. Seuss tree. The one I had died after they dug it up for sewer replacement. I spent a lot of time designing the yard, with “architectural” evergreens, and nothing else was going to work there.

  • Rant: Older friends very close to retirement with no plans in place. I’m depressed for them.
    Rave: Having the forethought to think of those things long before they’re on the horizon.
    Rant: Billboard Prince tribute….Just awful.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Rant: special seminar last week
    Rave: Learned I can retire from Fed Govt with full benefits in September!

  • Accountering

    Rave: Excellent weekend! Picked up the Crate and Barrel ($2300 retail, got it for $300 on CL!) patio set and dropped off at my AirBNB, watched all of season 1 of Game of Thrones, and went to Farragut Fridays with Andie and Mocha (Miniature Schnauzer.)
    Rave2: Andie and I biked downtown with Mocha in the basket of Andie’s bike. Avoided traffic getting down there, and it worked out really well! We watched American President, which is an awesome movie.
    Rant: The woman in front of us got doored by a pizza guy who was double parked. He got out and was somewhat defensive. Andie and I hung around, called 911 to get an ambulance to check on the woman, who thankfully just had some scrapes, and made sure the police came so I could give a quick statement to ensure the driver got a ticket.

  • First off, to everyone who suggested hiring movers to pack and move our belongings, I just want to say, you are so, so right.
    Rant: But, unfortunately, we did not follow this advice. I hurt all over. I spent two days in the rain and damp packing and moving.
    Rave: But, our awesome, awesome family rallied round and helped out, making it much smoother.
    Revel: The neighbors are awesome! Three came out to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood! One even brought a pan of caramel brownies! In my current neighborhood, we were welcomed with anti-gentrification signs lol.
    Rant/Rave: In 4 weeks I will no longer be a DC Resident. Some moments I am so happy to be leaving, others I think about it and tear up. Such a bittersweet time.

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: Have been sick since last Wednesday. I’m feeling somewhat better today, but I still have lungs full of gunk, and I can’t hear out of my right ear.
    Rave: One of my favorite annual work projects is gearing up. Love it so much.

  • Rant: Old Man Cat is not doing well. In the last week, he’s lost so much weight that he’s down to skin and bones, and he’s just lethargic and has no energy. But he’s still really jazzed about treats and wants to sit on my lap and snuggle, which gives me some hope. I’m waiting on a call back from his vet to see if she thinks I should bring him in, which normally wouldn’t even be a question. But he gets so furious at the vet’s office that he has to be sedated for them to even touch him, and when we went in January for his annual visit it took him 5+ days to recover from the sedation (he peed on himself in the carrier, his back legs weren’t quite working right, and he was just in a fog for a while). So putting him through that when he’s already sick and weak gives me pause too. This would be so much easier if he could talk 🙁

    • anonymouse_dianne

      My 12 yo cat lost a lot of weight and it turned out to be diabetes. With insulin, he gained it back and lived 4 more years. Get his blood work done.

    • Andie302

      There are vets that will come to your house. I’m sure you have a good relationship with the one you use, but it sounds like it’s very detrimental to your poor cat!

    • You might also try one of the vet services that comes to your home. I have done that in the past and it has saved me and my kitties lots of stress.

    • Sorry to hear about the old man cat.

    • Was also wondering if a vet house call would be a good alternative. (Although maybe some sedation would still be necessary?)

    • I’ve looked into the house call services and am going to ask about that when I talk to his regular vet today (she isn’t in until later this afternoon). The only thing I worry about is that he has a long-term medical condition for which he also sees a specialist, so I’m not sure the home vet services are equipped to handle his special needs.

      • Depending on the age of the cat, have a good honest talk with your vet about possible long-term conditions, the potential treatments, quality of life and expense. As someone mentioned, it could be diabetes, which is easy to manage, or an infected tooth which could be pulled and treated with antibiotics. Once you get into cancer, things get more complicated. Good luck.

  • Pablo Raw

    Rant: People who post hints of what happened on game of thrones on fb and other social media. Please remember that there are some of us who watch it on the internet at a different time.

    • +1! Spoilers should be flayed alive! 😉

    • Andie302

      +1 we finally decided to start from the beginning (even though both of us have seen bits and pieces here and there since it aired) and now I am seeing hints of what’s going on currently. BOOO! I guess we should’ve caught up in the off-season

  • That One Guy

    I finally understand how women can spend so much money on accessories. Not sure if it was my sister or niece who wanted to walk into Charming Charlie, but from my perspective, it was almost as awkward as stepping into a Victoria’s Secret store in that I felt like an interloper is some sacred female space. I never knew that bags, hats, jewelry and other things could come is so many different variations of colors.
    While cute to niece trying on yellow heels it’s also a little alarming that a 2.5 year old wants to wear that kind of shoe. Hahaha.
    I also pulled off the impossible feat of messing up instant ramen! How something can turn out so unsatisfying-in the I don’t feel like I just ate anything-is amazingly bewildering.

    • Blithe

      We’re lucky to be living in such modern times! I’m told that before Vicks was a thing, people wore asafoetida bags on a string around their necks to ward off evil germs.

      • Blithe

        Huh? Sorry, The asafoetida bag comment belongs someplace else. This comment was supposed to be:
        Does your niece know about lou lou’s yet?

        • That One Guy

          Lou Lou’s wouldn’t have been bad. But Charming Charlie was at least 20x larger and just as full of stuff as the 14th street Lou Lou’s.

    • 2.5 year olds want to put one everybody’s shoes, don’t sweat it.

  • Rave: Quality time spent with amazing friends the whole weekend.

    Rant: One of my good friends is moving to Boston next weekend (his gf is joining him in the fall) for a new job. He’s happy because his family is all there. I’m sad because he and his gf have become really close to me and I will miss our hanging out all summer at the pool this year.

    Rave: My attorneys are all away at a conference this week which means peace, quiet, and the ability to get all the work done that I wasn’t able to concentrate on!

    Rant: Recurring dreams, trying to use Google to figure out what they mean, and the Internet letting me down by being unable to help me.

    Rave: This weird new relationship with my stepmom. I called her to check in yesterday and she was really happy to hear from me and asked me to come and visit. Weird/good/slight regret this was not something I experienced earlier on when my father was still alive.

    My neighbor-friends tell me that I should get another cat to keep my cat company(they both have two cats). I think she does okay on her own but when they check on her when I’m out of town, they say she’s lonely, and I don’t want her to be lonely! I wish I knew what to do. She seems very happy to be just hanging out with me when I’m home.

    • Cat company is always good, and two are double the pleasure for you. It is really easy to find a companion cat, any of the rescue groups, like Homeward Trails, will be able to do a “Match.com” for your cat. Tell them what you’re looking for – active, snuggly, playful, calm, etc. and they will put out a call to fosters to find the right one. I’m sure she’s happy to hang out with you when you’re home, but if you work all day, she really might appreciate a buddy.

  • Rant: Exes who say all the nice things to you 9+ months after the breakup that they couldn’t say while you were, you know, actually together.
    Rave: Good reminder of why it’s better to be out of the dynamic.
    Rant: Sad to see the ex make so many of the same mistakes with their new relationship that they made with me.
    Rave: Not my responsibility!
    Rave: I see the sun!

  • Rave: Ran the Lace Up 4 RAINN 5K on Saturday morning…in the pouring rain. Ran through sooooo many puddles, which was the worst part, but I finished without stopping!
    Rave: Picked out my wedding band yesterday! Don’t even have a date but we have to start somewhere. Looked at bands for him as well…oh dear, do I need to save up.
    Rant: Picked up my new glasses this weekend only to get them home and find they have a nick and a few scratches on the frames. Now I have to take them all the way back to Bethesda…but at least they will replace.

  • I Dont Get It

    Rant: Lizzy’s back legs are getting more and more less mobile. She had a bad night last night—she was very anxious and kept squawking (she can no longer bark). Finally I gave her another doggy downer and then slept for a while on the floor next to her and she finally passed out. Very concerned as she keeps getting worse and I’m just not prepared for decisions I should make.
    Rant: I have a Drs appointment tomorrow morning for some symptoms that I’m nervous about. Must.Stop.Checking.Dr.Google.
    Rave: Had good workouts over the weekend but I need to get better about working out during the week.

    • That One Guy

      Maybe massage her legs a little at night to ease any joint pain and relax/give her some comfort in conjunction to the doggy downer and see if that helps her sleep a little better.

    • Is she still in good spirits some of the time?

      • I Dont Get It

        Lizzy has never been a happy dog; total polar opposite from her sister Lucy. If anything she has become more skittish and fearful. She still eats though and loves her doggy downers hidden in peanut butter!

    • Not sure if she’s on mobility meds/food, but science diet mobility and cosaquin were a godsend for my pooch. From limping to jumping. Massages and heating pads should help too.

  • RANT: Ugh, hold the door.

  • Rant: I saw a small dog get hit by a car yesterday and can’t stop replaying the whole scenario over and over in my mind. Why was the dog off leash? Could I have done anything to stop it? From a distance, s/he looked just like my little guy, so it was especially disturbing.
    Rave? I think I may have gotten dangerously close to getting jumped yesterday, but I didn’t.
    Rave? Last night was the first Sunday in three weeks that I didn’t spend in an emergency room and thank goodness everyone is doing just fine, even though I’m clearly a bit on edge over it all.
    Definite rave: Life is fragile, but my nearest and dearest are okay.

  • Andie302

    Plant question I keep meaning to ask: There’s an ornamental tree that’s just finishing blooming. It has cream 4-petal flowers that appear to just sit on top of the branches/leaves. It’s a similar size to a cherry blossom tree. Does anyone know what this is? I love it!

    • Blithe

      Could it be dogwood? That’s one of my favorites, and it’s pretty common in this area.

    • Dogwood! Probably a kousa variety.

      • Andie302

        Thank you both! I’m familiar with dogwood and didn’t know that this was a variety of it. I appreciate it – I’m saving this for future reference. It’s gorgeous!

        • Just be aware that there’s the standard kousa, and a dwarf variety. And the standard one gets really, really big, especially in terms of spread, over the course of a very long life.

          • Andie302

            Also good to know! I’m guessing the dwarf variety is the only thing I’ll be able to accommodate.

          • Sorry, one last thing then I’ll stop with the nerd routine: The fruit of the kousa dogwood is edible and pretty tasty. I’ve had it as a jam, and the flavor is like apricots and persimmons, though less sweet.

  • Rant: Just leaving bike rack today when pedestrian says (as he’s 10 feet from me walking in the opposite direction) “or you could just ride in the street like you’re supposed to.” I hadn’t even had 30 seconds to get in the road yet.

    12 years in DC and I’m still surprised at how people always feel the need to be pissed about what someone else is doing and never have the cojones to actually say it to anyone’s face. Then I end up pissed. Vicious cycle of hate.

  • Rant: thinly veiled sexism. I had a meeting with my boss where he essentially told me that he’s noticed a change in my demeanor and thinks my lack of smiling is off-putting and the team would feel more comfortable if I could perk up. My personal life has been an absolute mess for about 6 weeks now, and I have been very aware of my attitude not being normal (but not rude or bitchy). I’ve mostly kept to myself and focused on getting my work done because that’s all I had capacity for. When I asked if my work quality had been suffering he told me, in fact it’s been excellent, which is why if I just smiled more it’d be perfect.

    This is my first time working for a man, and have spent my entire career in woman-dominated workplaces so I just was so taken aback that this was actually a critique that was being made. He compared me to a coworker (that I love!) and how if I could be more like “X” just think of the possibilities. Uh…what possibilities? We both turn in work on time and at a high level and for government work – that’s saying a lot on it’s own. He left the conversation with, “if this isn’t the right fit for you, I’m happy to help you find somewhere else.” So, was this a pep talk that was supposed to make me smile more? Was this a put-up or shut up conversation? I’m now adding up the sexist comments that I didn’t notice so much but now accumulate and make me feel grossed out.

    Rave: It’s not raining!

    • Andie302

      Did you tell him your personal life has been a mess for the last 6 weeks? I can see any manager taking notice of a change in attitude and falsely attributing it to unhappiness at work (because it’s the only lens into your life that they have). I would think a simple explanation that it has nothing to do with work would smooth everything over, and maybe make your boss think twice about butting in again.

    • Confused but didn’t you admit that your demeanor has been off just as your supervisor asserted by stating

      “My personal life has been an absolute mess for about 6 weeks now, and I have been very aware of my attitude not being normal (but not rude or bitchy). I’ve mostly kept to myself”

      • Yes – had already communicated my life was in disarray and that my attitude was not a reflection of work but outside sources. But really, even if I hadn’t, coming at it with compassion would have been received fine. Coming at me with “smile more because you’re being a drag. Be more like bubbly-coworker-X, not so much.

        • Don’t expect compassion. You’re in a place where women are supposed to smile and make everybody else feel good. Just realize that and don’t try to read too much into it. Though given what your boss said, clearly it IS a job requirement (for him) as much as turning out good work. We’ve all been there…sadly, even where doing better work AND smiling doesn’t get you paid as well or promoted like the men. Just know that even if you are perky, there will always be something not quite right about you, just for being a woman, when working for such guys. Just muddle through the tough personal times as best you can … having other women at work to commiserate about this nasty work stuff with is the only way most women get through the day.

    • First off, it’s not thinly veiled. Second, wow, these replies where people are telling you to explain to this man why you are not smiling are perplexing to me. I have never had a manager say this to me and I have worked in very male dominated fields. I find it highly inappropriate that he felt the need to tell you that you smiling would help the team feel more comfortable. Is he kidding?? I find it akin to the men on the street who tell you to smile, even though this is even more insulting. I am sorry things have been hard for you the past few weeks. Having someone say that to you I am sure isn’t helping you feel better any quicker.

      • I’ve always worked in male-dominated fields as well, and this is downright bizarre (then again, engineers have never been known for their sunny demeanors so no one would expect me to be smiley). Have you asked if he has noticed any signs that your team has been demotivated lately? Maybe that’s where it’s coming from? Regardless, people aren’t motivated by a peppy cheerleader but by having meaningful work.

    • Yuck, I’m sorry. I’m male and a supervisor, and I can’t imagine ever saying anything beyond, “All ok?” if I noticed someone (male or female) looking a little less energetic/positive/whatever than usual. What a d-bag. And basic management 101 says NEVER compare one employee to another.

    • +1. I’ve had the same comment given to me (“off-putting and the office would feel more comfortable…”) even though I hadn’t changed! I was also given the “I’d be happy to find another place for you if this isn’t the right fit” line — to which I responded bluntly that I liked my job and everyone said I was excelling so, excuse me, but no I wouldn’t be going anywhere. Although I eventually did.
      What HAD changed was that I needed to take temporary unpaid leave and my supervisor was pissed — so this is what the office came up with to make me feel unwelcome … for circumstances that were clearly out of my control.
      Ignore as much as possible. And if there is someone who is your mentor in your office — or if there’s a counseling service you can get through your work — I’d strongly recommend talking with them about possible solutions (is there another sector you can move to within your office that would make him not your supervisor without changing much of your work?)

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