Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

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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79 Comment

  • Rave: Pittsburgh bound tomorrow! Look forward to spending the weekend in the land of my beginnings!(My parents met and got married in Pittsburgh.)

    Rant: Aveda Institute canceled and rescheduled my hair appointment twice yesterday. First time because the student who I was scheduled with called out, and the second because they were running behind. I had to reschedule for this evening which messed up my plans. They better not run behind today. I have errands to run.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    A reader reports: “I found a black wallet with a US green card for an Australian citizen. There were a few dollars and a couple credit cards. It was dropped off at the 3rd district police station on V between 16th and 17th. Hope you can get the word out since it’s a pain to get a new greencard!”

    • The OP might also want to report it to the Australian embassy, if he/she hasn’t already. And maybe even ICE (I think – not sure whether ICE now has the responsibilities that INS used to have).

  • Rave: Timber pizza! Delicious food, great beer, and really nice staff who were really tolerant of my crazy family.
    Rant: Accidentally left leftover pizza on the curb. 🙁
    Rant: Forgot my sweater at home and am freezing in my office!
    Rant: Wore a sundress because of plans to go to Navy Yard after work, but the rain has me doubting that that will happen…
    Rave: Three day weekend!

  • That One Guy

    Rant: feels like someone Vulcan death gripped/judo chopped me in the shoulder.
    Rave: made it through last night relatively unscathed.
    Has anyone else heard a religious person say that Starbucks–at least their logo–is demonic and should be boycotted? This is news to me.

    • What? I remember the whole Christmas backlash from December, but i’ve never heard of people having issue with the logo. You’d think there would be more issue with a naked mermaid, rather than demonic.

    • Hadn’t heard that, but it’s not surprising. I’m old enough to remember the claims in the 70s that the Johnson & Johnson logo was satanic, which was actually kind of a big deal at the time.

    • I Dont Get It

      This sounds familiar and was passed around during the early days of email like that stingy Neiman-Marcus and its chocolate chip cookie recipe.

  • Rant: I’m feeling really homesick for DC this weekend. I know venting about life in DC is practically the city’s official pastime, but for those of you there, try to spend a *little* bit of time this weekend thinking about how lucky you are! DC has incredible walkability, beautiful architecture, tons and tons of stuff to do (most of it free!), it’s within road trip distance of the beach, mountains, wineries, Chesapeake Bay, big cities…. anything you can dream up you can find. And in my humble opinion it’s full of pretty interesting, friendly people.

    • That One Guy

      I was tempted to try and write something snarky about tourist, but you’re right it’s also a very progressive place to live in/around in.

      • I know I sound like I’m paid off by the tourism bureau, I swear I’m not! Just temporarily displaced resident (been gone about one year, probably won’t come back for another year or so).

        Yeah it’s full of tourists but only it certain parts, and that’s the price you pay to live around such amazing attractions, I guess. And they (usually) don’t venture north of Dupont so it’s pretty easy to avoid them if you’re really trying!!

        Although a couple years ago I actually braved the National Mall for fireworks; I thought it would be a total nightmare but it was totally fine, actually. We got there at 7 or so and easily found a good spot for a blanket. After it was over we walked as far as…Maybe L St? And then easily caught an Uber from there. I was amazed.

        • I love this ( and your user name). Today is my twelve year DC-versary and I got a little teary eyed thinking about all that I’ve done in that time and all the things I love about it here.
          Of course there’s bad stuff too, but everything in life is trade offs and I’m pretty sure I’m still in the black on home city happiness.

          • Also love your user name. I dressed up as Kelly Kapowski for a 90s party recently – so fun.

          • 🙂 Yep. I know it’s partially because I’m lucky enough to be able to afford the life I want in DC (I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m not living in a mansion in the Palisades, but my husband and I both make enough to afford a decent place in Bloomingdale). But there’s just SO much quality of life to be had. I knew I liked it when I was living there, but it took leaving to really appreciate it. Surprisingly, the thing I miss the most is the stuff *outside* the city. I miss Chesapeake Bay, and Shenandoah Valley, and Rehoboth Beach. I’m in the middle of the country now and I could drive 4 hours in any direction and never see anything except farmland 🙁

            And 2 months of bad summer weather is a small price to pay for the gorgeous weather the rst of the year, in my opinion. I *never* in a million years thought I’d miss DC weather, but that was before I knew the misery of snow in May…

          • Ha, I dressed as Kelly for Halloween a few years back and no one could figure it out. 🙁

          • Your weather comment made me laugh. I am from DC but have never gotten used to the awful summers. I moved to Seattle for a few years and at first thought it was heaven – the summers in Seattle are cool and usually rain-free. BUT after four years, I realized I actually missed the neat and humidity of DC… especially a hot still summer night.
            Now, although I still hate DC summers, I hate them in a different way than I used to.

    • I Dont Get It

      After reading that *other* letter this week (are people still commenting on it?) it’s nice to have a reminder of some of the good things about living here.

  • Rave: We got to see the first ultrasound of the baby. And thankfully, it’s just baby and not babies.
    Rave: The Other Mrs. Rabbit is home from her conference on the West Coast and the world has returned to normal.
    Rave: Wow, that oatmeal apple coffee cake was even better than I remembered.
    Rave: Three more hours until the long weekend starts for me?

  • Rant – Lots of folks out of the office today. It’s going be a long, boring day.
    Rave – Friday! And my annoying micromanaging boss is out today.

  • Q: Has anyone ever been to the Cardozo parking lot to watch fireworks? I seem to be out of rooftop spots to mooch off of this year and would like to go there, but am wondering if it gets very crowded, if you need to go early to get a spot, etc.

  • Rave: Friday! I’m so grateful for the long weekend ahead. It means lot of time to rest, catch up on housework, and enjoy all the baby snuggles.
    Rant: This morning is moving very slowly.

  • Rave: I’m eating the best yogurt parfait of my life at pineapple and pearls. I only wish I knew what this fruit is. Thanks for the tip yesterday!
    Rave: national park pass purchased
    Rave: I love summer flex time. I slept in and I’m ignoring all the work email notifications.
    Rant: this isn’t great pool weather

    • It’s apricot. I didn’t even think I liked apricot.
      The kid next to me is wearing a bib that’s a cross between a snuggle and a raincoat. It’s brilliant.

    • Yum! I love a quality yogurt parfait. I really need to try this place.

  • Rant: Bindweed in my front yard, weed vigilance for the forseeable future
    Rant: Washer overflowed, lots of water in the basement
    Rave: Clean basement floor?
    Rave: No fireworks this weekend but LOTS of fireflies!

  • Revel: I love this country
    Rant: my popvilme shirt is dirty and the only pics I have are from the front with others
    Rant: I didn’t pack enough cold weather clothes
    Rant: I go home Sunday night

  • One more rant: nobody understands me when I try and speak Spanish. Between me not being so confident in the language, lacking a lot of vocabulary, and my nasally Midwestern accent, it’s tricky!

    • Keep trying — you’ll never gain the confidence if you don’t get speaking practice!

    • That One Guy

      As long as you don’t speak slower or in a louder voice people will be patient with you. Also hand gestures and facial expressions come in hand too.

  • Andie302

    Rant: Earworm of Beibers “What do you mean?” Ugh!
    Rave: Dog is being groomed today – she’s far far far overdue
    Rave: Friday, holiday weekend, and short week next week. Safe travels and enjoy the 4th everyone!

  • Bear

    Rant: Of the five contractors I contacted, only two responded, and only one has room in their schedule to get some desperately needed painting done before the end of the month, when we need it to be done. And of course their quote is a lot higher than we were anticipating. I’m so tired of trying to get people to come out and give us estimates, I just want the work to get done already. And of course my husband is refusing to even consider moving forward due to cost. Sigh…
    Anyone have recommendations for painters who do good work (read: clean lines, good prep of flawed walls, etc), and who won’t charge an arm and a leg? I’d just do it myself if I wasn’t pregnant and if some of it didn’t require getting on a ladder in our stairwell…

    • HaileUnlikely

      Is this to prepare for appraisal for your refi? If so, this might or might not be worth it. I just went nuts preparing for my appraisal for my refi and it was clearly a big ol’ waste of time, as the appraiser spent a total of less than 10 minutes at the house. He took one photo of each bedroom, each bathroom, the kitchen, the unfinished basement, the front of the house, the back of the house, two in the living room, measured the length and width of the house with a laser measuring “tape,” and that’s it. I could be wrong, and believe me, I can empathize with not wanting to blow the appraisal by failing to do something that I could have easily done, but I think it is exceedingly unlikely that any interior surfaces that would require a ladder to access will be noticed or paid any attention to.

      • Accountering

        Appraisals are such a joke in DC. They bring in some guy from Bowie because he is the cheapest, and he doesn’t have any clue on neighborhood. Andie and I are refinancing again, and depending on what comps he uses, I honestly think our appraisal could swing by as much as 250K. If he uses comps three blocks east, he finds small places in the 800s (Logan) , and then there are a couple of things over by 395 behind Dunbar that are within a half mile that are in the 500s. They also don’t take into account the fact that the metro is literally across the street. I think the whole process is deeply flawed.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I agree with your conclusion, though in my case, I could tell that the guy was familiar with the neighborhood and was serious about finding recent, relevant comps. (I definitely have one of the least valuable houses in my general area, though, so in my case, there is basically no such thing as a “bad” comp.) It was just very clear that his priority was getting on to his next job as soon as possible.

          • Accountering

            We are in a similar spot. One of the smallest houses in Shaw, so to give us a crappy valuation he has to try. But I could also see grabbing a comp from further west or on U St, giving us a small knock because we are 400sq feet smaller, and some crazy valuation. Having a guy who doesn’t know the neighborhood in charge of giving a valuation that can EASILY swing 250K based on what neighborhood he picks as comps (and could theoretically allow us to take out a TON of cash based on the value) just seems silly.

        • Agree. I tried to do a refi and the appraiser pulled comparables from Ft. Totten. Ft. Totten and Brookland have very different home prices. As a result I didn’t get to refi because my house appraised for much lower than it should have.

          • Isn’t that a mile+ away? I guess he just used the same zip code. Ugh! That sucks.

          • Accountering

            Normally the limit is .5 miles, but that is a huge distance in DC. I saw an appraisal for a house in Bloomingdale, use a comp in Eckington. It was only .2 miles, but on the other side of North Capital. They were similarly priced, despite the Eckington one being completely renovated. That’s because Bloomingdale is worth a 15-20% premium over Eckington! (/rant)

      • Bear

        It is for the appraisal – it’s not to “freshen up,” it’s to actually fix some fairly damaged walls. This particular part of the house shows pretty poorly, and given that it’s one of the first things you see when you walk in the front door, it needs to be fixed.
        We’re in the same boat for the appraisal – it could swing as much as $100k depending on which comps they pull. We want to do whatever we can so that the house makes a good first impression, and it’s work we’d need to have done regardless.

        • Andie302

          A couple suggestions: Paintzen has been trying to gain market share and may hook you up with a painter that is actually charging them more than they are charging you. They also appear to be VERY responsive. If you prefer a specific recommendation I used Roger Hall. He’s based out of Northern Virginia and painted almost the whole inside of my rental. He was clean, thorough, and I highly recommend his work. He was not cheap, and he speaks very slowly on the phone, or you talk to his wife to coordinate his schedule. His cell is 571-217-2845 and his home is 703-998-5991. If you use Paintzen can you please report back? I’m considering using them, and would love to hear about your experience. I know they do online quotes!

    • HaileUnlikely

      Also, although I have no experience with them, if this is something that really needs to be done quickly and that you’re hoping not to have to spend a fortune on, it might be worth giving Paintzen a try. Again, I have no basis to recommend them, it is just a non-obvious option that exists.

      • Weren’t they advertising here recently about a contest with a prize of a $1,000 home paint makeover?

  • Rave: 7 year anniversary of bringing my dog home. She turned out to be an awesome running partner and an overall fantastic doggo.
    Rant: She’ll be spending the weekend in the bathroom hiding from fireworks.

  • Rant: Not as quiet a morning as I had hoped, work-wise.
    Rave: Boss is too busy orienting new employee to bother me too much (beyond the almost-point less CYA-CYA – yes double! – back up she’s already asked for.)
    Rave: Early dismissal – 2 hrs.
    Rave: Maple doughnuts and Swing coffee

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: have a difficult task at work and IEEE’s crappy search function is not helping.
    Rave: leaving early, for the cable guy, but still leaving early.

  • Neither Rant nor Revel: We just bought an old house and the staircase isn’t to code. What can we do with it? Are we forbidden to touch it at all, or can we have licensed, permitted contractors take care of it? Can we redo the railing? What about the carpeting/flooring? We are big fans of not being in trouble with the law and would hate to do something that screwed us over later.

    • As far as I’m aware, you aren’t obligated to bring the staircase up to code unless you want to rent the house out.
      In what way is it not to code?

    • HaileUnlikely

      What is the nature of the code violation? If it is too narrow, insufficient headroom, too steep, or anything like that (i.e., something that will probably require the staircase to be completely rebuilt), you’ll want to apply for a permit from DCRA and have a licensed contractor make the necessary changes. If it is just something about the railing, DCRA issues a postcard permit for “replacement in kind” of a single handrail.” The standards for “replacement in kind” are sufficiently vague as to allow much wiggle room for replacement of one railing with another one. Honestly, if it were me, and all I needed to do was replace a railing, I would just do it (and would make sure that it complied with the building code). You are not going to get in trouble for replacing a railing on the interior of your home.
      Replacing carpet does not require a permit. I do not believe replacing hardwood requires a permit either, but I’m honestly less certain about that. (You don’t need a permit to replace “floor coverings.” I’m not sure whether hardwood is considered a “floor covering.” I think it is technically considered a floor covering when there is a subfloor beneath it but not if there isn’t).
      You can find all of this stuff on the DCRA website. It is not the most user-friendly site, and some of the answers that you are looking for will be found underneath links that do not obviously lead to such information, but anyway, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the DCRA website and poking around for this stuff a bit.
      Finally, this past weekend I looked at a complete gut renovation flip in my neighborhood this weekend that was priced over $1M. The agent required guests to wear booties over their shoes to protect the precious new floor. It was immediately obvious to me that their stairs were not to code either.

      • I chuckled at the agent requiring guests to wear booties — although I guess I can understand why he/she would want them to!
        Seems like they could accomplish the same thing by staging the place with a lot of rugs. Not to mention that hardwood floors aren’t supposed to be easily damaged by shoes — I can understand if it were a soft wood.

        • HaileUnlikely

          The place was truly a monstrosity. It looks nice from the photos, but much of the work was done extremely poorly. Brand new railings that wiggled a lot, peaks and valleys in the brand new floors, a “balcony” whose floor felt rather spongy and did not exactly inspire confidence, and the paint job on the front door was something you’d think a fourth grader did to earn his allowance, not something a pro did as a part of a gut reno on a property listed for $1.275M. (7533 12th St NW if you want to see photos)

          • HaileUnlikely

            Oh, and um, they failed their building and electrical inspections on June 7 and have not passed them yet. Oops.

  • I Dont Get It

    Rave: For those who observe it, Happy Fiscal New Year!
    Rant: Total lack of Fiscal New Year songs on iTunes!
    Rave: 13 years ago today I showed up for my first day of work at my current employer.
    Rant: No one knew why I was there. In some ways, that hasn’t changed!

  • That One Guy

    Rave: Trip down memory lane…Just remembered that the sequel to Independence Day is coming out. Saw Independence Day at the Pentagon City movie theater on July 4th and wondered, at that time, if the White House were really blown up like whether Pentagon City would also disappear.

  • Rant: Coworker brought in a bunch of Hershey Kisses and I’m slowly plowing through them. On that note, just cannot stop eating.
    Rant: UBER tired today. It’s going to be a long afternoon.
    Rave: Boss out so plan on leaving early!
    Rave: Going to see the new Independence Day movie! Don’t really have high hopes but still excited.

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