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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143 Comment

  • RAVE: mtpbaby slept all the way through until 6:30 this morning, with just a couple minutes of whining at 11pm. Was then largely happy in his crib until nearly 7.
    Rant: Still seemed sleepy when he woke up–hoping he extends his wake up a bit over time, since 10.5 hours just doesn’t seem like enough nighttime sleep.
    RAVE: mtpkiddo is having an awesome week at school so far. No backsliding after the weekend. Pleasantly shocked.
    Rant: she is complaining of stomach aches regularly. She’s used that as a delaying tactic at bedtime for weeks, but is now mentioning it on the way home & in the morning–but still eats just fine. Monitoring for now.
    Rave: appliance repair person coming to check out dishwasher today. Fingers crossed it’s an easy fix? And doesn’t require waiting for a part? I’m guessing that’s too much to hope for, though.

    • Quotia Zelda

      Middle Zelda had frequent stomach aches when she was that age (and still does). We worked with her ped to see if we could determine a cause, but didn’t really hit on one. Cutting out milk helped a little (she doesn’t like it anyway – not sure how she could be our child), but not much. I’ve decided it’s how her body deals with stress, esp. since lying down and resting is the only thing we’ve found that helps.

      • Interesting. This has only cropped up in the last 6 months or so, and seemed to be connected to stress. It’s only in the last few weeks (same timing as starting PK3) that it’s become more of a daily thing. But she’ll make an offhand comment about it, then proceed to run around, jump, eat totally normally, etc. It doesn’t seem connected to any real difference in demeanor or appetite.

    • I have a kid with a dramatic tummy, too. Any time anything isn’t going well– time for bed, time for homework– and often randomly, she has a tummy ache.
      A couple of doctors (both her own ped and doctor friends I’ve polled) said this is very common, more in little girls than boys, and often resolves before puberty. I offer her a tums, just as a way of showing that I’m taking her seriously. But I don’t let it interfere with our lives.
      As long as she can jump up and down, it’s not appendicitis.

      • “Dramatic Tummy” – I wish this was an actual diagnostic code! We also have one. One doctor she saw told her she needs to poop more, another put her a very low dose PPI (can’t remember which). I started giving her a probiotic at night instead and that has seemed to help a lot, especially after I explained that it would help her tummy and she can take it every day. I think the validation means more than the probiotics.

        • Interesting, she gets a gummy probiotic every morning already. I’ll check into kids’ tums–that seems more innocuous to hand out like candy than the kids’ pepto tablets that she’d eat like candy if she could.

          Great to hear this is common and commonly linked to “unpleasant” things as we’ve been experiencing.

          • Having spent a lot of time with a girl with such a tummy, I would say it would be helpful to see it as not a delaying tactic (even when it is having that effect in reality) and recognize that the pain is there, even if it is from stress and not from any food, allergies, etc.

          • Besides, it is likely from the stress of coping so well with school on the outside. The stress is still there, and goes internal if not relieved. Talking more about the challenges of school, not focusing just on her compliance, may help.

          • That’s pretty much what Anonamom and I said.

          • Anon, that’s what I mean by validation; agreeing with her that it is a problem and seeking a remedy. Frequently with children with Dramatic Tummies or other such issues that are difficult to diagnostically identify, they are either over-treated (prescription PPIs) or under-treated (“poop!”) by physicians who are trained to diagnose, code, and move on. This is where care givers (parental figures, teachers, even school nurses come in) and can help by validating the child’s concerns and feelings, which is often enough to help simple anxieties lift away. The probiotics or tums offer two benefits – a placebo effect for kids who feel like they need to take medicine to feel better, and a nutritional benefit (even Tums are just extra calcium!).

      • I was one of those kids with “dramatic tummy!” I would even stress puke/dry heave in high school before exams. My mom would fill me full of crackers and ginger ale and ship me off to school. As an adult, I am happy to say that my stress and anxiety has migrated to a lump in my chest.

        I think offering a tums and then carrying on with life sounds like the best approach. Mtpresident, I’m not sure how old mtpkiddo is but she may be old enough to try some of the stress coping strategies that my elementary school counselor taught me: tightening a muscle group really hard and then releasing to let the stress go, tying worries to an imaginary balloon and then releasing it, etc.

        • She’s only 3. Mtpwife advises her to pull her knees into her stomach to relieve pressure/etc at bedtime so she can rest, and that’s usually the last we hear of it at bedtime. She woke up in the middle of the night a couple of nights ago and complained of a stomach ache, but happily went back to bed with a pepto chewable tablet, some water, and her lullabies back on. I’d feel better about giving tums regularly than pepto, though.
          .
          Those are interesting strategies, though–maybe I’ll try that out, but keep it in mind also for later if it persists–since I’m not sure how effective it would be for a 3yo, especially at times when she mentions in passing, but then continues on her merry way and doesn’t seem outwardly bothered by it.
          .
          I’m also making a concerted effort to spend 10 minutes playing or reading when we get home rather than getting right into the evening rush of dinner, etc–with the hope of making the evening a little smoother since she’s getting attention right away–but I’m hoping that additional connection helps with some of the stress, etc, as well.
          .
          Thank you, all, for your helpful comments! I had no idea this was a widespread thing. I think we are largely handling it well, though will do some tweaking around the edges from your suggestions.

          • I was a dramatic tummy kid (which turned into panic attacks when I was really anxious/stressed). I learned a lot of breathing relaxation techniques that helped me. You could probably tech her some easy yoga breathing exercises that would translate to a 3 year (belly breathing, etc).

          • We’ve done some limited breathing work to deal with fits of other kinds, but good idea for other uses!

    • Is it pain or an upset stomach (nausea)? I frequently complained of “feeling sick” as a small kid, to the point where I had to go get a huge battery of tests that showed nothing. I was “cured” after the tests (mostly because they were so awful I didn’t want to go back), but it turned out that I was having mild migraines. After puberty the headache portion reared its ugly head and I realized that’s why I’d feel sick at random times like on a cloudy day or in movie theaters.
      .
      Probably not it, but apparently they’re not really good at identifying migraines in children since it can manifest itself differently than in adults.

      • I don’t think it’s nausea. But it’s a little hard to say. That said, it’s been happening daily at bedtime (right as we’re about to leave her room), and occasionally when she gets up and when we’re on our way home from the bus. But her behavior/demeanor/appetite don’t change, so I’m reluctant to react too much. She did have a nasty stomach bug a few weeks ago–in that case, she barely touched dinner (and it was a meal she generally loved), and then vomited overnight. The complaints of stomach aches have increased substantially since then–initially seemingly to convince us she needed to stay home instead of going to school, and then at bedtime and sprinkled into other times, but without related changes in appetite, etc.
        .
        That said, it doesn’t hurt to have that in the back of my mind–thanks for passing along your experience!

  • skj84

    Greetings from the sky Populace!
    Rave: Got to BWI in record time, on the plane now. The middle seat is empty so I have more space to spread out. My inflight meal is quite tasty.
    Rant: Xanex took the edge off the worst of my nerves, but not enough so I can sleep. Drinking some Baileys in m coffee in hopes it will relax me a bit.

  • Rave: Interesting evening: an event about something I knew nothing about, then beers with my state society. All that and in bed by 10pm. Adulting win.
    Rave: Breaking a foot means you go out less, which means less money flowing out. So…upside?
    Question for the thread: I’m having people over for lunch Sunday at 11, and I’m stumped on what to serve as the main dish. Any suggestions? I’m a competent cook, but by no means confident. Can I serve them eggs and gluten free pancakes and call it a late breakfast?

    • Quiche and fruit!

    • Grilled Cheese Bar if you have a simple griddle or a Panini maker. 3-4 types of sliced cheese, some common toppings (sliced tomato, onion, meats etc) and bread (GF for those who need it, white and wheat). It’s fun and lets folks eat how they like.

    • Oh hell yes, brunch! French Toast bake made with GF bread? Agree with Formerly Park View Res on a quiche – easy, fast and you can make it ahead. I have a recipe for a mushroom and asparagus quiche that is just amazing.

      • Overnight french toast is easy, too. Once in a blue moon I make it the night before and bake it while I’m getting ready for work. I don’t have a recipe on hand but I’m sure you can google it. Not sure how it would work with gluten free vs. normal bread (I think I used challah actually).

    • cooks illustrated has a great recipe for breakfast strata that you make the night before and bake in the morning. also check out smitten kitchen’s “how to host brunch (and still sleep in)” post for some good recipes/tips.

      • My wife has 2 go-to recipes for strata that I love – Spinach and Swiss, and Ham and Cheddar. I see no reason they couldn’t be made with GF bread, if you absolutely must.

      • Another vote for strata. My favorite combinations are ham, asparagus, and gruyere, and Smitten Kitchen’s corn and green onion strata recipe. For a gluten free option, you could do just a general breakfast casserole. My go to is eggs, green chilis (the canned kind), pepper jack.

    • One of my favorite brunch menus to make is crepes with fruit and what we call “New Orleans potatoes”–basically pan-fry up cubed potatoes in batches so they get somewhat crispy, then saute the potatoes with chopped green peppers, onions, and beef kielbasa (we don’t do pork–otherwise a pork-based sausage would work well as well)–seasoned with cajun seasoning. Super easy.

    • I serve crepes any time of day on Sundays. You can make them the day before, and then offer a variety of sweet and savory fillings. (Ham, swiss, caramelized onions, fruit, yogurt, preserves, nutella, whipped cream)

      • My daughter lives for nutella crepes. If you want to go all in, there was a homemade nutella recipe in Bon Appetit a few years back that was delicious (I’d make it much more often if I could find skinned hazelnuts!).

    • Frittata or Spanish Tortilla. Make it in advance, serve room temperature with a tomato concasse (lumpy tomato sauce). Easy as pie to make — easier, actually — and looks impressive, rustic and homemade. Salad, fruit, booze, coffee. Crusty bread, cheese, store-bought dessert.

    • If you’re cooking for a gluten-free person, I would recommend making fresh corn pancakes with cornmeal! I put the link in my name, or you can google “fresh corn pancakes with salsa cruda”. Just use cornmeal instead of wheat flour; I’ve done this several times for my friend with Celiac and it’s fine. One of my very favorite summer meals, and super basic!

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: I submitted my application for the director position in my division. I’m still cranky about it, though. If experience is any guide, I will have a courtesy interview, during which the agency head will constantly play with his Jawbone. Then, the poor assistant head will have to make an awkward phone call telling me they’ve hired someone from outside. This phone call will be more painful for him than for me. Bah.
    Rave: Office Princess is retiring. I actually like her a lot as a person, but working with her is a nightmare.
    Rant: Cold is still lingering. I’m at that point where I feel like I’ll never be healthy again.

  • Rant: lack of sizing info on 6pm.com. Women’s sizing is so arbitrary that it’s hard to tell what size to get in an unfamiliar brand. And “medium” is apparently 10-12? Perhaps I need to be searching in a larger size? I’m so confused!

    • that is really frustrating. i typically see medium sized at 8-10. i don’t have any experience with this particular company/website, though it’s been nice lately as more and more websites have integrated the size/fit calculators based on how other types of clothing and brands fit your body. i’m guessing 6pm doesn’t have that technology available?

      • It’s a discount site rather than a brand, so that doesn’t help–I found a chart using a search for the brand, but I wish it were available on the site rather than having to search each brand separately. I also thought medium was 8-10, though some of the dresses only had size 12 available and still showed up with ‘M’ selected. Weird.

        • It’s an inconvenience but I look at it this way: if they’re giving me a big discount I’m probably going to have to do some of the legwork myself.

    • This is a pet peeve of mine. Sizing in every single store/brand is so different that ordering online is a huge gamble for me (even though I really can’t complain too much because finding my size is never a problem… it’s just that it sometimes takes several tries…)

    • Sizing is often all over the place in cheaper brands due to poor/inexistent quality control. I’ve found that it’s worth spending more to get exactly what you want rather than buying many cheaper items in hopes that one fits.

    • I have pants in my closet that range from a size 00 to 6 that all fit me. Women’s sizing makes no sense at all.

      • +1 to “Women’s sizing makes no sense at all.” The fact that sizing is completely inconsistent from one brand to another is bad enough, but the combination of that and “vanity sizing” (which I always thought of as “size deflation,” like the fashion equivalent of grade inflation) makes things especially frustrating.
        .
        For some reason I thought that “vanity sizing” had been more of a thing in the 2000s and that it had then stopped. (I bought a lot more clothes in the 2000s than I’ve been buying since 2010ish.) Unfortunately, it seems like it’s a creeping ongoing menace.
        .
        I bought a size medium skirt earlier this year and didn’t try it on promptly — it was a size medium, and had an elastic waist rather than a zipper, so it never occurred to me that it might not fit. When I finally did try it on, after the return period had ended, I discovered that it was too big and I’ll have to wear it with long-ish tops to make sure the top of my slip doesn’t show.
        .
        I am (alas) only gaining weight, but size deflation is apparently occurring at an even faster rate. If I ever manage to lose the 10-15 pounds I’ve put on in the past 10 years, the skirt will be way too big.

    • I find this a problem everywhere. I am not a huge fan of actual shopping and going in and trying clothes, but any more you have to. Even the same store can vary widely; case in point, Old Navy. I wear a 6 in Pixie Shorts, but an 8 in Pixie pants. I range from 6-10 in the jeans depending on the cut, and they keep changing up the cuts. Is consistent sizing just too much to ask for?!

      • Ugh, I will have to suck it up and do that at some point. May investigate some kind of personal shopping service when I’m ready for the wardrobe overhaul.

  • rant: brangelina all over the news. I will be more upset if ellen and portia split. :-/
    rant: I dont mind the skinny pants look, but i also like flared pants. or wide leg. i dont know the correct term, but uggggh. I go into a store and it’s all skinny, skinny, skinny! so aggravating.

    • Flared are back in this season though! I’ve seen several over the past couple of weeks when I’ve been looking around for fall/winter clothes. There is hope!

    • i’ve seen trouser and wide-leg cut pants online at loft and gap…and i believe express editor pants are a bit wider.

    • Most stores will have a bootcut style or straight style. I don’t think jeans are flattering on me but find a more flared/bootcut leg requires a heel so I usually go with straight cut.

  • Rave: My Pokemon buddy has gotten more mileage just from sitting with the app turned on at my desk and the GPS running around than it did during both my trip home and trip into work this morning on the bus.
    .
    Rave: IZ rental course today so I can hopefully move to a really nice apartment next year (again) now that I have a promotion and won’t be able to stay in my current one.
    .
    Rant: Hoping that mom’s cancer isn’t back. We should find out in the next week or two. I’m not sure what we’ll do if it is, so I’m just praying it’s not until I hear otherwise.

  • RANT: When is the police violence going to stop?
    RANT: How can we justify such excessive use of force by the police
    RANT: All police officers need to be retrained otherwise nothing will change
    RANT: I just became a US Citizen last year but for the first time I am ashamed being one, All my friends abroad keep asking me how can the police keep killing black people in the US like that? what is the answer?
    RANT: My kids are mixed and will have to leave with this fear of police
    RANT: Nothing to rave about, sad sad day

    • I feel all of your rants. It’s seriously sickening.

    • I assume “what is the answer” isn’t qualifying the previous question – because the answer to that one is fairly straight-forward (deep-rooted racism in existing power structures).

    • Co-signing your rant. I am a black woman with a husband and son and I am feeling seriously beaten down. It’s the violence, seeing the violence on repeat, talking about it ad infinitum with your family, fearing for the future of your family, despair that so many don’t really care what is happening or how it is impacting huge swaths of our population. It’s hard to get out of bed on days like these.

    • justinbc

      If it makes your friends feel any better tell them twice as many white people have been killed by police so far this year. Many people don’t know / care how many of their own race are being killed, so expecting them to be upset about another one does seem irrational at times.

      • This type of sentiment is precisely what is exhausting.

        • Agreed.
          .
          The comparison isn’t an apt one. Thanks to camera phones, social media, etc., there’s now a lot of documentation regarding police killings of black people, and significant media coverage.
          .
          In the face of the significant media coverage, it’s disturbing that so many people don’t find these occurrences to be upsetting/alarming.

          • justinbc

            I find it upsetting myself. I just don’t find it surprising when you try to convince rural white America (who is less exposed to diversity) that black people dying to cops is unjust when they seemingly don’t care that white people dying to cops is unjust. People dying to cops is bad, regardless of race. So is school children dying to guns, and we do nothing about that either. We’re desensitized to violence as a whole, which is quite troubling.

      • Is it a race thing or a police brutality or insensitivity thing? This notion that anti-police brutality somehow equates to anti-white cop or anti-cop or blacks vs cops is somehow always being perpetuated and is perplexing to me

      • HaileUnlikely

        This won’t and in my honest opinion shouldn’t make anybody feel better, but I do believe this is nonetheless an important fact that many people either choose to ignore or actually are not aware of. The reason I believe this is so important is not to de-emphasize the well known and documented problem of police use of force against black citizens but to get the rest of the population to wake the hell up and recognize that police use of force generally, and deadly force specifically, is a big big problem that affects everybody. Yes it affects African Americans disproportionately, but it affects everybody, and everybody should be concerned about it.

        • justinbc

          Exactly my point. The problem is it’s difficult to actually have that conversation because everyone is too busy being defensive about their polarizing side.

          • you haven’t heard anyone complaining about police brutality against black citizens attempt to downplay brutality against whites. there’s no polarized “side” that does so. your intent in bringing it up, and this response about intractably “polarizing side[s]”, is to dismiss the issue in its entirety.

            there’s a great post that an activist, Sean King, made where a white twitter user sent him a link about a white victim of police brutality and asked him why he never talks about incidents like that. King had to point out to the user that the byline on that article was in fact “Sean King”.

          • justinbc

            I’m not sure how you can seriously say that there are no polarizing sides, are you just trolling? Do you not see the same news reports that I regularly do, where one set of protesters is pitted against another? What I’m referencing, specifically, just in case you’re actually trying to have a serious discussion, is what devolves as such:
            1) someone is upset about / wants to change something / etc as it relates to police behavior, guns, violence, whatever
            2) someone makes remark that is factually true, regardless of context
            3) left jumps to defend cause they’ve been defending against right, without evaluating the remark on its own
            4) right does the same
            5) no progress is ever made
            If you (plural) want white America to change its view on police violence against blacks, you first have to get them to take a stand against police violence against whites. They’re not just going to do it out of white guilt, the majority of people who feel that are liberals and they’re already on your side. You have to make them actually live up to their #alllives tropes, by doing something to hold everyone to the same standard.

          • I don’t agree with “If you (plural) want white America to change its view on police violence against blacks, you first have to get them to take a stand against police violence against whites.”
            .
            Police violence against whites isn’t getting massive news coverage. Police violence against blacks is. People aren’t going to take a stand about something they don’t even realize exists.
            .
            I think HaileUnlikely did a good job of articulating the goal: “get[ting] the rest of the population to wake the hell up and recognize that police use of force generally, and deadly force specifically, is a big big problem that affects everybody. Yes it affects African Americans disproportionately, but it affects everybody, and everybody should be concerned about it.”

          • justinbc

            @textdoc, you have to make the situation relatable. Ignorance is not an excuse in the information era. Just as many of them weren’t aware that disproportionately (not adjusting for number of encounters) black people are killed, and now through vocal opponents they are. The problem, as I see it, is that too many of the people who (political affiliation wise) should be advocating for it feel like it has to be an either / or situation. That somehow educating white people about their own dangers means that you can’t also help to make changes in regard to the danger to black people, because it distracts from their argument. I like to think we can do more than one thing at a time, but maybe that’s my own naive optimism (since historically we’ve struggled to even accomplish one).

      • C’mon Justin, you’re a numbers guy. Why would you put that fallacious statement out there? White people are 70%+ of the US population. Black people are what, 10%? 12%? Why on earth would twice as many white people being killed by police make anyone feel “better”? You’re still several times more likely to be killed by a cop if you’re black.

        • “Why on earth would twice as many white people being killed by police make anyone feel “better”?

          Agreed

        • justinbc

          I don’t think it literally makes anyone feel better, but it might give their friends from another country some perspective about how we view police brutality as a whole in the nation. My point is not that it’s statistically “fair” how often one race is killed versus another, but that over 300 white people have been shot and killed by police this year, and you see no outrage from the white community about their OWN race. That’s obviously ignoring the #alllivesmatter tropes, which have nothing to do with actually valuing all life, but disrespecting another movement.

        • He chooses to be willfully ignorant. Simple as that.

          • justinbc

            And you choose to be naive or irrationally optimistic, I’m not sure which is worse.

          • Let me play devil’s advocate for a second here.
            .
            There is a saying I’ve seen about people thinking that problems aren’t really problems because they don’t affect them. In this particular case, if the “them” is a white person who believes police violence isn’t a problem since it “doesn’t affect them,” justinbc’s perspective actually may assist in drawing in some people with this attitude simply because they were unaware that it was a wider-spread issue.
            .
            Not agreeing, but just saying…

      • HaileUnlikely

        To both Justin and wdc – I think we still lack usable and informative data on citizen exposure to police officers in the context of law enforcement actions. When citizens are killed by police officers, it is usually in the context of a law enforcement action of some sort, not police simply walking down the street and firing their weapons at random. Although I do not believe good data exists on the total number of times that police interact with citizens in the context of law enforcement actions, I would be downright astonished to learn that all races are equally likely to interact with police in the first place. To the extent that those rates are unequal, some of that difference is likely due to police treating different populations differently (profiling and similar), but some of it probably isn’t. Not to say that this makes it legitimate or ok, my point here is purely a statistical one: comparing the simple per capita rates is about as legitimate as comparing the raw numbers – both are extremely lazy and uninformative comparisons that contribute zilch to gaining a useful understanding of an important and complex issue.

        • Yes, lack of data on gun deaths overall is a huge problem. And one that won’t get resolved if we let the NRA and their pet politicians have their way.
          “I would be downright astonished to learn that all races are equally likely to interact with police…” The problem is that LAW ABIDING black people are far more likely to have interactions with police. I’d be interested to know how many of those white people were shot by police while sitting in their car reading, for example.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I don’t doubt that what you assert here is true, but we don’t have data on that, and I’d rather just admit we very obviously have a serious problem, and also admit that we can’t yet quantify the problem, rather than using virtually irrelevant population based rates to refute similarly unhelpful conclusions drawn from raw numbers.

          • justinbc

            There was a good piece on Vox yesterday “Why police so often see unarmed black men as threats” that’s worth a read, until the end when the author basically advocates for police giving up pursuit once any suspect has begun to flee. (the rational being that if you’re pursuing someone you’re more likely to engage in more-violent behavior once you catch them) But aside from that there’s a good bit of case-study analysis presented.

      • I don’t want to justify police killing black people by bringing the argument that they kill even more people! Police brutality is a big problem here and because black people are stopped more than other races the probability of them being killed is bigger. And yes with the disproportional percentage of blacks and whites in this country, and the amount of blacks being killed, you can’t say this is proportional! In any case I don’t want to see any video of anyone being killed when they didn’t do anything wrong and the police was not in danger, full stop. Police should be retrained and I suprised they are not acknowledging this issue.

        • justinbc

          Agreed Mona. I don’t want to see police killing anyone, even if “justified”. My wording of making your friends “feel better” was poor, the intent was to say that this country as a whole has become too desensitized to violence regardless of race. The black community is doing a good job of bringing to light their own plight, I wish the rest of the country would catch up. That’s all.

  • RANT: Frustrated that my company isn’t offering any telework options during the metro shutdown that begins next month. Sure, you’re allowing me to arrive later (‘flex arrival time’), but I still have to work the full hours of the day which means I leave work later and get home much later. I’m just frustrated that this is something I have no control over and it’s going to put an extra two hours onto my day (looks like I can take two buses) – I have so little time as it is working two jobs. It’s less than a month, so I know I’ll survive, so end rant, sorry folks, I’m okay now.
    RAVE: The weather is cooling off.

  • Rave: Applied for a really, really, really cool job which, for once, I totally have really, really good connections…
    .
    Rant: …in New York and probably a pay cut.

    • So you’d leave DC?

      • Yep. For a while, anyway. Until I cam back to work in the Hillary Administration, 😉

  • Rave: My rather silly, upbeat rave yesterday re: my haircut did NOT piss off the Fates enough for them to mess with my hair – everything came out very nicely, as I expected when you’re just asking for a trim!
    Rant: I am so incredibly tired. I wish I could just sleep for an entire day.
    Rave: Got a reduction in another bill from my hospital stay (Physicians’ bills, separate from hospital bills) and was able to pay that one off!
    Rant: Start feeling overwhelmed when I think of all the other bills that will need paying soon, and trying to figure out how to reduce expenses. I’ll be moving in Jan/Feb and hopefully saving a few hundred dollars a month, but until then….ugh. I love my job but working for a non-profit + more than a hundred thousand dollars in student loans just gets overwhelming sometimes.

    • Re: reducing expenses, do you budget? I find it very helpful to set income every month and budget accordingly. When I see myself getting close to reaching one budget I cut back. Those student loans make it so tough though.

      • I do, though I know I could do a better job at it. I’m trying to get in the habit of being more detailed and sticking to my guns more, and moving should hopefully give me a little bit of wiggle room, but yeah, oy!

    • I know how you feel, and that’s why I left. I may feel soulless working at a for-profit, especially in our industry, but I got mouths to feed and imma just have to be soulless for a while! What I can tell you is that current employer is definitely paying folks below market rate. I know you’re particular special connection to the job, but even going across the street could mean an easy 10% increase. It really does not hurt to look, and if/when you get a new job, have an honest conversation about it with Fearless Leader, she may be able to get you more (this was offered to me… after lunch time on my last day). Also check out various membership societies that are based in DC and look for people with our experience.

      • oh, Fearless leader is gone, didn’t you know? She took a new job elsewhere in the org! And I hear what you’re saying, but I did the “work a soulless job” think already, and it almost destroyed me. But I am more keen on bargaining with whoever I need to to see if this next year I can turn to my advantage at all…

        • *thing, not think!

        • Oh, and I forgot, the biggest reason to stay is that if I can work another 7 or so years at this place, I stand to have the balance of my loans forgiven (which will be a goddamn tax nightmare, but honestly the only way I’m ever going to be able to pay this off).

          • OMG, that is soooo worth it when you have that much in student loans!! You should def stay. Heck, I didn’t have a ton of student loans, but stuck with an employer (I didn’t like, actually hated) b/c they were paying it off. Don’t regret it.

          • If you’re doing the public service loan forgiveness program, they actually don’t tax you on the forgiven income (it’s only under the income-based repayment plans that they do). I’m also trying to get over $100,000 of loans forgiven by working for peanuts at a non-profit for 10 years, so I researched this extensively. Best of luck with your loans and your budgeting!

          • Sara – huh. I am currently doing an income-based repayment plan, that’s the only way I could afford monthly payments (otherwise they were going to be having me make payments that were more than half of my monthly salary!) – I thought in my case they will still tax me on forgiven monies…?

          • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is the one that forgives your loans after 120 monthly payments if you’re working for a 501(c)3, the govt, school, etc. If you’re trying to have your loans forgiven through that, those 120 payments can still be on an income-based repayment plan, but the remaining balance is NOT taxed because the PSLF is trying to give people incentives to take lower-paying jobs that require a lot of education (like…most non-profit jobs). If you did the IBR but were working for a for-profit entity, your loans would be forgiven in ~20 years (depending on the plan) and you would be taxed on the remainder. I hope that makes sense? I swear they make this confusing on purpose so people don’t actually take advantage of it.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Sara’s interpretation of how forgiven student loans are taxed is consistent with mine, but you should confirm that for yourself from official sources.

          • Sara – I’m working for a 501(c)3, have been for about 3 years (1 1/2 yrs at one 501c3, then another 1 1/2 almost 2 at this one), but I’m doing an Income-Based repayment plan because otherwise, I can’t afford the payments..I was hoping that after 10 years at this place, I could have my loans forgiven….that’s what I was told by my loan servicer….am I doing this wrong?

          • LBP – you are right, you just have to apply for forgiveness through the PSLF program after 120 qualifying payments. I actually submit my employment information annually to my loan provider, and they keep a record of how many payments I’ve made, and how many I have left. You’re not required to do that, but it’s a good practice, especially if you change jobs, because then once the 10 years is up they already have a record of all of the payments you made while you were working in public service. Go to studentaid dot fed dot gov or google Public Service Loan Forgiveness for more info.

          • Rachel – thanks for the clarification, and that’s a GREAT strategy, I really like it! Thanks so much!

          • You have to be on an income based repayment plan to qualify for pslf, so if you just got on the plan, the 10yrs started now not when you first made payments without being on an ibr plan. You also have to stay with the charity, govt, etc until the loans are forgiven. As mentioned forgiveness under this program is NOT taxable.

        • No! I didn’t! Last I heard from her was this past summer. I have her as a reference… I hope the email still works lol.
          Heads up on bargaining, these talks start in December/January because that’s when they start the new budget planning. Don’t wait, start talking now. One issue may be if your position is in any way grant funded (I think it might be?) because there may be limitations on the portion the grant pays for.
          Still though, I hear ya on not wanting to go the for-profit route, but keep your options open. You never know what is out there, and there are positions very similar to yours elsewhere. It just really sucks that as awesome as it is to work there, a lot of the people who do could qualify for food stamps. The pay sucks.

        • Thanks, Anon Spock, I have been on an IBR since the loan went into repayment – the amount has changed based on changes in job/salary, but yeah, I’ve only ever worked for 501(c)3’s and I’m trying to make sure I’m doing everything I’m supposed to, but it can be really challenging to find some of this information. Luckily my loan servicer has been super nice and tried their best to answer all my questions, I just get myself stressed out sometimes!

          • If you Google pslf, there is a website with lots of info. As Rachel suggested, you can also do forms to have the servicer help you keep up with how many payments you have in and how many are left. For now, all you have to do is make payments and continue working in the proper field which also includes government and private nonprofits in addition to the 501c3. Once you’re done with the 120 payments, you have to apply for forgiveness. Perhaps looking in those other areas could give you a pay bump while still offering the forgiveness.

    • I have the same issue re: high student loans. I’m trying out “no spend weeks” where Mr. Eggs and I grocery shop/meal plan and prep on Sundays for the week and then spend NOTHING else throughout the week (aside from usual necessary expenses like metro fare or gas). Nothing extra. Then at the next pay period, anything we have left over goes straight to debt.

      • Thanks for the suggestion, eggs! Not sure how much difference it’ll actually make, but I guess I could make it into a challenge and see!

    • Glad your hair turned out okay and hooray for getting a reduction in hospital costs!

  • Rant: Chopped a bunch of hot peppers for freezing last night, knew I should be wearing gloves but I didn’t. Burned my hands, still feeling it this morning. Serves me right.
    Rave: What to do with a surplus of tomatoes (besides roasting) and some not-fresh bread? Make Fata, a spicy Eritrean bread/tomato/yogurt salad. Good for dinner, and breakfast!

  • Rave: Slightly more mobile. Thank god for a walking boot. Managed to bike share to the train this morning :-).
    Rant: Decided to come into the office. I can keep the foot elevated but the icing won’t happen so it’ll just throb for the day.
    Rant: Very important doctor too important to return phone call regarding med I need to make sure I don’t get a blood clot while my foot is broken.
    Rave: Set an end date for old job, have told most of my colleagues, and have set a start date. Starting to feel real! Also, giddy that my new place of work uses Macbooks. No more shitty Dells!

  • Rave – saw the musical “Come From Away” last night. It was outstanding. I’m going again. I didn’t know what to expect, and this wonderful. Go see it!

    Rant: My hip is being weird. Not sure if I’m just old, or what (doesn’t matter if I am wearing heels, or flats, or no shoes) but I’m going to the doctor on Friday to see if they can figure out what is going on.

    Rant: An Overdramatic friend playing the martyr with regards to their health. I feel incredibly manipulated and angry.

    Wondering: if I should move back to New York next year. Lots of pros and cons to take into consideration. Unsure if my wanting to be back there is a reaction to the shitty past couple of years and I’m thinking of it through the veil of nostalgia, or if it’s time to cut bait and go? Maybe my trip there in a few weeks will help me sort that out a little bit.

    • In my experience, moving to NYC (have done so twice) makes life much better. Will do so again with no question if I can get offered a job there.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: My shoes squeak.
    Rave: Found some Lady Londonderry tea in my cabinet; I thought I was out.

  • RAVE: Just found out they’re going to offer me the job. Still waiting to see the offer (and negotiate) but I’m so happy!

    UDPie, I think we’re having the same week. Fingers crossed the offer is what I want and need (and deserve).

  • Rant – Saw some interesting job postings on USAJobs, but I’m so fed up with that website and I don’t even want to apply to them. I’ve applied to countless federal jobs over the past two years and have never heard anything back.
    .
    Rave – Fun and exciting weekend coming up!

  • First World Commuting Rant: The elevator at the metro stop where Baby Artie goes to daycare is down for repairs until next year. Today this meant getting off metro a stop early and taking a cab. I don’t feel comfortable putting the baby in the stroller on the escalator. I think it is time to see if he’s ready to transition to stroller without car seat attachment because then I can fold up the stroller and hold him on the escalator. So many logisitcs with a little person.
    Rave: If this is the worst rant to affect me personally today, I’m doing ok.
    MAJOR RANT: With some many police shootings of people of color, I am becoming desensitized to the violence. It is horrifying that it continues to happen and that I’m no longer in any way shocked when I read a headline about the police shooting another unarmed black man. I really don’t know what it is going to take to change things. I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about our world today.

    • Is wearing him while commuting an option? I know this can be difficult while carrying bags, but a good front carrier (Ergo, Boba, whatever) should allow you to comfortably carry a back pack.

      • I wish! We have a 20 minute walk to the metro from our house (with quite a few hills), and he already weights almost 18lbs. I just don’t think I’m fit enough to wear him and carry his gear and my lunch, purse, etc., every day. I think the compromise will be to put him in the baby bjorn for the ride up the escalator that way I’m not holding him with one hand and the folded stroller with the other.

        • For what it’s worth, I used an ergo to commute with mtpkiddo until she was 2–and she was 25 pounds at that point (and I was 5-6 months pregnant). Mtpbaby is over 20 pounds, and we use the ergo for him as well.
          .
          Baby Artie is roughly 6 months old, right? He should definitely be able to use a stroller w/o car seat. Also–can you put your purse, lunch, and (some of?) his gear in a backpack so it’s all or mostly in one bag? That helps a lot.
          .
          As for the 20-minute walk, would using the bus help?

  • That One Guy

    Rant: not 10 minutes after arriving into the office and I manage to get and ink stain on my sleeve. Of course I had to use a felt tip pen, didn’t I.
    Rave: my mom’s doctor is immune to my mom’s diarrhea of the mouth about health complaints and isn’t as flustered as she could be from it.
    Rant: more doctors visits scheduled. Hopefully it’s not serious.
    Rave: Am bald already so no need to worry about losing hair from all the stress.

    • “mom’s diarrhea of the mouth” – boy! There’s an image! I know it’s a common turn of phrase, but my oh my is it descriptive in the worst of ways! Sorry for the stress you’re under, and glad you and the doc are trying to take it in stride!

      Can you keep a little Tide pen or Shout wipes at your office desk for any future ink-related emergencies?

    • I had to chuckle at that last rave. 🙂

    • Emmaleigh504

      Hope your mom is ok.

  • Rave: two new rugs, pink with traditional prints, ordered from Target while on sale. I’m thinking about ordering one more while they’re still on sale. Yay for in store returns!
    Rave: started my new assignment part time to another group and lots of people are excited about it. It’s great, but there’s a lot of pressure.
    Rave: this other group has a lot of resources, so I basically get to pick a conference where ever I want and go to it. I’m vetting one in London right now!
    Rave: don’t have time for Rants, just a lot of work and excitement.