Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

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.

We’ll be back to our normal posting schedule tomorrow.

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71 Comment

  • maxwell smart

    RANT: Really think DC needs to re-evaluate metro/parking/lane restrictions on “holidays.” Columbus Day & Veterans Day are not holidays for everyone outside of government jobs. With unrestricted parking and the reversible lane deactivated, 16th street was a single lane going South and a total parking lot.

    • Same thing on Mass Ave., though I leave early enough that it wasn’t an issue.
      .
      More problematic is the idiot drivers who acted as if Rock Creek Parkway was one-way starting at 7:00. On the Waterside drive entrance, on normal commuting days the regular entrance to RCP is blocked off and commuters entre RCP through what normally is the northbound exit from Mass Ave. Today, I saw two drivers default to that, even though the regular entrance wasn’t blocked off and traffic was still two- way. Then, while on RCP, I saw several speed into oncoming traffic, again thinking that RCP was one way. With the speeds of cars with little traffic in the morning, this could easily lead to a catastrophic result. Not sure what can be done about it, other than, as *** said, rethinking the traffic patterns on these pseudo-holidays.

      • maxwell smart

        Same thing in 16th – saw several drivers following the regular (non-holiday) lane rules and move over into the reversible lane and nearly hit on-coming traffic. Which is maybe a good reason to run the reversible lanes, even on holidays.

      • HaileUnlikely

        It kind of amazes me that the reversible lanes work as well as they do during ordinary conditions; it does not surprise me at all that there are massive problems on days when they don’t work the way that they usually do.

        • Yep, even after reading this, I got in the wrong lane on Ct. Av. this afternoon, thinking it was a typical weekday. Seeing headlights coming at me quickly reminded me that it wasn’t – luckily the cars in the next lane were amenable to letting me cut back over.

    • DC’s Emancipation Day (in April) is also a holiday, which a lot fewer people have that off.

      • I feel like almost no one has that off. It’s ridiculous that they’d consider that a holiday for parking/transportation purposes….

  • Bear

    Rant: MARC schedule not posted on their website, had to find out that my train wasn’t coming when I was getting ready to leave the house this morning and checked the real-time tracker. Had to wake up my husband to drive me to metro – he was not pleased. I still don’t know what an R schedule means, since that’s not mentioned anywhere on the time table, so I don’t know if I have to take metro home too.
    Rave: Don’t mind working the holiday because I’m taking Friday off instead to hang out with family who will be in town for my baby shower. I’m really excited to see them, it’s hard to go through pregnancy and not be close to family.

    • ugh, bear, i feel you! apparently the “R” schedule is the new “S” schedule, just went into effect recently. i am a daily rider and only heard of it last week via the MARC email alert. schedule is here: https://mta.maryland.gov/sites/default/files/Penn%20Line%20Sched%209-17-16%20pdf.pdf

      rant: my usually-express train this morning was PACKED and stopped at every single stop, making me late to work. the schedule does not indicate that it would be doing that.

    • According to MARC – from the PDF or printed schedule: ONLY trains designated with an R at the top of the column will operate when limited service conditions or special circumstances warrant. On days of heavy snowfall or other severe weather, MARC will operate this special schedule. Additional stops marked with an R will be made when this schedule is in effect.

      MARC started posting today’s limited schedule last week- I think on Wednesday, in the stations and through their alerts. I think they are only running one morning and one afternoon train today on the Camden line, but not sure which line you take. If you look up the PDF of the schedule online, it should be the R schedule.

      • Bear

        Yeah, I figured out that my bookmarked schedule is an older version, when the “R” schedule was known as the “S” schedule. So the one I was looking at didn’t have any mention of the R schedule. Good news is that I have an excuse to leave the office early since my normal train isn’t running today!

        • Great! I was in somewhat the same boat but was able to work from home and avoid the whole drama. I noticed that the marking on the schedule I had earlier this summer is different from the one they’re posting now. Confusing since they carry the same date but I was wondering if this is for the upcoming winter commute…

  • Rave: What an amazingly beautiful day yesterday!!! Yay for beautiful Washington fall days!
    Rant: Litterers and (just as bad) people who leave their old furniture, etc…in front of their apartments “for free.” Grrrr…. Take it to Goodwill!

  • skj84

    Rave: The African American History Museum was worth the wait. I went with my parents, aunt and brother on Sat, and despite the lines to get into the 1st floor, actually had enough room to get good looks at the exhibits. Unfortunately we didn’t have as much time as I would like, We really didn’t get started until 3:30 and spent an hour looking in the Slavery-Civil War portion. I’m glad I got to walk through the Civil Rights section with my Mom and hear her recollections on the Era. Both she and my dad grew up in the height of it. I actually started getting shaky especially seeing the remnants of Jim Crow. I’m so glad I didn’t make it into the Emmitt Till Room. I don’t think I could handle it. Going back in February, hoping to see more of the Arts and culture sections.
    Rant: Was woken up by roommate and her boyfriend when they got in at 2am last night, and proceeded to have loud conversations until 4am among other things. Sound really carries in my house, and I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Nothing was helping, I turned up my ambient noise app, I turned on the radio, I took a Xanex to calm my nerves, I could still hear them. I can’t be the only one who thinks its really inconsiderate to have full voice conversations at 2am in the morning? I have a hard time sleeping as it is, being woken up is a major pet peeve of mine. I want to give the benefit of doubt, but I’m running on 4 hours of sleep and I’m really freaking cranky right now.

    • I found that talking to my roommates, explaining that they are a little too loud and I need to work in the morning, has been a big relief. If you’re nervous, take the Xanax before you TALK to them. I know anxiety’s a bitch but if you’re taking your anxiety pill for sleep, that’s a problem.

      • skj84

        I will admit I hate confrontation and wasn’t super keen on the awkwardness of asking them to keep it down, especially since they had been partaking in ‘other’ nighttime activities. Plus the boyfriend gives me the creeps. But yeah, I do wish I had said something, it may have helped. I don’t really take my Xanex that often, but I was pretty desperate at that time. I did send the roommate a text, hopefully she’ll be more considerate going forward.

        • I wish our personalities could somehow merge… I probably would have been so annoyed that I would have just interrupted their “other” activities by yelling at them to keep it down because I could hear everything (probably not very nice.) There has to be some kind of happy medium, right?

          • skj84

            Hahahaha. It crossed my mind. I did get up several times, once to turn my clock radio, once to close the basement door, once to turn the AC on(my last resort). I was hoping they’d hear me stomping around and get the hint. No luck. Sometimes I can be a force to reckon with, and sometimes I can be too passive. Need to find a happy balance!

        • Anonynon

          I mean other nighttime activities is par for the course….that’s called living with someone. Granted, they shouldn’t be outrageously loud or obnoxious about it or it be an every night type of thing…otherwise I would expect that ‘3rd’ roommate to be paying rent.

          • Of course it’s par for the course, but loudly at 3 or 4am on a weeknight is not par for the course. SKJ is living with someone, yes, but so is her roommate and she should keep that in mind as well. There should be a middle ground.

    • Re your second rant: I think that’s really rude. When I used to have a roommate, neither of us ever would have dreamed of having a conversation anywhere in the apartment after midnight or so (especially on a weeknight). I would have gone off.

      • skj84

        Thank you. I had a moment of doubt, like is it unacceptable to expect people to keep it down after a certain time at night? They walked in talking at full voice which initially woke me up(My room is on the first floor). If they had waited to continue their convo until they got to the room, or spoke softer I don’t think it would’ve been that much of an issue. And the fact that they kept it up for over 2 damn hours. I know it was at least 2 because I was awake from 2am to 4:30am.

      • I agree, that’s really rude of them to have full voice conversations late at night. I don’t even have roommates, but I do have neighbors, so I try to talk quietly after about 11 pm.

    • maxwell smart

      I feel your sleepy pain, not from noisy roommates, but from the dog upstairs that has really bad separation anxiety and whose owners didn’t come home until 4am. I ended up turning on the AC to drown out the sounds of howling dog, which made my apartment VERY chilly this morning.

      • I wonder if the neighbor knows? My old building had a dog with separation anxiety and the owner was completely unaware that the dog howled/barked all day, every day until a neighbor told her.

  • That One Guy

    Rant: While I appreciate the smooth commute this morning, I would prefer to be curled up in a warm bed instead. Anyone else feel really cold outside or is it just me?

    • skj84

      It’s cold. I wore my jacket instead of a coat and immediately regretted my decision. Also wish I was back in bed. So jealous of those who have the day off. We only get the major federals off.

    • I was surprised by how cold I felt, I was regretting not wearing gloves. Even though my head says “It’s not that cold out,” my fingers were telling a different story!

    • When I left my house, without a jacket, it was 51 degrees, which in no universe can objectively be called cold. Nevertheless, I spend my entire trip rubbing my hands to get them warm.
      Related Rant, but really a Rave: My commute so short that my car doesn’t warm up sufficiently to use the heater.

  • Rave: Lovely weekend – got lots done, and also had fun picking 22 lbs worth of apples and then brunching with Spite Cupcakes! I am going to be making apple goods for days!!! Any “must make” recipes or treats anyone wants to share?
    Rant: Trying to figure out my health insurance options – this week is our benefits fair and as expected, it’s been fairly useless in terms of figuring out what would be the best way to not spend an arm and a leg but also get the coverage I need to see multiple specialists, and also because I’m going to need minor surgery next year (and then whatever else life sees fit to throw my way). Does anyone have any insight on PPO vs. HMO vs. high-deductible with HSA? I’m so overwhelmed right now, trying to anticipate how much this is going to cost me!

    • High-deductible w/HSA – plus side: (usually) lower upfront cost; generally the same coverage/network as PPO. The best part really is the HSA. HSAs are awesome in that you can change the amount your contribute vs. electing an annual contribution amount, so you can adjust up/down for anticipated medical expenses. Also, the money rolls-over year to year so there’s no use or lose. The downsides are: Having to pay 100% of your medical costs until you hit that deductible amount (minus the things that must be covered under ACA). Once you hit that deductible, you still have to pay your share. So if you use the doctor a lot, it can be very, very expensive.
      HMOs: Plus side – usually cheaper all around. But, minus side – they are cheaper because you have less choice and only cheaper if you use in-network providers. Having said that, I do know people who have been happy with, say, Kaiser, and who are happy with the ease of care an HMO like that provides. I’m not sure given your need for specialists that this would be a good option, but you could always check first to see who accepts what.
      PPOs: Offer the best choices, more providers.

      • That One Guy

        One minor detail about HSA, you can’t spend the money until you actually bank it. Hence HSA should not be confused with FSA.

        • I’m so confused! What would that mean, then, if I have an Rx that costs $500 (w/out insurance) to renew, and have to have surgery say, in April? If I haven’t banked that money, what the hell happens?

          • HaileUnlikely

            I do not know if your hypothetical plan is the same as my actual High Deductible/HSA plan (it probably isn’t), but in mine, if I hadn’t hit my deductible yet and didn’t have enough money in my HSA yet to cover the prescription, I’d have to pay for the prescription out of pocket, but later, when I have more money in my HSA, I could use the HSA to reimburse myself that was theoretically eligible for payment via HSA but that I paid on my own since the HSA didn’t have enough money in it yet.

          • That One Guy

            Basically what Haile said.

          • Well that ain’t gonna work because I don’t have $1500+ or whatever to front! Theoretically just renewing 2 or 3 of my Rx in the new year I would hit my deductible, but I can’t afford to front that kind of money. Blerg.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Would your employer make a contribution to the plan at the beginning of the year? (Mine contributes half of our deductible each year on Jan 1. It would not be sufficient to cover a large expense on Jan 1, but it would give me time to bank more in the HSA). In any event, it sounds like you are thinking about exactly what you need to be thinking about to inform your decision.

          • Haile – I don’t know if/what my employer contributes, I’ll need to look into this further…ugh! I’m trying to be grateful that I at least have health coverage, I just wish our insurance system wasn’t so f-ed up! (Also, I wish I didn’t have to deal with so many specialists etc, but since that’s not possible, I wish this process was less stressful). Thanks all for your thoughts/comments.

        • That’s not entirely true. I just spent money in my HSA that was over my banked amount.

        • That One Guy

          The problem we all run into while making selections for health insurance coverage is the two fold, (i) having little information as the costs we will incur from going to the doctor and/or the hospital (i.e., little cost transparency), and (ii) the extent of the services we’ll need (i.e., we’re looking at a crystal ball to predict the future, to an extent). Dcd’s post below is good. We all should run some hypotheticals and figure out costs. Talk to your HR health specialist to get specific answers/general advice related to your specific situation.
          .
          Part of what I am mindful of on the cost side is what my deductible is before I hit co-insurance (typically 80%/20% for my insurance coverage), and also what my out of pocket maximum will be. Each plan has its own sliding scales for the above so worth going through the numbers.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I don’t know if the following applies to you, but if it either clearly does or might be close, compare the maximum out-of-pocket expenses for plans that you are considering, and compare your maximum total cost (total cost of premium payments plus the out of pocket maximum) for all of them. It isn’t necessarily that the one with the lowest out-of-pocket max or lowest total out-of-pocket-max plus premiums is the winner, but if one plan appeared to have some appeal but would have a much *higher* out-of-pocket-max and there would be some non-trivial possibility of that actually coming into play, I’d think very carefully about that. Some people who go to the doctor a lot (or have something expensive going on) routinely blow through their out of pocket max halfway through the year and don’t have to pay anything for the rest of the year. I realize that makes budgeting more difficult if some of your appointments cost several hundred dollars rather than say a $35 copay, but it can still end up costing significantly less overall (not always, and probably not usually, but it definitely can sometimes).

    • Re the health insurance, it’s a highly personal assessment for each person/family, but here are some factors to consider:
      – If you don’t mind sticking strictly in network and getting referrals, HMOs can be less expensive. But, if you need to see specialists (or a surgeon), you should see whether they’re in network, and remember that even if they are, they might not stay there.
      – If your employer makes annual or bi-annual contributions to a HSA (many do), factor that in.
      – I have found that a HDHP/HSA is more cost effective for my family, even after hitting the deductible. But, that’s our particular experience.
      – Prescriptions are treated differently in a HDHP/HSA v. a PPO. In a HDHP, they count against your deductible, so you have to pay out of pocket for them until you hit the deductible. In a PPO, there generally is a prescription plan with a set schedule for co-pays.
      – Run a bunch of different calculations re different scenarios – your expenses are $1000, $2000, $5000, etc., and see what your cost under each plan is. A lot of this is your own personal risk assessment – whether you want to guard against the worst case scenario (my default), or whether you pick the likely scenario and try to pick the cheapest option.
      – Remember that this decision only lasts for one year, and can be changed at open enrollment next year. Don’t let it consume you – it’s important, but not irrevocable.

    • Teaism’s ginger-apple loaf recipe is online. It is sensational, but I wish it had more apples.

  • Rave: Working from a coffee shop this morning, surrounded by interesting creative people. I love the energy of these places – it’s so inspiring.
    Rant: Slight metro diaster yesterday. Note to self: listen to the announcements so you don’t end up back in Wheaton.
    Revel: Amazing and restful birthday weekend. Two words are going to define 35: sassy and powerful. Because why not?

  • Rave: Athletes that pushed back on Trump’s “locker room talk” BS
    Rant: None from DC (that I saw) and overall not very many in general (I guess they may not be watching…or are Trump supporters).

  • Rave: Took my daughter to Earth Treks on Sunday – she had a great time, I learned to belay, and I have the feeling that we’re going to be spending a lot of time at climbing gyms in the future.
    Rant: Climbing ain’t cheap.
    Rave: With the demise of the Ski Center on Mass Ave., I don’t think there are any places for adults to do seasonal leases on skis/boots in the DC area anymore. So, after Earth Treks we went to Sun and Ski, where we spend 2.5 very enjoyable hours being assisted by Ryan (among others), who, it turns out, lives in Columbia Heights, and was extraordinarily knowledgeable and helpful
    Tip: if you need ski stuff, go in the fall, during a Redskins game and a Nationals playoff game. Place was deserted.
    Rant: I tried four separate ways, and ultimately had to use Google to correctly spell knowledgeable above. Gonna be one of those days.
    Rant: Ski equipment ain’t cheap, though by going in the fall and buying last year’s equipment, we got fantastic deals – close to half price, all told. But still.

    • That One Guy

      Once you go rock climbing a few time and have the figure 8 knot and the grigri down, you should ask for a belay certification so that it’ll be a little cheaper/easier to climb.

      • I can take the test for belay certification next time we go – they don’t let you take it the same day you learn, because they want to be sure you have it in long-term memory. But, I it’s pretty straightforward, and they gave us a length of rope to take home for practice, so I think I’ll be OK.

  • Rave: We have a half-useable bathroom! There’s a floor, toilet, and bathtub but no shower or sink yet. But at least I can sleep in my bedroom again and not have to travel downstairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
    Rave: 3D ultrasounds – so cool and creepy at the same time.
    Rave: Sweater weather!
    Rave: I also think this weather calls for homemade scones. I may have to make that happen this evening.

  • I Dont Get It

    Rave: I had a *Me* day yesterday and stayed in bed all day so now
    Rant: I have a sore lower back.
    Rant: Needed a Silkwood Shower after that toxic mess last night.
    Rant: Many people I have meetings with today took PTO today but didn’t bother to send a meeting decline in advance.

  • Rant: Watched the debate.
    Rant: Was wired afterwards And Could Not Sleep. Handwringing and hanky-twisting worrying about whether Americans will Do Right Thing…

  • Rant: Can anyone recommend a good marriage counselor?

  • Rave: Fiance drove me to work this morning, even though he has the day off, and even came in to have coffee with me! 🙂
    Rave: Had a wonderful weekend, including 2 night trips to Gravelly Point (last night was CHILLY) and a viewing of Deepwater Horizon. Yikes, that was intense.
    Rant: Do NOT want to be at work, only here so I can get a comp day for it. Still need time off for the wedding!
    Rant: While we did NOT watch the debate, the group house that lives above us had a huge group of hill staffers over to watch. Thus our second trip to Gravelly Point. Fiance went up there at 11 to ask them if they could please be quiet, as I had to work today, and no one who actually lives there would come to the door. Also, apparently the girls scattered when he knocked on the door so…what was going on, exactly?

    • Accountering

      That is ridiculous. I can see watching the debate loudly as a group, but not answering the door? Come on…

  • Rave: BRUNO MARS coming to the DMV finally!
    Rant: It’s at National Harbor. Sigh. The last time I tried to get an Uber from NH I had 4 drivers cancel on me and the last one who accepted her car smelled like cigaweed.

  • RANT:

    Washington DC is the capital of the country and the gateway for many people visiting. As such, the roads are in terrible shape! Mt taxi cab driver, having recently arrived from Nigeria, commented that the roads are worse than some 3rd world countries!

    Also, 5th street in Petworth is an obstacle course! I bike to work and am glad everyday to arrive without falling off!

    Enough of the “Taxation Without Representation”, lets have Taxation put to Good Use!

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