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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75 Comment

  • Itsuo

    Does anyone know how I can investigate the traffic rules for a particular intersection?

    I walk across Constitution NW where it merges into Pennsylvania Ave NW right in front of the U.S. District Court, and for cars in all three lanes turning right onto Penn headed west, there seems to be some confusion about who must wait on a red light and who can execute a right turn on red (all three lanes turn right).

    It can be fairly dangerous once cars from all three lanes start taking the right turn on red because they all start to just follow without stopping at all and it creates chaos for pedestrians attempting to get through. It’s also hard for a pedestrian in the crosswalk with cars approaching because they are way back over your right shoulder–if you’re headed in a NW direction.

    I’d like to raise this issue to MPDC for pedestrian safety but I need to know if it’s actually prohibited first…

    • i drive this intersection every day … i always took it to be a right on red, which means that cars should technically each come to a full stop, check to see if peds or other cars are coming, and then proceed cautiously. unfortunately, more than once, i’ve been “in the front of the line” letting a ped cross while other drivers behind me honk at me to go, not even thinking that someone else might have the right of way…

      so, unless you expect MPD to change the (awful) driving habits of the average DC commuter, there’s probably not much to be done. but hey, anything that could calm down drivers and make them share the road would be worth attempting!

    • Its a right on red for all 3 lanes and that is a really bad place to attempt to cross the street imo and given that there is no real competing traffic because of the one way there, I can see people flowing through after doing a “california” stop as they call it.

      • Itsuo

        I appreciate both of your comments, it doesn’t solve the problem but I suppose I will just change my route to work!

    • If you have a walk signal, you have the right of way over cars trying to turn right on red. If cars aren’t yielding to you as a pedestrian, they are breaking the law. Please do raise the issue to MPDC, although I’m not sure they’ll do much about it. You might also consider contacting All Walks DC; they might have some idea of who you can contact that might make a difference.

    • Right turn on red is only legal after coming to a full stop and yielding to pedestrians. On that basis alone it sounds like you have a point to raise with MPD, regardless of whether cars from all three lanes are allowed to turn right on red (which FWIW I always thought they were NOT).

  • Does anyone know a good dinner party murder mystery game? (e.g. with roles I can assign, rules to follow, etc). Ive always been in to crime serials (e.g. murder she wrote, law and order, etc) and think some of my friends are JUST nerdy enough to indulge me in throwing one of these dinner parties.

    Excited for cooler weather ont he weekend :))

    • I’ve done a couple of these hosted by a friend of mine, but all of her games were given to her by her parents when they found them unopened in their house haha. They’re from the 80s and are amazing. Everyone gets a role and has to dress up and be in character all night while you slowly hand out clues and such. It looks like the company “My Mystery Party” has similar ones, and LOTS of options.

    • I’ve heard good things about ordering from Playing with Murder (Website is the same with no spaces). Small Things Blog does a mini review of it and offers a discount code.

    • I’ve found it’s hard to get the right group of men/women in the premade games, but I worked with Shot In The Dark Mysteries and with Leigh directly and it was about $40.

    • I wish my friends would do this!

  • Rant: ink hasn’t even dried on our mortgage and it’s now being serviced by Cenlar. I saw their reviews online and I’m now scared out of my mind. Of course no one is going to write a good review of someone servicing their mortgage, but still. I’m even more petrified because I mailed my check yesterday to the original mortgage company. They cheerfully informed me they would forward it to Cenlar no problem, but after reading review after review of Cenlar losing money and causing problems, I am scared to death. Anyone have experiences with them, or general advice?

    • Not specific to Cenlar, but set up electronic payment, but do not set up automatic payment. That way, you have both the ability to make instantaneous payments, but you’re not depending on them to do it. Also, you can keep detailed records of your transactions. Once that first payment hits the books, you should be OK, and you’ll have the records you need if you ever do have a problem.

      • This may be a better way than mailing payments, as I suggested. Just be sure it is YOUR bill-paying service, and that they do not have the ability to debit your account if they want to if they think you owe them something.

    • Just stay on top of keeping track of 1) when you mail your payments (perhaps spend to mail them overnight mail with signature required, so that you have proof of when you send them); and 2) keep track to see that they are cashing them immediately, so that you can proactively get ahead of any problem that might develop with their check processing. While it isn’t your responsibility to do so, if you are dealing with a company that has problematic systems, you may save yourself a ton of headaches if you monitor them and how well they service your mortgage.

    • I’m late in the day, but I didn’t have any problems with Cenlar when our mortgage was transferred after the first payment to our original company. It was since been transferred again to SunTrust, so I guess the good news is that you may not be with Cenlar for long.
      I would also second the suggestion to pay electronically. I will also note that I believe your payment can be received as late as the 15th of the month and still be on time, so you do have some cushion with mortgage payments.

  • Rave: Back in my own bed, in my own home.
    Rant: Downstairs apartment is under full gut and renovation and shit is permeating our home – emailed the landlord regarding safety and such and haven’t heard back. Plus the super had someone enter our home (with our permission) to work on some water thing, and they dirtied the house so much (including massive boot marks on my bathmats and gross hair in the sink). Contacted super and landlord again and haven’t heard back anything.
    Rave: Looking forward to a calm, relaxing weekend with my husband while we celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary!
    Rave: Happy in my work.

  • Rave: Second attempt at my cocktail was better. I now have a general idea of what I’m going to do, and I think once I have the real ingredients I’ll do much better.
    Rant: My best friends cat has sarcoma. Normally that is sad on its own, but this year she lost both her parents in less than 4 months, and I think this cat dying will push her over the edge. Bestie is a wreck, they are looking into treatments to save the kitty.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: I think I got the cold that’s going around; my chest hurts.
    Rave: Only 10 minutes late to work!

  • Field work and being away from everything familiar… Can’t really call it a rant or a revel. No, it’s totally a revel; except when I wake up in the middle of the night terrified that I might have unwittingly taken a drink from the tap at some point. And when the project grinds to a halt on a Friday afternoon because the staff all go to mosque but we have SO MUCH to do before everyone goes home to their villages for the weekend. And when I kick myself for not scheduling any leisure/exploration time even though I flew halfway around the world to a place I’ve never been before and will likely never go again, because I knew I would want to get home to my kids as quickly as possible. And when the electricity dies right when I try to hit “post” and who knows how long it’ll be for the power/ internet to come back online…
    But I have pineapple juice and a small flock of amazing black-and-green hummingbirds in the flowering hedge. So I can wait. It’s a revel, for sure.

  • Rave: Second day at new job. It’s…different. And the current people running the initiative are nice but work non-optimal hours. I’m going to start off in the way that works for me, and build expectations from that.
    Rave: Friday! I’ve worked at two jobs this week, had my broken foot healed, rode my bike for the first time in weeks, and slept terribly. I’m ready to see my boyfriend and eat the dinner he’s preparing. I’m not going to let myself think about the difficult conversation we’re supposed to have this weekend.

    • Good luck re: difficult conversation. Yay for it being Friday and for you having accomplished so much!

    • You have been winning in the “take life by the horns” department in the past few weeks. Will it help to frame the difficult conversation as just another step in your bad a** approach to living?

      Good luck – I dread those talks, but have always felt so much better when they are done (regardless of the outcome).

    • Yay! Congrats on getting out of the boot. I’m back to the doc on Monday and afraid it’s not healed the way it should be (hiking hills in Quito and waiting in four hour security lines in heels may not be good for a broken foot).
      Best of luck with the new job! Setting and building those expectations is a great idea. I’ve had a tough time getting myself in that mindset, since I’ve wanted to ingratiate myself to my new colleagues. But they’ve been encouraging me to work the way the works best for me, so yay for good new colleagues (like telling me I need to take my comp day since I traveled long distance and worked on a weekend already for a conference)!!

      • Boo about the sore foot!

        Thanks for the encouragement. I’m on the second morning, and I’m trying to get my bearings. It’s more administrative and less writing than I expected, but it’s literally less than 2 days in. I need to chill and learn.

  • Rave: Momofuku ssam sauce – I’ve been putting that in my kale and eggs these last few days and that stuff is delicious.
    Rave: New job with higher pay means we can start saving again. Feels good to see the account balance go in the other direction.
    Rant: This weather. I really just need it to be 60 degrees for the high. I am over summer.
    Rave: Found recipe for ginger tea I used to have on trips to Africa. Super excited to try this weekend.

  • Rant: Someone (or someones) in my building have been complaining that my dogs are barking “all day.” I know for a fact that they only bark when someone is standing right outside the door talking loudly, or if someone is knocking on the door. One of the complaints said that they were barking all day Wednesday, but I was off and home with them all day and they didn’t bark once. I’m not sure about the other day but I think whoever is complaining is mistaken. It’s very stressful and upsetting. We are looking in to getting a video camera that sends notifications of movements/sound because I really don’t like this back and forth of ‘no they weren’t’ ‘yes they were.’ It’s a dog friendly building. We pay $100 a month for the dogs to live there. It’s to be expected there will be occasional noise. I understand if they were howling all day long but that’s just not the case. Ugh.

    • If you were there all day and know for certain they weren’t barking I would just tell your management/landlord that and let them figure out whose dogs it actually is.

      • I did. I also asked them to send me the dates and times of the other complaints because if someone is going to accuse my household of something I at least deserve to know the details. I worry that they won’t believe me because when we first moved in a year and a half ago a woman who complained about everyone and everything complained in the first few days that they were barking (which they were because they were still getting used to the place) and she could hear them “walking around” all day. Because of all her complaining there is a formal complaint in our file. I’m actually not exactly sure what that means, and I know the eviction process is really complicated and dreadful for landlords, but I worry that because there is already a strike against us, something will happen to get us kicked out.

        • That is really annoying. I think a camera would be a smart idea. I’m relatively sensitive to dogs barking (there are several in my hall but i almost never hear them) but I wonder if in your case your neighbor just doesn’t like dogs? Do you know if anyone else has dogs near you? Maybe you can speak with them, too, to see if she has filed any additional complaints against people who aren’t you.

          • There’s one other dog on the floor. I keep hoping to run into her to ask her. Now that I think about it, I haven’t actually seen her with her dog in several weeks so I’m wondering if someone complained about hers as well and she sent the dog someplace else for a couple of weeks until things cooled down, which is what I did last time we got into this. I was thinking it might be one of my neighbors who my husband complained about earlier in the week who constantly fills the trash room with big cardboard boxes that aren’t broken down, but who knows!

          • Re: Not-broken-down boxes — OMG my floor has several of these people and I keep wanting to put up passive aggressive notes telling them to stop because one day I couldn’t even walk into the trash room there were so many!! Why are people so inconsiderate?! I’m sorry to hear that your building sounds particularly … difficult :/

    • In college, I was constantly annoyed at the people next door to me who had the loudest sex. One day, I had a conversation with one of the roommates next door, and she thought it was someone in our room. It turns out that it was the RA the floor above us who sounded like he was making his own personal porno. Sound can travel in strange ways. It may be a dog in a different apartment.

      • Ahh loud sex would be so much worse!! Sound definitely travels strangely, especially in these old buildings! You can perfectly hear every conversation in the lobby from inside the elevator. It could very well be a dog from a different floor. You never know, especially now that people probably have their windows open with this week’s weather.

  • Andie302

    Rave: Just bought a $2k Lowes gift card on Raise for $1841 – free moneyyyy
    Rant: I’d really like to be in Cambridge (MD) this weekend, but the renovation isn’t even CLOSE to done. Christmas is a pipe dream at this point.
    Rave: Friday – hope everyone has a great weekend!

  • Rant: Old tortillas make very messy breakfast burritos. Lesson learned.
    Rave: No weekend plans. I shouldn’t be this excited about having nothing scheduled but I’m really tired and could use a really lazy weekend.
    Rave: Colorful leaves! I love autumn.
    Rave: Decaf chai latte – it’s just so good this morning.

    • maxwell smart

      re RANT: Is there anywhere in DC to actually get good tortillas? I usually have to rely on care packages from NM.

      • There are a few restaurants that make homemade tortillas that aren’t too bad. I have been known to get an extra order or two of tortillas from Taqueria Habanero on 14th St. whenever I order takeout.

  • Rave: Mtpbaby and I ate chinese food without incident this week! Up next: Thai. Yay for expanding our take-out options again!
    Rant: Struggling with mtpkiddo’s desire to play with her brother’s toys and refusing to let him play with them when he wants to. Yes, they make noise and sing, but you have toys that do that too. As soon as he wants to play with something, that’s what she wants to play with. And now that the first birthday presents are rolling in, they are novel too–making them even more enticing. A little worried about creating a bad dynamic between them, but also want the poor kid to be able to play with his toys–especially when the alternative is him crying and pulling my skirt/pant leg while I’m trying to prep dinner or wash dishes….
    Rave: DC library.
    Rave: Happy Friday all!

  • Rave – Got a job offer!!! The job is in a different state closer to home.
    Rant – It mean a 35% pay cut. The job is in an area with a much lower cost of living but still… that’s a big cut. I am miserable at my current job but I just don’t know if it’s worth it to move for lower pay.

  • Rave: Letena finally opened – happy for good Ethiopian food in nearby Columbia Heights
    Rave: Derek McGinty guest hosting on the Diane Rehm show
    Rave: My green tomato/lemon marmelade is excellent
    Rave: #TrumpBookReport
    Rave: Working from home on this beautiful day πŸ™‚

  • Rant: Car failed DC Inspection yesterday and I’m leaving the country for 10 weeks tonight! If not that’s bad enough, the temporary registration and inspection sticker will I’m away. Anyone have experience with this dilemma? I suppose my car could get towed if MPD noticed the expiration, but that seems unlikely on my street (no parking restrictions). Assuming that doesn’t happen and I can get my car fixed when I get back, will I pay a lapsed registration fine? Help!!

    • Is there anywhere else you could park it that’s a private lot? (i.e. a friends garage or driveway, etc.)

      • I’d be wary about leaving it parked on the street that long anyway. What if Emergency No Parking signs go up for movers or construction crews? Maybe I live on an especially busy block, but there’s like a 50% likelihood of that happening on mine during a 10-day stretch.

        • I just re-read and realized you’ll be gone for 10 WEEKS not DAYS. If that’s true I think you are almost guaranteed to have your car ticketed and/or towed for one reason or another while you’re gone.

          • maxwell smart

            It depends… I live in one of the few areas in DC without zoned parking, so I don’t think there is usually any enforcement unless someone calls it in.

    • maxwell smart

      There will be a late fee on the inspection and a re inspection fee. I’m not sure if there is a late registration fee. Do you have a friend who can “watch” your vehicle while you are away?

  • Rant: Indecision. I need to decide if I want to transfer at work (with a move) or stay and I don’t really enjoy my work these days. I have no idea how to make big life decisions. I am overthinking to the point of paralysis. How does anyone figure out what they want?
    Rave: Having a job with some opportunities–clinging to perspective with both hands.

    • I mean, really when it comes down to it, you just have to pick something with the information you have or the decision will be made for you. That’s how I operate.

    • I’m a big fan of pro-con lists, sometimes weighting different components based on importance. It’s a bit nerdy, but really helps the debate stop swirling in my brain.

    • Andie302

      Writing down the pros and cons for each scenario, ranking them in order of importance, and then trying to weigh what gets you more pros with less cons may provide some perspective. (Even if one looks better on paper but your gut is telling you to go the other way, you can let that drive your decision.)

      • I am struggling with the lists–it comes down in part to how important ambition is to me. I may be a recovering over-achiever. Is there a program for that?

        • Andie302

          There has to at least be a book πŸ™‚

        • maxwell smart

          I 100% feel your pain, as I was/have been struggling with the same decision – transfer for better career opportunities and accept a lower personal/financial quality of life OR accept a career plateau but be able to put personal life ahead of career growth. It’s a very difficult position to be in, and ultimately after making numerous pro/con lists, running the numbers, etc. I really had to take a step back and look at the matter holistically and what felt right, even if wasn’t what seemed right on paper.

    • Pro/con lists don’t work for me and I never just have a “gut feeling” about major decisions to go with… my career counselor sent this to me when I was choosing between job offers and I found it pretty helpful: https://www.ted.com/talks/ruth_chang_how_to_make_hard_choices

      • maxwell smart

        Thanks for this! Going to listen this afternoon.

      • Pro-con lists get me thinking about stuff I haven’t thought about, but I still don’t know how to decide. The coin flip trick a friend suggested sometimes works – assign a decision to each of heads and tails, flip, and then see how you feel about the decision. Simplistic, but has helped me know whether I’ve made a right or wrong decision (so I can change it.)

        • maxwell smart

          Even sometimes just getting it out of my head and onto paper helps… if only to free my brain into thinking about other things.

  • rave: british soap Emmerdale. this was a big week and it was superb! lol.
    rave: got halloween themed nail polish going on

  • Rant: The people my office works with upstairs are not very nice.
    Rave: Two meetings and a phone call cancelled this morning. Going out for a nice lunchtime walk and keeping my eyes peeled for those lucky pennies!

  • I am working from home today and was looking out at my back alley when I saw three teenage boys up to no good. They were going from car to car checking for unlocked doors with the obvious intent to steal. I thought about calling the cops, but they quickly searched the area and left. It did not appear as though they were successful in getting into anyone’s cars.

    The alley is between 11th and 12th St NW and N and M St NW.

    I thought I would remind my neighbors and others who have cars in the area to keep their car doors locked.

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