Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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.

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166 Comment

  • Pablo Raw

    Rave: Somehow this weather makes me happy, maybe because it’s not that cold
    Rant: I’ve been feeling upset by something and I think I know now what it is. The internet has become a great source of fake information; people can say whatever they want and invent any story, some of us double check with other sources, etc. while the person who posts it doesn’t care. It’s kind of unfair. I’m not just referring to politics, I like archaeology and it’s the same thing.

    • skj84

      The uptick of fake news has greatly upset me. I never knew the scope until the election, its pretty frightening how these people go unchecked. The Comet Ping Pong story in particular has me really upset. These stories are like Pandora’s Box, you can debunk all you like, but they are never going away and people will still believe them.

    • That One Guy

      In other fake news, what rain? It’s always shiny and pleasant under the warm glow of president elect Trump’s orange visage.

    • I’m just shocked that it’s taken so long for people to realize this.
      It just feels that the media is all of a sudden reporting on this as if to excuse themselves from giving us Donald Trump.

  • skj84

    Rant: Sick day. At least I can work from home in my jammies.
    Rant: My best friend wants me to come to her dance performance in a couple of weeks and I don’t want to go. It’s a showcase of her dance class, its cost more than I want to pay, I went to her show in the summer, and honestly I’m a bit bitter because she made no effort to come to my show last month, despite me emphasizing how important it was to me. I know she really wants some support for this showcase, especially since her boyfriend is out of town, but i’d rather do something else that day.
    Rave: My December is looking pretty full, so thats good. Good mix of events with friends.

  • RAVE: I love all of the events and sites in DC around the holidays, getting my tree this weekend!
    RANT: Since I came back from the mid-west for Thanksgiving, there has been crazy crime in my area. Every single day I have encountered a road blocked by police vehicles with their lights on and had to reroute. On Saturday night I had plans, but wasn’t able to leave due to what seemed to be a violent crime and had to cancel my plans while listening to the horrible noises coming from the street.

  • Rant: Packing.
    Rave: Paris for work. And my husband will be with me (well…he’ll flit about Europe for work meetings but ultimately, he’ll come back to Paris with me.
    Rave: Tons of work and that’s ok. I know what I’m working towards, it’s success accrues to me (and my awesome colleagues), and I feel supported. Plus – comp days all this craziness!
    Rave: Which we’ll spend in Lisbon! Decided to just stay in one place (because sleeping in the same bed for 6 nights straight is apparently a luxury I don’t have) and do day trips. Cannot. Wait!

  • Rave: I had a date last night that was really nice — he was charming, kind, and he asked me out again (I said yes to a 2nd date)

    Rant: But I’m not sure there’s chemistry. Guess I’ll see if he gets in touch. Was it weird that he didn’t ask me for my phone number and just said he’d contact me on the dating site?

    Rave: Ladydoctor did NOT comment about my weight, I actually asked her what to do since I can only seem to lose/regain the same 5 pounds repeatedly and she said that I should have 60 grams of protein a day from real food (not shakes) – so besides peanut butter, greek yogurt and chicken breasts, does anyone have good suggestions? She also took extra blood to test my thyroid just in case something is wonky there.

    • its not weird that he didn’t ask for your number….I would say if he plans for a 3rd date then he should have your number. But talking through the site is probably fine for a 2nd date.

      • I’ve never met someone without swapping numbers first. Is this staying on the app thing pretty common?

        • I think after date 1 its alright, but if you make plans for a 3rd date…numbers should be exchanged. I dunno how common it is, but iv done it before!

    • Yay on ladydoctor! Re: protein, I eat a lot of eggs, beans, lentils, quinoa, and cheese. They’re all easy, cheap, and pretty versatile. Fish is another good source. Good luck!

      • I love all of those things. I thought quinoa was a carb?

        • Quinoa does fall in the carbohydrate category, but it has higher protein than other carbohydrates and is better for you than processed carbs (bread, pasta, etc). Rice is another good one. People get scared of carbs, but complex carbohydrates (whole wheat, whole grain stuff, potatoes, quinoa, brown rice) are so good for you and necessary in any weight loss/diet regimen that will be sustainable.

          • Okay, good! Have any of you tried chickpea noodles?

          • If you like chickpeas (and pasta), try this pasta sauce recipe:
            -use blender/food processor to mash 1 can of rinsed & drained chickpeas to slightly chunky consistency
            – saute 2-3tsp of garlic & the chickpeas in some olive oil
            – after a few minutes, add 1/4-1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper and roughly 1/4 cup white wine
            – after a few minutes, add one can of crushed tomatoes & stir to combine
            – season with salt & black pepper to taste

          • DO NOT GET CHICKPEA NOODLES FROM COSTCO. They are disgusting.

        • mtpresident: that sauce sounds great! Thank you!

          • You’re very welcome! Super easy and delicious. My kids love it too. And it freezes well if you want to make extra and freeze some in smaller portions!

    • I think it is a little weird, but if he asked you out again, I wouldn’t be too worried about it. Maybe he had a bad experience swapping numbers too soon?!? You could always provide it once he reaches out again.

      On the protein: fish, egg whites, cottage cheese, and any of the high protein veggies like kale or broccoli. Since weight is a concern, I would stop eating peanut butter or scale back considerably. It is really high in fat and calorie dense. Shakes are ok as a supplement but not a meal replacement. 60 grams seems low to me though.

      • I love the fake pb powder for shakes – you get the flavor, and waaay fewer calories, with a side of protein. I use the brand pb fit.

        • I use PB powder for my shakes, too! It is delicious!!
          (I rarely eat actual peanut butter anymore since discovering this)

    • The not exchanging of numbers thing is a bit weird to me (especially since I have never used a dating app) and I say so because it still makes the date or encounter or situation or whatever word you want to use, very informal and almost faux like. I mean you met online granted but now you have met in real life and you are even going on a second date, it just seems that all interaction should be taken offline now but it may just be the times that we are in now. All these data apps, social media etc has made people really socially awkward and it may just be that and nothing really more than that.

      • I wouldn’t read too deeply into the numbers thing, especially since he asked you out again. Maybe he’s been scarred by crazy dates in the past, and just wants to maintain a certain distance and privacy until he’s sure he wants to go further.

        • Yeah thats why i kinda left it at that is kinda the times we are in now. I got married before all the dating app craze took off so I realize times are different now

      • You also said you’re unsure on the chemistry, so that could easily play into the decision.

    • there’s some research that says dairy makes you gain weight and in my experience it does. I would recommend filling sources of plant-based protein like tofu, lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc. Good luck!

    • On the number thing, I don’t find this weird. When I was dating a million years ago (ok, three years ago), a random guy I texted but never met weirded me out by describing things on my facebook page. I found it odd because I never gave him a last name and my first name is super common. Turns out you can search people via their phone number on Facebook if it is linked, which is true for most people. So not giving a number out seems like a great way to remain private. Also, I know many people still in the dating game who communicate via WhatsApp in order to avoid giving out their number, and continue to communicate this way until after the third date. As a wise woman once told me, it’s easy to keep up an act after one date, even two, but after three that’s when you usually meet the real person. So yes, I would say it’s normal.

    • When I am trying to increase protein and craving meat, I really like bison. It’s super lean, and I don’t feel like I’m “dieting” when I eat a delicious bison burger. I also make a lot of meatballs and meatloaf with ground turkey.

    • on the losing weight, you may also want to go see a nutritionist, not just a lady doctor generalist or gynecologist (if that’s what you mean by lady doctor). Once your thyroid is checked, I found it really helpful to go to a nutritionist to come up with a meal plan that will work for your body (and tinker with it until it works to meet your needs)

  • Rant: Facebook is a wasteland. I like many of my friends a whole lot less than I used to, not because of their political beliefs, but because they say such hateful stuff and fail to realize that reasonable people can disagree.
    Rave: the rainy weather makes it much easier to power through my work.
    Rant: the rainy weather makes it harder to run at lunch, and I loathe the dreadmill.
    Rave: Westworld.
    Query: For those of you who drive up Rock Creek Parkway in the evenings, what’s the thought on driving up in the right-hand lanes and merging where Beach is closed–acceptable or not? I used to think it was wildly unacceptable, as we all know the lanes are closed and you should just get in line. But I may be having a change of heart, as it’s a far more efficient use of space for everyone to use all the lanes and merge. But I feel like such a jerk when I’m basically cutting the line. What say you?

    • IMO, it’s jerk behavior to speed ahead of other people and then try to merge at the last minute. I think the fact that you’re even asking the question shows that you’re having trouble rationalizing to yourself that it’s acceptable.
      However, there are some PoPvillagers who think it’s perfectly OK, as evinced in these threads:

      • It’s not jerk behavior if everyone stays in their lane until the merge point. Studies show it can reduce the overall length of a traffic jam. Check out the Minnesota Department of Transportation website on “zipper merge” or just google zipper merge and you will see it is most certainly not jerk behavior but is in fact smart.

        • That study is for highway narrowing, not offramps like the posted video.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Agreed with this, but also agreed with “Not a MD driver” below. I’d also note that the zipper merge is usually implemented with signage that reads “USE BOTH LANES UNTIL MERGE POINT” and then “MERGE HERE TAKE YOUR TURN,” not as a couple of drivers deciding on an ad hoc basis to do it.

      • When Beach was the prime line-cutting spot, it *really* bothered me when people would do that, because they would block traffic in the lane going up to Cathedral/Connecticut. I see this as a slightly different issue, as everyone has to deal with the merge and it doesn’t block any traffic.
        And you’re right, I’m definitely having trouble rationalizing the issue. My husband recommended I ask PoPvillagers as the arbiters of RCP righteousness. 😉

        • I made this same point below. I think you’re fine to use both lanes, and I wouldn’t feel bad about it. It isn’t the same as the Beach Drive line cutters.

    • Agree re Facebook. Honestly, if you post more than once a month about your political views (whatever they may be, liberal or conservative), you are “that person.” I guarantee you that many of your friends have blocked you. You’re either (a) preaching to an echo chamber to make yourself feel good, or (b) or irritating those who disagree with you with your self-righteousness. I appreciate that the whole Trump thing is a unique situation, but this phenomenon far predates Trump.

    • houseintherear

      I used to have a point like that in my commute along Georgia Ave. It caused me so much anxiety, I ended up changing my route and adding 10 minutes each way just to avoid the area. It has helped my mental state immensely. But to answer your question, logically speaking people should use both lanes and then zipper in, and you know people are going to do it anyway… for my previous commute route, sometimes I’d use the second lane and sometimes I wouldn’t, depended on my mood.

    • Merging is vastly less efficient for the chain of traffic than ‘using all the space’. Q=vc. Throughput = velocity * circumference. You’re not actually doubling the circumference; since there’s still a bottleneck at the one lane. But you are reducing the velocity.

      People that do this are massive assholes.

    • Regarding your merge question, there are studies that show that what you did is the most efficient way to handle the situation. That all lanes should be used until one lane needs to merge and then cars should alternate letting people merge in. I totally agree with you on the feeling like a jerk, but it really does make sense to use all available lanes until the lane is no longer available. For the first time ever I did what you did. Accident on the Beltway on Thanksgiving evening and I was 3.5 miles from the BW Parkway. The lane that needed to merge in was empty for like a quarter of a mile, so I drove in it and then merged in. It saved me a bit of time, I did feel like a jerk, but it all worked out.

      • Cite your source. Because there’s no study that shows merging into an offramp is more efficient.

        In the limited situation when a highway narrows down, an alternating right of way is the most efficient. It doesn’t increase throughput but it normalizes the difference in speed between the two lanes.

        In the US there’s no right of way given to merging traffic. A lanes current travelers have right of way. So if the road becomes a matter of ‘ride-n-cut’ vs zipper, the cutters benefit to the detriment of most other travelers.

        • I haven’t driven on it, so I can’t say for sure, but in its current configuration it isn’t an off ramp situation, I don’t think. Beach Drive is closed, so there is only one way to go (up the hill to Woodley Park). It’s most closely analogous to a highway narrowing.
          What you are describing is the former situation, where drivers would wait in the right lane for the “off ramp” – Beach Drive – and others would ride up the left lane (RCP, going up the hill to Woodley Park) and cut into the right lane at the last minute. But during construction, that situation has changed (I think – I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong).

    • Rave: Westworld!
      Rant: I don’t know if I’m smart enough for Westworld :/

    • Use all lanes

    • People still use FB for meaningful communication? I must’ve missed that memo.

    • I support zipper merging – using two lanes and merging at the end is more efficient. But there should be signs to indicate this is recommended. So that it’s not just “those jerks” who merge at the end

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: hit my yearly maximum with health insurance. I had no idea I spent that much money on health care.
    Rave: stocking up on expensive meds while they are free!

    • That One Guy

      You may as well go in for a “virtual physical” if the insurance will cover it.

      • Emmaleigh504

        I don’t think they will.

      • This reminds me of how peeved I was when I got a physical — which was supposed to be free under my insurance — but ended up getting charged the copay for a regular visit. I tried to protest it with the billing people, but they kept insisting that the coding was for a regular visit, so finally I gave up and paid the $30.

        • I Dont Get It

          I thought annual physicals were “free” now?

        • HaileUnlikely

          My understanding is that if they “find anything” that requires further investigation, or if you happen to take the opportunity to use your presence in the office to ask the doctor about something, that transforms the visit from “annual physical” to “diagnostic” for billing purposes. I am not an industry professional, this is just my understanding based on how my employer’s HR people have explained it to us in the context of changes in our health plan and how the billing will work now.

          • That’s still shady. Part of the purpose of a physical is to check out general health/ask questions.

          • I think you’re right. At my most recent physical they gave me a form or told me something about if I ask about anything unrelated to the physical I’d be subject to additional billing charges.

          • HaileUnlikely

            mtp: no disagreement here, just explaining how I believe it works.

          • Haile–totally understood, and I’ve seen that explanation before as well. But definitely feels like a bending of the rules.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I don’t know. I mean otherwise, one could quite easily make an appointment for a “physical” with no intention of getting one, for the sole purpose of getting something specific checked out and having that done for free. As a general matter, I support single-payer healthcare systems and think that both should be free, but given that in our current actual healthcare system, a physical is supposed to be free but a diagnostic visit is not, there needs to be some way to operationalize that. A general beef that I have with the healthcare industry in the United States is that matters of insurance and billing are absurdly complex and a normal person who is neither a healthcare provider nor an insurance professional cannot reasonably be expected to understand most of the terminology used in the jargon-heavy insurance policy materials that they will receive and thus can’t even estimate to within a large multiple how much stuff will cost. All of that is f*cked up and I would love to see it changed. But given the current state of affairs, I do think it’s necessary and appropriate for the industry to draw a line somewhere to distinguish when a physical isn’t just a physical (even if I don’t agree with precisely where they draw said line)

          • I Dont Get It

            I ask my doctor all sorts of things during a physical–I thought that was the point of it. We also gossip about friends in common so maybe he overlooks it!.

        • I regularly have an issue with the kiosk at MFA charging me a copay when it shouldn’t–fortunately the front desk people tell me I don’t need to pay it when I inquire. But I bet lots of people don’t realize that and just pay the copay because the kiosk tells them too. Ugh. I realize that’s a different issue, but similarly frustrating.

          • In this case, they told me when I checked in that I had no copay because it was a physical, and then sent me a bill later.
            Seems ridiculous to me that you can’t ask any questions or discuss any issues during a physical without it turning into a “diagnostic” visit, but I guess that’s the way it is.

          • How weird.

      • I Dont Get It

        “Virtual physical”?

  • topscallop

    Rave: I slept in a bit and skipped the gym. I needed it!
    Rave: Just finished Tana French’s latest book, The Trespasser, and I really liked it! I want a sequel. I need to read the rest of her Dublin Murder Squad series, I’ve only read a couple so far.
    Rant: rain
    Rave: I’m looking forward to my social schedule for the next few weeks. Lots of fun times ahead, including a date night planned to watch Muppet Christmas Carol with hot chocolate and popcorn.

    • yes! Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my very favorites!!! That sounds like a great date!

    • Emmaleigh504

      Ooh! I LOVE Tana French!

    • Quotia Zelda

      The Trespasser was really good, wasn’t it? I have loved all of her books, but my favorites are The Likeness, Faithful Place, and The Secret Place.

      • topscallop

        I’ve only read In the Woods and The Likeness before this, but I’ve just reserved Faithful Place and Broken Harbour from the library. I thought The Likeness was super creepy, but well done. It kind of reminded me of The Secret History by Donna Tartt (which I thought was better than the Goldfinch).

        I really like the way Tana French writes her female protagonists.

  • Rave: Feeling a little bit better, thanks to my humidifier and about a million meds – netipot, ClearQuil, Afrin, benzonatate. Still not feeling great, but maybe I’m on the mend…
    Rant: Had nightmares all night last night about house hunting. My roommate and I are going out looking tonight but the prospects we reviewed last night seem pretty grim. I just want to cry from anxiety.
    Rant: Way too much to do. I am so overwhelmed that I’m approaching the paralyzed point.
    Rant/Rave: So much going on this month in and outside of work, a lot of which is fun and exciting, and I still want to cram more fun in like going to the Zoo Lights, but I have to be boring and try to start packing. Grrr.

    • what websites do you use for looking for apartment?

      • We’re using a realtor because with work and our completely opposite schedules, it’s just so hard to try to arrange this stuff otherwise. We’ve also done some looking on Zillow, but I don’t know how accurate that is….

        • As long as you can access email throughout the day and know what nights you’re both free, like tonight, then I would think you could search on your own as well. I believe you’re searching in Silver Spring, but you might miss a good deal coming up in DC. I like padmapper as well because it aggregates a bunch of sites and lets you overlay the metro map onto the search. Wintertime has low inventory but good deals in my experience. 6 weeks out is a “long” time as far as rentals go, and I’m sure places will come up in the coming weeks.

          • Andie302

            Also, it’d be worth posting a Housing Wanted ad on craigslist – then the opportunities come right to you! Be as specific as possible about your needs, that way potential landlords can weed you out if there’s something you need that they cannot provide.

          • Thanks Anon Spock, that makes me feel a little more hopeful. I’m a planner when it comes to major things like a move or a vacation on the opposite side of the globe, so for me the thought of 6 weeks being a “long” time is crazy and makes me so so anxious!

          • oh, and thanks Andie, we’ll do that, figure it can’t hurt!

          • Lbp, I’m a planner too, but I’ve learned to accept that anything over 1 month out is too soon for most ppl to post.
            If you’re ever able to do it, try to work it so your lease ends July 31 or August 30th. Summer has much more inventory and end of month is typically easier to find a place.

    • Andie302

      Did you guys give notice at your current place? When is the end of the lease? I ask because if you have the option to go month to month, that could give you some flexibility that would hopefully reduce your anxiety a bit. (And if your complex is threatening a big increase, just ask if they’ll honor your current rate – all they can say is no. I did that last time I lived in an apartment and it was no big deal. I was shocked!)

      • We did give notice, and the month-to-month rate skyrockets to an absurd amount so much so that it’s not really an option, but I suppose if worse came to worst we could ask if they’d honor our current rate. Ugh.

      • oh, and our lease is up mid-January

  • Rant: I’m not sick. I’m not sick. Stupid weather.
    Rave: So this is what it’s like to work a non-toxic job. Amazing.
    Rave: I know the holidays are going to be challenging this year, but I’m looking forward to them and trying to make them as warm and joyful as possible.
    Is there any interest in a Popville cookie swap in December?

  • Rant: Baby Artie had a really hard time putting himself back to sleep last night after his middle of the night feeding. He fussed for a half hour, and I had to go back in to soothe him. Very unusual. He’s either teething or getting a cold or a combination of the two.
    Rave: The little guy is making progress with his therapist. I’m feeling much less anxious about his development since we started pt.
    Rant: My partner is working crazy hours. He’s tired. I’m tired and grumpy and more likely to snap that usual. I’m hoping we can just relax this weekend.
    Rant: McConnell refusing to recuse himself given his wife’s potential cabinet appointment. All of Trump’s conflicts of interest. EVERYTHING about most of Trump’s cabinet appointments. I’m really scared for the future this week.

    • Query: What would McConnell recuse himself from? His wife was the Secretary of Labor for 8 years under GWB, so this isn’t exactly a new situation.

      • And Elizabeth Dole was Secretary of Transportation while her husband Robert was Senate Majority leader 1985-87 – exact same situation.

    • So glad that the therapy is useful!
      Ugh on the sleep issue, though. While he’s settled himself relatively quickly for the most part, I’ve gotten woken up by mtpbaby a bunch this week. Wish I felt confident that I’d hear him without the monitor if he really needed something. Perhaps I need to put a thicker sock over it to muffle the sound more : )

  • Rant: I have to go to the lady doctor Friday and I am super nervous about the lecture that hubs and I need to get on the babytrain asap because I’m 35 and “not getting any younger.”
    Rave: Friends (close to 40) just had a beautiful, healthy baby boy and I cannot wait to meet him!

    • Do you want to have kids? I think it’s kind of pointless for doctors to lecture _single_ women about fertility issues… but at the same time, a lot of people have unrealistic expectations about fertility not decreasing with age. (And there’s also the issue that for many people who run into fertility problems, age isn’t actually the problem — they might have had fertility issues all along, but didn’t know because they weren’t trying to conceive in their 20s or early 30s.)

    • Honestly I’d be seeing another doctor, that’s really frustrating and having to hear from so many other people in your life about how you “should” be having babies is enough (I’m assuming you get that from family and friends also, like me). Unless of course you WANT to have children and are asking about when you should start trying. I just interpreted this as unsolicited opinion. In which case, I wouldn’t be dealing with it. That stuff bothers me SO much.

      • I think there’s a middle ground here. If your doc asks if you want kids and you answer in the affirmative, I think s/he is being a good practitioner by offering you some information re: fertility. The reality is that fertility does decline after 35 and the rates of birth defects and potential for multiples (my nightmare!) increase, but it also isn’t as statistically significant as some fearmongerers make it. Even so, I think a good doctor follows the patient’s lead, offers fact-based information in a nonjudging way, and then shuts up.

        At 35, I had no issue telling my doctor, yes we want kids but aren’t ready yet. Yes I’m aware of the issues after 35, thanks very much. End of conversation. Don’t be afraid to shut your doctor down if s/he is being intrusive. (That is just good practice in boundary-setting. And as someone who eventually did get on the baby train, it is a skill you will use time and time again).

        • Oh sure, I just read this as the doctor offering up unsolicited information about how she should be having babies NOW even though she hadn’t asked or talked about it. If it’s part of the overall discussion and she does want kids that’s totally different. Just didn’t read that way to me.

  • Rant: Upcoming holiday vacation with the in-laws. Family member is very mentally ill and hasn’t been consistently or effectively treated in a decade. Parents are/were anti-science religious folk (of the you can pray the sick away variety) and basically did nothing until family member went catatonic. Now there is [minimal] reliance on doctors, but no planning for long-term care. She will never be independent at this point (can’t even shower or feed herself) and I feel like parents are punting the issue. Partner and I are on the same page of her never living with us, but it still feels an emotional and financial 18-wheeler is headed right at us (with the parents driving) and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

  • Rant: This morning the security guard wouldn’t let me into the building until I stuffed my umbrella into a wet-umbrella bag. This is probably easy for a long umbrella with a pointy tip, but is a bit challenging with a compact umbrella.
    Rave?: I am not a morning person and found it REALLY annoying at the time… but when I thought about it some more, I realized it wasn’t that much of an outrage.
    In the past, wet-umbrella bags have been available for the taking on rainy days, but it was always an optional thing, not a mandatory one. I wonder if somebody slipped in the main lobby this morning and that’s why they made it mandatory. (There are big industrial doormat things covering most of the lobby, but maybe somebody slipped beyond the protected area.)

    • LOL we also have a security guard who is very serious about using the wet umbrella bags. He will call you out and yell at you if you don’t use one. Sometimes when it’s raining and I don’t feel like dealing with him or the umbrella bags, I’ll sneak in through the side entrance. I am not a morning person.

    • Bear

      I once bit it in my office lobby the second I stepped off the industrial floor mat. Had the property management company up my ass about getting x-rays and filing an incident report for the rest of the week, even though I was fine. So yes…many of the companies are hyper vigilant about that stuff. Next time it rained there were many more mats on the floor.

  • Revel: Going to the National Tree Lighting Ceremony Tomorrow.
    Rant: It’s not real clear what, if any, type of bag you can bring into the event. Does anyone have the scoop on this? Thanks!

    • skj84

      Its’s either no bags or small purses. I know you definitely can’t bring in huge purses. I think last year I had a clutch? I remember leaving my big bag at the office and retrieving it later. But yeah, smaller the better.

  • Query: I know a lot of us have student loans, some more so than others. My question is, do you regret them? If you had it all to do again, would you do it? Or perhaps maybe choose a cheaper school or not go to grad school?
    Backstory:I will be applying to colleges to finish my degree in the spring, and part of the decision making process relates to cost. The degree program I will be going for is vocational in nature, the type that leads to a career in a very specific field. Starting out in this field, I will likely take a paycut on my current position. I will also need to complete a Master’s to really progress in the field, something I definitely plan on in the future (though my thought is to work for an employer who would pay for at least part, if not all of the Master’s) – so this won’t be it for school. In order to gain certification in the specific field, my options are limited for schools since they must be accredited through the field’s professional organization. I have two options for undergrad in my general area, one of which would be paid almost 100% by grants and scholarships (I’m eligible for a significant scholarship off the bat, it’s not a competitive scholarship), whereas the other one would require that I take out student loans to cover the cost of tuition in addition to grants and the non-competitive scholarship I would be eligible for. Although more expensive, the second school has a better reputation, is in a better (safer) area, and they definitely offer evening and weekend programs whereas the first program only offers some (which may make it difficult to continue working full-time). Thoughts?

    • How much tuition are you looking at for the two undergrad options, and how long will it take to finish the degree program? (You already have a bunch of undergraduate credits, right?) How competitive is the field — would going to the “better” school make a significant difference for your future job prospects?
      How about the master’s program — how long does that take, and how much is it likely to cost?

      • I think textdoc is right – it’s the amount of loans that will be the most important factor, although the inability to continue working full-time to attend the “cheaper” program is a big factor as well.
        I don’t regret my loans, but I’ve been very lucky with respect to employment, as well as real estate sales, and was able to clear six figures of loans before their terms. BUT . . . that could easily have gone differently. I remember as a senior in undergrad talking to a friend who passed up a spot at a law school I really wanted to go to (but didn’t get in) in favor of a full ride at a lesser (but by no means bad) program. I remember thinking he was crazy. Now, 22 years later, I realize he was the smart one, and I was just lucky. But, you have other factors involved, like the ability to keep working, so it’s hard to compare. But, as I get older, I get more and more debt averse. FWIW.

        • I also feel more debt adverse the older I get, and that is probably my biggest concern. If all goes well, I will be finishing grad school when my oldest (actual biological, fully-responsible for oldest) is starting college. The thought of paying back my loans while paying for my kids’ has me concerned.

        • Nice to know paying off the six figure law school debt early is possible…

          • It is, but I got very lucky. My first three years out, I was a financial idiot. Paid the minimum, and contributed very little to my 401k [I went back and looked at what 401k contributions in 1997-1999 would have turned into – headslap]. Then, I got serious about clearing the loans and paid extra on them. Finally, I diverted part of the proceeds from the sale in my co-op in 2004 to pay off 4 of the 9 (i) separate loans, and diverted the payments from them to the remaining loans.
            But, there’s a much easier way. Assuming, based on your prior posts, that you are going to a large firm, after you get a bedrock of savings in the bank, start making double payments ASAP. Divert the lion’s share of any bonus to loan repayment, and you’ll be done in 3-4 years. Yes, I make it sound easier than it is, but the key is to start it right away, and not let lifestyle creep factor in – one it does, it’s really really difficult to go back.
            Oh, and if at all possible, don’t capitalize your interest while in school. It may be necessary, but a couple thousand dollars now will make a HUGE different later on.

          • Andie302

            I cannot agree enough and stress about the capitalized interest comment from dcd. I wish I had known when it mattered, not kicked myself after the fact.

          • Thank you both, this is helpful advice. Yes, going to a large firm and planning to throw some of that large firm summer salary at the interest right away. It doesn’t help that my fiance is in a similar boat (MBA) so both really trying to minimize the debt as much as possible early on.

          • “I wish I had known when it mattered, not kicked myself after the fact.”
            My god, yes. Over 3 years of school, I capitalized more than $12,000 into principal. I don’t even want to think about how much extra I paid because of that.

      • The field is high-need, high-turnover. It’s one of those fields that a lot of young people go into thinking they can change the world, realize the world is actually a really shitty place, and then get out of. I’m older, more experienced, and know exactly what I’m getting myself into, so I don’t think this will be an issue for me. I seriously doubt that where I get my undergrad from will matter much, though I have reached out to some contacts who are in the field to get their opinions. School A is about $3K less per year than School B, and both are State schools; the difference is that School A is smaller and offers more scholarships. At either school, the program would take me about 2 years to complete, with the second year including a mandatory work study portion that would require me to either work part-time or switch my hours up significantly. Most of my credits are complete, I just need the degree-specific courses.
        For Grad School, there are even fewer options, but one of them is School B; that program is highly regarded, and that particular school is highly regarded in not only the field, but the industry as a whole. There is a separate certification in the field once you achieve a Master’s, and having a Master’s would open up more career opportunities. For what I would like to eventually do, the Master’s would be a license requirement. I think where you go for your Master’s matter more than where you go for you Undergrad. The Master’s program is a two-year program and would cost about $40,000.

        • HaileUnlikely

          What I think I have pieced together from the above is that the present decision at hand is A vs B for undergrad, and that B will cost about $6K (plus interest on any loans) more than A. B is more attractive for a bunch of reasons, and you’re trying to weigh whether those reasons add up to $6K+loan interest worth of value to you. (My understanding is that you’re planning to go for the masters after this either way, so the $40K for that is on the horizon regardless of which school you pick for undergrad, and thus isn’t really part of the decision you’re chewing on now, at least not other than to the extent that picking B now might give you an advantage in getting admitted to B’s master’s program later.) Is that at least more-or-less right?

          • That distillation brings it into much clearer perspective. IMO, $6K is a pretty trivial amount when it comes to educational loans. If B has a better reputation, more flexible scheduling, etc., and its only disadvantage relative to A is that it costs $6K more, then B sounds like the better choice.

          • You got it, Haile! I could attend School A with no loans, School B will require a loan. For what it matters, the loan would be a Federal Loan, and would be relatively minimal (ballpark at $10-12K for the entire degree). The Grad School cost is there no matter what, though there is a scholarship program for alumi of School B to attend grad school. Also, to add, this particular field is covered under PSL and Perkins Loan Forgiveness programs. 5 years working in the field would allow the entirety of any Perkins Loans I receive to be forgiven. The amount of Perkins Loans are dependent upon the school.

          • HaileUnlikely

            In my opinion B sounds like a no-brainer, especially if picking B now might bring a realistic possibility of a scholarship for grad school that would reduce the amount that you would otherwise need to borrow later via a scholarship that you would become eligible for (by “realistic” I mean this isn’t just awarded to one or two people out of several thousand applicants each year, and I trust that we’re talking about a large enough scholarship to care about, not like a one-time non-renewable scholarship for $500). I recognize that it’s easy for me to say “12K = no big deal” – I’m overpaid and have no dependents – and that this is not a trivial amount of debt in an absolute sense. B sounds like a better bet to me, though.

          • I agree with TextDoc. Just as some background, I work in higher education policy so I can totally wonk out on federal student loans, pros and cons, terms and conditions, etc. Feel free to follow-up. If we’re talking only $10k-$12k in federal student loans, I’d go with whichever option is the most flexible and best option/program for you at this point. At current interest rates and the standard repayment plan of 10 years, it’d be about $100 a month–and it sounds like a great and worthy human capital investment. Federal student loans, as you probably know, come with a ton of protections as well including income-based repayment, deferment, forbearance, death & disability discharge which makes it easy for you to pause payments if something happens (not necessarily interest-free of course) but still be able to meet the rest of your savings goals. I also was slightly confused by what you mean by Perkins loan forgiveness–are you going into teaching? The only federal program I know of that forgives perkins loans based on work is through canceling some of the debt for teaching in very specific schools (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation#perkins). Now of course, maybe you mean another program that is non federal since these loans come directly from the school, but I wanted to flag just in case. As you’ve pointed out–Perkins loans are part of a federal program called the campus-based aid program and are distributed through a very odd funding formula where the schools get a chunk of money and then they distribute this money to their neediest students first. The formula is a bit unfair in that it overly advantages prestigious schools. So it might be tough to say how much you will get in Perkins year to year (and sometimes it could be $0 depending on the composition of incoming students). The good news is, current interest rates on direct federal student loans are less than Perkins loans. As for public sector loan forgiveness, it really might go away under a Republican congress and Trump presidency but who knows? To be honest, in order to take advantage, you have to be making payments on an income-driven repayment plan which you may not really qualify for given your anticipated low loan balance unless you are sure you will have very low to no discretionary income during repayment. I think PSLF would come more into play if you had to borrow more for your grad degree, and unfortunately by that time the program might be done for new borrowers by the time you pursue a master’s degree so that’s something to be aware of. Sorry if this is super confusing! Happy to chat through email or something. Have you checked out the Department of Ed’s repayment calculator? It might help you weigh the pros and cons! https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/mobile/repayment/repaymentEstimator.action

          • “In my opinion B sounds like a no-brainer, especially if picking B now might bring a realistic possibility of a scholarship for grad school . . . ”
            Absolutely agree with this, plus I think you said B offered all night/weekend classes that would permit you to continue working full time. So, B is a better program that fits into your life/schedule better, but costs more right now. However, it allows you to continue working and may result in a significant (?)reduction in grad school tuition down the road. All other things being equal (and of course they aren’t), I’d choose B. Glad that’s settled – if only I was this quick and certain about my own life-changing decisions!

          • Thanks for the input, everyone! Upon further research, I found that School B offers more in Perkins Loan than School A, and that if I am deemed eligible for the maximum amount, get the maximum Pell that I am eligible for, and include the amount of non-merit scholarship I am automatically eligible for, I can even avoid normal Federal Loans. Perkins really are more attractive because the field is a part of the Perkins program (rfff – not going for teaching, but the career path I would be going for is included in the Perkins cancellation program, I double checked today). Also, since they’ve changed FASFA, I was able to complete it today and it was very positive for me. So all looks good for a Fall 2017 start!

    • I’ve thought about this question a lot (since I’m one of the ones with a massive student loan burden) and I honestly can’t say for certain. Some days I think going to grad school at Columbia was the dumbest decision I could have made, but then other days I think about how I would never be where I am if I hadn’t made those choices, and how I love what I get to do. I think maybe if you could find some happy medium where the employer would pay for all (or most) of the degree while you worked, or if you could find a way to work and do it part time, that might be ideal. But for me, I’ll never know whether or not it was the right thing to do. I just have to hope that Trump doesn’t eliminate the Income-base repayment plan or the Public Service Loan forgiveness thing. I can’t even think about what happens if that goes away, other than I am utterly and totally f*cked.

      • I know I’ve written to you on this subject before but I’ve done a little more subsequent sleuthing on my end. Like I’ve mentioned, make sure you are filling out your employer certifications if you haven’t already done so so that you are “officially on the grid” as it were. This is out of an abundance of caution because, as it turns out, PSLF is written into the Master Promissory Note you signed on your loan. It would be very difficult legally for them to get rid of PSLF for those who have made qualifying and certified payments where their MPN officially states the PSLF program. Sure, anything is possible but would cause a huge headache on their end. But I really think the end of PSLF, though likely and/or a capped benefit, will be for new borrowers. IBR won’t go away, but the amount of IBR plans probably will be reduced. DJT himself actually called for IBR during his campaign as if it didn’t exist, and in fact he called for the most generous IBR plan yet to date (12.5%; forgiveness in 15 years). IBR plans also enjoy support among Republicans in Congress. I think, again, any changes to IBR would likely be for new borrowers. In the history of federal student loan repayment, they haven’t not practiced grandfathering in of old plans. It’s how we’ve ended up with such a screwy system with like 20 different repayment plans.

        • Thanks for posting all this. My niece just called and wants to sit down and figure out all her loans this weekend – though I know pretty much nothing about it. Now at least I have a place to start!

    • Even though my undergrad and masters degree were partially covered through scholarships, I ended up with a lot of student debt, mostly from grad school. I don’t regret it. In my field having a graduate degree is highly desirable and I got a job right after graduation making twice the salary I was before grad school. So I view it as a good investment. Given my salary and some careful budgeting, I’ve been able to pay off half of my debt so far.
      In my experience, going to to more prestigious school for my masters degree was more valuable than where I went for my bachelors. At this point no one cares where I went for undergrad, but my masters degree program has opened a lot of doors for me career wise. Based on my experience, I would recommend that you consider the cheaper undergrad option and invest more in your graduate degree. Although the only sticking point would be the lack of night and weekend classes offered at the more affordable school.

    • I go back and forth on this a lot. I had to take out six figures of loans to complete my undergrad (there were many, many things that went into this, it wasn’t strictly just to pay for four years of classes) and I’m EXTREMELY lucky to be in a position to pay them right now. Some days I think about the mistakes I made that led to it becoming such a huge bill, but at the same time, those actions led to great things for me (meeting my husband, moving to DC, etc) so it’s all about weighing those intangibles for me. I guess it really depends on how much loan debt you’re talking about, and whether that would be federal loan debt or private loans (through a bank). The majority of mine are private, which is awful. If we’re talking less than $40k in federal loans I think that’s an acceptable burden to take on IF you think the other school is really worth it.

    • Just some food for thought: I have been doing a lot of research on student debt proposals from PE Trump. Be sure that you do due diligence on the future of your loans before you take them out. Nothing is certain but there are some potentials for some very serious federal loan changes in the near future. I would be cautious about taking on a ton of debt when the rules of the game could be changing.

      • Could you elaborate on what some of these changes may be or point me in the direction of good websites to do my own reasearch? I would be taking out Federal Loans.

    • Assuming the public service loan forgiveness program (and income based repayment) doesn’t disappear before Spring 2022, I think it taking on student loan debt was a neutral-to-good decision. Assuming my loan are forgiven in 2022 I will have paid about half of my original debt over 10 years (although it will really be mostly in the form of interest), which seems like a decent deal. Prior to going to law school I was making ~$40K/year in an administrative position at a consulting firm. Now I’m a GS-14. My loan payment is about 15% of my net pay (after taxes, contributing the max to my retirement account, and my portion of health insurance). It’s a annoying but I still am making way more than I was prior to law school, and my work life balance at my government agency is a lot better than it was in the private sector. That being said, if I could turn back time and stay at my old job and try to work my way up? I don’t know. I might have. I would have at least investigated my earning potential more before taking on a lot of debt. I don’t like being in debt without earning any equity in anything, especially since realistically I will never pay it off (am relying on PSLF and IBR). It sounds like you have done your homework, though, so you probably have a better idea of what will work for you than I did when I made my decision.

  • Rant: depression rearing its ugly head again.
    Rave: at least that’s easier for me than anxiety? Forcing myself to stick to a routine seems to help. Even if that routine means eating the same turkey sandwiches every day for lunch.
    Rave: therapy on Friday.

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: Stressed and cranky. I hate pretty much everyone and everything today.
    Rave: Except the lovely people at Starbucks who made my tea. I adore them.
    Rave: And the 2nd Earl Grey, who is my own personal hero.
    Rave: And Emmaleigh504, who is going to love her Christmas present.
    Rant: But the rest of y’all…

  • Rave: Rainy days with Tom Waits playing in the background. It makes me way too happy.
    Rave: Getting our Christmas tree tonight. I love this time of year.
    Rant: I’m exhausted to a point that I haven’t been in years (like since grad school) and I can’t seem to sleep more than 3 hours consecutively.
    Rave: I’ll actually get to see my best friend both next month and in January. It’s been quite a long time since we’ve gotten to see each other more than once every 6 months.

  • Rant: Today is the anniversary of a difficult event–it’s amazing, the weather is exactly the same as it was a year ago. I feel (and occasionally am) a bit weepy but am otherwise occupying my time. I’m feeling reflective and it feels very bittersweet.
    Rave: Looks like no matter what, baby will be here by 12/23. Finish line in sight.
    Rave: I’m still working out. And my midwife gave me the blessing to keep working out. I’m pretty impressed at what my body can do.
    Rave(?): I might sneak a nap in at work this afternoon before a work event this evening–if so it’ll be amazing.

    • Sending hugs, love, and healing prayers! Yay on the baby and the working out. The latter should help l&d considerably since you’ve continued to maintain your strength and cardiovascular fitness. Good for you!

  • Rant: Still felt like I was hit by a bus when I woke up this morning.
    Rave: Had a great visit with my OBGYN this morning. Found out that I even lost more weight than I thought. I’ve lost 15 lbs instead of 12 lbs since July.
    Rant: The deluge from the sky this morning and I went out without my rain boots.
    Rave: Last night, I walked 3 miles
    Rave: After working out, I started back working on my book of short stories again after a few months of wondering if it was even worth doing and if I even had the ability to write anything interesting. I finished up editing one short story and now I need to turn to a rough draft of another story.

  • Rave: First annual visit after mtpbaby was born. Really nice to catch up with the midwife who was there for the delivery (OBs ended up stepping in at the last minute because of potential complications that turned out to not be an issue).
    Rant: Two of my other favorite midwives from the practice are no longer there. A friend of mine also works within that practice, and they have some really unfortunate policies that are not employee-friendly. Seems rather unfortunate and short sighted.
    Rave: Got a full panel of blood work done to rule out some issues that could be making me tired.
    Rave: the labcorp at 2300 M St is awesome–super small, minimal wait, and I’ve had great luck with the techs being awesome.
    Rave: Happy kids. They are just delightful and I love their laughter–especially when it’s with each other!

  • The library took away the book I was reading last night. It was REALLY upsetting. I got into bed, exhausted, opened my kindle expecting to read silly fluff for as long as I could stay awake (which would have been about 10 minutes), and saw that my loan had expired. How about a heads-up?? I was so perturbed that I stayed awake longer than I wanted to. I think I may have a reading problem.

    • Can you put your reading device in airplane/non-wifi mode? If so, the books don’t disappear when they expire….

  • Crowdsource question: Husband and I are planning to drive down to Tampa FL to visit family over Xmas/New Year’s. Current thought is to stretch the drive out to two days and make a stop somewhere along the way somewhere for dinner and a few hours of sightseeing.
    What are the best options for a stopover? Currently thinking Savannah, GA, but would appreciate any suggestions! Doesn’t have to be a city – we also would be open to staying somewhere small-town/rural and doing some hiking instead of sightseeing. All thoughts appreciated!

    • Lots of options! Bypassing I-95 and taking I-81 instead, you can stop in Roanoke or Asheville. When I make the drive south, I usually do this. It’s way prettier and often less traffic. The time it takes vs. I-95 is comparable.
      If you want to take I-95 and get a little further, I love Beaufort and Hilton Head! They’re small and close to islands/wildlife refuges for “hiking”. You’re also close to Savannah if you get too bored or want a fancier meal.

  • There used to be a couple of guys who lived in that house in the photo who would put a Christmas tree in each bay window of the house Do they still do that? I haven’t lived in Adams Morgan for several years.

  • Blithe

    Rave: I blame IDGI! First I ordered the Instant Pot. Then I ordered two other kitchen-oriented things. Then I cleared off the kitchen counter space to make room for the new acquisitions, and sorted through the lower cabinets to make room for the stuff that I cleared off the kitchen counters. Not full-on Marie Kondo, but a valiant, useful effort nonetheless. Thank you IDGI! 😉
    Rave-ish: Apparently I’m responding to the current political climate and my consequent terror with quite uncharacteristic nesting behavior. Who knew?

    • I also availed myself of the (really significant) discount from Amazon on the 6qt. Instant Pot, although I haven’t made room for it yet. Looks like I’ll be saying goodbye to my old Cuisinart slow cooker, which has served me well for 13 years. Thanks, IDGI!

      • Just curious: I have a slow cooker and don’t see the difference between it (standard Cuisinart model) and an instant pot. Is there one?

        • anonymouse_dianne

          I also have a slow cooker so I’ve been comparing notes. The Instant Pot can also be a pressure cooker, and can be used to brown (meat), and to rewarm food. IDGI, chime in!.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I so need to Marie Kondo my kitchen. I don’t even know where to begin…I guess maybe with the meat cleaver my parents gave me 10 years ago that I’ve never used.

  • Rant: Trying to get an appointment with a GYN is turning out to be much more of a hassle than it should be. The one my GP recommended is no longer practicing at the location near my GP. The one someone else recommended has moved out of the area. My physical therapist (for a related issue) recommended someone, and I’ve been calling that person’s practice for a few weeks trying to get an appointment… but there’s some kind of problem with the scheduling system, and the admin people can’t access her schedule. About to give up and try a fourth potential GYN.

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