Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Julian Ortiz

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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141 Comment

  • I need a recommendation for someone to redesign and rebuild my back deck. It’s a two-level deck, with a balcony off the bedroom upstairs. I do NOT want the flipper special of bare wet lumber thrown together with a nail gun. But I don’t need an exurban luxe thing with firepit and built-in seating, either.
    Any suggestions? Any any ballpark on cost? Thank you!

    • Levielle HIC has done an excellent job for us. (In fact, they’re completing our patio with firepit with built-in seating and grill this week, as long as the grill comes on time. No one NEEDS it, of course, but it’s going to be great once it’s done.) As for cost, I can’t say – we were limited to a very small, one-level deck because of setback requirements (hence the patio with all the bells and whistles).
      .
      On a related note – any recommendations as far as places to purchase patio furniture (or good brands)? I was flabbergasted by the price of picnic tables – sorry, “patio dining sets” – in my brief internet exploration. We want something simple and durable, that doesn’t have to be taken in during the winter. Large cushions are also problematic for storage purposes.

      • We got our deck set at Crate & Barrel on clearance–and we’ve been very happy so far. We do bring the cushions inside, but they are relatively thin and don’t take up much space.
        .
        wdc, thanks for pitching the question–I’m curious as well. Our deck may or may not be “legal” (in part because of the neighborhood historic designation & in part because of how it rests on top of our first floor kitchen), but it’s not in great shape. We’d love to get it replaced to reduce the splinter risk on bare feet/legs, but are scared we’d just have to tear it down upon going through the permitting process.

      • We purchased our roof deck furniture from Room & Board. Cheap, no. But its incredibly durable – Montego collection – stainless steel frames with ipe wood and Sunbrella cushions. I just cover it up when the weather is going to be bad or snow. Both the frames and cushions have held up great.

      • You could build something simple and durable in an afternoon with a trip to Home Depot, miter saw, and power drill…

        • That’s a good bit out of my skill set. I could get it put together, and it (probably) wouldn’t fall apart when someone sat down, but “thrown together by an amateur” isn’t really the look we’re going for.

        • The fair fax and PW county building codes are easy to read and execute. They go by the same reference code the D.C. References, but actually show you what is safe. It is possible to engineer this, but the second level makes it tricky.

      • Miss Pixies often has patio furniture.

      • I can’t swear to quality as in the end I didn’t buy anything but Wayfair dot com had a lot of options when i was looking, many of which were fairly well reviewed.

      • I posted this question last week and didnt find anything I liked on all the suggestions (target, HD, lowes etc). so I am going my initial choice: Costco, they have patio sale right now, but the one I want is not on sale so I have been waiting a bit. And they have a great return policy if needed.

    • We had something very similar done. Ours was a double decker sleeping porch which was totally rotted. We tore the whole thing down and replaced it with two screened porches. We did get upgraded balusters, skylights and custom framing so I know what you mean re: flipper special. We had the bottom porch extended 8 feet (making the new footprint 13×14′) and kept the top porch the same 5’x14′ footprint. The builder also painted and stained both porches for us and set a hot tub in the deck of the bottom porch, including building the concrete slab. The total cost was a little over $26K (estimates we got were between $20-60K from about six different builders, so they varied widely).
      .
      The porches are beautiful and my favorite part of the house, but unfortunately I can’t recommend the builder. They failed to put waterproofing material and drainage between the floor of the top porch and ceiling of the bottom porch (even though I pointed this out) so water now leaks in whenever it rains more than a drizzle. They came back several times to do some “quick fixes”, but nothing worked and then they stopped responding to my requests. Luckily my father-in-law is handy so he is going to help us fix it this summer, but after spending that amount, we really shouldn’t have to.

  • topscallop

    Rave: shoes I ordered over the weekend are scheduled to arrive today. Looking forward to rocking some gray suede oxfords!
    Rave: almost the weekend
    Rant: work overload
    Rant: early work call this morning was not especially productive since the connection was bad and the person on the other end of the call did not understand what I wanted
    Rave: there’s still time to try again
    Rave: work is providing lunch today for an event, so I can supplement the salad I made or save it for tomorrow

  • Rant: I’ve tried to convince myself otherwise, but my quiet neighborhood I’ve lived in over 10 years between Logan and Shaw has officially been infested. I saw three…different…sets of couples drunkenly making out on the sidewalk….in the middle of the day…over the weekend. No, just no.

  • skj84

    Rant: Decided to get a gel manicure on Saturday. One nail was chipped by Sunday. Went back the salon where they fixed the chipped nail, and put another topcoat on. Cue this morning where I wake up to find two additional nails have chipped. What is the point of paying extra for a manicure that is supposed to last two weeks, when it chips in two days? I don’t have time to go back to the same salon to get it fixed until this weekend. I didn’t’ even want to go gel, i was planning on doing a regular manicure. My manicurist kept pushing me and then finally offered me a deal, so I caved.
    Rave: Chugging along on my Best Picture watch-a-thon! Saw Manchester By the Sea on Saturday and Lion last night. Going to see La La Land either tonight or Saturday morning. This years nominees all are all strong, but kinda bleak. My favorite is Moonlight, nearly two weeks after watching its still lingering with me.

    • Brooklyn Brawler

      This is the first year I’ve watched so many of the Best Picture nominations. I’ve seen 3 out of the 9!!! Hoping to make it 5 out of 9 by Sunday awards show!!!

      • skj84

        nice! What do you have left to see? I think this is the most I’ve seen in one season, when it was five nominees for Best Picture it was easier to catch them all. I only saw one Best Picture last year, which was Mad Max. If I time it right i’ll se 8/9 this year. Btw Hell or Highwater is available to rent on Prime if you haven’t seen it yet.

        • Brooklyn Brawler

          I plan on watching Manchester by the Sea and Hacksaw Ridge.

          Not a fan of musicals so I’ll be skipping LaLa Land.
          Arrival isn’t my type of flick.
          I’ll give Hell or Highwater a try I get through the two I listed earlier.
          Lion, really doesn’t peak my interest. Well, haven’t watched the trailer but read the plot.

          • skj84

            Manchester by the Sea was spectacular. My second favorite of the ones i’v seen. It was haunting, but used a surprising amount of humor to balance the sadness.

    • Re: Moonlight. I saw it and I liked it. A lot. However, I keep hearing people saying that it is lingering with them or that the entire theatre was stunned by the ending and was very slow to gather themselves and empty out… What is this about? I only saw it this past weekend, so maybe it’ll haunt me. Not sure yet.

      • skj84

        For me it was empathizing with Chiron’s longing to fit in. I was an outcast and bullied as a little kid, and this movie just brought up a lot of feelings I repressed. I also think it was masterfully shot. The seamless performances of all three actors who played Chiron was another aspect I loved. Barry Jenkins did not allow them to interact while shooting which makes the performance even more impressive.

        • Brooklyn Brawler

          Did not know this fun fact (not interacting with other actors).

          I watched Moonlight this past weekend. good movie.

    • do you know which brand of gel you got? I’ve noticed that some hold up better than others (*cough* OPI is awful *cough*)… But to be honest, I stopped paying for the manicures and started doing at mine at home with the Essie or Sephora X brand gel kits and am getting 2+ weeks with minimal chipping. And if something does chip, I have everything at home to fix it on the fly. I would highly recommend! And now when I go to the salon for the experience, I stick to a regular mani.

      • skj84

        I don’t know what brand it was. A friend mentioned if the gel is old, chipping might occur. I may try at a another salon down the road, if it happens again I’m out. I’m relatively decent at giving myself a manicure, i may give your suggestion a try!

      • Huh, the salon I go to uses OPI and I can usually get three weeks without chipping at all. I wonder if it also has to do with how long they leave the light on or what kind of light it is. There is another place closer to my house that doesn’t use a brand name gel and it invariably chips within a week, so I figured it was just the brand of polish.

        • Blithe

          Hmmm. I haven’t done the gel, but for regular polish, I’ve long had excellent results from OPI. The Essie, though, has chipped in less than a day, although I’m using single coats of translucent colors, which might be a factor. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bought a bottle of Essie gel setter, to be used with their regular nail polish. This might be a step between traditional polish alone and a salon gel manicure if you want to do your own manicures at home.

    • seriously folks- seche vite top coat is amazing and worth every penny.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: My no meeting day has turned into a two meeting day.
    Rave: My nightmare of wearing yellow gold earrings and white gold rings did not come true.

  • binntp

    Rant: On my run-partway-to-work route this morning, I crossed paths with 1 dude peeing out in the open on the corner of Georgia & Alaska Ave (steps from the Welcome to Washington DC sign), and 4 rats having a party on the sidewalk Monroe St NW. I nearly tripped over the latter!
    Rave: I did see a cotton-tailed bunny on my street. Bunny!

    • Emmaleigh504

      If I saw 4 rats having a party on the sidewalk I would have to turn around and go home and take to my bed. You are brave.

  • Rant: Having so much trouble falling back to sleep when woken up in the middle of the night.
    Rant: So is mtpkiddo.
    Rant: Apparently mtpkiddo doesn’t really nap at school, so I’m not sure naps are the source of her recent nighttime sleep issues. Ugh.
    Rave: It’s so fun to drop mtpbaby off at school–he gets so excited to be there, is so excited to wash his hands, then he checks himself out in the mirror and dances a bit before he gets some work from a shelf. So stinkin’ cute.
    Rave: Mtpkiddo and I made a delicious-looking (and tasting if the batter was any indication) vegan chocolate cake for mtpwife’s birthday before dinner yesterday! It was so easy, didn’t even involve a bowl (everything went right into the cake pan), and super quick to put together. I think we’ll make the icing tonight, and then it will be all ready for the big day tomorrow 🙂
    Rave: Pulled that off, plus the regular dinner/shower/bedtime routine on my own and then also got the kids dressed, fed, and out the door on my own this morning. It sucks when mtpwife has to work late and/or leave early for meetings, but at least I can largely maintain the routine on my own as needed : )

    • “Having so much trouble falling back to sleep when woken up in the middle of the night.”
      .
      I have the same problem, particularly if I wake during the wrong spot in my sleep cycle. My mind starts racing, and that’s it. I have found the only (bad) solution for me, and this is contrary to all advice and physiology, is to get up, go to the sofa, turn on the TV and watch something mildly entertaining but not riveting. Not the movie you’ve been dying to see, or the next episode of the Netflix series you’re watching, but not home shopping network either. Sometimes it works quickly, sometimes not at all, but more often than not I’ll end up watching something for 45 minutes and falling back into a fitful slee0p. It’s not a perfect solution by any means, but better than tossing and turning in bed for 2 hours or more.

      • Fortunately, I’m not usually up for 2+ hours, and I’m mostly laying down peacefully rather than tossing and turning–but I’ll keep that suggestion in mind in case my resting in bed seems to become less comfortable or restful. The other issue is that I need to get more disciplined about going to sleep earlier–at least then the sleep hit won’t hurt so much during the day.

      • I do this too… I’ll usually pull up an old favorite on Netflix; familiar, entertaining, and I’m usually ready to fall back asleep afterwards…

        • Yeah, something you’ve seen before is key. Though for me, I fall asleep during – if I make it to the end, I have to start all over again. At that point, I just get up.

        • I just go to the couch and can usually fall asleep. It’s something about changing rooms I guess. I have been waking up at 3am like clock work and cannot get back to sleep. I go out there and sleep for an hour and then get back in bed.

  • Rant: I had a big black meaty spider in my house yesterday. Was not pleased.

  • Rant: My adorable should tote died yesterday. The strap broke in a place that seems irreparable.
    ????: Any recommendations for a new everyday work tote? I need to carry a laptop daily along with the usual trappings of a working lady. Preferably a shoulder tote or crossbody bag. I’m counting on the popville shoppers to come to the rescue!

    • I have the Lo & Sons Seville tote, and I’m obsessed. Looks great with suits, you can get multiple shells to change the look, and it’s slim while holding a lot of materials–my laptop plus a half-full redweld.

      • I’ve always been faithful to my Long champ le Pliage. I prefer a bigger bag but with less structure. Depending on the size and weight of your laptop, a large tote could work. It’s pricey for a nylon bag but it’s easy to wash and I’ve used it for years so I don’t feel as bad about the price.

      • I second Lo & Sons. I have the Seville and the OMG. Just wait for a sale, since they happen often.

      • Blithe

        I, too, loved my Longchamp tote. I got the one with the thicker fabric (doesn’t fold up like the lighter one) with black handles. It weighs almost nothing, is large enough to use as an overnight bag, and sturdy enough for grocery shopping. To replace that, I got a Chelsea tote made by MZ Wallace. It has a sleeker, more professional look, and I wouldn’t use it for groceries, but it’s been a perfect bag for work. MZ Wallace has several nicely designed totes — so worth checking them out to see if they have something you like. At other points in time I’ve used leather versions of the Danish school bag; a leather satchel (Cambridge Satchel Co., Leather Satchel Co. have nice ones) ; a made to order bag by Timbuk2; and a very nice — but heavy when stuffed — leather backpack.
        . Do you have any other requirements: Light weight? Dedicated compartments/padded laptop section? Space for an umbrella and/or water bottle?

    • Vera Bradley commuter tote…it comes in black if you don’t like the whimsical prints. I mostly use the commuter backpack but the totes are nice too.
      The baggalini Errand or Avenue totes are also good if you want a crossbody.
      Both of those bags also have a luggage sleeve that fits over your suitcase which is nice if you travel a lot.

    • I absolutely love my classic, monogrammed J.Crew leather tote. It’s really durable and neutral. I don’t think that J.Crew carries it anymore, but Madewell carries a similar one: https://www.madewell.com/browse/single_product_detail.jsp?color_name=english-saddle&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441762515&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302026059&bmUID=lFyRJuc
      .
      I’ve recently had to ditch it for North Face backpack since I’m going to the gym on the way to work and only want to carry one bag and I get sad looking at my J.Crew tote on the shelf when I leave in the morning.

  • Rant: feel like shit. Naseous, achey, cold.
    Rant/Rave: think I’m pregnant. .. we are trying. I’m late.
    Query: Freaking oUT about puking in my office and hiding the race to the bathroom. Any tips? !

    • I would keep some plastic bags to use as barf bags just in case. I felt sick to my stomach all the time but fortunately only puked a couple times. I hope you have a similiar experience. Ginger ale, ginger chews, and lemonade were the things that helped settle my stomach. The first trimester is miserable. Good luck!

  • Rant: currently the fattest I’ve ever been in my life with no motivation to work out or do anything but sleep.
    Revel: I know I’m capable of doing better but something’s just not clicking
    Revel: entering progress report grades. We are 5/8 through the year.

  • Question: Can someone recommend a pest control service/provider? We’re in a standard row house, and suspect the mice are coming from the neighbors.
    .
    Short of laying down a bunch of traps, is there much they can really do short of tearing down all of the drywall to find possible points of entry? I’m curious about others’ experience in dealing with this sort of thing. Did you end up tearing out a bunch of drywall to seal any holes? Were mousetraps effective in culling the problem? Hoping for the cheapest solution. 🙂

    • We are in a condo building and recently had major mice problems. The pest control people (Owl) came in and identified points of entry that we had never noticed and put traps, poison and deterrent around them. As soon as they left we filled the found holes with steel wool and expanding foam stuff. Haven’t spotted a mouse or any more evidence of them since.

      • We’ve also used Owl. They come to our building with caulk and other materials at the ready, identify and fill holes, and apply deterrent to all possible or suspected entry points (on top of poison for what’s already there). In your situation, you may have to rely more on deterrent than filling all possible cracks, but it does seem to work. It’s not a poison, so indoor application should be fine.

    • We’ve worked with American Pest in the past and liked them. We had a minor mouse issue in the kitchen. Turns out they were popping up under the stove from an unsealed hole. We happened to have the kitchen redone around that same time and made sure that they sealed the hole. You can probably do the same with steel wool and/or that foamy sealant stuff.

    • BioTech. We hired someone else first and then the mice came back. BioTech did a lot more work like sealing holes and telling us what we needed to do to keep them out. It was pricey, but worth it. We didn’t have a huge problem though.

    • Thank you for these recommendations! I’ll look into the services mentioned here. I guess deterrent is step 1, and we’ll have to go from there.

  • Bear

    Rant: Dropped the bear cub off at daycare for the first time yesterday. He fell asleep on the way there so I couldn’t love on him when I left, and the thought of him waking up and not knowing where he was just killed me.
    Rave: We both survived.
    Rant: I used the time to have my foot checked out since I’m still having pain where I broke my toe, as well as pain in the ball of my foot and lingering numbness in my heel that I thought was from tarsal tunnel during pregnancy. The toe is all healed, but I have two pinched nerves in the ball of my foot that pretty much mean I can’t wear any of the shoes I currently own until the inflammation goes down. And even then I need to be wearing shoes with wider toe boxes so they don’t just get all inflamed again. Plus the heel numbness isn’t related to tarsal tunnel at all – turns out it’s likely the result of pressure around a nerve near my L5 vertebra. So, now I’m making appointments for the rheumatologist and physical therapy too.
    Rant: Baby weight. I caved and bought jeans in a size I’m not happy about because maternity jeans were falling down all the time and I am FAR from fitting into my old clothes. Turns out I’m not one of the lucky ones who drop all the weight just by breastfeeding. I’m eating pretty reasonably but I can’t do much in the way of working out (see above rant) and I’m afraid to cut calories because I already can barely keep up with my baby’s nursing demands. I have very few clothes that fit and I’m just feeling dumpy and gross. I am trying to be kind to myself since I just had a baby less than 3 months ago, but it’s hard.

    • Not having had a baby recently (or ever), I shouldn’t comment but — now that I’m in my 30s, my weight losing ability has definitely declined. I go for a 2-3 mi run on most nights during the week, and am still at the heaviest Ive been in awhile. (Running used to be an easy way to get down a few pounds – no longer!)

      ‘Eating clean’ for a few days is the only way I lose lbs these days. My cycle has also been off recently, which hasn’t helped, so am trying to get my hormones and eating habits in gear…

    • Oh Bear, I’m so sorry about the foot issue. I hope the change in shoes and PT help. And I think you just have to buy clothes that fit the body you currently have. You will feel so much better about yourself that way.

      Less than three months, dear. Extend yourself some grace. You are keeping a little human alive on limited sleep. The weight loss will come in time, I promise. Just getting more parts of your life back that feel like they belong to you (and not the tiny tyrant) will help with the self-image too. At least that’s how it felt for me. Sending you big hugs.

    • I didn’t end up dropping the last of the baby weight until I stopped breastfeeding, especially since I was starving all of the time during that period (even more so than when i was pregnant). Once I stopped breastfeeding, the remainder of the weight fell off pretty quickly.

    • Mtpbaby is 16 months old, and I’m still not pulling off any regular exercise between keeping up with work and two kids. (Also still breastfeeding 2-3x/day and about 5-8 pounds heavier than normal on a pretty short frame) Totally agreed about getting clothes you feel comfortable in–that’s very key. And also agreed that you get more parts of your life back as they get bigger.
      .
      Bear cub will be fine, even waking up in an unfamiliar spot–his daycare teachers will absolutely shower him with love, particularly in the initial adjustment period. Good for you for getting your foot issues checked out–I hope that the extra information and appointments can help you regain mobility in the long run.
      .
      Most of all, sending hugs and love! Babies are so hard in so many ways–while they’re worth it, it’s also important to cut yourself some slack along the way.

    • I had pain after a broken toe – and started PT after it was healed – pain was 90% gone after 2 or 3 visits, and all gone after a bunch of weeks.

      For pinched nerves, try chiropractic and acupuncture if you are open to those – I’ve found they work very well.

  • Rant: Withdrawal effects from the lower dosage of antidepressant. Headaches, irritability, crazy ass thoughts are making me feel awful.
    Rave/Rant: Cousin may be visiting the University of Maryland from Georgia to check out the school and football team (they made him an offer to play). I just know that his mother (my cousin) and grandmother (my aunt) will be trying to guilt me into letting him stay with me for the visit. The kid is great but his folks are nit picky and worrisome.
    Rant: Riding Metro this morning and looked at my pants to find a lot of lint on my black pants even though I brushed them before I left home. I like black pants but hate the lint that attaches to them.
    Rave: Survived last week: Monday and Tuesday was a conference at the National Academy of Sciences where I had to present a poster and Wednesday and Thursday all day meetings in Rockville, about an hour away from the office.

    • Your 1st rave/rant gives me anxiety. Will you be required to take him to College Park as well? Because they are from Georgia, Im sure they think college park is down the street from Chinatown. smh. As a former student athlete I can assure you that if he has been offered an athletic scholarship, the team will have housing for him during the visit. Have him ask the school about it. If I were you I would make myself unavailable to avoid the worrisome parents. It wont be good for your new low dosage of antidepressants. You can always take him out to lunch or something.

      • He hasn’t made travel plans yet so I don’t know if I’ll have to take him to the campus. But he did tweet that he really wanted to come up to see the school. That along with the issues with my meds made me nervous.

    • If it’s an “official” college visit they should put him up with a player for free? At least thats what it was 14 years ago (!!) when i was being recruited for a D1 school…

      • When I was going to college, I wasn’t an athlete and didn’t have much contact with anyone who was. I just got academic scholarships to go to college so I don’t know anything about the student athlete recruiting thing.

        • Blithe

          In my limited, second-hand experience, when students are being recruited, they’ll usually stay with a current student. Basically, the school and the coach want the recruit to view the school as an awesome place to be, and they’ll want to get a sense of the student, his/her skills, and how they might fit in with the team. So it’s likely that your cousin will stay on campus, spend a lot of his time with the team, and possibly get a few awesome meals — and all of this will probably be free. You might want to make sure that your cousin has your phone number, just in case, and, if you feel up for it, offer to do sight seeing or a meal or whatever with him, but he probably will have a very busy student/sports/coach focused schedule during his recruiting visit.
          – Bummer about your first Rant. Have you spoken to your doctor? Is there, perhaps, an interim higher lower dose that you could try? These sorts of side effects sound concerning — so maybe there’s another way to taper down from your current dosage?

  • Rant: I am having a really hard time with a break-up. It happen out of nowhere and I feel like my life/future have been completely upended. It is hard for me to find peace with it and to find joy right now. I feel so hopeless about my future. Any advice on how to move on, meet new friends, etc. would be appreciated.
    Rave: My sister is coming to visit this weekend to cheer me up.

    • skj84

      I’m so sorry Heartbroken. I had an awful breakup in the fall, and it hurts. I hate to say its going to hurt for a while, and thats ok. I think its fine to embrace the pain, then move forward at your own pace. It really is day by day. Try to focus on actvities that make you happy, or even start a project. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but never had? Nows the time! Good luck with everything, and if you ever need to cry or bitch its within your rights.

    • Ouch, that hurts so much. I’d urge you to not force yourself to rush into anything or feel like you “should” feel a certain way. Do the things you loved before, and think about doing something new. Any class you want to take? Try something new or volunteer somewhere? I find that serving others can help me feel better myself, or at least takes me outside of myself.

    • I am so, so sorry. My last relationship also ended out of nowhere and it destroyed me for quite a while. I wish I had better advice, but I was a serious mess for about a year, year and a half, and therapy and antidepressants helped (history of depression already).

      I was fortunate that I had great friends through my job at the time, and a few from college, so I just spent as much time as I could with them and as little time as possible alone, and leaned heavily on my family for support as well. I tried meetup a bit, and social sports can be a good way to make friends – and at least it’s getting to the prime time of year for that. I’m not sure if this is something you would be interested in, but rock climbing is fun and very social and might be worth checking out as a way to meet people. Volunteering might be a great idea as well.

      Also not sure if this is something you would be interested in/can do, but adopting a pet can help too. Coming home to my cat instead of an empty apartment after a rough day really makes a difference to me.

      Hang in there. I’m really sorry you’re going through this, glad you have your sister coming out this weekend at least.

      • I second pretty much everything here. Keeping yourself busy, even when it’s the last thing you want to do, is clutch. And I’ll be the first to admit that adopting my dog was crucial for me getting over a really, really bad breakup. You can’t be 100% sad all the time when A) you have another creature to take care of and B) you have a really cute create to play with. They need you just as much as you need them in those first few weeks.

    • Sorry you are going through such a rough time, especially since you did not see it coming. If your job offers an Employee Assistance Program, consider giving them a call. I was surprised to learn that everyone who answers the phone is a trained counselor. I didn’t know that all the days I had where I felt like things were spinning out of control, I could have just picked up the phone for a quick pep talk or reminder that everything WILL be ok. Hang in there. And take care of yourself.

    • Thanks everyone. It comes in waves. Mostly, I am having a hard time accepting the new reality, especially in my quite and half empty apartment. Appreciate you all.

  • Huge rant: My amazing manager told me she’s leaving yesterday. 🙁 She is the only real reason I like this job, and I’ve learned so much from her. I’m also terrified because I’ve only done our main events once and there is still so much I don’t know, and so much institutional knowledge that she has, which is really, really necessary for seated events especially. The events this year were looking stressful as is. This is going to be a rough ride.
    Rave: She said that my colleague who also works under her and I are fantastic and have made this past year a joy, and she’s more than willing to answer questions if we need them. She’ll also still be in the same organization, just a completely different role.
    .
    Anxiety anxiety anxiety!

  • Question: We will be in NYC for 4 days over spring break. Any recommendations for things a 10 yo girl would like to do? We have tickets for the crown at the Statue of Liberty, and are planning on hitting Alexander Hamilton’s house (her request). We also are going to Broadway. Any thoughts about off-Broadway shows that won’t break the bank, or other activities? Also, suggestions for good *non-tourist* inexpensive restaurants? I am well acquainted with the blowout restaurant experiences(well, not really, but I know about them), but I don’t; know anything about the delicious and cheapish (recognizing that it is NYC) neighborhood places.

    • skj84

      I always recommend walking the High Line. Its my favorite place in NYC. If you are doing Statue of Liberty, how about a history tour of Lower Manhattan? Are you doing Ellis Island as well? I did the tourist thing in Times Square when i was up a few weeks ago. Took a bunch of pictures, then looked at all the theatres. I could only handle it for maybe 20 minutes, but its probably more fun for kids.

      • Walking the High line is a great idea. We are booking a Hamilton walking tour (sensing a theme here?) which should be a ton of fun (though unfortunately the times conflict with the Statue of Liberty trip, so we’ll be down in lower Manhattan at least twice). We’ve done all the Times Square hoopla before, and while I know I won’t be able to escape without a trip to the M&M store, we can do that without planning a special trip. Any restaurant recs?

        • anonymouse_dianne

          For restaurants try the Village, Chinatown, Little Italy. Last time I was in NYC we found a really nice Japanese restaurant in the East Village – the East Village has really come up since when I lived in NYC

        • Blithe

          -Serendipity 3 has been a hit with my younger guests. I think they have food too 🙂 , but the frozen hot chocolate is a festive only-in-NY treat. I haven’t been in a while, so check current reviews to see if it’s still awesome-ish.
          – The Chelsea Market is a great place to stop for a bite — with lots of good options. This might not fit your request for a “restaurant rec” though, but it could fit in nicely with either walking the High Line or going to Chelsea Piers.
          -I don’t know your daughter’s tastes, but most people that I’ve taken there — including kids — have really enjoyed Ollie’s Noodle Shop: lots of noodle and dumpling options that most DC area restaurants don’t have. It’s a staple for the UWS families.
          -And John’s pizza on Bleeker St is a treat for those who appreciate good pizza.

        • skj84

          Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Flatiron. I went there for lunch, decent prices and they make the cheese in house! You can actually watch them make it, the production area is visible to the public. Maybe Alice Tea Cup? I haven’t been, but they do tea service and breakfast type stuff. 3 locations in the city, the original at Columbus Circle. Do you think your kid would like Chelsea Market? Lots of food options and the decor is so cool!

        • It was a couple of years ago, but I tried the Serious Eats “11-Stop [food] Tour of Chinatown and Little Italy” and there were some real gems. (link in my username) I still dream about that Taim falafel.

    • I definitely recommend Top of the Rock! It’s an amazing view of the city, especially at night.

    • My niece and nephew around that age really enjoyed the National Museum of Math. I think the Tenement museum might be interesting too, as it is sort of an experiential museum. [I think they may have a youth-focused tour; each lasts about an hour if I recall.] I love exploring and eating at Chelsea market (though admittedly crowded during peak office lunch time) and that is close to pair with a walk on the High Line. There are a few other new food halls (the new Danish one at Grand Central is really good with open-faced sandwiches and grod (porridge) if she is a somewhat adventurous eater). I wouldn’t commute a long distance for it but the Hummus Place is really good and inexpensive if you are near either location.

    • – If she likes history, she may like Fraunces Tavern, which is a restaurant and museum from back in the colonial days.
      – The Tenement Museum is interesting and has programs for kids around her age. (This could be paired with Ellis Island if you want to hit the historical immigrant experience.)
      – Walk through Chinatown and Little Italy.
      – If she is familiar with Eloise or Home Alone 2, she might like walking through the Plaza Hotel and seeing Eloise’s portrait. They also have a food hall in the basement, but I think it’s a little pricier.
      – Top of the Rock has good views.
      – Central Park.
      – Bronx Zoo.
      – NYC Ballet has some kid’s programming.
      – For cheaper eats, NYC has some fun food halls, like Chelsea Market, UrbanSpace Vanderbuilt, and Gansevoort Market. I also recommend looking at Eater NYC’s postings. They always have a range of interesting info about NY restaurants.
      – Not sure about events and plays, but check Time Out.

      • anonymouse_dianne

        Check out the Algonquin hotel, and Matilda the hotel cat. During the Depression, the owner declared no one would ever be turned away. So when Matilda showed up … You can also see where the literati hung out and see New Yorker cartoons on the wallpaper.

    • I always absolutely loved the Museum of Natural History in NYC as a kid. So many dinosaur bones!
      Also, you can get good inexpensive Japanese food around St. Marks/Astor Place if that’s of interest.

    • Brooklyn Botanical Garden is always fun to visit in the spring. When is spring break? The cherry blossoms there are great (in later April – the main variety of blooms there is different – fluffier and pinker – and blooms about 3 weeks later than the Yoshinos that are by the Tidal Basin.) But the daffodils bloom earlier, and some other things, I forget when the tulips are out. Check their website for what’s blooming. There’s also the conservatories there anytime. There are plenty of restaurants that are good and not expensive in the nearby neighborhoods of Park Slope and Prospect Heights. There’s a children’s museum a bit further out in Bed Stuy (or used to be) though I’ve never been there. Nearby the BBG is Prospect Park, also great for a walk on a sunny day. It can be a breath of fresh air to get out of the buildings canyons of Manhattan. If you don’t get to Brooklyn, definitely walk in Central Park, also a highlight of any NY visit in spring.
      .
      Also, walking by the water from Battery Park up the west side of Manhattan is gorgeous – roller blade or bike it if you find rentals and you’re up for that – I used to love roller blading there. I always appreciate the natural beauty of NY that can be seen from the parks and waterfront areas (long time NYer here.) Also, go up to the Cloisters in upper Manhattan – its a fun museum in a lovely park. Go to the DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn, walk around, check out the waterfront park, there’s always fun things to see, and restaurants – and a carousel by the water. Get ice cream in the old lighthouse at the old ferry landing site. For one of the best views of the skyline, walk over through Brooklyn Heights and check out the promenade for a walk.
      .
      There are also some web sites that list activities for kids if you google up the NYC kid sites.
      .
      I took a slightly younger daughter of a friend on the ferry to Governor’s Island in the harbor between Manhattan and Brooklyn (ferry leaves from South Ferry in Manhattan), and she was (surprisingly to me) very interested in the tour they do of the fort there – she even asked questions to the park ranger doing the tour.

    • Where are you staying? Most of my restaurant recs are in midtown, the west village, or brooklyn heights but happy to share. I really liked the Tenement Museum when I was younger. I also love checking out the rooftop exhibit at the Met (depending on time of year). Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of my favorite spots in the world – amazing views and I love seeing how they developed the piers. When I was 10 I loved wandering around Bloomingdales since I was (am) really into fashion. I’ll always love the frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3, Rice to Riches in Nolita, and Ferrara Bakery in Little Italy.

    • If you’re around the lower east side, take her to Economy Candy. It’s like the candy store at the beginning of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, just wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling candy. They have EVERYTHING.
      If yours loves Night at the Museum as much as mine do, maybe the Natural History Museum?
      I’ve been wanting to see the Tenement Museum with my kids, so please do that, and report back. 🙂

  • Rave: Happy hour with a friend last night that ended with us planning a Grand Canyon hiking trip in 2018. Onward (and downward)!
    Rant: There was a interview on NPR this morning with the former head of the Board Patrol internal affairs talking about how hard it was for them to hire good people a few years ago. And yet we’re going to staff up suddenly? How does that make us more safe?! The mind sputters.

  • Rave: Had one of my fastest runs to date over the weekend with decent mileage.
    Rant: I think I royally screwed up my IT band as a result. I guess it’s just yoga and the stationary bike for the next few weeks.
    Rave: We have a wedding date and venue! Just something small with family this fall, but I’m super excited about it.
    Rave: My parents are being surprisingly calm about everything – not inviting every single 75+ family members, not getting married in a church, not wearing a veil, not wanting a big party. I appreciate it!
    Rant: Whenever I see my folks, we all pretend like there’s nothing important going on politically. We discuss the wedding, which cousin in pregnant (all of them, I think), the usual mundane things. But it’s so odd to not discuss this one, huge aspect of life at the moment that directly affects them as immigrants. The last time I tried to bring it up, it became a gnarly fight pretty quickly and I realized if I want a relationship with them at all, it just can’t be a topic we discuss. It’s sad, really.

    • Andie302

      Congrats on nailing down the wedding details! I think I managed a little of that myself yesterday after complaining here.

      • Sometimes you just need a safe space to complain! What should be a painless process (especially if you want something low key) has the potential to explode when you begin involving family members and their expectations. Stay strong!

    • Just curious: are you and your parents having different opinions when it comes to politic? otherwise I dont understand the fight.

  • Rant: Very, very tired today.
    Rave: I got to spend a long weekend with my bestie. Seeing her with my son, your godson, makes me tear up every time. I’m lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.
    Rant/Rave: Houseguest coming this weekend. She’s my partner’s good college friend and a lovely human being. The house is just really messy, and we are currently unprepared to host anyone. Lots of shopping and straightening tonight.

    • Andie302

      I don’t know if your in a position to treat yourself to a cleaning person, but ours is not a judger and is happy to also do things like folding laundry and picking up. If you want her contact info please get Dan to put us in touch!

      • I’m not the OP, but I would be interested in her contact information if you don’t mind! I’m currently using Handy and they’re awful (you get what you pay for), but I also find myself even more stressed out ahead of our appointments because I feel like I have to clean all of our stuff up ahead of time. I’d love to find someone consistent who can learn how to neatly organize things while they clean. Thanks!

  • My legs are numb because sweet foster kitty “Rainbow” has been purring on my lap for half-hour and I don’t have the heart to dislodge her. Poor girl has no one to play with now that her kitty sister was adopted. If you’ve been thinking about adding a gorgeous and affectionate kitty to your household, please take a look at Rainbow. https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/pet/5970401665.html

    • skj84

      Victoria, would Rainbow be ok around dogs? I’ve really wanted to get a cat, but my roommate has a dog. Roommate and doggie spend most of their time at her boyfriends house, but there would be times when the dog is home.

      • Rainbow is totally fine with, and actually tries to play with, my dog (who is pretty mellow.) But since she is still a kitten, and wants another kitten/young cat to play with, she would need to be placed with another kitten or young cat. Which we totally could arrange!

    • Oh my goodness she is adorable and sounds so sweet!

  • Rant: As we’re going through all 1700 wedding photos to put together an album, I’ve realized that there is not ONE good picture of me with my mom. Just pictures of us dancing. Not one good one! Also NOT ONE GOOD pic of me entering the church! I look miserable (which I was not!)! So disappointed. Also, no pics of us with groups of family/friends during the reception. How did all of this happen??
    Rave: It’s amazing how much one can accomplish when one’s boss is out of the office.
    Rave: Work-provided pizza for lunch!
    Rant: Husband wanted to watch ABC World News before bed last night. Not only does anything Trump-related get me all riled up, but then he shushed me when I was upset!

    • It’s possible that those pictures you’re referring to didn’t turn out very well, so the photographer opted to leave them out. It may be worth contacting them and asking if you could get them regardless of how they think they turned out?

  • Rave: Getting ready to welcome another roommate! Excited to have my youngest cousin living with us!
    Rant: Still feeling bummed about being in my 30s and needing roommates to get by. While I love my job here, I miss my old Jr. 1-bedroom in Philly that I could afford all by myself, and the cheaper cost of living.
    Rant: Still trying to figure out wtf is going on with these sudden, massively high bills from Pepco and Washington Gas. Need to try to access historical bills if possible, because unfortunately all my landlord can see is how much $ went to pay the bill each month (which is waaaaaaay less expensive than what they’re suddenly charging us). Oh, and yeah, Pepco wants a $185 deposit?! F.U.C.K. that! No, just no.

    • yep that’s DC, highest cost of living. I had a friend come over and she shared how much her 1 bedroom was in philly – safe to say that I got very emotional about that.

    • Plenty of people in the dc metro have roommates past 30. While some of those are likely wants over needs, it doesn’t make it any better or worse. Do what you gotta do. Fwiw, I plan to have them forever unless my yet to be found spouse is loaded, and even then, I’ll probably try it. I’m cheap; sue me.

      • Thanks, Anon Spock 🙂 I guess it’s hard sometimes to not feel like a failure when I’m working for a non-profit (which I love), working hard to pay down what seems like an insurmountable load of student loan debt, and having also worked really hard to make amends for past spending mistakes at a time in which I didn’t anticipate living to have those mistakes catch up with me. It seems like so many people have their sh!t together and can afford this area with no problem, have multiple properties, are flush with cash, etc. The Friday question last week made me feel borderline-suicidal. I do love my roomates, so at least I’m blessed from that perspective.

  • Rave: Pony time last night – the chestnut mare was brilliant and we had so much fun in the outdoor arena.
    Rant: Late night
    Rave: Mexico City this weekend.
    Rant: I am bouncing around so much – 2 days in DC, two days in NYC, three days in DF, two days in DC, a few more in NYC then off to Kenya.

  • Rave: Sunshine and light/no traffic = super pleasant bike commute!

    Rant: (Literal) Cat fights. Boyfriend and I moved in together 5 months ago and we each came with two cats. We kept them apart for two solid weeks; separated each set of cats, fed them at the door so they could get the smell of each other and slowly introduced them. We thought we did everything right! And for four months, everything was fine. Now, all of a sudden, two of the cats (one of mine, one of his) are fighting a lot. His girl cat seems to have suddenly gotten very territorial and irritated with my boy cat and swipes at him anytime he comes near and sometimes even runs up out of nowhere to fight with him. He antagonizes her by encroaching on her space and doesn’t back down when she starts to fight with him.

    We’ve separated them again and are going to reintroduce them slowly – but does anybody have any suggestions or tips on other things we can do?

    • I’d recommend buying Cat Vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat (by Pam Johnson-Bennett). Excellent book with solid tips that I ended up using when I introduced a new cat to a resident cat in my apartment.
      .
      Also, you might consider asking your vet or the Animal Rescue Alliance for help/guidance. When I adopted one of my cats from the shelter on NY Ave, there was a paper in the adoption package that had tips for accommodating cats and said you could contact them directly with problems (since they want to make the adoption arrangements work!). I’d hope they might have a behaviorist or a recommendation for one who could help you if the book doesn’t work for you.
      .
      Finally, Feliway. I’d install these in your house/apartment. They emit good pheromones (spelling?) that put cats in a happy mood. Great tool for easing stress in a multi-cat household. Good luck.

    • My two cats didn’t get along at all for at least a month and weren’t great at getting along until around the three month mark, even though I took all the precautions you described (separate rooms, trading scents, feeding on opposite sides of a door, etc.). It can take time. I ended up cutting large pieces of cardboard from leftover boxes and sliding them in between the two cats when they were fighting. Had a big piece of cardboard within reach in every room. Seems silly, but cutting off their ability to see each other like that helped calm them a lot. Also, I used Feliway plug-ins. In addition, I thought rewarding them with a few treats and praise when they weren’t fighting but were in close proximity to each other helped. Making sure the cat being picked on has plenty of safe places to run and hide, if necessary, is important, too. I think I learned patience may be the real key!

      • I did resort to calling upon an animal behaviorist from the animal shelter for some suggestions. I bought a harness for my aggressive cat, but he didn’t like it much, yet for a brief period, it was good to be able to pull him away from the other cat when needed. I also enjoyed devising joint games for them. If you can engage them both in play at the same time, that’s useful. Again, follow good behavior with some kind of reward. I actually read a book on clicker training for cats and found that helpful to some degree, too.

    • Jackson Galaxy, the guy from Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” deals with that kind of stuff, maybe check out some of his stuff / website. I also know some people swear by the Feliway plug-ins, so it might be worth checking out….

      • Thanks so much! Keep these tips coming!!

        We tried Feliway when things first got bad – bought a diffuser for each room of the house; and that had pretty much no effect. We then tried the collars (put one on each of the affected cats) and for the first week or two, that seemed to calm Girl Cat down, but then it worse off and when we replaced them with new/fresh collars, that had no effect.

        I think what’s most mystifying and annoying is that they got along fine for four months! Things were so great and I was so freaking smug 😐 So it’s just weird that it came out of nowhere! Maybe that’s why going to the vet is a good idea. Make sure there’s no underlying health issues.

        • DEFINITELY go to the vet and get them all checked out – if girl cat has a UTI or something bothering her, she may have decided to associate that discomfort with one of the other cats and is therefore lashing out in inappropriate ways. Also, 4 cats is a lot. Even though we keep them in small spaces, cats need to have space to stretch out – they’re not pack animals like dogs, so they don’t tend to bond with other cats unless they’ve essentially grown up around them. They may never all be buds, but hopefully you can devise ways to have them get along without fighting. Good luck!

  • RAVE: Four day work weeks! And the @wethepeopledc instagram on Presidents’ Day.
    http://www.instagram.com/p/BQu5ALhhhtI/?taken-by=wethepeopledc

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