Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Brett Weinstein

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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162 Comment

  • Rave: Bathroom ceiling damaged by upstairs neighbor’s leaking tub is getting fixed today! No more plaster problems.
    Rant: Cold that won’t quit has devolved into a cough that won’t go away.
    Rant: BC of rant above, I haven’t been to the gym in over a week and I hate that.
    Rave: Making Smitten’s peanut butter swirled chocolate brownies tonight.

    • Go to the doctor. I had a similar cough that wouldn’t go away. Started as an almost cold that never fully developed into a cold and then I just had a lingering cough for an entire month, felt fine otherwise. Turns out I had bronchitis. Doctor gave me meds and within a week, I was good as new. I’m not one of these, “oh no, I have a cold, better get a z pack,” people, but if something lasts longer than a few weeks with no signs of going away, it’s time for a pro.

  • Rave: Avocado toast with hard boiled egg as second breakfast
    Rave: Baby Artie slept through the night last night, and he was in such a good mood during our commute.
    Rant: Trump’s plan to dismantle climate change protections

    • skj84

      Love you’re first rave, I did avocado toast twice this past weekend. I need to make it more often, its so easy! I’m more a runny egg girl, but hard boiled on top sounds tasty!

      • Runny eggs are my favorite! But since second breakfast was at the office a hard boiled egg had to do. A dash of hot sauce made it extra yummy!

        • skj84

          I am coming around on hot sauce on my eggs(and in general). Just a dash though. Enough for a bit of bite, and thats it.

      • Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) on avocado toast for me! Perfect match of creamy and crunchy.

  • Rant: I broke my glasses working out last night. Seriously, who does that except me?
    Rave: Dinner with a friend last night. Excellent crispy chicken and even better conversation. There was a moment of drama when a dog bolted from the outdoor patio and took off down the sidewalk with the table wrapped around its leash. Once we determine no one was hurt, it was hilarious. (Dog people – what’s the etiquette of leashes at restaurants? Do you wrap them around the chair, the table, etc? Just curious.)

    • I wrap the leash around my thigh and sit on it. If the dog is moving/getting in the way I will step on the leash as well to limit movement.

    • I break my glasses getting out of bed — did that twice — that’s waaaaaay more stupid than breaking them at a workout.

      I once broke my glasses by passing out after a workout and pitching forward on my face, does that count? 😉

      • skj84

        I once kneeled on a pair glasses that had someone how fallen into my sheets. Snapped them right down the middle. To this day I double and check that my glasses are on the nightstand before getting up.

        • Thanks, helpful to know i’m not alone.

          I suspect it’s because I made the mistake of thinking things were broadly going well. Thinking that is just an invitation to the universe to throw a curveball.

      • I once broke a pair of glasses by pushing them up on my nose 😮 They broke in half at the bridge.

    • I haven’t had a dog of my own in years, but I think I’d probably keep the leash around my wrist. I would be able to react MUCH more quickly if he decided to act up. But I would also not take a dog to a restaurant if I couldn’t rely on him to be cool.

    • Blithe

      I once broke a pair of glasses in ballet class. While I was wearing a granny strap chain thing. Mid-pirouette, the glasses and the chain flew off of my face, and landed several feet away in the corner of the room. They broke at the nose piece, so I had to face my parents wearing two monocles, dangling at each end of the granny strap.

      – This incident stands out in part because I was encouraged to do ballet over other activities because my parents were concerned that I might — yep — break my glasses.

  • Bear

    Rant: Yesterday was my first day back at work. The bear cub did fine at day care but I almost fell asleep on my dining room table waiting for dinner to be ready. Figuring out pumping at work also is not terribly fun.
    Rave: I got approval to work from home part time. The extra little bit of sleep in the morning makes such a difference.
    Rave: Coffee. All the coffee.

    • Coffee is your very best friend! Pumping sucks, but I promise that it gets easier. You’ll get into a routine. As with everything bear cub or Baby Artie related, routines help.

      • Ditto all of this. Also, keep a spare set of everything at work in case you forget something at home or something goes awry. You got this!

  • Rant: After securing a contractor (aka substitute in this office) for a day’s work, coworker came to me and said, “Oh, I didn’t fill in the schedule correctly. I’m working that day, so you need to cancel this person.” Honestly, dude? It’s your mistake, I think YOU should deal with it.
    Rave: CHERRY BLOSSOMS! Went after work and met up with a random high school friend who is in town, had a lovely time with he and his wife, catching up and enjoying the beauty that is the Tidal Basin at this time. Then I enjoyed the hour’s walk home!
    Rant: Today is just UGH. Also, it is currently 77 degrees in my office.
    Rave: My lack of allergies!!

  • Rave: Air BnB era has begun in earnest.
    Rant: Those cheap bastards sure beat me down on the price.
    Rave: The few guests I’ve had so far really seem to like the place which, makes me feel good.
    Rant: I miss my kitchen, my art, my two-story bedroom and two-head shower.
    Rave: I guess I’m officially shacked up now, what with most of my clothes and my rowing machine at the girlfriend’s — soon as she loses her heath insurance, she’ll marry me for sure. 😉 (Bonus rave — back not healed, but working out makes it feel better/Bonus rant: the crews are on the water an I’m not)
    Query: this is an opinionated lot, how can I make my listing better (and charge more money?). https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16596118

    • I think the house looks great! My parents are selling their house and I just had to deal with the staging aspect – my advice would be to take out the “cluttering” items in the pictures (ie. the brush & shampoo in the bathroom, utensil jars/oils in the kitchen), and take brighter photos – it looks a bit dark. I’m very surprised at the $150/night, I’d think you could get at least $250-300!

    • Bear

      I guess my first question would be why are you marketing to spring breakers or college grads? I think there are lots of other types of travelers who would really enjoy the place (and could pay more). By including that as your headline I think you’re giving the impression that your place is only suitable for the younger partying type, and you may be losing some interest by leading with that. After looking at the photos and reading the description, it’s clear that it would be a great place for a wide variety of travelers.
      Second, I’m not familiar with how AirBnB encourages owners to set prices, but one thing I always find annoying is how much the cleaning and service fees add on. So you think you’re finding something within your budget based on the nightly rate, but then once everything is added in it’s way more than what you wanted to spend. To me (and others may disagree), the cleaning fee is a bit steep. I know that is probably close to what it actually costs to have it cleaned, but I think it would make more sense to charge a smaller cleaning fee and recoup that cost in a higher nightly rate. I think you could charge more, it looks like a great place.

    • It looks like a great place, but I think you might be able to do more to explain and sell the location. As a fellow Mt. Pleasanter, I obviously think that it’s the best neighborhood in DC, but I sometimes have a hard time explaining where it is to out-of-towners and even some D.C.-area folks. If you can add more pictures, it might help to include a map that points out how close the Columbia Heights Metro is, as well as other local attractions like the Zoo, Adams Morgan, and U Street. You might also want to include some neighborhood pictures, such as: a tree-lined residential block, Mt. Pleasant St. (maybe a night shot with the lights strung between Beau Thai and Purple Patch), The Raven, Each Peach, and the Farmer’s Market. Probably not all of these shots, but a couple pictures of what you really love about the neighborhood might help set the tone.
      I also agree with the above comment to remove some of the personal items from the bath, etc., as well as second the notion that you could probably charge a bit more per night for 3 bedrooms. But overall it looks like a great listing.

      • Agreed – while I absolutely love Mt. Pleasant for its quiet, tucked-away ambience while still being close enough (for me) to some of the hotter retail/commercial neighborhoods, tourists would likely prioritize proximity to downtown over places like Beau Thai and Purple Patch; those are far from cross-town draws (to say nothing about cross-country and beyond).

    • As we all know, every April DC fills up with the sort of tourists that love cherry blossoms and standing to the left on Metro escalators, so I was thinking more of more of tourist families with younger kids than rowdy collegians with “Spring Break” (also, on the original header, we had a little Break/Blossom/Bargain consonance going on). The grads thing is figuring that families coming in for graduation weekend might be looking for a place where they could spread out on a budget. I will change.
      The cleaning fee is in line with other, similar places. The strategy is to catch the attention with the low price and then pick up a little extra cash with add-ons — I know, annoying but experienced friends say this is the way to get business. Also, at this point, I’m doing the cleaning because I can use the cash, so it’s not insignificant income to me.
      Working on the photos.

      Offering a lower price to get reviews and generate cash flow. Plus, I’m new so I want people thinking “great value for the money” rather than “premium price but he screwed something up.” Hope to raise it gradually over time, once the (I hope) stellar reviews are in.
      All comments appreciated (and will consider the cleaning fee). Thanks.

      • It’s a beautiful place and I will keep it in mind the next time I have people coming into town.
        BUT – who is this Charles person? I couldn’t possibly think of you as anything other than Irving. hah!

      • Of course I’m wishing you luck, but also, pointing out some realities. ABB has flooded the DC market with listings, driving all prices down. (As has Expedia since they bought VRBO & Homeaway.) There are over 4000 listings now, search features are poor and people are also starting to clue in about prices – that they have to add 24-30% more to the listed ABB price for fees, cleaning and taxes.

        I’ve rented out my vacation apt. for 12 years at $125.00 – $140.00 per night. ABB keeps suggesting I lower the price to $60-75.00.

        You advertise you sleep 8 people, and the listed price is $150.00 per night, but then you charge an extra $50.00 per person per night. So a four night stay with 8 people is actually $2,404.00. That pisses people off.

        As for the actual listing – your description is good, a tad wordy, but not annoying. The photos are good except for the one of the bedroom with the blue comforter – just looks messy. And if you want to attract families, consider changing the art in the first photo that looks like two men in diapers (or peeing into crockery?) and removing the naked statue. Families don’t really want to have to explain all that to the kids.

        I agree about changing the headline. You really do not want “Spring Break College Grad” party types. Also “Downtown” is misleading as Mt. Pleasant is not downtown.

        And if you want to continue as a short-term rental, definitely get up to speed about councilmember McDuffie’s proposed restrictions and plan to attend the hearing on April 26.

        • “You advertise you sleep 8 people, and the listed price is $150.00 per night, but then you charge an extra $50.00 per person per night. So a four night stay with 8 people is actually $2,404.00.”
          That’s a really good point. Is this a common kicker for ABB rentals? Not sure why a 3 bedroom place should have that. In essence, you’re saying that is someone rents the place and plans to use all of the available bed space (not even any sofas or air mattresses), the actual price is 133% higher than the advertised price.

          • Very common for ABB rentals. The posted price is often for just 2 people. You have to enter exact dates and number of people to get the true price including ABB fees, cleaning & tax.

          • At this point — I am still very new and learning lots — there don’t seem to be a ton of larger groups, so I have to have base price low enough to get singles/couples, so I don’t have a lot of empty nights. But, of course, I want to make more money on larger groups, so I’m trying to come up with a fair, per-person charge for the additional bodies. To paraphrase Colbert (Jean-Baptiste, not Stephen) “The art of AirBnB pricing consists in so plucking the goose as to procure the largest quantity of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.”

          • HaileUnlikely

            Off topic, but thank you for using “percent higher” correctly. Almost everybody I know who could get far enough to make the following mistake in the first place would call it “233% higher” and then argue with me about it. This includes people with advanced degrees in things like statistics. 233% as high, or 133% higher, but not 233% higher.

          • No advanced degree in statistics, but my father was a high school mathteacher who made sure I knew what was what.

        • “Wordy?” Moi? 🙂

          All good info. Thanks. I recognize the realities, but am not quite ready to rent the house out full time at this point for a couple of reasons and am, frankly, curious about this.

          I realize the pictures are weird (though, they;re not peeing) but the statue seems awfully tame.

          Right now I’m filling up fast at the low price, but mostly couples or small groups. Trying to figure out how eventually to raise the base price and lower add-on price — $200 + $25 or something like — that which would benefit both me and my guests. (Now that you mention it, if the base price is lower than I hope it will be, as I try to get cash flow and reviews, maybe I should lower the add-on, too, and see how that goes.)

          • done and done

          • The house is beautiful and for couples or small groups it is a decent price. But larger groups will feel a “bait and switch.” I don’t care if the painting or statue is weird or tame – I’m just pointing out how potential guests might see it. Don’t hobble yourself at the gate.

            Have you done a search on ABB, VRBO and Homeaway like a potential guest – who probably knows little about the the city – might search? Who is your competition and what are they charging?

      • Andie302

        I’m late to the party today (ugh – work) but have a few additional suggestions. I’d eliminate picture 2 until you remove the equipment and just add to the description in photo three that the master has a fireplace. Definitely remove personal items from the bathroom. I’d also arrange the cook books and utensils in the kitchen to appear a little neater. I would retake photo 9 from the same perspective but without the statue in the foreground. Even though you’re well priced for small groups – I’d get away from the word “bargain” in the title. I’d focus on the spaciousness, high end finishes, or something else – that way someone that wants something really nice doesn’t skip yours just because they see the word bargain. I understand you’re trying to speak to your audience, but anyone that isn’t that audience may be alienated. Keep it as general as possible. I’m glad you dropped the additional guest fee, agree that that feels like bait and switch. I’d also reconsider the security deposit. Airbnb has a $1M insurance policy. If something gets broken, make a claim. That security deposit may be losing you reservations. (Check comparable listings and see if they exist. I suspect most don’t have them or have a smaller one.) Airbnb may set you up with free professional photography (go to the photo page and see if there’s a link at the bottom) – might as well take advantage of that! The place is gorgeous – I think your strategy of pricing low to start with some good reviews and then slowly raising it is perfect!

    • Was the caption for pic #7 of 12 supposed to say “TV room with a big, big screen”? It currently says “TV room with a bib, big screen.”
      I think the biggest reason that room looks messy is that it looks like the privacy half-curtain thing in the left-side window fell down and wasn’t carefully re-positioned.
      What’s the deal with window coverings in the house — are there blinds in addition to the semi-sheer half-curtain things?

      • No blinds, but the curtains are not nearly as sheer as they look — they’re lined linen.

        I’ll probably go through and re-take pictures Thursday if the light is good and the current guests get out on time. Some of them were taken in a hurry in the seconds between the time we assembled a bed and people arrived.

  • Rave: Coffee. I love it!
    Rave: Great night’s sleep last night!
    Q: Where do I go for a quick and healthy dinner near the Howard Theatre (I know there is food at the Howard but I don’t want it)?
    Rave: My Uber driver this morning knew what the Key Bridge was!

  • Rant: my family visited this weekend and while some of it was good, the bullying from my mother and sister to move closer to home infuriated me. Yes, I’m stressed out from my job but that doesn’t mean I need to move home. Maybe I just need a vacation that doesn’t involve dealing with them. Of course, they did not listen to a word I said in my defense of living away from them. They kept cutting me off and talking over me and dismissing anything I said that didn’t agree with their opinions like they always do. I hate that shit. Now my mother is insisting on coming back up here for my birthday in May and I don’t want to see her.
    Rave: Made an appointment with my PCP to finally deal with the reactions I’m having due to this SSRI I’m taking.
    Rant: I hate the weather outside.

    • Sorry to hear this- it sounds incredibly stressful. You don’t have to defend not living close to them. That’s easy to say, hard to practice. I’m sort of in a similar situation, and i’ve finally realized that if I keep living for everyone else I won’t have my own life. This has resulted in some extremely tough conversations- but ones that ultimately made things better. It sounds like they love you- they are just expressing it in a way that doesn’t make you feel loved. You must ask for what you need- and if it is a break from them, it is a break from them. If you can phrase it in a way where you are valuing your own “self-care” it might be an easier conversation. Best of luck, E.

  • Question (Need help): I have used Turbotax for years for my tax return with no issue. However last year I officially became a landlord and have a DC business license. I need to pay a franchise tax and I just realized that turbotax doesn’t support that. Anyone has done that and can answer some questions? it seems like it should fill form D-30. Is there a software that would do it for me? Do I send the form we my tax return? or separately? I am bit late in the game for professional help. Thanks

    • I’ll caveat this with I’m not sure if this will work with the form you need. I have a form that Turbo Tax’s questions don’t support. However, if I search for the form itself in the search box, Turbo Tax does have the form in its program and I can just fill the form out myself and it’ll calculate the effect on my taxes. It then tells me what I need to send in with my taxes. May or may not work with the forms you’re working with, but its worth a try

    • which version of turbotax are you using, i think you have to use at least premier to do property rentals (thats what i use for it)

      • Thanks minhg, I use Premier as well, where you able to find that form? TurboxTax doesnt seem to have anything about it.

    • You have to do it by hand. It is sent separately from your return. The form is very simple, and you’ll end up owing $250. It’s similar to schedule e on the federal return in that you can deduct usual expenses and whatnot. Happy to answer any other questions.

      • Caveat: maybe the search method would find it on turbo tax. I’ve never tried it.

      • Ditto. I did it by hand and mailed the check as well. The only thing you have to keep in mind is appreciation. DC does not let you take the special depreciation bonus, so you’ll have to deduct that from the depreciation line from your Schedule E, if you took advantage of it.

  • RANT: got caught in the rain while I was running to work this morning & had to jump on the metro. I’m giving blood at lunch so I can’t work out later today. oh well at least I got a mile in.
    RAVE: leaving work to donate blood at noon, and not coming back to work until NEXT Thursday. Because I’m going to Vegas to get married this weekend!!!

  • Question: Someone (I can’t remember who) recommended a career counselor a few weeks ago…I think I am ready to take the plunge – recommendations?

    Rave: Got our first detailed quote for renovating our house. The potential of our home being functional is so exciting. Having more than one bathroom will be such a luxury!

    Rant: It is so much more expensive than I thought it would be. How does anyone afford this? It seems as though the contractors that I have spoken with 250-300k for a whole house gut reno is the going rate. We are not talking about flashy finishes either.

    Rantx2: Because of the cost we are going to have to drastically reduce our scope of work.

    • topscallop

      Thanks for asking this question, I think the recommendation was given to me a while back and I can’t remember the name either. I can’t really put my finger on why I’m so unhappy in my job and could use some help identifying other careers where my skills are transferrable.

      • This is the exact same situation I am in. Not really sure where to go from here…I haven’t had any luck so far. I have a feeling my resume needs to be more generalized (it reads very niche-y right now), but I don’t really know how to do that.
        My brain is telling me that maybe Andie made the rec?

    • t wasn’t me, but if you’re contemplating a career change, you might want to think about doing an aptitude test. It’ll tell you the types of work you’re naturally inclined to and what types of work environments might suit you. I found it fascinating. You do a half day of testing, then 2 hours of consultation to talk over the results. They have recommendations for career counselors if you need more. I used Ability Potentials out in Fairfax.

      • topscallop

        This may be too late a question, but can you remember how much they charged? Their website doesn’t say.

        • A couple hundred – maybe $400? But I found it well worth it. Frankly, it also gave me insight into how I relate to the world around me and why I feel so tired at the end of the day – it is because I am working with every ounce of my being against what my natural talents are. I mean, I am good at what I do, but it isn’t natural to me.

    • Rasputin

      What’s the square footage of the finished home? The average cost per square foot is probably going to be around $300, give or take 50 bucks.

      • That doesn’t seem right…our house would be about 1700 sqft…even on the low end of your estimate that’s 450-500k which is even crazier.

        • That’s a quote for a complete gut job for someone who’s not a developer (aka won’t act as the PM on the project).

    • HaileUnlikely

      There have been some helpful articles in the Post every once in a while about how to go about getting quotes to remodel your home. One key takeaway was that you’ll really want to get multiple quotes, and another was that quotes may vary wildly for the same contractor at one time versus another, just based on how busy they are at the time you happen to contact them. Not that you’ll necessarily want to simply pick the cheapest quote, but sometimes quotes for identical work will literally vary by a multiple of 2 or more, and for reasons unrelated to competence or quality. I don’t know if there is such a thing as an off season for a good contractor around here, but when a contractor is really busy with other high-dollar jobs, they may well give you a quote virtually unrelated to the cost of labor and materials for your job that mainly reflects “what you’d have to pay me to pull me away from this other job I’m working on.”

  • I had a nice conversation with a little old lady on the bus this morning. Started out talking about the rain (she thought it was a good thing,) moved on to how much 14th Street has changed (also a good thing.) She’s been in DC for 40 years, but never lost her Jamaican accent.

  • Rant: I feel incredibly grumpy today and I don’t know why.
    Rant: I also feel incapable of making decisions at work, which isn’t great, since we make a million micro-decisions each day.
    Rant: I want a nap. And some boba. And donkatsu. I have none of these things.

  • Rave: I’m pregnant!
    Rant: First trimester symptoms blow. No one warned me about crushing fatigue 🙁

  • skj84

    Rant: It occurred to me last minute I should make business cards for my project to have on hand at the Creator Awards today. I didn’t get picked to pitch, but it would be nice to talk it up. I tried Fedex/Kinkos but they were only giving me a ship option, rather than pick up.
    Rave: yesterday’s gorgeous weather. I had happy hour with friends at Dacha and it was lovely. I wish today was nicer.
    Rave: My copy of Misty Copeland’s “Ballet Body” book came in the mail! Do I expect to have a body like hers? No. However there are some good tips, and the dietary section is exactly what I was looking for in meal prep.

    • It might not look really great, but you can get business card stock (in 8.5 by 11 inch pages) to use with a laser printer. IIRC, it usually comes with a template to use in a word processing program, although I think that standard word processing programs also have a template. In a pinch, it is a reasonable way to get something quickly that will work. If you can’t find that, heavy card stock and cutting it apart with a paper cutter will do the trick.

  • Rant: pregnancy not viable.
    Rant: feeling stupid, embarrassed, upset, frustrated, sad and nauseous.
    Rant: now to wait for the inevitable end or schedule the procedure
    Rave: good health insurance and a supportive loving partner

    • I’m so sorry for your loss

    • I am so very sorry, Anonforthis. You feel what you feel, and I don’t want to invalidate your emotions. But in no way are you stupid. Please be kind to yourself. Sending you big hugs.

      • I absolutely agree with all of this. Sending you big hugs as well. Try to take it easy and be kind to yourself.

      • I’m sorry you are dealing with this, and I agree with above. During similar struggles, I took great comfort in knowing:
        1. It was nothing I did wrong, and there was nothing I could have done differently,
        2. Almost every woman I know who has tried to have children has had a miscarriage – it is so so incredibly common, and 3. A miscarriage does NOT make it more likely that future pregnancies will result in miscarriage.
        Be kind to yourself, give yourself time to heal, and know you are not alone and that you will get through this.

    • I am so sorry.
      I’m happy you have a loving and supportive partner to help you through such a sad and stressful time.

    • So sorry to hear this.

    • So sorry to read this, Anonforthis. I have no wisdom to offer, just wanted to extend my internet hugs to you as you grapple with this. Glad to hear you have the support of a loving partner and good insurance to help you through.

    • I’m so sorry

    • I am so sorry. 🙁 Sending lots of hugs.

    • So so sorry to hear this.

    • I am so sorry.

  • Pop – you were mentioned/linked to in Politico’s Morning Tech email blast. “GOOD TUESDAY MORNING and welcome to Morning Tech, where we’re grateful someone has agreed to keep the Peeps contest alive”

  • Revel: I’m enjoying this whole bicycling thing… I took a ride along rock creek parkway to near the Memorial bridge yesterday
    Rant: I can’t figure out how to adjust the seat and it makes me feel stupid. I guess I’ll go to the bike shop later.
    Rant: my butt hurts
    Rant: indoor recess and my kids really love Justin Bieber

    • There are probably 1000+ videos and short “how-to”s on the internet that will show you how to adjust the seat. Have you googled “adjust seat {name of bike}”? (I’m not being snarky, this type of things works for me like 99% of the time.)

      • I did…I found a manual for all of that brand and it was confusing but I’ll give it a try tonight.

        • OK, cool. Sometimes watching a video of someone actually doing it is more helpful than a manual, so I would look for something like that too. Recently I had to change a watch battery (should be simple, I thought) and there was one step that I really couldn’t understand until I watched someone else do it in a video.

  • Rant: At first blush, the printed name “Nunes” registers in my brain as “Nuns.” This leads to confusing current headlines. I adjust. (e.g., Why are nuns going to the White House? Why are nuns being asked to step down?)
    Rave: For my money, the random flowering trees scattered about our city are the real ticket.

  • Rave: NYC for Spring Break.
    Rave: Two weeks to Hamilton!
    Question: Have to drive to the Eastern Shore, near the Delaware/MD border, this weekend to tour the sleepaway camp (!!) my daughter is attending this summer. We’ll be passing through Baltimore on the way home around dinner time – any recommendations for dinners? Preferably easy to get to from Rt. 95.
    Rant: My daughter is growing up and is excited about sleepaway camp.
    Rave: My daughter is growing up and is excited about sleepaway camp!

    • DiPasquale’s for casual Italian in Baltimore, or Parts and Service for yummy meats. Also good is the Helmand for Afghan.

      • The Helmand, for sure. Woodberry Kitchen in Hampden if you’re willing to go a little further from 95. Iggies in Mount Vernon (or Joes Squared downtown) if you’re into pizza, Brewer’s Art if you’re looking for a good meal and a good beer to pair with it. Bottega in Station North has some A+ Italian.

        • Blithe

          One more plug for the Helmand! Another one of my favorites is the Sip & Bite diner on Boston St. — an old school diner that’s got wonderful food. Things like crabcake omelette sandwiches with bacon and cheese. Wicked yum! and an authentic Bawlmore experience.

          • Blithe

            If it turns out that you pass through Baltimore on the early side, Miss Shirley’s has been a huge hit with everyone that I’ve taken there — especially kids. I think both locations close around 3pm though.

    • Annabel Lee’s – everything I’ve had there has been great. Crab cakes and ambience are both amazing.

    • Enjoy Hamilton!!! I have tickets for August and CANNOT wait.

      Also, sleepaway camp is the best 🙂

    • All the options mentioned are great but it’s also Light City this weekend…missed it last year but heard it was very cool, might be worth checking out! http://lightcity.org/

  • Rave: Got tentative approval from my one specialist to take, if and when needed, the migraine medicine the other specialist prescribed.
    Rant: Need to go get a whole bunch of blood tests (just in general, not for anything related to the new drug)
    Rant: Still so overwhelmed by work, I wish I could clone myself and divy up tasks for different LBPs to take care of.
    Rant: Didn’t get to bed until after 12. Soooooo tired. And this weather isn’t helping (and making me look like I stuck my finger in an electric socket).

  • Rant: Ugh finding a replacement for the tenant moving out is proving a lot more difficult than we thought it would be. We had someone, but her screening just came back and her credit history is awful and scary. Does anyone know someone looking for a large bedroom in Park View with a parking spot for $1140 a month? House has a huge backyard and you can walk to Columbia Heights or Petworth metro.
    Rave: Job interview
    Rave: It was 59 yesterday, 50 today–feels like spring!

    • It is spring! :^)

    • Good luck with the tenant-finding… sounds like a headache! (Didn’t you originally have the whole house rented out? Did the lease expire and now one tenant wants to move out?)
      I wonder if you might need to lower the price to get someone this time of year. IIRC, the people in the group house on Princeton who wrote in the other week were asking a similar rent, were closer to Metro, and were still having trouble getting interest:
      (It looks like their Craigslist ad has been deleted, so I guess they eventually found someone.)

      • Sorry missed your comment! So, one of the tenants (the one who has been there the longest) actually ended up buying a house. It all happened very fast. So there’s still a lease until November and he has said he will continue to pay his share until the room is filled. So I’m not panicking or thinking about lowering it…yet. They’ve had a lot of interest, but as per my usual experience with this people are VERY flakey.

    • Re your rant: I’ll keep my ears peeled in case I hear of anyone looking to move. If it were later this summer I may have been interested for that price (although tbh, I’m trying to stay in a studio when I move out of my place). I’m sorry your original person ended up not working out. That’s a bummer!

    • Obviously do what makes you comfortable, but I’ve had a tenant for 5+ years who had awful credit. I looked at why: student loans; income: far more than needed to pay rent; rental history: excellent.

      • skj84

        agree. Could you ask her to clarify her credit history? She could be an exemplary tenant with the misfortune of bad credit.

      • Ha, I thought about you because I remember you posting about that. The only thing is there are other red flags too. She has just been very sketchy during the whole process. And I called her current landlord and left a message. He hasn’t returned my call. Based on the information I have though I am not seeing HOW she’d be able to pay the rent based on her current debts and income!

        • Yea, I’d run for the hills. If I get any sketchy vibes, I would never do it, no matter how good the person looked. She’s likely paying minimums to live above her means and/or she has a cash based side hustle.

    • I’ve had the exact same experience. I’m trying to fill my Jr 1 bed in Kalorama/Adams Morgan. It’s $1600 about 525 sq ft and is really cute. I have been trying since early April and think/pray I finally have someone. I can’t figure out why it’s been so hard. Not sure if it’s the time of year or what. I don’t think it’s overpriced.

      • The good thing for me is the tenant has a lease until Nov so technically he is on the hook for the rent and he has actually said he will continue paying until the room is filled. BUT he is a great person and I don’t want him to have to do that so hoping one of the few people that emailed me in the last 24 hours will work out.

  • Rant: Evidence suggests that drinking coffee impairs your eyesight. How else to explain that my normally very considerate colleagues leave scattered coffee grounds and brown splashes and smudgy spoons all over the kitchen??

    • Your co-workers do that too?! I thought that was just our office! This one time someone left a giant puddle of spilled coffee all over the floor in front of the machine. Some of my coworkers think I overreact when I get mad about things like that, but how inconsiderate can a person be….. yeesh.

  • POPulace: I am taking a job overseas and my apartment management company wants me to pay two months rent to buy out my lease. The buy out clause is stated in my lease. Anyone have advice or experience with negotiating the amount due or any alternatives that I can pursue? I am going to meet with the property manager.

    • From my experience, this is standard. You might consider if you’d want and are allowed to sublet it through the end of your lease. If you just want it off your hands, I don’t know that much can be done since it was in the lease originally.

    • Like the others said, it’s in the lease and you agreed to it when you signed it. Not sure why you expect to negotiate your way out of something you agreed to in a legal document. Again perhaps you could sublet, or maybe they’ll let you out if YOU find them an acceptable replacement tenant who will sign a new lease starting whenever you leave.

      • Yeah, the property management companies I talked to last fall seemed generally flexible enough to let people out of leases IF they found someone else to take over the lease. Of course, what they tell a prospective tenant and one who’s already on the hook may be two different things…

  • RAVE: No more traveling until May!
    RANT: Really craving poke for lunch. Any updates on Poke Papa?

  • Rave: Clearing skys -better weather

    Rave: New housing…however….Help! I might be moving to Baltimore, specifically, Sequoia Street. I’d be commuting to 17th and Rhode Island Avenue NW daily 7:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday thru Friday. Has anyone done this on a daily basis that early in the morning and what station(s) do I catch the trains and/or buses from, thanks alot to one and all who respond.

    • What neighborhood of Baltimore is that in? I googled and only came up with Sequoia Street in East Arlington which is very close to the zoo?
      I did the commute from Baltimore (Overlea) to DC (Petworth) for a while. Driving really will take less time than public transport will. I would leave at 6 and make it to Petworth in an hour. You really won’t hit traffic until you get to the normal Beltway traffic. I suppose you could park at one of the outer Metro stations and take the train into DC, that might not be so bad. Just keep in mind that buses in Baltimore are no where near as efficient as Metro buses in DC. The Metro in Baltimore is no where near as frequent as the one in DC. I would suggest putting it in Google Maps directions feature and selecting public transport to give you an idea of what the commute will be like.

    • Blithe

      Without knowing exactly where you’ll be leaving from in Baltimore, it’s impossible for me to address that side of your commute. Some options for a downtown Baltimore to downtown DC leg include 2 MARC lines and Amtrak. It’s possible that the Baltimore Metro or the Light Rail, as well as express buses or even one of the Circulator bus routes might work for you as part of your commute. There are TRIPS commuter stores at Friendship Heights on Wisconsin Circle and in Silver Spring at the transit center that might be able to help.
      — I will say that if your commute involves getting from your home to one of the train stations and getting from the train station to your destination using public transportation before 7:30 am — it’s asking a lot to expect that each of these legs will consistently work well. As in, if you’re taking the first bus of the day, and a late bus means missing the train, you’ll need a plan B in place, and alternative public transportation options are likely to be difficult to find, especially at 6am. Check the wmata site for the DC leg of your commute. i.e. If your train brings you to Union Station, the wmata site will give you options for the last leg of your commute. One plan might be to get a regular Uber or Cab driver for the leg between your home and the train station. This would make the overall commute a LOT easier. You might want to consider carpool options as well.

  • Rant: Feeling overwhelmed on multiple counts.
    Rant: Annoyed with group-house neighbors putting their trash in my trash can. (Dead giveaway: a piece of mail with their mailing address, clearly visible through the plastic bag.)
    Rave: Spring.

    • I had this same problem with unknown neighbors/passers-by and eventually just started bringing my trash and recycling cans far enough away from the property line (i.e. into my yard) that someone would have to really go out of their way to get to them. This also thwarts the here-you-go-my-dog-shit-is-now-your-problem folks.

      • I am usually really good about bringing my trash and recycling bins back into my yard promptly after pickup.
        The problem this time was that Friday’s trash pickup never took place. I went out in the late afternoon to bring the bin back in… but then left it there in the hope that the trash truck might come through in the next few hours. I (uncharacteristically) forgot about the bin, following a very busy Friday night, so it was out there all weekend.

      • This is especially irritating because in the past, tenants from this group house were sometimes putting their recycling in my recycling bin. I mentioned it to their landlord and suggested that he get a new recycling bin. (Theirs had disappeared.) Nothing happened. So when I saw a Freecycle listing for a recycling bin in the neighborhood, I went ahead and procured it for my neighbors.
        Maybe I should have announced it instead of just leaving it behind their house. And I guess the addition of a recycling bin doesn’t do anything about their trash problem per se. (They have only one trash can.) But I’m annoyed that I went to all the effort of getting them a recycling bin and they’re still 1) not bothering to containerize their trash properly and 2) putting overflow trash in MY bin. I mean, I’m probably more fastidious about trash than anyone else on my alley — couldn’t they choose a bin belonging to someone who obviously doesn’t give a sh*t?

        • Have you talked to the residents? Are they overflowing your bin or just putting trash in it? If the latter, I’d just let it go. Not worth the effort if you’re able to use your bin effectively.

        • Sounds like I’m about as fastidious as you are, and my experience is that most people definitely aren’t. Don’t expect them to even notice (let alone show gratitude for) your subtle hints. Don’t expect them to notice or respect (by putting their trash elsewhere) your fastidiousness. Like Anon Spock says, you can try talking to them directly, but with a group house you’ll probably have to talk to ALL of them, and even if you do, they may still not care. (As a former member of a group house, I can tell you that not all residents will give a s*** about proper trash disposal, despite my best efforts.)

          • Thanks — these are good points.
            I think some of the problem is tenant sloppiness/not knowing better and some of it is the landlord being a slacker. I think I might talk to the landlord first — the tenant sloppiness wouldn’t matter so much if the house had enough trash bins for its needs.

  • skj84

    Late Rant: Made an appointment to get my hair blown out at 11am. Got a call a call at 10:50am, and I’m walking over that the stylist wasn’t coming in and they had to push my appointment back. I don’t have time to push my appointment back, I was taking time out of a very tight day at work to come in. Had to cancel. This happens to me more frequently than it should, and at different salons. I ended up making an appointment at Drybar afterwork, but its going to cut into the time I wanted to be at the Creator Awards. So annoyed. Honestly why didn’t they call me earlier? 10 minutes before the appointment is unacceptable.

    • That happened to me once, too, with a haircut and I was livid. I asked why they didn’t call me sooner and they just said “Oh, we didn’t know.” Which is like — no, unacceptable.

      • skj84

        yeah. I’m going to send an email. If they had called me earlier and let me know the stylist wasn’t able to make it i’d try to shift things around. Decided to reschedule Drybar for tomorrow morning i’m worried there will be a long wait to get into the Creator Awards if I get there too late. Need to figure out what to do with my hair today, it does not look cute.

  • either rant OR rave, but not both (and question): the 2016 tax credit for property taxes paid by renters and owners in DC… Because the income threshold went up, I would qualify for the credit on my taxes, but I moved in December and went from a renter to an owner. From the instructions and documentation, I wouldn’t have paid enough property taxes in my partial month to get this credit and it also seems like I won’t get to claim ANY of the renters’ credits (which would have been the maximum $1000 credit) because I was an owner on December 31. The way this credit is calculated seems extremely haphazard and half-assed, but is it really that punitive for renters who buy late in the year?!? Would renting for another two weeks really have saved me money?!?

    • I don’t have time to look this up right now, but my gut reaction that you should still be eligible for the Sch H credit on your DC return because you lived in DC for all 12 months, even though you switched from renting to owning at the end of the year. As long as you weren’t in subsidized housing and as long as your home isn’t tax exempt. I’m a volunteer income tax preparer for VITA and I feel like I have looked into this before, but now of course I can’t remember exactly (and I DEFINITELY could be wrong/misremembering). This is not tax or legal advice, just a suggestion to keep googling or possibly call a CPA.

      • Yeah, I have the same gut reaction that I shouldn’t lose the credit because I bought late in the year (after all, I did still pay those same passed-through property taxes as a renter), but what I’ve found in the DC Code (§ 47–1806.06. Tax on residents and nonresidents — Credits — Property taxes; referenced in a FAQ about the credit from a few years ago before the income limits went up), it seems like the only status that matters is what you are on December 31:

        “(2) When a claimant owns or rents 2 or more different homes in the District in the same calendar year, “property taxes accrued” or “rent constituting property taxes accrued” shall be based on the claimant’s status as an owner or renter on December 31st of such calendar year.”

        I’ve found nothing to suggest a claimant could take a little rental credit and a little owner credit… it seems like it’s either one or the other, based on end-of-year status. Furthermore, the next section applies if you’re a renter the whole time and it says that your credit is based solely on your rent as of December 31 without regard to the rent you were paying for the rest of the year. This is also not tax or legal advice, but it certainly sounds like unintuitive nonsense.

        • Jay: Look at Sec. 47.1806-06(e)(1). Your property taxes for purpose of this credit are not the property taxes you actually paid for the portion of the year you actually owned the property, but rather the property taxes shown on the real estate tax bill sent out in September for that year. In other words, you get credit for the whole year’s property taxes if you owned and lived there on December 31.

          • Well hey, look at that… thanks, logandude! For whatever reason, I had it in my head that only actually paid property taxes applied to owners. I’ll still lose a substantial portion of the credit based on my condo’s 2016 taxes, but it’s better than losing all of it, I guess…

  • Rant- Came out to a bullet hole in my windshield and the .45 cal bullet sitting neatly implanted in my dash board on the corner of 15th and Harvard this morning.

    Rave- Im getting a beer with lunch!

  • That One Guy

    Rant: In a pensive/slightly melancholy mood. Over contemplating things leads to headaches. I need to let things go. The past is just that. This mood will pass…

  • Does anyone know if you can pickup no parking permits for a moving truck at any time at a police station or are there certain hours you have to go? I assume I could go anytime since police stations should be open 24/7, right? If so I may go by after my run tonight around 8 or 8:30pm. I tried searching but could not find this info on their webiste.

    • Have you tried calling them?

    • Clueless

      You should be able to go anytime; I recall going in the evening (FYI: I went to the 3rd District MPDC station) when I got my parking permit passes a few months ago. There should be a self-serve computer/printing kiosk area when you get to the police station and you’ll input the permit application/confirmation numbers, which I assume you already have, when you log in. The printers are robust and will print the large permit posters then and there. Voila, you can leave with them right away!

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