Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Chamberlin

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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131 Comment

  • maxwell smart

    RANT: Pedestrians. USE THE CROSSWALK! It’s been worse than usual… pedestrians darting across 16th, Connecticut Ave, Wisconsin Ave mid-block. These are VERY busy streets and drivers having to slam on their breaks because you couldn’t be inconvenienced to walk 50 more feet is inexcusable. The weather is nice. Enjoy it.

    • I agree. I keep seeing people just walk out in front of cars because they’re not paying attention. Like, walk to the crosswalk, then look both ways, THEN proceed.

      • maxwell smart

        This isn’t even like people inadvertently stepping out off the curb and not paying attention because they are focusing on their phone (although that is just as bad). This is people blatantly crossing very busy streets, fully aware of what they are doing, mid-block, and just expecting people to stop for them. If there is a giant planted median with a 3′ high wall (Connecticut Ave north of Dupont Circle), it probably means, aside from making the street look nicer, you shouldn’t attempt to cross the street there, especially since you’re just going to have to walk to the end of the median to finish crossing the street anyway.

        • FYI: Connecticut Avenue north of Dupont Circle only has a planted median for one block (between R and S), the planter is only about one foot high, and there are four cutouts in the planter where people can walk right across.

          That’s not to excuse people who expect traffic to stop when they step into the road (on that block of Connecticut or anywhere else), but I’m 100% in support of mindful jaywalking and the layout of this block actually makes it easier than other comparable streets…

          • Yeah, there’s a lot of evidence that mindful jaywalking (not making any cars slow up for you) is safer for pedestrians than crossing at crosswalks where they risk being hit by cars making right turns on red into pedestrians, left turns into pedestrians, and cars trying to make the light.
            I hate that on Ct. Ave. in the block below Dupont they filled in the spaces between the planters, making them harder to climb over.

  • Question: As it turns out, Littlest Anonachild has horrible eye sight and needs glasses. After spending a great deal of coin on the cutest pair of Raybans ever that will certainly fit into his Professor Hipster Anonachild look, I realize they probably won’t last as long as I would like and I should probably invest in some back-ups. I was looking at Zenni Optical, but I wasn’t sure how the process would work with ensuring that the lenses are right (at the optical store, they took all sorts of measurements for where his pupil would be in the glasses and that sort of thing). Does anyone have experience with online prescription glasses purchasing? How does it work? The glasses are really cheap, but do I get what I pay for?

    • skj84

      I used Zenni to purchase my most recent pairs of glasses. You should be able to get Anonachilds PD measurements from his eye doctor. They allow you to input them when fitting glasses online which ensures the lenses will be right. Zenni also allows you upload a picture to “try on” the glasses so you can see how they fit. Both my pairs fit great, and are pretty sturdy. I definitely recommend, especially if you need multiple back up pairs.

    • I used Zenni for the first time recently and they’re great. The PD is easy to measure with a ruler that has millimeters on it! You can even print one from the website and they have instructions on how to do it. Then you just need the prescription details. You can upload a pic of kiddo, enter the PD and then play at trying on glasses too. Mine came about 2 weeks after I hit order. I first ordered sunglasses (prescription ones) and an about to order a couple more. I think they’re probably not quite as sturdy as others but at $10/pop (vs. way more) I think for a kid or clumsy adult, they’re a good solution.

      • +1000 for Zenni. All the measurements you undertook for the eye exam are just plug and play into the Zenni website. Even if you are unsure about some of the measurements, they have easy instructions to do it yourself. A good eye exam is great idea, but paying $200-$400+ for glasses is not. I’m still kicking myself for not doing Zenni sooner.

    • Thank you skj and AB!

    • just call your eye doctor (or whoever made the glasses) and ask for the PD measurement. order a pair or two online, zenni is one option but there are a bunch of vendors now.

      i have a lot of glasses, some from my doctor, some online and the quality of the onlines are pretty good, they are made in china vs italy/japan but they’ve held up well and the lens quality is just as good. they are much cheaper online though!

      • Zenni was the only one that I found selling little kids’ glasses. He is only 6, and has a small head. I figure that he will go through them so it’s ok to go cheap as long as the lenses are good. I have one friend who’s son goes through glasses at the rate of a new pair every month to two months, and that has me nervous!

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Our ability to flex our time at work was just taken away. I wonder why.
    Rave: warmer weather is here!

  • Rant: Sunburn. And I was only outside for an hour. And now everyone is asking me if I’m okay. YES, I am fine. Thank you for your concern -_-
    Unknown: Waiting for results of mom’s biopsy, likely this afternoon….
    Rave: This weather is great even if I need to shield myself from the sun better!
    Question for the PoPulace: Anyone have recommendations for moisturizers with SPF that don’t make you break out? (I switched from a Clean & Clear SPF moisturizer in college to my current non-SPF moisturizer because it was bothering my skin….)

    • I swear by SuperGoop (http://www.supergoop.com/). Kinda expensive, but worth it.

      Fingers crossed for the biopsy!

    • Yes, but it’s expensive. I use Clinique. My mom also uses it and she has really sensitive skin.

    • I use Aveeno and have never had any issues breaking out.

    • I really can’t use moisturizers with sunblock, because most moisturizers with sunblock utilize chemical sunblocks, and I get rashes with those – I have to stick mainly to titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. So I just suck it up and apply a layer of moisturizer and then a thick layer of sunblock -if I have to be outside/running around. Still haven’t found a solution for my hands, though, that doesn’t make them feel utterly gross!

      • This! I use a non-SPF moisturizer and then can choose my own level of SPF daily. 30 for my usual out and about, and more if I’m going to be outside more.

    • I use cetaphil as my daily facial moisturizer w/spf 15 I think; but if I’m actually going to be sunbathing or out in the sun for a significant time period I use something with a higher spf.

      • I just switched to Cetaphil too, and it’s great. I have to use the redness reducing stuff, but they also have a line for acne prone skin that may be good to prevent break outs.

        • I don’t know if you saw my reply to your rosacea post a few weeks ago (or maybe just last week), but I didn’t mean to sound crass or insensitive. While my rosacea doesn’t bother me, I do have a birthmark on my face that has caused significant angst throughout my life. In the last few years I’ve gotten past it; but it never ceases to amaze me the things people will ask a a stranger (e.g., did you just get punched?).

    • Blithe

      I’ve used some by Philosophy (formulations and names have changed over the years) designed for oily skin. I’ve also used some by Neutrogena. If I’m outside for extended periods of time, I’ve used Neutrogena sunblock with no problems. Let me know if you want the exact names of the products — I can post them later from home.

      • Thank you, Blithe! I may stop at the store and take a look for Neutrogena… I did use their sheer dry sunscreen (not moisturizer) for the past two summers with minimal issues. I’d assume they’d make an SPF moisturizer as well? I suppose I could just buy the sunscreen separately and use it after my moisturizer under my makeup although that’s a lot of layers.

        • Blithe

          I’ve never tried it, but Neutrogena definitely makes SPF moisturizers – I think SPF 15. You also might want to stop by a Sephora and get samples of some bb and cc creams with sunscreens. I have a tinted moisturizer with spf 15 that I’ve been happy with. One product is usually less expensive than three, and, for me, using a single formulation is less likely to cause problems than multiple formulations not designed to work together. If you find something wonderful, please let us know!

    • Andie302

      I have sensitive skin and have found that the Oil of Olay daily moisturizer for sensitive skin with SPF (I think 15, but maybe higher?) hasn’t caused me any issues. I also appreciate that the sensitive version doesn’t have any smell like the original.

    • Thanks everyone. This is REALLY helpful. I’m going to the store today or tomorrow to investigate these. (Thank goodness I had aloe leftover from last year and a soothing chamomile face mask that helped a LOT.)

    • I use the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer with SPF 20. I really like it.

    • Check out what Kiehl’s makes. I have some SPF 15 lotion from them. Can’t say what the sunscreen in it is, as I tolerate most just fine, but Kiehl’s stuff is all generally made to be gentle for people with any skin issues. And they give you free samples!

  • Rant: I am trying to find the little easter chicks that chirp when you hold them in your palm. 14 month old niece will finally appreciate them. but theyre sold out everywhere online!!
    Rave: 14 month old niece plus 12 week old lab puppy should be the cutest easter ever!

  • topscallop

    Rave: I have a second interview tomorrow for possible new job! I’m nervous…
    Rant: work travel this week, gone for a while
    Rant: KLM won’t let me pick my seat online even though I have status. Two layovers = I want my window seat!
    Rave: this weather
    Rave: leftovers from a party we hosted this weekend mean I can snack on cheese and wine for dinner tonight while fiancé is out with friends
    Rant: brother in town for work but given our schedules I’m not sure if/when I will see him before my trip

  • Rant: Had a really scary night right before my procedure on Friday. Turns out it was the beginning of the miscarriage and it was going to get worse.
    As much of a Rave as it can be: Docs suggested we proceed with the procedure and it was quick and relatively painless. Surprisingly feels more like closure than I thought and I am relieved to start having my body back…
    Rant: 6 to 8 weeks before we can even start trying again. And that means going through this all…again…
    Rant: Bitterness about people I’ve let down over the past weeks not being understanding. They can’t be understanding if they don’t know but still I’d really appreciate some leniency or some “hey you must be going through something”.
    Rave: Supportive husband, supportive friend (only told my nearest and dearest), sunshine, and good insurance and living in a city where this type of support is accessible. And at the end of all this *might* be a baby.

    • I’ve been following your story but rarely respond because it ends up being late in the day. I’m so sorry you are going through this–it’s a truly awful experience. I went through something very similar last year–a missed miscarriage that required a D&C. It was an incredibly tough experience where I lost faith and trust in my body and the whole process. My partner and I went to couples counseling with someone who specializes in pregnancy loss. Afterwards I went to a therapist when my anxiety still was running high. I also did acupuncture which was a quiet space for me to unplug. I just wanted to let you know in case this happens to you–sometimes for some people it can take a while to get your cycle back. For some reason, pregnancy hormones stayed in my system up until 5 weeks after the procedure, and then it took another 7 weeks for me to finally ovulate again. All said, it took 3 months to get my period back which is on the high end of normal but can happen. During that time I got super frustrated that something was wrong with me which certainly didn’t help–but there was nothing wrong I just needed time. I really hope this doesn’t happen to you, but I only mention it because no one told me this could be the case and it’s normal for your body to take some time to heal! I’ll be thinking of you Anonforthis–make sure you take care of yourself and be gentle. You are right–at the end there *might* be a baby and let that help carry you through–and also lean on the people who know and who have been supportive. I’m happy to chat with you if you want some of the resources I used or want to chat with someone who has been through this.

    • So, so sorry you are dealing with such a terrible experience. I had an ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage while trying to get pregnant and it is just so tough and the physical part isn’t even the worst of it, it’s the mental part. I’m glad you have a supportive partner and a friend. I also had a supportive husband but started seeing a therapist while I was trying to get pregnant and continued to see her until I was about 8 months along (once I finally got a pregnancy that stuck) as I really felt I need the extra ear. Be kind and gentle to yourself!

  • Photo by Popville Flickr User Victoria Chamberlin 😀

  • Anyone have a line on turtle hatchlings (red eared sliders, probably)? There are rules against selling turtles under 5″ but I want a tiny one. Our tank isn’t big enough for a medium-sized one. (We have 30 gallons, as opposed to the 80+ you’d want for a larger turtle.)
    It’s not a whim that we’ll get bored of and end up neglecting. We have a turtle-appropriate set-up, and have raised them successfully in the past.

    • Wait, what? Is this for real? I don’t know jack about turtles but assuming by rules you mean actual law? So you want someone to help you violate federal or state law to get a pet? Please tell me I am misreading this or am missing something due to my being a turtle naif.

      • Not germane to your question or the OP’s, but the wording “a turtle naif” made me LOL. 🙂

      • The rule is because there was a salmonella scare with turtles a couple of decades ago, and some idiot parents apparently allowed their small children to put tiny turtles IN THEIR MOUTHS, thus infecting the kids with salmonella. The sale (not the keeping) of turtles under 5″ was banned out of hysteria.
        To reiterate, there is no law against keeping small turtles. You can buy them online for “scientific and research” purposes. But I figured if someone has a bunch of hatchlings in their yard (they’re very common) that I’d save the turtle the ordeal of being shipped to me.

        • It sounds like the ban was based on more than “hysteria.” An NPR article from 2015 says:
          “Some of the patients in the outbreaks reported having kissed a turtle. But you don’t even need to get to first base to increase your risk of catching salmonella, which is a normal inhabitant of the reptilian gut. You can catch it by being splashed with water from the tank of an infected turtle. Or by touching surfaces exposed to turtles or their poop, as might happen if a pet turtle roams freely through the house or if its waste is dumped in the bathroom or kitchen sink.
          “‘We treat every single turtle as if it’s infected with salmonella,’ says Tellem. That means washing her hands with antibacterial soap any time she handles a turtle or anything it touches. She recommends households with children under 13 don’t get turtles of any kind, because of the health risk and because kids often become bored with the animals, leading many turtles to be abandoned. The CDC says kids younger than 5 or those with weakened immune systems shouldn’t touch amphibians or reptiles.”

        • The NPR article also says:
          “From May 2011 through September 2013, turtle-associated salmonella was linked to eight outbreaks across 41 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, covering 473 illnesses. Some 28 percent of those sickened had to be hospitalized.”

          • That’s exactly why I used the word hysteria. If there were real risk, then all captive turtles (and frogs, and chickens) would be banned. Why are larger turtles allowed, if a mere splash of their water can spread the disease?

          • “Why are larger turtles allowed, if a mere splash of their water can spread the disease?”
            As this Newsweek article (http://www.newsweek.com/2015/06/12/illegal-animal-traders-have-turned-baby-red-eared-sliders-health-and-337903.html ) says, “While red-eared sliders of any size can carry potentially deadly bacteria, cheap, adorable and seemingly low-maintenance baby turtles are the ones most likely to be purchased on a whim and given to very young children as pets.”

          • The Newsweek article also mentions that the law “was established at a time when tiny sliders were America’s favorite pet turtle and sold in practically every dime store in the country. But as salmonella infections broke out across the U.S., officials soon discovered that an estimated 14 percent of all salmonella cases traced back to baby turtles. Of those infections, the vast majority occurred in children under 5 years old—a group apt to put toy-like creatures into their mouth and not wash their hands.”
            The NPR article says: “Back in the early 1970s, before the FDA ban, catching salmonella from pet turtles was a big problem, with an estimated 280,000 infections per year, mostly in little kids. So if you were around then, you may know about the link between turtles and the bacterium that is now more commonly known for contaminating chicken in the food chain.”

          • As for why chickens aren’t banned… you can thank the very powerful U.S. poultry industry. The U.S. treats salmonella in chicken as a “no big deal; just cook it to the right temperature” kind of thing.

          • Wow, textdoc. Good work. I never knew so much about turtles and chickens (although my mom always told me to keep my hands away from reptiles for this very reason).

    • So what do you plan to do with the turtle once it is no longer “tiny?” You know they keep growing right?

  • Rave: Down 56 lbs. Lost 2lbs this week finally getting over my plateau. Feeling comfortable again in my own skin. Still some work to do but I’ve come a long way.
    Rave: Was tired but got up for the gym. 2miles in 19.39. Unheard of for me only 6 months ago. Just gotta keep chipping away. No other way to do it.
    Rant/Rave: new clothes are expensive. Any good wills or 2nd hand shops to recommend? I do have a car.
    Have a great monday!

    • Buffalo Exchange on 14th Street has good quality at a decent price. Also, you could organize a clothing swap with friends, etc. Your outgrown clothes may be what someone else is looking for.

    • binntp

      Congrats on the weight loss! You might want to check out Fia’s Fabulous Finds on Upshur for gently used, new (to you) clothes.

    • The Mustard Seed in Bethesda has supplied MUCH of my wardrobe over the years. (They have may have changed names, however, and I don’t know what the new one is!)

      • skj84

        They now go by Remix recycling, though the signage out front still says Mustard Seed. I second the Mustard Seed love, I have been shopping there since I was a teenager and most of my wardrobe came from there as well. I haven’t been back much since I moved from MoCo to DC, must stop by soon!

    • Blithe

      Congrats on your accomplishments!!!!
      – I second the recommendation for “The Mustard Seed” — although I think it has a different name now. I don’t know what your price range and style interests are, but Ross stores, Marshall’s, TJMaxx, and Old Navy have sale racks that will take their already discounted prices quite low. There ‘s a spot on Rockville Pike near Twinbrook that has a World Market, a Ross and a TJ Maxx. Could be worth a look.
      – Also, FWIW, I’ve found that having a pair of black slacks or jeans, a pair of jeans, and a pair of leggings, coupled with tops that can span one or two size changes has been — for me — a relatively low cost way of supporting a weight loss journey without spending too much cash on clothes.

    • Op Shop at St. Alban’s Parish Wisconsin & Mass, NW

    • Oh man, congrats!! You could also try ThredUp.com. I’ve ordered more than my fair share from them and the stuff is always clean and high quality.

  • Rave: Used the gorgeous weather yesterday to get lots of good pictures! The colors at the Arboretum and the Capitol were amazing!
    Rave: I bought turnips yesterday, to try roasting with sweet potatoes. I feel so adult.
    Rant: Boss. Is. Driving. Me. Insane. Get outta’ my face!!!
    Rant: I’ve been in DC for 12 years, while husband has been here ~2.5. He doesn’t have the same love for the city that I do, so it’s hard to get him to get out and enjoy it.
    Rant: Having to help a coworker with her event. You’re an adult, you can get your own damn invitations printed….

    • RAVE: Just remembered that it’s a four day work week! Hurray for working for a (technically) religious institution!

  • Rant: Our nanny share family backed out at the last minute so we are at square one for finding care for May 1st. Unfortunately my partner has exhausted his leave and I have a huge project at work so can’t take any time off in May. We have an interview with an established share Tuesday and I’m literally crossing everything that it will work out.
    Rant: I thought we might avoid the 4 month sleep regression (or really, sleep progression/change). But nope. Give me all the coffee.
    Rave: Hearing Baby F thrilled at 4am after being fed is annoying but also really endearing. He’s just such a happy little fellow. Hope this phase passes relatively quickly before I just get annoyed and don’t find it cute anymore.

    • Bear

      We’re in the 4 month regression as well. I’m just happy I made it to the office dressed and somewhat put together today – hopefully I can mask my sheer exhaustion with eyeliner and coffee.

  • Rave: A busy weekend filled with friends and family.
    Rant: Baby Artie’s sleep schedule was disrupted this weekend, and his sleep is all over the place.
    Rave: Spring! We put out our patio and porch furniture and dragged the highchair outside so Baby Artie could have his lunch al fresco on Sunday. The true benefits/enjoyments of home ownership.
    Rave: Passover dinner tonight and a time with a dear friend and family this upcoming Easter weekend.

  • Rave: Farm time – the barn swallows returned and I saw a bald eagle!
    Rave: Made a delicious roast chicken with garam masala, crispy chick peas (etc) and wilted greens from the garden (ramps, baby kale and spinach)
    Rave: Ramps – enough to harvest this year!
    Rant: Pup has become anxious when traveling, hesitant to give her drugs but also don’t like her being anxious

    • There are various kinds of calming treats you can give your dog, if that would make you feel more comfy before trying real drugs. Also, if you’ve never given your dog benadryl or similar before, do a test run. Some dogs respond the opposite to it: my dog was super hyper when I tried it on her.

      • Check this but I think you can give a dog one Benydryl for every 30 lbs. of weight.

        • It’s around 0.5-1mg per lb of dog – always double check with the vet though! We’ve recently had to do this with ours so that formula is fresh in my mind.

    • Thanks kanon – trying benadryl is a great idea

    • Blithe

      I know people who swear by something called Bach’s Rescue Remedy. I’m told that it’s calming for both people and pets.

    • DOG has an anti anxiety med, trazadone, and it really, really helps with he goes to the vet. It just makes him happy dopey. And they can work with you on the dosing if you do decide to go that route. You don’t have totally knock the dog out, there are options to give a light dose.

      • yup. My grey cat has that stuff because she gets sooooo anxious on long car rides. She’s ok for about 40 minutes, but then after about that length of time, she just freaks out and cries hysterically. I’ve only had to use it 2x, again, on long car rides, but it’s nice to know I have it if she needs it.

  • Rave: Off on three weeks of work travels (squeezing in four days of vacation in Serengeti makes as well with my husband!!).
    Rant: All this travel means missing out on beautiful spring weather when the city is so freaking awesome.
    Rave: First full weekend at home for the first time in weeks (and for the last time for the foreseeable future). Wow it was nice to sleep in, enjoy our neighborhood spots, run errands, and soak up the sun.
    Rave: Tri schedule aligning well with family shore trip – looking forward to working towards a tri this year and feeling strong and fit again.

  • Rave: Nice and relaxing weekend. Caught up with far-away friends, did a yoga workshop, watched some TV but didn’t binge, hung out for hours in our lovely sun room. Perhaps tonight I’ll go around and take some photos of the various flowers blooming in our yard since I’m not sure what they are or how to care for them but I want to enjoy them as long as possible.
    Rant: Gah. Start of work week. Went to bed way too late last night and need my second cup of coffee already….

  • Rave: Bookstore movers were fantastic and moved me in 2 hours flat and they were super excited about how organized I was.
    Rant: No phone jack in new apt so getting Verizon DSL would cost $100 install fee. Decided to go with Comcast. I want to buy my own modem, but the website listing which modems are compatible isn’t working. Does anyone know which modems are compatible with Comcast? I have the performance internet (the lowest one).
    Rant: Moving plus new job with switch of benefits has required too many phone calls. ugh I hate the phone.

  • Andie302

    Rant: My chiropractor left the practice near my office for a place in Owings Mills, MD. This is the third time I’ve found someone I like that then moves out to the burbs (previously an eye doctor and a dentist).
    Rave: I’m willing to at least give the other partner a try! We shall see – because this kink in my back isn’t getting better on it’s own.
    Rant: So tired today, even after getting in bed relatively early. Stupid dreams for the second night in a row.
    Rave: Fun weekend and got to see people from several different social circles.
    Rave: and this weather, of course!

    • I’m sorry for your loss, but it may be my gain! Can you share your chiros name?

      • Andie302

        hahaha Dr. Andrew Toth

        I managed to get in with the new guy and so far he’ll do! His approach was a little more physically invasive, but I don’t mind that since it wasn’t painful and I’m already feeling a bit better.

  • Revel: lovely weekend. Went to a biking confidence class Saturday in anacostia park and learned quite a bit.
    Giant farking rant: was on the receiving end on some of the worst street harassment I have ever experienced on H street Saturday night. I was with my friend and on three different occasions we walked past groups of men who were shouting at us for extended periods of time, explicitly referring to certain body parts. It just felt so icky.

  • rave: for the third time in two months, I found a Smart Trip card lying in the street…

    question: Is anyone familiar with someone who provides personal document digitization services? I need to have some paper documents digitized (and then shredded) and while I could maybe just scan them in and find a shredder, I was wondering if there were a company around here that could do the job…

    • If you have a car, scanning yourself and taking them to the dump on shredding day (1st Saturday of the month for sure but maybe other days) may work just as good.

  • Need some help: A refugee friend has a thorny tax problem, but it seems like the free tax clinics only work with citizens and green card holders– not other classifications of legal immigrants.
    Any ideas about how he can get his taxes sorted? He’s a dishwasher who sends money back to his kids. He can’t claim them as dependents since they don’t live here. But he still supports them; there is NO extra money for tax prep services– or for paying taxes, for that matter. I can’t figure out why he should have to pay anything on his income…

    • Accountering

      He is going to struggle with this. To be able to claim someone as a dependent, they have to be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or a resident alien. Where they live is irrelevant, all that matters is if you provide more than 50% of their support (living expenses, housing, food etc)
      As a non-resident filer, he is in a really tough spot. The majority of deductions in the US tax code for people in his position relate to dependents, and the associated earned income tax credit.

      • I found something that says you can claim your dependent children if they live in Canada or Mexico, but not any other country.
        But the real issue seems to be that he’s being taxed on the health insurance subsidies he received through the ACA. And, of course, that he is trying to live on mimimim wage and and still send enough home to support his kids. I don’t understand how someone so poor can be expected to pay taxes at all.

        • Accountering

          America First – We have to take care of our own first – other nationalistic garbage. I agree with you 100%, but the orange Cheeto sitting in the Oval Office today ran on a platform that your friend is a horrible person who deserves nothing, and unfortunately, he won. I would be happy to take a look at what he is preparing to file, but in addition to being a refugee, he very much so has the US tax code stacked against him.

          • Thanks so much for your responses. I’m afraid you’ve just confirmed what I learned in my online sleuthing. I really hoped I was missing or misunderstanding something. 🙁

          • HaileUnlikely

            Agreed on pretty much all counts, and the orange-hued guy in the oval office certainly ain’t gonna help, but in all fairness he obviously isn’t to blame for the extent to which the current code is stacked against this guy and people like him. That the subsidy for ACA health plans would be taxable never even crossed my mind. Hell, for a lot of really poor people, that probably exceeds their earned income, in some cases by a large amount. That blows.

        • There may be something else at work here that has nothing to do with Drumpf, and it really sucks. Did he receive the advance tax credit and is now being told he has to pay it back? That might make it look like he’s paying taxes on an ACA subsidy. And if that’s happening it could be because he didn’t earn enough. Crazy, I know, but here’s the deal: You can claim the credit in advance but at the end of the year it will get recalculated based on a formula that involves your Modified Adjusted Gross Income, the premium you actually paid, and a number that the ACA exchange gives you (the Second Lowest Cost Silver Plan). Unfortunately you can’t claim the credit at all if you were eligible for Medicaid or other subsidized care. So if you claimed the credit in advance, and then *in hindsight* your MAGI would have made you eligible for Medicaid you have to pay it back, even if you had no reason to know you should have applied in a given month (say your work is seasonal or irregular, for example). It’s completely insane and the IRS has a FAQ somewhere on its website that says you should be able to calculate it on a month-to-month basis but the DC Health Exchange website doesn’t appear to have that capacity.

    • Do you mean the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) won’t help him? It was not my impression that they limited it citizens and green card holders. I would go to IRS.gov and look at the requirements. All I see listed is that the person make less $54,000.

  • Rant: Tired. Crazier-than-usual dreams last night, and I was woken up this morning by the sound of jackhammering somewhere nearby.
    Rave: Nice weather.
    Rave: Kittycat was making cute chirping noises this morning.

    • The kitty chirps are the whole reason I keep the birdfeeder filled. The birds would be fine without it. But the kitty! He spends hours glued to the window, making all kind of funny sounds.

  • I Dont Get It

    Rant: My DR was still at the hospital so I had to meet with another DR in the practice for the results of my stress and echocardiogram tests and
    Rave: She told me everything looked normal so I’m pretty sure
    Rant: She was reading someone elses’s results.
    Rant: There’s not a lot of fun stuff to find when going through drawers of a cardiologist’s exam room while waiting for him/her for 15 minutes and there are only so many selfie’s you can take with the poster of “Our Friend the Heart.”

    • Blithe

      Maybe you should try a dentist’s office: LOTS of “fun” stuff! ;-). Of course, many dentist’s offices aren’t as private as an exam room. Possibly keeps the riffling at a minimum?

  • Mid-day rave: My DC tax refund came through today! That was faster than my federal refund!
    Question: Can anyone recommend an online bank or saving service? I want to put some money into an account that I would not touch except for very specific situations / don’t want easy access to the money so that I leave it alone, but would like to not have to pay lots of money just to have any an account, just sort of function like an electronic mattress I can keep my money under?

    • Andie302

      I have had a good experience with Ally

    • Credit unions are generally pretty good about letting you open an account without charging ridiculous maintenance fees.

    • Ally! We do all our banking with them.

    • I have a Vanguard money market account which doesn’t have a debit card. This means I have to do a wire transfer or write a check to access funds so I tend to not use it except for certain situations.

    • I can’t say if it is better/worse or the same as the other options suggested but I have been happy with what is now Capital One 360 (used to be ING Orange Direct).

      • HaileUnlikely

        I second this. I was admittedly happier with them ~10 years ago when their interest rate on a savings account was ~5%, but still, I have no complaints with them. I have my checking account with a federal credit union and savings account with Capital One 360 (opened account back in the days of ING Direct).

        • Me too. I know intellectually I should look to move some of my long-term savings into a Vanguard index fund but I am feeling really risk averse and haven’t done it.

          • Vanguard is a pretty solid bet. As far as risks go, it’s low. You can always move part of your lt savings and see how it goes before taking a big leap.

    • We recently opened an account with Synchrony and are happy with it. 1.05% interest and an easy transfer interface. Amazon credit cards (which I also have) are processed through Synchrony, so I was comfortable that they are legit.

    • TreasuryDirect, perhaps two- or three-year notes. Set it up on-line and link it to your checking account to make new purchases.

  • Rant: Friends kept recommending 13 Reasons Why and I found even just the first episode incredibly triggering and anxiety-inducing. I think the message is important but I personally can’t get through it.
    Rave: Back to the Great British Baking Show!
    Rant: Upcoming finals.
    Rave: Upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest for the first time.

  • Rant: Kusama advance tickets have eluded me once again. This time they sold out just before 12:03.

    • Oh, and I got multiple “This event is not yet online” error messages AFTER 12 noon when I clicked on “Passes” for a specific day.

    • Tried to post this last week but didn’t go through. The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh has 2 Kusama infinity mirror installations as part of the permanent collection. (mattress dot org) I recommend it if you can’t get into the Hirshorn. No lines. And It’s a cool museum in a cool city.

      • Mattress Factory is a cool, weird place. They also house international artists who are refugees/persecuted by their governments.

        It’s walkable from the Warhol too.


  • That One Guy

    Rant: Not sure how to feel about my mom being baptized this coming weekend to become a full fledged Baptist. I guess she’s going full evangelical. Does this mean I have to lean harder to the left to balance the universe?
    Rant: Plans this weekend also includes chaperoning my mom, aunts and uncle at MGM. The ladies I’m not too worried about since they’ll move as a pack and aren’t fast, but my uncle has some sort of mental condition where he’s prone to wandering and loud outburst so he’s the one I’m worried about.
    Rave: Trying to convert niece to team dog by trying to convince her that they’re all not out to get there.

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