Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

by Prince Of Petworth February 20, 2013 at 10:00 am 71 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user jacquesofalltrades

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.

  • Rant: Still worried about furloughs. I’m ok with not being considered “essential”, but I worry about the ripple effect nation wide – small businesses who rely on the dry cleaning, hungry stomachs, dogs that need to be walked while mom/dad is at work, kid who gets tuition assistance from mom/dad….etc. It’s a terrible, terrible thing in this fragile economy. So many people hurt in the short run and the long run (TSPs, anybody?).
    Rant: Coworkers who are in the military who doesn’t see why it’s a big deal. Doesn’t everyone get raises every year, free health care, and 3k a month for housing? Yet the social security tax cut expires and OMG!

    Revel: So far, my 2WW has been worth it. A few more mile stones to feel more secure, though I’m guessing the worry never goes away. I’m blessed in my support network and only wish everyone who has gone through or is going through fertility struggles has the same. It makes a 20% pay cut more nervewracking though, but even that can’t kill my buzz right now.

    • Indeed – the worry doesn’t go away – sorry! At least it didn’t for me, since I was a bit haunted by miscarrying 4 weeks after seeing the heartbeat the first time around. That said, I’m finally feeling movement more regularly so the worry is abating – my 24 week prenatal visit this week was the first one I wasn’t anxious before since I have the internal reassurance of feeling kicks and such. My rave for this morning is the awesome alien-like experience of seeing my belly move around as the baby wiggles and shifts. It’s pretty freaky, but pretty awesome all the same 🙂

      jindc – many happy & healthy thoughts your way 🙂

      • yes, I know it never goes away – my mom had a stillbirth 35+ years ago (before my sister and me), so I’ve grown up being cautious about pregnant people. However, my mom smoked (as was the norm 35+ years ago), had slipped on her bethesda neighbor’s icy sidewalk a few days prior. So I try to see that as the reason, not genetics. It doesn’t make me feel any better though! That said, having a mother who has gone through similar makes it easier to talk with her about my fears and concerns. I wish every woman could have that type of bond with their mom.

        • Yikes, even if accident-related, that would be tough mentally. I’m definitely glad you have that support! I’m grateful to have lots of support from friends and family too.

    • FedEmployee

      Rant: Definitely echo-ing yours, jindc. I haven’t been employed by the govt very long (since August), but am hoping to be spared. If I am, I worry about things like the TSP match being axed. I highly doubt I’ll be receiving Social Security at retirement, and cutting the employer match from TSP (it’s a great benefit, which I realize I’m not entitled to) is a scary thought!

      • they won’t nix your matching TSP, but if you’re furloughed, you’ll lose 20% of your salary going in to your TSP unless you do a lump sum per pay period vs. a percentage. For example, I put in 7% every pay period. That will decrease in amount because my pay check will and I can’t afford to do more than that right now if you include a 20% cut. That’s the big issue.

        I’m not banking on SS or FERS. TSP is a nice benefit, but most large companies have matching 401(k) type plans an that’s all it is. It’ll hurt the youngest people the most because of the componding interest on TSP accounts.

    • Just wondering: how are you coming up with a 20% pay cut?

  • Rant: Got deliberately shoulder checked by a guy in Farragut North this morning. I get that the guy was frustrated – he was waiting to walk down a stopped escalator that was full of swarming people going up both sides. But ouch.

    • Anonymous

      If you were one of the people on the wrong side of the escalator you deserved worse. For fuck sakes people, did you flunk out of kindergarten? When there is only one open escalator, one side is for up the other is for down. its really not that complicated.

  • Rave: My DC and MD tax returns hit my checking account yesterday (hooray!)

    Rant: Apparently I’ll need to wait until mid-March to get my whopper of a federal tax return back.

    Rant: Rather than spend that money/allocate it towards wedding planning, I’m going to have to save it in case we government contractors are put into stop work from the sequester. Just because my paycheck is put on hold doesn’t mean my mortgage payment will be, too. Grrr.

    • Sweet, sweet tax refunds! Gotta love them.

  • TG

    Rant: Not to go all PPercy but my 4 year run of global services status on United has come to an end and I am no longer entitled to the almost always upgrades and other perks that I have come become accustomed to. They even make me pay for snacks now. The horror, the horror, the horror.

    Rave: In flight Wifi.

    • Excellent PPercy reference!

    • Anonymous

      It was very easy to adjust to business class travel when I was working with a well-funded organization. Then it was back to the non-profit world and economy class…

  • Anonymous

    Rave: Nice to see that MPD arrest multiple perps in a couple robberies yesterday. Amazing how many all black clothing gangster robbers there are in DC these days.

  • Arg, getting sick again! It seems like this winter has been non-stop cold/flu-ishness season.

    at least tomorrow is my friday. 3 day weeks rock.

    • Tell me about it! I’ve been sick all winter. My Dr’s receptionist knows me on sight I’ve been so many times 🙁

      I hope you feel better soon!

      • Thanks! Making myself some ginger tea – maybe i can burn it out.

  • Rant: Really down. Putting strain on marriage that other folks have noticed. Had chat with hubs but still feel down. I think I need a break/vacation.

    Revel: Job is allowing us to pay off credit card.

    Rant: Ordered shoes I was lusting after only to have them be too small and unwearable. Lesson learned: don’t order shoes from Canada.

    Rant: Hubs is still waiting on w-2 from govt, its holding up us filing our taxes. Really worried we’re going to get burned for the third year in a row. Would love to just break even.

    Rant: Workplace in MD won’t file state taxes for DC residents. Use excuse that too few staff live in DC and it costs them. Will be calling them on that excuse very soon, especially with tax filing upon us. Anyone else had to deal with this?

    • I am 99% sure your employer is wrong! Md/DC/Va all have reciprocity. I would push on them with re: to this…

    • Are you saying they don’t withhold DC taxes, they withhold as though you are a Maryland resident and send to Maryland?

      • Well, I feel like a dunce. Rant: Work for fed govt in DC and lived in Virginia for 10 months out of 2012. Did not pay VA state taxes so had quite a large sum due and only 70% or so of my DC taxes will be refunded to me. 🙁

      • @loganguydc they don’t withhold any state taxes from my paycheck. I’m expected to estimate my DC taxes and file quarterly. It’s a pain in the ass and the first time in years of living in this area I’ve had to do this for my full time job. Freelance is something else.

    • Your husband can probably get his W-2 online. I know he can if he gets paid via NFC.

  • Rant: I am sick of feeling sick! I’m also sick of my cat being sick!

    Rave: New round of drugs to try to finally get rid of what ever it is that wants me to feel rotten all the time.

    • Aww, I’m sorry you’re not feeling well. I really hope you feel better soon. 🙂

      • Thank you! Being sick is making me extra whiny, I think everyone wants that to end 🙂

  • Colhi

    Rant: Nicotine gum is making me shaky.
    Rant: Frustrated with myself that I keep going back to smoking and having to quit yet again.
    Rave: It’s Wednesday not Tuesday?

    • Anon

      Have you tried the patch? I didn’t like the way the gum made me feel either, plus it always made my throat feel like it was swelling up. I’ve had the best luck on the patch, although not 100% as I am still smoking. :/ Hopefully one of these days I’ll get it…

      • Colhi

        Sadly, I have tried most everything. But yep, the patch worked the best for me until I got really bad skin reactions. I just wish I could be done with the whole freakin thing and not want to smoke any more.

        Thanks tho.

    • Annon

      I used hypnotherapy and it worked very well…no harmful side effects

      • Anonymous

        Don’t give up man. I went 11 days without a cigarette using the patch, but a night of drinking with old college friends put me back onto smoking. Don’t focus on the fact that your smoking – use it as a jumping off point for a second push. For me, I went from a pack a day, to nothing for 2 weeks, and now i’m at like 7-8 a day. A LOT easier to quit from here than it was when i started a few weeks back. Just keep yourself busy, distracted and active. Good Luck!

  • Rant: Tax returns held up way too long by Fed. Government… This is a bad, bad sign. I did my returns over 2 weeks ago and even my DC returns came in over a week ago, before my Federal Taxes. That has NEVER happened before. Congress is holding the political process as a hostage, and this makes me think things are only going to get worse. Maybe it’s time to move to Tijuana.

    Rant: Employees at work and their drama… I’m a simple man, but lately I feel like I’m getting too old for petty backstabbing and undermining that goes on in the Federal work space… I love people that work hard and know their stuff, but I’m constantly being challenged by people who talk big and want to lead, but disappear once real work needs to happen. Worst of all, I was hired to be their manager. I can be a bull when I need to, but I’m trying to exercise my more “patient” and “listening” personality, but just as I thought, it doesn’t work, and it only makes people think that I’m weak.

    Rave: Short work week!

    • Anonymous

      RE: Fed Tax return. Really? I filed mine (Fed and DC) on 1/23/13 and received my Fed refund (direct deposit) on 2/8/13 and DC 2/15/13.

      • Anonymous

        I thought the forms weren’t even ready until 1/31/13…

        • Anonymous

          Nope. Checked when I returned from vacation and received my W-2 on 1/23 and downloaded the forms and off they went.

          • My returns are way too simple for me to get audited… I don’t understand what the holdup was, but the IRS checker says the direct deposit is gonna happen tomorrow, after about 2 weeks & 4 days… I paid over $20k but the $8k I get back is going striaght back out for furniture, a TV, and bills. 🙁

      • kgw

        Yep, I got both my Fed & DC returns less than a week after filing.

      • Ditto. Filed online on 1/30, got both returns back within 10 days.

    • TG

      not sure if this applies but I was told that certain returns are not capable of being processed until March.

  • rave: got my dc tax refund this morning!
    rant: experiencing way too many painful headaches and migraines recently. i do get migraines, but usually not with this much frequency.

  • Trinidad

    Rave: That “Close to a Million” dollar listing in Trinidad has found a buyer.
    Rant: Will I ever be able to afford a home:

  • kittyfoster

    Rant: Wish I hadn’t tried to be considerate and given landlord > 30 days notice…..she just informed me she’s bringing potential renters by on Saturday at 9:30am. This is the third time in two weeks I’ve had to let her in to “show” the apt and I’m not moving out until May 31! grrrr

    • She has a key. Why do you need to be there to “show” the apartment? Just go about your routine and let her deal with the hassle of showing the apartment, so long as she has given you advance notice.

      Seems a bit strange to be showing the apartment 3 months in advance, imho.

      • Also, why is she coming at 9:30am? You should establish agreed upon hours for showing that are mutually agreeable.

        Perhaps establish a blanket set of hours? For instance, you could do 11am – 3pm on weekends, 9am-6pm on weekdays. That gives both of you expectations as to which times are acceptable and allows for more reliable planning.

      • kittyfoster

        Boyfriend works from home so he is distracted when she’s there during the day (and he has a complicated non-mobile computer set-up – not just a laptop he can bring to the coffee shop). It’s also just annoying to have to get up on a Saturday morning, get dressed and make sure the apartment is presentable by 9:30am….Saturday is my only day to sleep in and lounge around. I don’t know where she is finding all these people looking to rent in June – I thought it’s standard to start looking the month before?

        • If an interested tenant is already renting an apt., s/he also has to give 30 days notice, so looking a month ahead is necessary. But you can definitely give your landlord showing hours – and a 2 hour window of your choosing on weekends is plenty reasonable.

    • Just be glad that you don’t have to deal with finding a replacement for yourself. That’s how my landlord rolls–we can move out before the lease is up but if we do, we must replace. And not with just anyone, it means finding someone to fit with the other roommates. Ugh, I’m tired of roommates.

    • Anonymous

      I’m more interested in who would be looking for an apartment now that won’t be available for 3 months.

      • Some landlords require 60 day’s notice, so I imagine it’s people subject to those kinds of leases who are looking at what their options are about one month before having to give notice themselves. This was my situation when I started looking for a place in late April when my lease was up in early July.

      • anon

        Why not? I’ve lived in places that I didn’t particularly like so I would look, with no specific time frame in mind, just that if I found a place I could afford and liked, I would eventually move on. (I was month to month so it didn’t matter much).

        In some other cities, people (like students moving in the summer, spring or fall) will look well in advance. This was definitely the case when I was considering a move to Pittsburgh. You would not WANT to wait until 1 mo before moving.

  • PeachyKeen

    Rant: I have been sitting on a conference call for an hour and my bladder is FULL. Jesus help!!!!!

    • TG

      Just get up and go and pretend like you got disconnected if something comes up that you are expected to address.

  • Anonymous

    Neither a Rant or Rave: So I’m about 3 months pregnant and have a job offer on the table. It’s a lot more money. Do I take it? Can I start a job and then 6 months later take maternity leave? Anyone have any thoughts?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, take it. It’s none of their business.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, you can take it and take maternity leave in 6 months. There’s nothing they can do about it. The only concern I would have would be continuation of health insurance if you’re the primary policy holder through your current employer.

      • Anonymous

        NOT ENTIRELY TRUE! You can take the offer but you definitely should not assume that you’d get maternity leave (or at least make any assumptions about how much). You should definitely try to find out more before you make any decisions.

        By law, FMLA is only required to kick in if you meet the following four conditions: 1) work for a covered employer; 2) worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-months immediately before the start of the leave; 3) work for an employer with at least 50 employees located with 75 miles; and 4) have worked for the employer for at least 12 months. That last condition is going to be a big kicker here as you know you won’t be there for at least 12 months before the birth. FMLA also doesn’t require that they pay you anything (some companies will through their short-term disability but those usually also have some length-of-employment requirements before they kick in).

        You could probably still work out some unpaid leave options with them but you shouldn’t assume that you’ll get the full 12-weeks FLMA provides and I don’t know whether your job would have the same protections (i.e. I don’t know if they’d have to reinstate you if they decided they didn’t need you after the unpaid leave is up).

        I’d really recommend talking to a lawyer and trying to get your hands on more info from the place offering you the position. From watching others around me at my job, I know that my office will give 12-weeks of partially-paid maternity leave after you pass the 1-year FMLA requirements, but I think I heard that they were only giving a woman 4-weeks unpaid who joined about 3 months before her due-date. Just proceed carefully – it can be super tricky and you definitely wouldn’t want to be surprised!

        Congrats on both the baby + the offer! Good luck!

        • Amazing advice!

        • ^^^ Listen to anon above. think thoroughly about this.

        • Anonymous

          I’m the original poster. It’s the govt, and govt doesn’t give any maternity leave anyways. Big fat goose egg! So it’s not the actual paid leave that I’m worried about, it’s starting a job and then taking several months off shortly thereafter. There is also a large travel component with this job, and I won’t be able to travel.

          • Anonymous

            Long Anonymous here 🙂

            Doesn’t the gov’t still have to follow FMLA for the 12-weeks unpaid? From really quick surfing online, it looks like public agencies (like the gov’t) are subject to the same FMLA requirements except they remove the 50-persons in 75-miles requirement (so you only have to meet 3 eligibility conditions)… Not that it really matters here as you wouldn’t be eligible for FMLA at your new place anyways – it just surprised me that you said they wouldn’t have to follow this law…

            Since you wouldn’t be entitled to those 12-weeks unpaid, I would still make sure you were comfortable with whatever time they would be willing to give you off. Since you won’t have been them a full year, they might not be willing/don’t have to give you the full 12-weeks of FMLA. Would you want the job if they were only willing to give you 2 weeks off? 4 weeks? 6 weeks? etc. While I recognize that you’re not getting paid during your leave, the amount of time they’d be willing to give you still might help shape your decision. It’s still something to consider to see if it will work for whatever you’re comfortable with as you’d hate to count on 12 and then be unpleasantly surprised to hear them say, ‘no, we’ll only give you 4’.

            My other big considerations, after the ‘do i even want this job’ of course, would be:
            1) Making sure you wouldn’t have any health insurance issues (if you’re coverage is through your current work). You definitely want to make sure you have coverage for you and the baby. If you’ll be switching to new coverage, I’d see if you could get the policy in advance to check into coverage (heaven-forbid that you’d need some emergency/special procedures for the baby – it’d be nice to weigh your current coverage against your future coverage).

            2) Would you be comfortable with the amount of travel required post-baby? The 6-months while you’re pregnant can probably be worked out as a known temporary thing. Generally, women can safely travel up to the 6th/7th month so you might only have to skip trips the last 2 or so months of your pregnancy. If you were having a riskier pregnancy and your doctor said no travel earlier, you definitely would have a legit excuse in my opinion to have someone else cover for you there. My bigger concern would be whether I would be willing to jump right back into traveling when I came back to work after the baby…

            If you’re comfortable with the amount of time you would get off for the birth, your insurance won’t be majorly impacted, you like the travel requirements both pre- and post-baby, and you think the new job will be better, I’d say go for it! With the pay being better, you have the option of continuing to live on your old paycheck amount and just socking that extra money into savings (to help cover lost wages while you’re home on maternity leave). It would also come in handy post-baby when you start childcare (eek is that EXPENSIVE!).

            If all those circumstances don’t work out right now given that you’re pregnant (maybe you’re not happy with the amount of time they’ll give you, your insurance would be super expensive/hard to switch/maintain, etc.), it might be something to pass on at the moment. You can always try to sit down with the supervisor/hiring manager and convey that you’re really interested in the position, just not at the immediate moment due to other circumstances. You never know what might be available in a year once you’ve had your baby and some of these current issues are no longer issues….

            All the best in the pregnancy and your decisions! Having kids can be so complicated and not even for any physical issues/reasons!

          • Is the considerable travel obligation with this job going to continue for the next few years? Say, 5 years when you will have a baby, toddler, kinder-gardener? Years when you will shift this obligation to your colleagues? Colleagues who may be dealing with all sorts of other personal & family obligations of their own?

          • Anonymous

            If the job requires travel and you say you’re not going to travel, well then there’s a problem. Like you’re potentially not performing your work duties, and/or overburdening your colleagues. This would not be a good way to start any job.

    • Anonymous

      Do it. People need to understand that women get time off after giving birth and new parents need flexibility to raise a newborn. Anyone resentful of you is not cool. Yes, in the absolute, it is a downer work-wise. But, strangely enough, we have these people on this planet called “parents” who take time off from work when they have a kid.

      And it’s not like it’s a new development, the only thing new is full participation of women in the workforce, which should be taken as normal. Not taking a promotion (basically) because of the prospect of having a kid and the complications it could cause is one of the reasons for different career tracks and success for men vs. women. You (and your spouse/significant other/bad self) can make a difference for equality by taking this job!

      That said, don’t ditch for months on end. Find a way to get yourself back in once you feel up for it. It’ll be good for everyone, including you.

  • Rant: Parvo.

  • Anns

    What you don’t want to hear at your doctor’s office mid-outpatient procedure – the sound of a fire alarm. Fortunately the alarm was turned off before we had to figure out how to evacuate. STRESSFUL!

  • Rant: No tax refund to rave about
    Rant: Will owe taxes this year
    Rant: Still on a payment plan for taxes from LAST year
    Rant: going to have to find a third job or start working on K street after midnight to be able to make ends meet

    I hate my life

    • Anonymous

      I haven’t gotten a refund in years! And last year I had to prove that I paid the previous year’s MD taxes to avoid paying the fine they said I owed. They were still sending me threatening letters after I sent them copies of the cancelled checks that proved I paid.

  • anon

    Rant: Just found out my co-worker is leaving. My agency is under a hiring freeze, which means that unless we can get an exception to hire someone in her place, my workload is going to increase dramatically.

    Maybe I need to start looking for a new job. 🙁

  • Britt

    Rave: Having an incredible time in London!
    Double Rave: Finding out I won The Xx/Grizzly Bear tickets!!! Thanks PoP!! Seriously, vacation plus awesome tickets make for one happy person.


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