Places (Not) in DC

Dear internet,

Another day, another edition of Places (not) in DC!

Where is this? it’s a suburb of DC. 

downtown Bethesda empty street with lots of tables and chairs
Not too many people on the street in the morning

I’m just going to write down the name of the place because otherwise I might forget: Downtown Bethesda. They closed down the road so people can sit in the street. Early in the morning, though, it was just a bunch of retirees arguing around the fountain in masks.

I always get lost in downtown Bethesda. I think it’s the general soullessness of the shopping district. Just feels like Standardized Upscale Outdoor Shopping Center. It could be anywhere-DC, Dallas, southern CA. Which is precisely the goal.



My budget as a millennial with a baby in DC

Dear internet,

I just got my credit card bill for the month. Looking through my checkbook, I couldn’t believe how much higher my credit card bill is now versus before coronavirus. Anyway, I thought it might make an interesting post, my budget as a millennial with a baby in DC. Because I literally don’t use cash anymore (covered in germs!)), my credit card bill is basically a line-item budget. The TL;dr is…life has gotten 65% more expensive.

Before covid-19 hit DC, my credit card bill was $2200-$3500 a month. That included 1640 a month for individual health insurance for three humans through ACA, because you are your health insurance in America. Never skimp on health coverage.

Now my credit card bill is 5,700 American dollars. How does this break down?

  1. Amazon, the source of my groceries and all other things I might possibly want to buy (with few exceptions noted below) comes from Amazon. So diapers, paper towels, etc. 

7+112+23+15+8+102+78+19+161+38+19+28+13+36+35+37+129+25+13+5+42+37+16+6+21+29+15+156+36 = $1,261

2. Amazon tips for grocery orders through whole foods and amazon warehouse food (amazon fresh?): 11+11+8+15+5+13+15: $78

3.Specialty food: 87+72 = $159

4.Garage parking because I can’t parallel park (not that meters are free, either): 4+3 = $7

5. Clothing: 44 dollars +58 = $102

6. Peapod groceries + tips: 218+100 = $318

7. Staples, the only place I can find soap, alcohol wipes, and gigantic rolls of toilet paper. Sort of the coronavirus supply store: $86

8. Medical Specialist co-pay: $40

9. Car/renter’s insurance for 6 months: $878

(I guess I could divide this by 6, but there’s always some big semi-unexpected cost each month so it stands).

10. Subscriptions for icloud, Netflix, and newspaper: 2+4+14+12=$32

11. Hobby supplies: 47 + 4 for website hosting = $51

12. Working at Home: Desk 678 plus 48 dollars for a professional subscription = $726

13. Internet: $45 

Other expenses: Rent. I pay 2000 a month for a one bed apartment, all utilities included.

So just costs of life: 3783 + plus health insurance = 5700 dollaroos. Add in rent and it’s $7,700 for this month. 

Yes, some of those dollars go to avocados, which I occasionally put on my toast. 

Only nine grocery orders in the month, which is interesting. For some reason I thought it was more frequent, but it works out to about 2x a week, mainly because fresh produce doesn’t last long.

In case you were wondering, food for 3 people (one of whom is a baby: 300-340 dollars a week. Prior to Covid-19 price surging, it was like $200-240 a week). We haven’t gone out to eat since early March (the “before times”).

Also, like a true millennial, there’s no cellphone plan charge, because we’re still on our family’s plans. 

Interestingly I don’t have a line item for gas/car repair expenses. we’ve driven so little since this started, that the gas budget (120 dollars) got rolled into groceries.

Some proposed changes: Definitely going to go with the Gold PPO ACA plan for insurance come Jan 1, so that should be 1100 dollars, saving us 700 buckaroos a month. Substantial!

We used to spend like 150-300 dollars a month on entertainment aka going out and doing things in places other than our home, but now that, too, has been rolled into food. 

I am so looking forward to having a desk, we can’t work at our dinner table/couch forever.









dreamscape cityscape

Dear internet,

Unexpectedly walked past one of those drive-through coronavirus testing sites today. Just turned the corner and there it was. Nothing was in that parking lot the day before, and now, three cars stood lined up for a swab.

There are so many pictures in the news of the people in the biohazard suits swabbing people in car’s nasal passages, and then to just come upon a testing site felt very surreal, and very normal at the same time. Like yes, this is part of our cityscape now.



Dogs on playgrounds

 Dear internet,

What is up with people who run their dogs off leash in the fenced playground in my neighborhood in DC? Every day, there they are, coaxing their dogs up the slides, laughing merrily as the dog poops and then rolls around in it. There is a sign up that says “no dogs on the playground” and yet, people still do it.

The dog owners, they have their own dog park down the street where dogs can go live their best dog life with the other dogs doing dog things. And dogs can run around the rest of the park. Just not the playground.

Why are these dog owners letting their dogs run where little kids put their hands on things and then into their mouths?



Homesickness without leaving home

Dear internet,

It hit me yesterday pretty hard, the feeling of being tired of all the covid-19 restrictions on activities. I live in DC but all I do is take walks and stay in my flat. Possibly this feeling was enhanced by the building AC breaking on a day with a heat index of 102.

The building AC wasn’t broken, but the management decided yesterday, a day with a heat index of 102,* was the day to do “necessary repairs.” they switched off the ac at 10 am and the heat crept up and up.

That is how I found myself around 2 pm yesterday, sitting in my air-conditioned car with a napping il Bambino stretched out like a koala on my body, thinking, how did we get here? In normal times I would have gone to some air-conditioned place, chilled with my family, heck, gotten a hotel if it was really bad. But instead, the best and really only option is sitting in a running car with the AC on blast.

We made it work, but should we really have had to make it work? How much energy do we have to keep making it work?



*I cannot believe the building management couldn’t have waited until literally any other day this week when the weather was predicted to be in the 80s, to complete the repairs. There are a lot of elderly people / some babies in the building. Sadists.