@Stay Gold I wish we could buy the decorations online! We live in a building without a doorman, so if we order things online, there's no guarantee we'll actually get it. Such is life in NYC!
@amglory89 Do it! I'm considering a summer edition this year, if my roommate is up for it.
@lisaf There is definitely a reason we only do that big crowd once a year! Re: seating, our folding chairs are super-cheap IKEA things, and we slide them into an awkward corner between our fridge and the counters. They're not something I would use as a permanent dining chair, but they make a perfectly good short-term option.
Ester, I have the most important Amtrak tip of all time for you and all other parents-of-small-children. Amtrak doesn't heavily advertise it, but anyone who wants to can use their Red Cap service and get early boarding. You go over, tell them what train you're on, and they take you down to the platform before general boarding starts and carry your luggage and it's fantastic. It's considered polite to tip the guy a few dollars, but totally worth it, because your family could board early and grab one of those sets of four seats facing one another for the three of you, and you don't have to struggle with all your luggage. In NY Penn Station, the Red Cap station is inside the Amtrak waiting area. I don't know where you do the return via Union Station or New Carrolton if you're going to/from Bethesda, but in Union Station the Red Cap station is at oversized baggage pickup. Seriously: this is your solution for boarding with small child!
@David Sullivan Most of the time, you're better off donating in any other way than with the on the street folks. Large numbers of those folks are actually from firms that do street fundraising, not from the organization itself, and the firms charge the nonprofits in question a LOT for their services. They clearly have some level of success, since the nonprofits keep hiring them, but it's a miserable quota-based job and giving money that way means that not all of it goes to the nonprofit. (checks are ideal, no one charges us for depositing checks. online donations are still better than street donations, though. online donations we get charged for processing fees usually.)
And now, the outpouring of menstrual cup love is coming for the comments. No really, it's a thing, every time anyone online says the word "Diva Cup." On that note, I haven't spent money on menstrual supplies since the summer of 2008. Thank you, predictable cycle, and little silicon cup that can be safely inserted before my period even actually starts.
I'm visiting my parents in DC this weekend! So: Today: $10 for lunch, because I didn't want to pack lunch before going out of town. $6 or so on wine for the train (if you don't know about the wine shop below the big Amtrak sign in Penn Station, you should go check it out, because they have tetra paks of Bandit Pinot Grigio in the fridge and will give you cups!) and another $5 or so on train snacks. And that's it, because Mom offered to pay for a cab because she doesn't want to pick me up at the train! Dinner at home, with the folks. Saturday: Probably nothing. I'm going to be hanging out with my parents, no idea what we're doing. But I doubt I'll spend anything. Sunday: The big spending day. I've been planning to buy a Nationals jersey for ages, instead of just a t-shirt, and I'm going to buy one while I'm at the game with my dad. $70-100 before taxes, depending on if I buy a player-branded replica or just a plain one, and if I buy the ladies' version or the mens' version. I'm not sure which will fit me better, a larger ladies' size or a smaller mens' size. I'll probably also offer to buy a round of drinks at the game, $20. Total: About $120-150?
@jillcool Um, I don't anticipate having a washer and dryer to call my own maybe ever if I keep living in NYC. I'm lucky right now - basement washer and dryer! With a card system, so I don't need quarters! But before this place, I went to the laundromat. I do my own laundry (even when I went to the laundromat) because I air dry too many things. If I didn't need to air dry to keep my clothes from shrinking/disintegrating/whatever, I would totally do wash-and-fold, because I don't really have time to do laundry and I have to be home for the full two hours. I can't toss something in the dryer and then leave when it's a shared laundry room.
@joyballz Allison might have meant the Illinois Choice Action Team, not League? That's who I would recommend anyway - http://www.ilchoiceactionteam.org/ They run the escorting program at seven clinics around the state, and I would hope at least one of them is transit-accessible in Chicago.
When I worked for the Jews (instead of just, you know, being one) I got off at 3pm on Friday year-round, because that was easier than figuring out what time of year to let us off early. And who gets anything done after 3pm on Friday, anyway? Now, I get Summer Fridays from post-Memorial Day to Labor Day, so starting next Friday I can leave at 2pm or so if my work is done. That's the best.