Tending the Home Fires

This is where we talk about what it means to care for our homes and ourselves and any other humans (and/or animals) lucky enough to share those spaces with us.

What the hell are we doing here?

What the hell are we doing here?

What the hell are we doing here? Well, a little history wouldn’t be amiss…

The two of us have been friends for a REALLY. LONG. TIME. More than 30 years. We are so lucky to have one another. We’ve provided each other support, through major life challenges, but also through the drudgery of everyday life, with unwavering encouragement, empathy and humor.

One day, in the midst of a typical sweary, bizarre text exchange, we came up with an idea for a mobile app business. Wouldn’t that be fun? We’ll make a kazillion dollars and make the world a better place at the same time. We laughed and went on with our lives.

A few months later, I was in the car listening to a podcast (this will be frequent narrative) and I heard an interview with Melinda Gates. She was talking about the economic impact of the unpaid labor that women do, every day, across the globe.  This idea was so obvious, but it was framed in a way I hadn’t considered before and directly related to the business idea we had.

So in typical fashion, I texted Aileen.  CALL ME!!!  I LEARNED SOMETHING IN A PODCAST!!!

Ring. Ring.

Felicia:  (in a very fast and excited voice)  “HEEELLLLO! Hey, you know that business idea we talked about months ago?”
Aileen: “Yeah.”
Felicia:  “We should DO it!  It’s a really good idea, I don’t think anyone else is doing it and you need to listen to the Call Your Girlfriend episode where Amina and Ann interview Melinda Gates.  It’s so amazing.”
Aileen:  “Sure.  I’m in.”

We met in Santa Monica and went to the Getty Villa.  We walked around pretending to look at the art for about a half an hour and then spent several hours at the cafe eating hummus, drinking wine and brainstorming.  We realized that in addition to our original app idea, we had half a dozen more ideas that were also compelling.

We holed up in a hotel room and came up with the name “Persistiny,” a made up word inspired by the BS Mitch McConnell pulled on Elizabeth Warren and the idea that we were going to have to jump some serious hurdles to do this and the greek art we had just seen and that the domain name was available.

We hired a lawyer to draft the business documents and Persistiny was born.

Great, now what?  We knew that our idea was good, but how to go about building an app and getting people to download it?  We realized that the strength behind the idea was in the community, the common experience that many women share through the unpaid labor they perform.  Clearly we needed to build the community first.  Let’s start this conversation and have some fun along the way.  We never stop thinking and we rarely stop talking, so let’s build a blog and social media platform where we not only share our story (which is one of white, liberal, cisgendered, heterosexual privilege), but let’s create a platform where women from all walks of life can talk about what unpaid labor means to them.  Of course, we’ll also talk about other things we love; food and booze and books and podcasts, mobile apps we like and mobile apps we hate, women we admire and let’s be honest, random thoughts that pop into our heads.

The whole idea here is to build a community, so if you’re interested in contributing to the conversation, reach out to us at info@persistiny.com.  We truly hope to build a lively and interactive community, which is going to require many kinds of voices.

So that, my friends, is what the hell we are doing here.  We hope you’ll join us.

Get In Touch info@persistiny.com

Family Portraits

Family Portraits

You know how people have framed, posed family portraits on their living room walls? I have never had one of those, not with my family of origin or with my married family or with me and Six and Older Son. 

These portraits fascinate me. I try not to stare rudely at them when I see them. There is a difference between making a polite comment regarding the image of another person’s gene pool and staring at the image like an investigator studying some wing-nut’s murder board. 

How do people manage this herculean task? 

Please know that I am not criticizing this activity. Much like cooking regularly and vacuuming more than once every two weeks (in my defense, we do not have any pets), this gathering up of the family, shoehorning them into matching outfits, combing all their hair and getting them to the same location at the same time so someone with a camera can get them to huddle together artfully…I envy the people (mostly women) who make this particular brand of magic happen.

I know why my family never did this. We were a family of loners which is very weird to people who grow up in families full of people who have an ordinary ability to be in the company of other humans. Going through the rigamarole of getting all of us together at Sears just to get an image of us all awkwardly staring in different directions would have been an exercise in futility because no one would have taken the time to get a frame for the thing, let alone hang it up on the living room wall. 

It wasn’t until later in life that my mom made me schlepp Older Son down to the Sears Portrait Studio on a semi-annual basis, complete with cutesy little kid outfits, to sit for portraits. And then she bought frames and hung the damn things up! It wasn’t until I was taking her house apart after she died that it occurred to me that Older Son was always alone in these portraits. It was never even suggested that I sit in there with him. I don’t mind that I was never in these solo portraits and side-note: Older Son looked adorable in his choo-choo overalls.  

I’m deeply interested in the stories casual family snapshots tell. I loved looking at my mom’s photo albums when I was a kid. I found them fascinating and spent hours going over them, often pestering her with questions about the hazy cast of characters I had never met and only heard about when my aunt came to stay for the weekend. Backyard birthday parties, children swimming in a sea of torn up wrapping paper, grandma holding an impossibly tiny baby while sitting in the world’s ugliest Barcalounger…these were the images that spoke a thousand words. 

But there is something lovely about a purposeful family portrait. Maybe one day I will drive the boys down to a portrait studio or out to the beach and pay a remarkably patient photographer to try and get us all to unbend enough to appear as if we all belong in the same gene pool. I take that back. Now that we have Six, he will visually tie me and Older Son together, standing between us and beaming out at the photographer, a born extrovert stuck in a family of loners. 

 

 

Grocery Shopping is a Complex Balance of Hard Facts and Wishful Thinking

Think about the last time you made a grocery list. Did you stick to it, buying only what was on it? If you did, you are my new hero and I salute you. If you didn’t, I feel your pain. Grocery shopping is a complex balance of hard facts and wishful thinking. The true victims of my grocery lists gone awry are the wee Persian cucumbers that molder away into a pile of slime and seeds in the back of my fridge. I always buy them and then the week doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would and who pays the price? Innocent cucumbers, that’s who. Read more

Laundry in 5 Easy Steps

Laundry is actually 5 seperate jobs. Hear me out. 

Sorting: This is the first step of laundry and by far the stinkiest (unless you are washing wool and then getting it out of the washer is the stinkiest.) This can also be either the easiest or the hardest. If you are like me, you do not sort your laundry because you do not buy anything light colored. Sorting problem solved!

If you aren’t an animal, then you buy a variety of colors and must sort them. Or you are washing heavy clothes and lightweight clothes. Or a dizzying combination of all this. And then there are baby clothes and gross work/sport clothes. Delicates (ha! Who has delicates? I want to meet her and then I want to be her because she has skills when it comes to living life and doing laundry.)

Sorting can be where the task of laundry gets derailed. One interruption can throw the entire process off, especially if you don’t want to do it in the first place.

I forgot linens! I know people who are scandalized at the idea of washing linens with regular clothes. I wash swim clothes and beach towels all together because they all get stinky pretty quickly and/or they are full of sand. Also, a couple of our ‘beach towels’ are actually cheap blankets I got at IKEA. 

Washing: I knew a woman who, when she ran short of money, washed her clothes in her bathtub and dried them on a drying rack in her kitchen. Washing machines are the dream millions of women over thousands of years have been waiting for. There are still millions of women on this planet who do not have access to one. Washing machines make me very, very, very happy. I use a coin-op one in the laundry room across the parking lot of the apartment building I live in. It is ancient, in the process of shredding our clothes and regularly unravels the hems on our towels and washcloths. I love it. 

It is top loading so I dump the contents of the laundry basket into it, sprinkle on some detergent, feed it 5 quarters and then go about my business. The water heater heats the water, the agitator tears my clothes and linens to pieces and then it whirs at a blinding speed to get so much of the water out my clothes often dry very quickly. I don’t boil water or stir stinky clothes or burn myself wringing out wet clothes. It’s fucking awesome, by far my favorite part of doing laundry.

Drying: Here’s where I tend to fall off the pace. I do minimal sorting and as I said, I love all the washer does for me but getting the clothes out of the washer and into the dryer and then out of the dryer is a challenge. One day, about a decade ago, my mom said, “You aren’t going to believe this, I left the clothes in the dryer overnight.” And I said, “Well there goes another pillar of Western Civilization.” As predictable as the patriarchy, my mother timed her wash. Nothing lingered above 5 minutes in either the washer or dryer. I have, more than once, left clothes in the washer so long they either dried out or got so stinky I had to rewash them. I appreciate the dryer because hanging out clothes gives me a crick in my neck and since I live in an urban area, clothes dried outside have a certain unpleasant scent of burned petroleum. Also, towels get super scratchy when line dried. So here is, for me, where the slowdown begins.

Folding: I wonder how many hours (days, weeks, months) of my life I have spent folding clothes. I folded clothes with my mom when I was a kid so I know the old school drill (one that I do not in any way follow). When I was a kid laundry was done on Saturday because Sunday was reserved for going to the mall. We got up, everyone sorter their own clothes and then my sister and I took turns doing the general leg work of schlepping clothes out to the washer (avocado green, as was the dryer, matched set, natch) and then transferring them to the dryer before bringing them into my mom’s sewing room. There was a recliner, a sewing cabinet (wherein an avocado green sewing machine from Sears resided), a giant bookshelf full of books and an ironing board that was up most of my childhood. Here we would fold the clothes while they were still warm or we would iron them if they needed it. My mom did most of the ironing but I did pillowcases and the top hem of the top sheets so they would lie flat when the beds were made. Despite all this cleanliness, no one in my family made their beds everyday. You made it once a week when you put on new sheets then wallowed around in a mass of linens until the next saturday. You got one organized night before six nights of chaos ensued. 

I do not fold my clothes this way. I stand around and mostly watch something on Netflix until it is time to do something time sensitive like give baths or make food or drive someone somewhere and the clothes get shoved back into the laundry basket. Then we paw like rabid animals through the baskets looking for whatever clean thing we need. My mom never once criticized this system, even though I was raised to do better. 

Full disclosure, this morning I was lazing in bed rather than getting up and making an actual breakfast for Six and I patted the bunched up edge of the pillowcase next to me and thought, “This really needs to be ironed.” If thoughts do indeed lead to action, I will be ironing my pillowcases soon. I will never admit it.

Put Away: This step is a bit of a unicorn for me. I have gotten better at getting the clothes away and the linens into the cupboard over the past year. I do have hope that this will become a regular occurrence. There is something soothing about getting everything into place where it’s easily accessible, rather than having people dumping out laundry baskets at 7:15AM, frantically looking for socks that somewhat match.

A person can dream.

It’s Here! Tend is Finally Here!

It’s been just over two years since Aileen and I sat in the cafe at the Getty Villa and fleshed out our concept for a mobile app that helps women to give value to the work they do each day for their loved ones. Today we are thrilled to announce that the first version of Tend: Task Manager and Journal is finally available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

With Tend, you can keep track of how you spend your day using an effortless task manager, then take a moment to journal your thoughts and reflect on your priorities. Here is what you can expect to see in Tend 1.0:

→ Add Daily Tasks: Select from a comprehensive list of caregiving jobs

→ Add Details: Note how many times you completed a task and how much time it took

→ Quotes: Get inspired with a library of motivational quotes to brighten your day

→ Add Journal Entries: Do a quick mental health check in, jot down a note, and add photos

→ Dashboard: See your important work in a snapshot, track it over time and see trends in your mood

→ Personalize: Use the profile to customize your task list and select sweary language in your quotes 

Tend is a journal & task manager, but most importantly, it’s an outlet for self-reflection and celebration. This is not about self-improvement or increased productivity. We already know that you’re doing amazing things. You deserve to acknowledge them.

This first version has many of the features we envisioned, but for to Tend to serve as many women as possible, we want your feedback! Tell us what you love, what you hate, and what’s missing by joining our Early Adopter Program. Once you download Tend, click on the link in the welcome email and opt into the program. It’s your opportunity to make sure Tend reflects your experience as a mother and caregiver.

If the Early Adopter Program is too much of a commitment, but you have questions, feedback, or concerns about the app, please reach out to us at info@persistiny.com.

We also encourage you to join our ongoing conversation about caregiving and your experience by joining our private Facebook group, Tending the Home Fires.

We are so pleased to share Tend with you. We can’t wait to hear what you think!

Mom Meltdown Averted!

I have trouble expressing how I am feeling. When I am embarrassed about those feelings, I have an even harder time. A few months ago, I bought a ring. I love this ring way more than anyone should love a thing that does nothing useful. It just sits on my finger and sometimes gets caught in my hair.

But I do love it and a few weeks ago I couldn’t find it. Read more

Summer’s Here, Time To Lower Your Expectations

I haven’t really liked summer since I was 15. When I turned 16 I got a job and never lounged through another summer ever again. So unless you have a beach house that you don’t have to continuously sweep the sand out of, it’s time to lower your expectations.  Read more

The Black Stroller

When I was pregnant with my older son, he was born in June of 1995, I had to buy a stroller. Most everything the boy used was second hand. We were broke and people were very generous. There were a few things we weren’t able to get second hand and a stroller was one of them which was lucky since strollers are one of the few baby things I think it is fun to shop for. Read more

No Sh#t, Sherlock

The BBC released Sherlock in 2010. It starred Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. I have watched this series more times than I will ever admit because the number is embarrassing. My favorite character is Mycroft Holmes as played by Mark Gatiss. I couldn’t tell you why because as we have discussed, I am not a good critic. Read more

A Year of F#ck No

I don’t know what happened. I was living my life, volunteering here and there, signing up for stuff, being where I said I was going to be, doing what I said I was going to do and then last week… Read more