The organizing bug

Well, it’s summertime, and somehow it seems that for me summer and home organization/improvement seem to go together.

Last year, I renovated the bedroom – painting the walls a lavish, dark red, and adding real bed and dresser furniture, care of my lovely momma. There are still a few upgrades I want to add to the bedroom – a new mattress, for one, a few more bins/baskets for some excess clothes we tend to keep out, and some wall art. I dream of getting this nice space-saving sewing workstation, too. Admittedly, it’s not the same color as our current bedroom furniture, but it folds up small (essential in a NYC apartment), and it’s on wheels, so I can easily wheel it out to the living room if the hubby is sleeping. Maybe I can get it later this year for my birthday (I’ll be 25!) or our 2 year anniversary.

This year, Husband and I are both spending lots and lots of time at home. He’s been working from home for a year and a half now, and now it looks like I’ll be joining him. I work from home many hours a week on T! stuff, and I also do data analysis for the lab from here too. If I start pursuing freelance science writing, I’ll be doing that from home as well.  This also means we use the kitchen more since I’m home more to cook and prep food. (Husband typically feeds himself, but rarely chooses to cook anything elaborate.) We’ve accumulated a fair number of things that no longer fit on our various media shelves, and we also have new business related things that we need to store. So I’ve been thinking mostly about how I can upgrade the living room and the kitchen.  Finally, I’ve also just been thinking about what our living patterns have evolved into and how we could make more efficient and fun use of our living space.

So today I made up an organizing list. I started by writing out everything I could think of that needs a place to store. I categorized them by room, including closets as rooms. Then I thought about what we actually use daily, monthly, or only seasonally, and planned the storage location accordingly – making the things we use most often the most easily accessible. Next, I considered what would be the best storage solution for each item – drawers, boxes, bins, or shelves. I chose drawers or open-lidded boxes or bins for things we use often, and boxes and shelves for everything else. Things used only seasonally will be stored in lidded boxes on high shelves, in closets and out of the way.

I’ve picked out items and made a plan for everything. Now to buy the storage furniture and containers – a little at a time. Even though I can’t buy it all right now, I enjoy planning and organizing so much that I don’t care. I ordered a little bit of it, some really cheap organizers from Amazon.com, and I’m on my way to more efficient living…

I look just like Buddy Holly, oh oh and you’re Mary Tyler Moore

I am LOVING the White Stripes radio station on Pandora.

I wish I had been managing to write more lately, but I’m spending the majority of my awake, focused at-home time working on the company.  It’s become apparent that the company might come up again and again now, so I think it needs a fun pseudonym.  Let’s call it … T! Yes, the site is affectionately abbreviated to T!  And I’m off again to keep writing up the T! business plan.

*P.S. Bonus points if you can name the song and artist.

Pseudo-science gaining traction in Louisiana

The Center for Inquiry has a new call to action – contacting the governor of LA to ask him to veto a bill that recently passed their house.  From CFI:

The Louisiana Senate has passed SB 733, a bill that creationists can use to force their sectarian views into public school science classes. The bill provides that, upon the request of a local school board, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) must permit appropriate supplementary instructional materials in science classes, but gives no guidance about the criteria BESE should use in approving such supplementary materials. Effectively, the legislation provides a means for creationists to promote their pseudo-scientific views in the classroom. The LA Coalition for Science (LCFS), a group of concerned parents, teachers and scientists, has called on Gov. Jindal to veto the bill through an open letter on its website at http://lasciencecoalition.org.

“This bill doesn’t help teachers. It allows local school boards to open the doors of public school science classrooms to creationism with the blessing of the state,” explains LCFS member Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University. “Governor Jindal surely knows that evolution is not controversial in the mainstream scientific community. He majored in biology at Brown University, and he belongs to a church that considers evolution to be established science and approves of its being taught in its own parochial schools. The LA Family Forum is pushing this bill over the objections of scientists and teachers across the state. The governor has a moral responsibility to Louisiana children to veto this bill.”

Paul Kurtz, CFI’s Chair, has stated that “SB 733 poses a serious threat to science education and represents yet another attempt by creationists to insinuate their religious doctrine into the classroom under the guise of promoting critical reasoning.”

Spread the word, especially if you know anyone who lives in Louisiana!

I’m about to embark on a new journey…

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine arrived from Netflix yesterday, and today we will be watching the premier episode, as we continue my education in the details of the Star Trek universe. Recently, we completed watching all of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Even after a full seven seasons, I didn’t feel ready to say goodbye to Captain Picard and his crew. Luckily, I didn’t have to just then, because we then watched each of the TNG movies. I loved the whole “Next Generation” series, especially their vision of the state of politics in the future: a mostly peaceful universe, where the pursuit of knowledge really does often come before power through war.

Some of the movies featured the original cast of Star Trek. Speaking of the original cast of Star Trek, George Takei recently got married to his long-time partner due to the new California law. Congratulations, Sulu.

Shared Parenting

There’s a detailed article on shared parenting from NYTimes Magazine that I’m reading, and I’m so happy just to see it. It describes people, most older than myself, who are living lives in the way that I’ve been planning and hoping to live mine. This includes both equal parenting and the voluntary cutback of work hours, work responsibilities, and of course income in order to spend more time living your life and enjoying your family or whatever is most important to you.

Some stats on how the numbers still stack up on average:

The most recent figures from the University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Families and Households show that the average wife does 31 hours of housework a week while the average husband does 14 — a ratio of slightly more than two to one. If you break out couples in which wives stay home and husbands are the sole earners, the number of hours goes up for women, to 38 hours of housework a week, and down a bit for men, to 12, a ratio of more than three to one. That makes sense, because the couple have defined home as one partner’s work.

But then break out the couples in which both husband and wife have full-time paying jobs. There, the wife does 28 hours of housework and the husband, 16. Just shy of two to one, which makes no sense at all.

The lopsided ratio holds true however you construct and deconstruct a family. “Working class, middle class, upper class, it stays at two to one,” says Sampson Lee Blair, an associate professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo who studies the division of labor in families.

As disappointing as these numbers are, particularly for families where both partners work full-time, the families described in the article so far are encouraging. I do find it interesting, though, that the author chose to talk about these parent’s own backgrounds – where they grew up and what their parents did – because it signals to me that the author felt these people’s choices needed to be explained. I guess it should be natural when talking about how one manages their family, to ask how their family was managed when they were children, so maybe I’m just being paranoid about the “otherness” of couples who choose to share parenting equally.

I can’t read the rest of the article, and I entreat my readers to go and read it and then tell me what they think. How do you plan or hope to share parenting duties? If you have children already, is reality living up to the plan?

p.s. here’s a great and amusing excerpt for my academic and medical friends:

She goes on to suggest that the perception of flexibility is itself a matter of perception. In her study, she was struck by how often the wife’s job was seen by both spouses as being more flexible than the husband’s. By way of example she describes two actual couples, one in which he is a college professor and she is a physician and one in which she is a college professor and he is a physician. In either case, Deutsch says “both the husband and wife claimed the man’s job was less flexible.”

Working on the company

So for the past few months, I’ve been a serious contributor to the work being done on the company, and I thought maybe I’d tell you all more about what I’ve been up to. I always was somewhat involved and my assistance varied, but more recently we formalized my role within the company. I am the Chief Marketing Officer, as well as Manager of Operations and Finance. I work directly with the CEO (my husband) and the COO (a close friend of his), as well as of course interacting with the others on the team. I also have now been directly involved in company conference calls and pitches to investors.

I’ve started a blog for the company which is geared towards investors and people interested in the progress of the company. After the launch, the blog will be made public so that any interested site users can read about the process that created our site. After launch, I will be greatly involved in the community on the site – welcoming new users and commenting on the things they do and share. I’ll be in charge of making sure the atmosphere is friendly and fun, which I am excited about. I’m very versed in web social networks (I was involved in a smaller-scale social campus site called Campus Network before Facebook was launched at a rival school, and joined facebook within months of its launch), and I’ll be using those skills for my job. Cool, right?

Currently, my duties are primarily in business management. I’m putting to use the project and time management skills I learned as an independent researcher. I’ve always been very organized, and now I’m helping my husband and the other company team members to stay on track and reach our goals. My husband says I’ve been a big help in managing the work that’s being done and keeping us moving along at a good pace. Mostly, I’m building our business plan in all its fine details. As a guide, I’ve been using a book used at many b-schools: The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies, which I’ve found very helpful. Lately I’ve put a lot of thought into standard procedures for the company, such as ways to make sure information flows smoothly between all members. I’m finding that I can apply lessons I learned in lab group management to this. I’m excited to be helping to make the company work smoothly and I’ve been really enjoying my work!

One thing that I’ve been doing that I think utilizes some of the skills I honed as an academic researcher is the market research. While the methods of acquiring data are quite different (I scour the web’s reputable sources, like us economic census data and trade publications for our industries instead of mixing chemicals in a lab), after that it’s very similar. I compile and organize the information, and think about how best to present it. I think about how I might compare data and what stories the information I gather tells us. And then I create the web presentation or write up the document that we will share with our employees and investors.

Alright, back to work! We got a small investment from a investor who is also a family member today, so we can stop running on fumes and focus on work instead of how to get our next meal. Tomorrow, we will be showing him what we’ve done recently, and I’m making a presentation for that. I’m off to make a flow chart of production stages for new features!