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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

March Workshops

A month of workshops later, things are still running smoothly! Since the time of my last post, we've held workshops on painting, doors, drywall, gardening, fixing windows, planning a garden, insulation and plumbing. WOW. I'm inspired and enthused just listing them all!

It would take too much time to reflect on all the workshops that have taken place at 153 Eaton in the past weeks, but here's a reflection on a few of them:

Drywalling--hanging, finishing and patching--is something that we will definitely have to offer again. Whether your plaster is crumbling in your old home or your son was horsing around and put his foot through the wall, sooner or later most people need to deal with drywall. So it's an important skill to have, and after watching instructor Adam demonstrating taping and finishing with joint compound, I've learned that it takes A LOT of work. Step 1: cutting the right size piece Step 2: screwing into wall with drywall screws Step 3: taping for reinforcement Step 4: making a smooth finish with joint compound (3 times!) Workshop attendees were given the chance try all four steps, and some left the workshop saying they felt ready to try it in their own home!

At the next workshop many people expressed their disappointment at having missed the drywall workshop, so our plan is to hold a repeat workshop in June. If you are interested, let either Whitney or I know what dates and times work best for you!

Things don't run smoothly all the time, I'll admit. The door workshop in the beginning of March was the first time the program had taken a slight misstep--we were unprepared when attendees began showing up, so we could only offer a quick explanation of "how to" instead of actually demonstrating installing a door. That workshop was a lesson for me to provide adequate time for set up. My pledge for the future is to make sure we providethe quality education that both Whitney and I are deeply committed to...

Just this past week was a plumbing demonstration on sweating copper, and it was received very enthusiastically! Of course people were intimidated by the propane torch, but with the encouragement of both Bob and I, most of the attendees were willing to give sweating copper a shot! The workshop focused mainly on developing this skill, while also spending time on a basic explanation of plumbing and how to fix leaks. The most gratifying part of the workshop was not using a torch, however, it was in the interactions between people at the workshop. I am finding that the more workshops that are held, the more there is regular attendance and more repeat attendees. I am getting to know some people extremely well and through talking with them am learning their stories and the story of the neighborhood I'm in. I even met someone who used to live in the house! How crazy is that??

Anyway, the workshops are going well. Some more than others. Most weeks I am scrambling to prepare in time, and the weeks where I am teaching I am especially nervous. But it's worth it. I am learning, people who attend workshops are learning, and I hope most people are (I know I am) walking away from each workshop with a renewed sense of competence, of ability to do things ourselves. Special thanks to all past instructors--Patrick, Adam, Bob, Craig, Joe--and can't wait for more workshops coming up!

This weekend: Laying Carpet Tiles (Saturday April 11th at 3pm)