Thursday, March 17, 2011

Frame It

This week I discovered a new form of stress relief: hammering!

That's right: I attended my first Women Build Clinic! For the past four years, Habitat for Humanity has been partnering with the Lowe's in Paterson, NJ, on a series of free clinics designed to teach women the basics of home construction. Novices like me are encouraged to attend as many as possible before signing up for a build project.

Despite my admittedly snobbish belief that I know plenty (having served as my dad's trusty DIY assistant for well over 10 years), I decided to sign up for a few of the sessions that covered things I wasn't familiar with.

Tuesday night's focus was framing, and I'll confess I was excited as I walked towards the gathering of women at the back of the store. After signing in and being outfitted with my very own apron, someone asked, "So what drew you here?" Without pause I said, "I wanted to be carpenter when I was a girl." Of course I went on about how volunteering for Habitat was something I'd been thinking about for years, but on this night it was all about stuff I loved as a kid: measuring, sawing, and hammering.

Our instructor, the patient and affable Gino, put us through our paces. And yes--I listened as he gave me pointers on how to toe a stud and swing a hammer without wrecking my shoulder. There was even a pop quiz at the end, with answers like "16 center", "shoe," and "speed square."

Jessica and I--the two newbies--won a very cool tape measure by answering everything correctly. More important than that: I met an interesting group of women, laughed a lot, and discovered that pounding nails into two-by-fours is really relaxing. So I came home and signed up for every clinic they've got.


  1. Talk about hammering your way out of the box! Good for you to be learning these skills. Makes me realize I have much to learn!

  2. Let me know when you are proficient in installing crown molding!