My husband is our household go-to guy for computer and A/V stuff and I seem to remember him replacing a light fixture once, but in general he is not a handyman. On the other hand, I've repaired each of our toilets multiple times, replaced several light switches and am always the one called upon to assemble furniture and things like that. I'll put it this way: almost all of our tools belong to me.
When I got an e-mail from Carrie at K2 WorkShops offering me the opportunity to take their Home Improvement Champion 101: Basic Home Repair Workshop for Women at no charge, naturally I jumped at the chance to improve my skills and learn some new ones.
I showed up at 9:00 a.m. yesterday and was greeted by the instructors, Krista Williamson and Julie Lozano, both of whom are inspiring in their knowledge and curiosity about fixing pretty much anything. Rita and Kelli were there, too, along with Carrie and three other women.
Each student has a workbench area with carefully selected tools and a hands-on space behind her which will not be nearly as pristine by the end of class.
Krista started by showing us how to install a towel rack.
Now this is something I've done before, but I've always been a bit lax about things like wall anchors, so now I know how to do it right. In fact, I'll be applying that knowledge today to reinstall the paper towel holder in the studio bathroom. Heh.
The class made me quickly realize that it's high time I purchased a better drill. The old plug-in one that throws off sparks from the motor while I'm drilling needs to be retired in favor of one of these sleek rechargeables with a lithium battery. Ahem, in case anyone is looking for an early Christmas hint...
The next lesson was about patching sheetrock. I'm fine with spackling over small holes, but until yesterday I had no idea how to patch a large area of sheetrock. Now we all know how.
It is a rather messy process, though:
After a break for box lunches from Jason's Deli, we resumed our lessons with some basic electrical rewiring. Julie walked us through replacing a light switch, installing a dimmer switch and replacing a light fixture.
I asked a lot of questions about the electrical in my own house and learned that it would probably be best if I had an electrician replace my non-grounded outlets with 3-prong ones. However, I can easily replace the ceiling fan in our bedroom myself, as long as I pay attention to which hot wire goes to the light and which one powers the fan. Oh, and I really need to get all of the aluminum wiring removed from the finished part of our basement because it's a fire hazard.
The class ended around 4:00 p.m. after an overview of various plumbing drains and how to remove clogs from any of them. Did you know that some people flush dental floss down the toilet? Don't ever do that.
I was very impressed by the workshop. Even though I already knew how to do some of the things we covered, it definitely improved my confidence and taught me useful tips that will make each type of project much easier in the future.
I think the workshop I took would make an excellent gift for someone's wedding, housewarming, graduation, etc. They offer single-topic classes that go into more depth on electrical and plumbing repairs. There's even a class about fixing things around your house before you put it on the market.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to head over to the hardware store to get some wall anchors. I have a towel rack and a toilet paper holder to install.