OMG. So, this post is prefaced with the fact that my ma is an undercover handy-woman. She has volunteered with Portland’s Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build for years, building houses all around town that are affordable and given* out to families in need. Women’s Build is just that – a huge group of women who don hard hats and power tools and band together to construct houses. I’ve joined in the past couple years on their mother/daughter build day which is on Mother’s Day (so sweet, I know). http://www.habitat.org/wb/diary/2011_nwbw/diary_blog_five_2011.aspx – that may or may not be me in the checkered shirt with power tool in hand, concentrating really hard not to chainsaw off a finger. These were some of the most exhilarating hours I’ve spent with my mom, probably second to having her in the delivery room while pushing Sebe out into the world but I’ll save that story for later. So anyway, my mom always seems to know about the raddest local stuff happening and since baby daddy and I are maybe about to empty out our entire savings account and Sebe’s college fund on a fixer-upper house, she suggested that we attend a Fix-It Fair. (College or not, I always said Seb can be a shoe cobbler, I don’t care, I just want him to be happy. And have a Woody Allen-like sense of sarcastic Jewish humor. But less neurotic.)
The Fix-It Fair was held at Rosa Parks Elementary School, a relatively shiny and new school nestled in the middle of Multnomah Village. The school seems like a winner on lots of levels so I’ll be checking them out more when Sebe is getting close to kindergarden age. The fair was so much more involved than I envisioned it to be. My dad joined us and he was impressed too (it’s tough to impress a former boy scout, just saying). There were tons of booths; folks like the Energy Trust of Oregon who essentially give away cash incentives for doing things for your house like weatherization, adding solar power panels or doing anything renewable energy-related. They were giving away energy-efficient shower heads and adorable stick-on 5-minute shower timers to remind those of us who, umm, maybe take more than 5-minute showers.** The Portland Fruit Tree Project was there handing out packs of fruit tree seeds and I learned about the Community Energy Project, located right on Alberta Street. They were offering free weatherization classes at the fair (I learned how to help an older house retain heat during cold months) and they conduct free home safety repairs for low income and senior citizen housing all over the city.
There was also a fix-it café which included free bike or small electronic appliance repair, free child care, free lunch and a hefty raffle for all kinds of handy fix-it gear.
After a few hours, I walked away with a free Ginko Bilboa tree, a toilet tank water saver plug, a shower timer, tons of pamphlets for local resources for everything house and child-safety related, a full belly, a sleeping baby and a happy father who is excited to help us check the status of our water heater. The next fair date is going on our family calendar and this time, I’m making sure baby daddy isn’t out of town on a business trip so that he can learn first hand how to install window weatherization strips too.
*Habitat requires 500 hours of on-site sweat equity from the family to whom the house is being given. The house does of course cost money but Habitat works with local banks and the generous donations of business and individuals to make the monthly payments amazingly affordable. It is an amazing non-profit. Holler if you would like to know more and I can email you!
**I just threw baby daddy under the hot water bus. That’s okay. We all have things we should work on. Anything for you, mother nature.