Event details and Habitat for Humanity community information at the bottom of the page.
Where do I begin?
Up a ladder, I guess.
As I stood on a ladder building a bulkhead above my daughter’s kitchen cabinets one weekend, Aiko Iwashita of 102.9 K-Lite was broadcasting from the Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Burlington—she was talking up an event called Women Build.
I quickly hopped off my ladder to Google it.
Err… umm… wait.
I carefully, with both hands firmly placed on the side rails of my ladder, climbed down in a responsible and safe manner and Googled it.
Yes, that’s how it really happened.
It took me all of 5.8 milliseconds to decide to participate, and my email to friends, family, and colleagues went out the next day. Now I had just over a month to wait until the event—it was like waiting for Santa to slide down my chimney.
The days before my build-day dragged by, but my excitement kept me going. And then it happened—the day before the event, I torqued my right wrist and felt the pain shoot up into my shoulder.
Not now! I kicked the flu last week, so I can’t cancel because of my damn old-lady joints!
Needless to say, when my hard-working husband asked if I could work out a kink in his neck that evening, I had to turn him down. I needed to save what little “chutzpa” I had left for my day on site. Sorry honey.
I barely slept that night, as visions of pneumatic nail guns, jackhammers, impact drills, and mitre saws danced through my head.
What would I get to do? What would my contribution be? Oh, I hope it’s NOT painting.
We were all greeted with so much enthusiasm, that the warmth of the staff’s treatment made the cold temperatures feel like a warm spring day. No, it wasn’t because of my thermal underwear… I’m confident that it was because of the loving and caring atmosphere.
Tim Horton’s coffee and donuts were waiting, and Whole Foods provided a variety of delicious, healthy food for breakfast, snacks, and lunch.
On the first day of the event, Aiko posted a few photos on Facebook, and I saw a photo of site leader Tom (AKA Santa). I knew he had to be mine. Tom would be my site leader, and I would make him wear the pink hard hat too! My dream came true—without any coercion on my part, as I was called to be on Tom’s team (and he graciously accepted my request to don the pink hard hat for a photo with us). The day was already going perfectly.
Now if we could just get to it so that I could nail the hell out of that place!
My mind began to wander as the group chatted while finishing up breakfast…
Fade to the dream sequence… (complete with harp music)
I strode across the site in my hot pink t-shirt, with my ginger hair gleaming in the sun, and svelte lady-muscles glistening with perspiration. I confidently toss my hair about before placing my matching pink hardhat and protective eyewear on. With nail cartridges filling my pouch, Stan and Tom stand silently with their crews staring at me in awe. I hook up my pneumatic nail gun to the compressor with a one-handed finesse that would make the likes of Bryan Baeumler and Scott McGillvray weep. The impact of the firing nail gun make my biceps ripple in the most feminine, yet kick-ass way. I am queen of the site.
“Veronica. Veronica?” Tom’s voice suddenly brought me out of my daydream. “Here’s your hammer.”
My WHAT? What did he just say?
“And load your pouch up with some three-and-a-quarter inch nails.”
“Um, Tom. Excuse me, but, where’s the nail gun?” I try to sound cool. I try not to let him see the tear trickle down my cheek.
“Oh we don’t let volunteers use power tools like that.”
Although, my acceptance to this information seemed cool and understanding—I died a little inside.
How am I going to rock this site with a tweaked wrist and broken spirit using manual equipment? Does he actually expect us to kick it “Little House on The Prairie” style?
Defeated, I stared down at the red and black hammer in my hand. It was a brand I’d never seen before. It was a name that drew me out of my selfish fog and made me smile—Hart. Despite my disappointment over the lack of decadent power tools, my spirits were lifted when I realized that I was about to help build a home—a home that we could honestly say was built with “hart.”
Despite my initial performance concerns, the day passed quickly with a great helping of laughs and bonding to go with our sweat equity. It was a good day, and I left thinking about when I could come back again. I doubt they’ll allow me to bring my own nail gun, so maybe I should wait until the framing is all done. That would probably be more advantageous for all parties involved.
Thankfully, my two other teammates goddesses, were raring to go and able to pick up my slack to drive those nails when my wrist panged. Karrie and Cindy (AKA Bam-Bam), were an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, and I think we were probably Tom’s favorite team during the event. Although I didn’t ask him to confirm, I’m pretty confident he’d agree.
Tom’s Angels. That’s us.
I can hear the theme music now as he says, “Good morning Angels.”
“Good morning Tom.”
Excerpt from Aiko’s information page at 102.9 K-Lite:
The 2015 Women Build will bring together 100 women from all walks of life, each with a challenge to raise or donate $1,000. Join us on site for one day between September 29 and October 2. You have the power to change lives in Halton and Mississauga! Together with 99 other amazing women, you will help us build 13 houses in our community for 13 hard working families to finally call home!