“You made me believe I could do it”
June 2016—BBR member Maureen Flynn moved from JP to West Roxbury earlier this year, and the occasion prompted her to reflect on her many interactions with BBR. The photo above shows her at our sheetrocking and taping workshop in 2009.
I am writing to thank you very much for all you at BBR did to help me improve my very first home, a condo in JP which I bought nine years ago and I just sold to move into a single-family in West Roxbury.
I started coming to BBR probably eight years ago now, when I wanted to overhaul my kitchen myself. Kim helped me do a design, and then, with the help of some friends, I demo’d what was in the kitchen (not much) and put in a whole new kitchen, including Corian countertops bought on Craigslist for $50 from a bed and breakfast in Rockport. I couldn’t have done it without all of the classes I took at BBR: tiling for the backsplash, drywall repair for, well, everything, and framing to close up an unwanted closet. I learned so much at the classes, and it was good to meet other DIYers who were embarking on equally scary yet exciting projects.
Over the past eight-plus years, I have also bought and donated goods at the Reuse Center—even coordinating a mass donation from all of the units in my building. Each time I donated, the guys were patient and extremely professional when picking up the materials.
Having gotten to know Pernell through one of the classes, I hired him to do many projects for the condo association. He always provided great work with no drama. (I work in the housing field, so I know there can be a fair amount of drama.) In addition, BBR kept the condo association flush in ice melt for our walkways for several years. We had many pets in the building, including two of my own, so the pet-friendly ice melt at an affordable price was a godsend (especially last February)!
Speaking of last February, I had made up my mind to sell my home and was debating whether to put in new windows or restore the old ones. Greg, shall we say, convinced me to stick with the old. Because I had missed Steve’s class, through the wonders of YouTube, I brought Steve into my living room and restored ten windows—not exactly by myself. I went to Steve's window repair workshop several first Saturdays in a row to fix windows broken in the process. Did I mention I started this project during the February storms? The piece de resistance was when I really couldn't wait until Friday for a Pernell visit because I needed a pane fixed, as the cold wind and snow doth blow through the window. Somehow, on a Sunday, I ended up in the basement of a professor's workshop getting a pane of glass cut by an expert craftsman. I thought it would become either the coda on a very interesting project or the last place I was seen alive.
I must have come to BBR about six to ten times to buy materials, each time swearing a little at Greg to myself, because he had gotten me into this thing. Each time, Erin was patient, showed me what I needed to buy, talked me off the ledge a few times, and was encouraging without being condescending.
In all, I couldn't have done any of these projects and improved my home without all of you, and I am incredibly thankful for it. I (intentionally) bought another old home with the original windows—six over one, just like the last ones—so I'll be back in for more materials, more advice, and more consoling.
Sometimes I look back and wonder why I basically had little fear in tackling all these projects—but I realize it was in part because you made me believe I could do it, no big deal. I am so glad BBR exists, and I tell all my friends about it whenever possible.