Glad you are enjoying yourself.
On the safelight question, it is important to understand that "safelight" is a relative term. Anything that shortens the amount of safelight exposure will help assure that the safelight adds no fog. Anything that extends the safelight exposure increases the risk that the light won't really be safe.
Remember that for some prints, you can end up with print times of several minutes, when all dodging and burning is included.
And for the easel, what sort of problems are you having? If they are related to achieving equal margins, I would suggest starting either with a scrap print or a sheet of paper cut to the right size, and experiment in the light with the adjustments - remember that you can use a pencil to indicate the edges of the printed area.