Photo: My latest problem. So what else is new? I mean, seriously, ya’ll are all going to stop reading my blog soon because it is seriously one thing after another around here.
I had such hopes for today’s post. I was actually outlining it yesterday in my journal as the boys were fighting over a toy. It was going to be all about Ursa Major and his budding perfectionism and how I need to work on his patience as his perfectionist mother and…
the phone rang.
“Hey, Kyra! This is [nurse[ over at [our doctor’s office]!”
“Well hello! How are you? Tell me some good news!”
“Well, unfortunately, I can’t do that, Kyra. You see, the tests for [Ursa Minor’s] lead levels actually showed that the lead ticked up from 4 to 5. So [Pediatrician] is going to go ahead and refer you to Children’s.”
“So, like… what… what does that mean? Are ya’ll reporting us to the state and stuff?”
“Oh no! No! His level has to be somewhere like 10 or something for that. No no, it’s just that we want to be cautious here, you know? So we are going to send you to the Lead Clinic to get to the bottom of things.”
“And, to be honest, it’s on the low side, and it could change any day for any reason. It could just be that it was a bad day to draw blood…”
“So just go ahead and make an appointment and they’ll take it from here.”
It isn’t that all of the work that we just did on the playroom was for nothing. It needed to be done and the result has been amazing. But, of course, he hasn’t been exposed to the chipping paint in the playroom for over 6 weeks now. So what the what?
“I’ve got a few tester sticks left. I’ll check some other surfaces…” The Husband says in an email when I break the news.
So after bath, he goes through the house, looking for the next source.
The radiators have no lead paint on them. Thank you, Jesus.
The kitchen, if it has lead paint, it is very minimal amounts and the paint is not chipping. Thank you, Jesus.
The paint in the upstairs bathroom is the same: minimal amounts, though the paint is chipping there. Ok, doable.
“But the paint on the tub is chipping pretty badly. Let me test it.”
He takes a chip off of the tub and puts it in a baggy with the testing solution. The solution should turn red if it comes in contact with lead. I haven’t seen anything so red since we left the University of Maryland.
“Jesus. That’s more red than the chip in the playroom,” The Husband gasped.
My beautiful clawfoot tub is enamel and whatever on the inside. Painted lead paint of doom on the outside.
So now what?
“We can’t use encapsulating paint on the tub because it doesn’t latch on to metal. We have to scrape it completely to remove the paint.”
“We’re gonna have to remove it from the room, most likely, to be able to do that.”
I wish that I could take a picture that could best articulate the size of our upstairs bathroom. It isn’t the smallest thing you’ve ever scene, but it will be a challenge to try to navigate that clawfoot out of the room. And then put it… where?
Oh, and then there is the challenge of it being really freaking heavy.
My mother, on a beach somewhere: “Seems to me that the tub just has to go!”
The tub is original to the house. It’s beautiful. I love it. I don’t want to just get rid of it. Also, what the hell would we replace it with? I can’t afford to just buy a new bathtub/shower stall. And there is a window right above it, and I don’t want to cover it. That would be silly.
So, like… now what?
The Husband and I just stared at each other blankly last night. Neither of us has the energy to go through another major DIY. We just did that crazy drive to Maryland last weekend, and we have school obligations this week and weekend. We have no fun vacation or anything to look forward to, so we’re just staring down the barrel of the summer of no fun and lots of cost. We looked at our budget and figured out that we spent just a little under $1000 to reno the playroom: between the paint, the tools and the carpet, we burned through our “emergency house padding” in the budget. Of course, that was an emergency, so it was legit. But now this? How much more can we take? And after we’re done with this inside problem, we’re gonna have to tackle the front flowerbed next to the house, because we think it might be contaminated with lead, too. As our neighbor said, “if it was ever painted before now, chips probably got into the soil, and that lead never goes anywhere.” So that means we need to build a raised bed and put totally new soil into it. Because that is where the boys love to play and dig if we’re hanging out outside.
My religious friends always put stuff on Facebook a quote that goes somewhere along the lines of “God gives you just as much challenge as you can handle.” I feel like God thinks I can run a marathon. We’ve been running so hard, with so few breaks for the past… I don’t know… 18 months, it feels like? Just so much. We’re tired, reader. The thought of yet another DIY so soon after the last one… it isn’t that we don’t want to do the work–we signed up to put sweat equity into this house–we just don’t want to do the work just this second.
And then there is the health of the boys to consider. The lead levels are still quite low, but what if they keep rising? There are all sorts of conditions and consequences associated with lead poisoning. This is a very sensitive time for brain development, and Lord knows we’ve invested a lot in assuring that they have the best opportunities for intellectual growth and stimulation possible, and here I am moving them into a house that’s just gonna rot their brains chemically. Great job, mommy. Great job.
So here I am again. The bathroom is smaller, yes, so it shouldn’t take weeks to complete… but it is still a project. When I complete this post, I’m heading downstairs to begin the process of turning our horrible downstairs bathroom into our “main” bathroom for the time being. Goodbye beautiful warm wood, hello ugly 80’s tile and weird lime green. Oh, and rotted incomplete floor underneath the toilet… *sigh*
Quiet Thoughts on Friday with a special surprise. No no, you’re gonna like it. It’s pretty glorious.
See you then!