Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lead it Be

I haven't posted much here lately because we have been completely swamped with moving.  I keep wishing that we only had to pack and clean before moving, but we have to DE-LEAD the house.  Massachusetts, as it would turn out, has the strictest lead paint laws in all of the lands.  What this means for us is that we can't rent our house out to anyone with kids under the age of 6 when we leave.  Sounds simple?  A-HA!  Here's the catch: it's against the law to refuse to rent to someone because they have kids.  It's even against the law to put "Lead paint exists in house" when you advertise, because what you're really saying is "If you have kids under 6, you can't rent from us." 

Like any normal couple, we waited until we had no time to de-lead the house to de-lead the house.

Here's the process:
  • get an expensive lead inspection from a smelly man who takes 3 days to do it and keeps walking past you muttering "this house has a lot of lead"
  • find out your house is a death trap and your wallet is $400 thinner
  • discover that you can either spend lots of money and do work yourself or spend even more money and hire someone to do all of this for you
  • decide foolishly to do most of it yourself
  • kiss your husband goodbye because all of your free time is now spent to "the house"
  • take classes (expensive classes)
  • take tests
  • mail crap in to the Commonwealth and get permission to destroy your house
  • destroy house
  • go to Home Depot so many times, all of the cashiers know you, spending your infant's college fund
  • buy special paint for $60 a gallon.  Buy many gallons 
  • slowly put house back together again by replacing beautiful old door and window casings with new ones that don't quite match, painting three layers of encapsulant over most of your trim, tearing out windows, filling/sanding holes in the trim
  • go ahead and find someone to finish the work you'll never get done
  • interview all of those people
  • temporarily move your child and your three pets out of your house so you can do high-level lead removal. Who wants a dog, two cats, an infant, and a frazzled mom staying with them?  Takers??
  • consider burning the house down for the insurance money or selling it "as is" or inventing a time machine so we could either not buy the house or start this earlier
  • spend your last days in a city you love buried under housework.

So, be ready to rumble if you buy a pre-1978 house in Massachusetts.  I'm trying to be zen about the whole thing and just get as much as I can done without complaining (too much) and relish in the fact we will not be homeowners in DC for a while!

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