Monday, July 14, 2008

Have I Paid Off My Karmic Debt Yet???

If anything bad could happen this past week, it did! I'm up to 3 so far. I'm still trying to hang on this week, hoping that the sky isn't going to fall.

#1. I mentioned that my dad and stepmom were paying for someone to come and paint the front of our house, well, the guy came by on Tuesday and said he could start work right away. I was pleasantly surprised because I was hard at work on the inside painting trim with a friend that day (I know, I know, too many projects at's kinda my M.O.). Before I know it, this guy is power washing the front of the house and then the south side of the house. We didn't talk about having him remove the paint from the south side of the house but as it is happening I am a bit too busy to stop him, and I figure, if it costs me $100, it's worth it...right? NOT! I go outside after about an hour to see the progress on my way out...there are paint chips EVERYWHERE! All my south side is garden and mulch and the paint chips are in all parts of the garden/mulch! Yet, I look at the house and I can't believe how quickly it took him to remove the loose paint. What he did in an hour would have taken me days or weeks! As I leave, I thank him for the extra that he did but in the back of my mind I am concerned about the paint chips.

Fast forward to early morning the next neighbor is at my door telling The Professor he is concerned about the paint chips all over our yard and in HIS yard. He says that we should probably test a chip to see if it is lead. He doesn't want anyone to get sick and he is concerned that we have a hazardous situation. The Professor goes to work and does what he does best, research. He sends me an email with the subject line: "STOP PAINT REMOVAL IMMEDIATELY!" Our house, having been built in 1878, is VERY likely to have lead paint under the top coat that we put on in 1996. Lead paint can cause learning disabilities in children, infertility, kidney problems etc... and we have this shit all over our yard, in our tomato plants, on our rhubarb! We test a chip, it is positive for lead.

#2 The same day, The Professor is riding the scooter on the freeway, in the rain back to work and it looses power. He takes it in to Blue Cat Motors to get repaired. That was a week ago and we still haven't heard what is wrong with it.

#1 Back to the irresponsible painter man. My sister works for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). I am in contact with her all day to find out what the clean-up procedure is. She gives me good information along with this law:

Subd. 2. Management responsibility; not transferable to occupant. (a) A person whose
activities produce residential lead paint waste is responsible for the management and proper
disposal of the waste.
(b) When residential lead paint waste is produced by activities of a person other than the
occupant of the residence from which the waste is removed, the person shall not leave the
residential lead paint waste at that residence and shall not transfer responsibility for managing or disposing of the waste to the occupant.

Ok, so I have to call this guy and try to get him to clean it up. This is hard for me. I HATE confrontation. I just want people to do the right thing. I HATE talking to them about it when they don't. I get a pep talk from one of my good friends and try to think of it as an opportunity for growth. I call him, it doesn't go well. He has been removing paint this way all his life and he thinks that the MPCA is blowing this "lead paint thing" all out of proportion. Bottom line, he is most likely not going to come to help me clean it up.

I call my stepmom, which is double-hard for me. AGAIN, I HATE CONFRONTATION and I hate it even more when it involves a relative. She and my dad were trying to do a favor for me and it turned into a nightmare. I was nervous, but I did it...another chance for growth.

The Professor has spent countless hours cleaning up the lead paint chips. We will never get them all. They are too numerous and the fact that they are in the mulch makes it double difficult to retrieve them. If you read the the link to "Removing Paint from Exterior Surfaces" from the Minnesota Department of Health, you saw that there is a fairly extensive clean-up procedure. We borrowed a HEPA filtered vacuum from a friend to try and vacuum up as many chips as we could. We also raked up a lot of mulch that I spent hours putting down in the fall (I had 15 yards delivered last November). Now, every time I pull up a weed, I see a chip. The boys have not been allowed to play in the yard since this happened. I especially don't want them running around bare foot in the yard. Now, we have outside shoes and inside shoes so as not to track paint chips in the house. This was a difficult life lesson.

#3 The teenager had a soccer tournament all weekend starting with two games on Friday. Saturday's first game was at 12:05. He had a great run with the ball, jumping over players from the other team, weaving in and out with the ball...just as he was leaping over the last defender, he is taken down hard on his neck and shoulder. He looks like he is in pain but he keeps on playing. They score and advance to the evening game.

The evening game isn't until 7:30. We take the teenager home to ice his shoulder and rest. He says he is having trouble moving his right arm and doesn't know if he can play. One of the parents on the team is a chiropractor and takes a look at his shoulder before the game and adjusts him. He feels better and says he can play. He is put in the game but I notice he isn't using his right arm to run. He is protecting it and isn't playing in his usual manner. He isn't in the game for more than 10 minutes when he gets hit hard by the opponent and does a somersault in front of the goal. He gets up but his right arm is hanging down by his side and he is asking to be taken off the field. It doesn't look good.

I knew from the other side of the field that he had broken his collar bone and I was right.

Ok, it is hard to take a picture of an x-ray. Can you see that break? It probably was just a hairline fracture after that first game on Sat. but after he got hit again, it REALLY cracked. Poor kid, 6 weeks of R&R. He is not good at that. This is the kid that unicycles, skateboards, ripsticks, snowboards, dives and cannot sit still for more than 5 minutes. Not to mention that by the time it heals, summer will be over and high school soccer will have already started practicing without him. I dare not say this in his presence. He is crabby enough.

#4???? I am waiting. What is that saying...what doesn't kill me will make me stronger? I'm trying here but did I tell you I'm STILL painting inside and now will have to paint the WHOLE outside because the painter man isn't coming back. Merde (excuse my French)


Hilary said...

LLL, I'm heartsick for you. That's a very worrisome situation. The guy that removed the paint was recklessly irresponsible and needs to be held accountable to finance a safe clean up. He's doing this to homes, quite possibly where the residents are unaware, even after the fact, of the dangers of lead poisoning. He really needs to be stopped. And your (and your neighbour's) property needs a professional clean up. I understand your distaste for confrontation, but by now anger has surely taken over.

I feel for you and the nasty events you've encountered lately. I sure hope things improve vastly soon.

the Bag Lady said...

They say that bad things come in threes, so perhaps you've had your share....?
Sorry to hear of your troubles!

gary rith said...

oh my goodness, all your veggie plants surrounded by lead paint chips? And your poor son, I hope stuff evens out soon!

Latin Lupe Lu said...

Hilary - You are right. That is what my sister keeps telling me. True, I need to think of others who may be even more ignorant than I was.

Baggie - Thanks for the sympathy. I sure hope it's done now.

GR - Maybe a piggy pot would cheer me up...huh?

Lucas said...

Sounds like you need some R&R Riley style! Head to my place tonight for laughter and good times! (Nary a lead paint chip in sight!)