In the Grand Scheme of Things…

Photo: It’s crazy and gross here in MetroWest right now, but this morning was beautiful. And thank God, because we really needed to get out of the house…


You know, I was going to write all about the stupid racism going on in the world right now. Seems like there are a lot of really angry old (rich)  white dudes out in the world spouting off for no apparent reason…

But I got a question about the playroom and the progress with the paint, so I guess ya’ll are spared! Hurray!

(Seriously, though. This isn’t just ridiculous, it’s almost amusing. And, frankly, I prefer to angry white man who wears his racism on his sleeve over the white man in the suit who will shake my hand, smile at me, tell me I do “impressive” work, but go home and call me a nigger.  I’ve worked for both. The later can change your life without you realizing it until months, even years later.)

But let’s talk about the playroom. I was asked if we’d determined if the paint in the playroom actually is lead paint.

And that isn’t the right question to ask.

The current question on my mind is where else is there lead paint in this house?

The tester that we bought revealed that the playroom is just an encased lead paint zone of danger and doom. I’m glad that we decided to be proactive and remove the boys and their stuff from the room. But now that we’re here, working on this problem, stripping out the paint and fixing that annoying hole, our eyes have been to every other part of the house. Where is there paint?


There is paint in the kitchen. And in the upstairs bathroom. And in the downstairs bathroom. And on all of the radiators. And in the mudroom. And on the outside of the house. And on the barn.

Chipped paint above the upstairs bathroom window. This is probably going to be the next room to get the business, which is going to make me sad. I hate the downstairs bathroom with a passion...
Chipped paint above the upstairs bathroom window. This is probably going to be the next room to get the business, which is going to make me sad. I hate the downstairs bathroom with a passion…
Paint is chipping on some of the radiators. I don't even know where to begin with these...
Paint is chipping on some of the radiators. I don’t even know where to begin with these…
Large crack of paint in the upstairs bathroom. Haven't
Large crack of paint in the upstairs bathroom. Haven’t
Long view from the back window.
Long view from the back window.
Long view of the room from the door. The Husband really has been working hard at this!
Long view of the room from the door. The Husband really has been working hard at this!
The Husband and our neighbor have done the bulk of the work of fixing the damaged portion of the wall. We got lucky: It's not load bearing or anything and the damage wasn't as extensive as we thought. The fix is relatively simple, but it has taken up a lot of precious time.
The Husband and our neighbor have done the bulk of the work of fixing the damaged portion of the wall. We got lucky: It’s not load bearing or anything and the damage wasn’t as extensive as we thought. The fix is relatively simple, but it has taken up a lot of precious time.
The window post stripping... it's better than it looks. We're just about ready to sand and stuff and then get painting.
The window post stripping… it’s better than it looks. We’re just about ready to sand and stuff and then get painting.

That’s a lot of paint, ya’ll.

We have no reason to believe that the paint on the outside of the house is chipping, and it was painted more recently than 1978, so that’s good news. But my neighbor pointed out that if the house had been painted before (we’re sure that it had been), and that paint ever chipped and got into the soil, then that would mean that the soil directly around the house could be contaminated. This all goes for the barn, too.  So that cleared out flowerbed where I’ve been letting the boys play is now off limits. 🙁

This week is about finishing up the clean-up and repairs so that next week we can actually paint. So while The Husband finishes the cleanup work (He refuses to let me help with the “dangerous” part of the work because manly. and because sexist. and because “what if we decide to have another kid?” and because my uterus somehow makes me ineligible for such work but his plumbing is somehow immune?? Augh…), I’m sitting around thinking about colors and coordination and stuff. I thought that I’d find inspiration for HGTV or Pinterest or Better Homes and Gardens, but I’m finding a lot of frustration instead… I forgot to check out Martha Stewart…maybe I’ll check there next.

I’m looking at probably another two weeks before the boys are back in their space. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t such a terrible challenge. We’ve been through worse, right? I mean, there were two weeks when we were only living in the top floor of this house, essentially. It is helpful that we’ve had a few days of nice weather, so we’ve been able to spend large chunks of time outside instead of all crammed into the reduced space in front of the television.  Though it raises my blood pressure to see my living room torn asunder by the boys every day, I’m really more concerned about the dangers that we haven’t found yet. What if we go through all of this trouble, take Ursa Minor back to the doctor for his test, and his blood levels are still elevated? Are we doing everything we can to fix this problem? I suppose that I just don’t know what more we can do.

In an email last week, mother-in-law had the nerve to write, “in hindsight, I don’t understand why it didn’t occur to anyone to check for lead paint to begin with.” Because, you know, she’s so damn perfect. Honestly, lead paint was the furthest thing from our minds as we were going through this process. Mostly because we thought that he worst possible thing about lead paint would be a kid picking up at eating it, you know? I guess there is also the assumption that people have done some sort of decorating since 1978… but with a house this old, and with so many other things in disrepair, it probably should have come to our minds… I really hope that we are able to solve this without too much damage done to any of us.

I’m off to look at more color schemes. I confess that I’m not inspired at all, which is odd. Hilariously, this will be only the second time in the entirety of the time we’ve been living together that The Husband and I will go to a furniture store and go shopping. As a matter of fact, this is the first time that The Husband and I have decorated a room from scratch with new items. Our entire house is hand-me-downs, used furniture bought from previous owners of the places we’ve rented, or other free finds from friends or college campuses. The only new furniture in the whole house belongs to the boys: two new cribs, a changing table, and two bookshelves. Everything is so hodge-podge and quirky, which is fun sometimes and ugly at others. I’m excited that we have the opportunity to decorate a room, but I would be lying if I told you that this was the room I was so looking forward to building from scratch.

The Husband and I are really attracted to more traditional decor, deep and dark colors, and elegant things, which is so not the appropriate aesthetic for  two young boys. I want too much here: Classic, timeless, elegant…yet bright and cheerful… inspirational for two young boys. But I don’t want it to be cheesy or over-the-top… I think that’s why I hate Pinterest right now. If I see one more picture of a “playroom rules” sign with squishy sugary sweet rules in overdone font, I’m going to throw my computer. Or “Pardon the mess, [children’s names] are making memories.” Blech. I’m sorry, that kinda drives me crazy. Call me hipster, but a) that ish is over done b) that is more about parents than it is about kids. I need something else. I need a room that is beautiful and inspirational for the boys, but a place that still jives with what The Husband and I are going for in our lives and presentation…

Good job, me. Always wanting too much. I’ll keep you posted as progress is made.

It’s Monday and the world is crazy. Let’s see how things shake out with this Clippers thing. I might end up writing about it on Wednesday if the conversation goes in the direction that I think it’s gonna go… See you then!


10 Comments Add yours

  1. On the bright side of things, you’ve got an excellent excuse to redecorate exactly as you want everything. 🙂

    This post made me think about the other places I’ve lived…particularly the basement apartment that was disgusting enough on it’s own before I began to think about the cast iron radiators covered with several layers of paint…o.o

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Blarg. That sounds creepy! Our first apartment together was a first-floor closet in Boston that literally had a view of the brick wall of the neighboring building. There were roaches on the walls when we moved in and mice soon there after. It’s funny, I loved that apartment…it was in the middle of the city, walking distance from a Whole Foods, a liquor store, two great pizza places and a fire station where the firemen just seemed particularly cute… *sigh*… But it was a terrible apartment. lol!

      1. K.C. Wise says:

        And by “closet,” I mean a 1-bedroom apartment. But it barely was enough space for the two of us and our stuff. We made the best of it… You won’t believe how much we paid for it! $1450 a month!!!

      2. I can commiserate with you on bad apartments…lol I loved the first place that we shared with my two best friends, but it really was truly awful. A drug addict lived there before us and trashed quite a bit of the place, and also there were mice in the basement. Quite a lot of them. Surprisingly, that isn’t the worst I’ve experienced though. The basement apartment that we moved into after that place had rats. BIG ones. lol

        And yet both places hold a special place in my heart because they were OURS, you know? lol

  2. Well the good news is that generations before you ate lead paint and we all turned out fine, uteri and all; so the work you’re doing will be sufficient in saving everyone’s life. Breathe easy- it’s not asbestos.
    As far as the decor problem, what about educational themes for the boys? Things that will go in any color scheme like metric and standard rulers as wainscoting, or maps as wall hangings (I papered a whole room using maps I’d collected from places I’d been)? The color of parchment paper stimulates learning, and there are tons of signs to be made from the writing on old parchment; those guys knew how to turn a phrase. Forget Pinterest (the opiate of the new masses); put your inner geek to work. Instead of Martha Stewart, maybe some Martha Washington?
    This country’s old decor was big on darker woods. A little Williamsburg mixed with the Sherwin Williams?

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Whoa. I don’t think you understand how much I love that idea. That’s such a freaking fantastic idea. I’m going to be all over this in the morning. You are a genius!!!

      Also: Yes, thank you Jesus it isn’t asbestos!

      1. Oh cool, I’m glad that helped. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. I love your creativity!

  3. Well, I HATE painting. Are you guys doing all the work yourselves?
    And, here are some ideas I found on pinterest you MAY like??? I don’t know. Who can afford some of this stuff, but if you can get inspired by it, then maybe you can find knock-off type stuff that is similar??
    K. I’m done. And, this will probably be marked as a spam comment now with all those links!

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Lol it WAS marked as spam, but I got it! 🙂 will look at these after lunch/nap routine.

    2. K.C. Wise says:

      I love these two especially. They are a bit modern, but I like the use of brown and wood, I like the feel of something comfortable but also educationalish feeling. Gonna try to take these two ideas and merge them with our aesthetic… Thank you for these links!!

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