Saturday, October 11, 2008
I Am THE World's Worst Mother
Our back door was peeling paint something fierce and it needed to be painted. It was peeling so badly that the bare wood was being exposed and it was tempting to sit there and pick the paint off like sunburned skin. It was on our project list for the summer and I decided to take that one on.
I took the door off the hinges, borrowed some sawhorses from a neighbor, got some kid/environmentally friendly paint stripper, applied, waited and waited for it to dry, then started stripping the paint away. My neighbor showed me some tips on how to get the paint off better and let me use his (better) paint stripping tool. As I started stripping the paint off I realized there were a few more layers to the paint than I thought and they were rather stubborn.
Nonetheless, I scraped and scraped and then it dawned on me.
WHAT IF THERE IS LEAD PAINT?
You see, I set up shop in the backyard, in the grass, a few feet away from the sandbox. So my thoughts went something like: Maybe it is better not to know but to make sure as little as possible paint chips get on the ground. Hmmmm...eventually I am going to have to sand off the rest of the paint and prep the wood for more paint...maybe it is a good idea to find out. But WHAT IF there IS lead paint? Then what? Oh ***%*#*@*@**%*%*!
So yesterday we went to the hardware store and I got a test kit. I applied it this morning and no doubt there is definitely lead paint on the door.
I have been scraping off LEAD PAINT in the backyard my children play in, where my baby crawls around, and right on the direct path to the back door. So not only is there danger of them getting exposed just by playing outside, but we could also track it inside where Graham is crawling on the floor and putting things in his mouth left and right.
WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS WHEN I STARTED AND TEST IT BEFORE I STARTED SCRAPING??!!!
The top layer of latex paint is more than 3/4 scraped off and I scraped off about 1/4 of all the paint where there is bare wood exposed. There is still quite a bit of the other layers of paint left-probably 3/4. So I have to abandon my project and clean it without getting any of the dust from scraping on the ground. Plus any of the big paint chips. I can't finish stripping it without exposing myself or the children to lead. We want another baby so I can't risk myself and I definitely can't risk the kids.
I think the safest option is to buy a new door. Or hire someone to strip it far, far away from here--but I don't even know where to look for that.
I am not sure what I would have done had I tested earlier--obviously I would not have started scraping paint off the door. I probably would have opted to buy a new door. I would have saved myself a lot of time, worry, and some skin on my fingers that was scraped away.
I feel like the biggest idiot who ever walked on the face on the earth and I will feel even worse if my children get lead poisoning because I was trying to save some $$, keep stuff from a landfill, and take on a home improvement project. My children are worth more than a hundred bucks for a new door.
Our back door was not the best back door into the house. It has a large glass pain and no real door lock. Just a measly door latch. We have been meaning to install a double deadbolt and now we will be.
I'm going to put the door up in freecycle and see if anyone wants it. I am not sure who would want a partially stripped door with lead paint on it but you never know. Maybe someone who doesn't have little kids and better facilities to strip and paint it.
In the meantime, please pray for my kids, especially Graham, that God will protect his sweet growing brain from my stupidity.