An inspector from the state health department spent over five hours in our house yesterday. He scanned for lead paint throughout the house, took dust swipe and soil samples and completed a brief questionnaire with Peter.
By the end of his visit, we are still uncertain what happens next. Lead paint was found in the door frames and baseboards of our second floor. It will take two weeks for the test results from the samples and a month for the written report.
While it was a relief to finally have the inspection scheduled and now completed, we are still feeling anxious. What kind of abatement will be required? We will have to move?
So, I’m not going to write about that. I just don’t know enough. Instead, I want to talk a bit about the experience for Peter.
Peter basically followed the inspector around the house yesterday. It wasn’t a matter of trust, but a need to know the results. This gave Peter a lot of time to talk with the inspector. That’s how he found out that the man has a child of his own. Before departing, he told Peter that our home was a place he would feel comfortable bringing his kid. Of course, the sentiment is not an official recommendation, but the words were reassuring.
Apparently, we were very cooperative. I guess our perspective is different. We are not the homeowners and will not be responsible for the costs of abatement. Our only goal is to find the source of Philip’s lead poisoning and then reduce or eliminate future exposure. That’s why Peter gave the inspector permission to check anything and everything.
The inspector told Peter he has been in homes so unclean or dilapidated that he would have definitely preferred not to set foot in them. At other residences, he has been run out or met with hostility. Or apathy.
The other parting remark from the inspector was that he thought Philip was well-behaved. I don’t know why this surprised me. I guess I think of all of the behaviors that we are focusing on improving (not throwing objects, following directions, not running off, etc. ) that I forget that Philip does do things right. Heaven help me not turn into one of those mothers where the child feels like he is never good enough.
But once Peter shared this observation, I had to agree. Yes, Philip is generally a happy boy who wants to please. And it was nice for a stranger to notice.