I haven't written a lot about the house-buying situation lately, because I find it difficult to say anything interesting about cursing and nail-biting.
Here's the thing. The house was built in 1925, which attentive blog-readers may have noticed, is before 1978. 1978 is the year that the use of lead-containing paint was banned in the United States. We are (hopefully) getting a Federal Housing Administration mortgage, and the FHA assumes that every home built prior to 1978 is painted with lead-based paint. They will not back mortgages for any house, built prior to 1978 that has peeling paint, because it may contain lead paint which may cause a health risk to children. (Oh, and they won't actually test to confirm the presence of absence of lead paint. That's far too logical. Scrape paint, or no mortgage, end of discussion.)
Okay so, we're obliged to get the house scraped and primed. You would think that this would be no big deal. After all, isn't Lisa a professional painter with decades of experience, painting for theaters, museums, hotels and all manner of crazy mansions?
Well, it's not so simple.
I run the scenic studio for a large regional theater; I'm not a house-painter. Because of that, I don't need to have a California contractor's license, or to carry my own insurance. I'm insured by the theater.
We are buying our house from the proverbial Little Old Lady. From what the neighbors and the selling realtor have told us, the owner of the house has moved into some kind of a nursing home, and the Little Old Lady's sweet little house is being sold by a big team of lawyers.
And, not surprisingly, the lawyers will only allow licensed and insured painters to scrape and prime the house.
After some grumbling, I went to my beloved local paint store and asked them to set me up with their favorite painting contractors. This experience was Goldilocks-like: one painter was too expensive, one (not suggested by my beloved paint store) was too stalker-ish, and one seemed just right.
But, the extremely nice and affordable painter wasn't quite as licensed and insured as he initially said he was. Lawyers insist on checking up on those sorts of things. Damn.
I went back to the beloved paint store, and got another set of recommendations. I ended up picking a painting company, owned by a very pleasant woman.
And yesterday on my lunch break, I drove over with all my (non-licensed) painter co-workers to drop off cookies and cold drinks for the house painting crew. I'm sure the house painters had no clue what to think of the four women in paint clothes who blew through the house, handed over a bunch of snacks, and oo-ed and ah-ed at everything.
The big downside of all this is the fact that I had gotten used to the idea of not painting the outside of the house, myself. If we had gone with the original (but uninsured) painter's bid, we could have afforded to pay him to climb around on extension ladders and paint all the trim. We sure can't afford to pay any of the licensed and insured painters to do the actual painting work.
Oh well, I guess I'm going to have to get over my fear of extension ladders. (I hate those things!)