Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

Sometimes You’re the Windshield…

I’m having one of those bug moments.  We’ve been out of town a lot in May so a great number of things around the house have been put off.  The clutter is starting to annoy me and my children have had a few bouts of “post-vacation crash” mode.  The whining and the crying that accompanies the unwinding process can be a bit much.

Add in with that the results of our attempts at getting our house “weatherized” at significantly smaller out of pocket cost to us and it definitely feels like I’m a big fat squishy bug on the windshield of life.  We finally heard back from the organization that was handling the weatherization application for the larger state organization.  We got the letter the day we returned from our weekend long vacation via certified, return receipt required mail.  Not a good sign.  The form letter on the inside of the envelope informed us that our application had been deferred.

You see, the vermiculite in the attic is considered a health hazard and they won’t move forward until we remove it.  We have six months to do so and then they will consider moving forward.  If they don’t hear from us in a year they’ll deny our application.  The irony in this has not escaped me.  We have sought out the help of an assistance program to have weatherization tasks done around our home.  Tasks that could easily add up to $10,000 if we paid someone to do them.  If we needed assistance with those tasks, how is it that we can afford to pay for the removal of the vermiculite?

I had squirreled away what seemed a significant amount of money to pay for our share of the weatherization.  Looking at the money now, I’m afraid that once we pay for the removal of the vermiculite the money that remains will be insufficient to complete all of the remaining work.  I don’t even think that it’s enough if they pay to re-insulate the attic after we have the existing cellulose and vermiculite removed.

After receiving the letter we placed a flurry of phone calls to a few private businesses and a couple of state agencies.  Since we own the house state law permits us to do the actual removal ourselves.  There’s access to the attic from the garage which means we can remove the material that way and bypass the house completely.  Still, there are costs associated with the various protective equipment like a HEPA vacuum, a negative air machine, respirators, etc.  Hubby will need to make a few more phone calls to see if we can find a place to rent the items (and at what cost) before we know for sure what direction to head.

We also learned quite a bit about the home inspection process i.e. it’s doubtful if we buy another house that we’d ever pay for one again.  The first house we bought, the home inspector missed the rotten floor boards in the kitchen.  This house?  The home inspector missed the vermiculite.  According to the gentleman that did the home inspection back in 2007 he didn’t really miss it.  Apparently looking through all of the layers of insulation in the attic is “invasive” and state law does not permit him to do so.  If we had *specifically* asked for it he could have looked, but only with written permission by the sellers.  So the almost $300 we paid him that we thought would help identify significant issues?  Nope.  The home inspection fee was just to point out obvious, easily visible problems.  Problems we could have figured out…and saved the almost $300 towards vermiculite removal.  *sigh* Lesson learned.

I went into May thinking that perhaps, just for once, things might go our way.  Things would be easier.  We’d have the voids in our attic fixed, the lingering moisture issues that come along with a house that’s fairly tight and shady fixed, and our accompanying winter bills would be lessened leaving more money in our pockets at the end of the month.  Instead we find that, as usual, things are far more difficult than I anticipated.  Sometimes you’re the windshield?  Just for once I’d love to be the windshield.  More often than not I’m the bug.


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