Do not weep for me,
For I have loved and been loved by my family,
By those I loved who loved me back.
For I never knew a stranger, only friends.
Do not weep for me. I am not gone.
I just wanted to post this for other parents and students at UCF living at Pegasus Landing who are in some way affected by the mold in the buildings. They have formed what is called the Landing Assistance Network, which is designed to help you find temporary housing if you need it, or if you wish to pursue legal avenues, they can put you in touch with an attorney.
To contact the Landing Assistance Network, visit their website at http://www.housing.ucf.edu/pegasuslanding/
My own pursuit of justice continues. Brighid is getting ready to head home, and we’ll take her to see the family doctor tomorrow. I decided to do this rather than have her go see someone she doesn’t know in Orlando because I thought it would give us a more honest evaluation of the situation, and let me know if I’m overreacting to everything.
And the bonus is, of course, that I get to see Brighid 🙂
My girls love the Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix. It’s everything you don’t want your trail mix to be – loaded with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, M&Ms, and precious little of the healthy stuff that distracts your taste buds from the real reason you bought it in the first place – the junky part.
As we were browsing through Target, realizing we hadn’t come anywhere near spending the Way Over Our Budget sum of money we always spend when we go there, Jim spotted the Archer Farms Monster Pancake mix. Double the cost of what I usually spend on a box of pancake mix that will yield me easily four times the amount of pancakes, we had to have it. If nothing else, it was getting us to the point of overspending!
How could these pancakes be bad, right? Loaded with the trail mix components we love, they are filled with the chocolate and peanut butter chips, sprinkled liberally with nuts and raisins, and topped off with a handful of M&Ms, which turn the batter groovy tie dye colors as I mix in the milk, eggs, and oil.
They smell, well, blech. It sort of reminds me of fruit that is too ripe to eat. Sort of sickeningly sweet, but not in a luscious chocolate sort of way. I do what any decent mother would do – I make them anyway, because damn it, my kids are going to eat these pancakes that I just spent more money on than I would have a meal for 6 at IHOP.
By the time they are done, they are kind of chunky and bumpy looking, and still have the sweet smell. Eilis is the first of the guinea pigs children to try them. She takes one bite and declares “I’m not really liking these so much.” Without even trying them, Granuaile says they smell and she doesn’t like them either.
Into the garbage goes 18 pancakes, my breakfast plan for the morning, and the thought that you can put anything you want into a pancake and my kids will eat it.
Out of a possible 5 stars, we rate these pancakes ummm, well, can we get some stars back? We feel we’re owed them.
Because you were wondering, I’m sure, just what my child was exposed to. Over the course of this school year, my daughter has developed five of these symptoms on a fairly regular basis during her stay at Pegasus Landing Apartments, affiliated University of Central Florida housing.
The following is taken from www.allergyescape.com
The mycotoxins produced by toxic mold create environmentally toxic air that affects the body’s myelin, depleting this important substance that covers the nerves. The nerves are thus exposed without protection and fail to function correctly. This affects essential components of the body, including: the immune system, the nervous system, the respiratory system, the skin, and the gastrointestinal system. When toxic mold causes neurological problems, it can be devasting when children are involved, since their brains and other organs are not fully developed.
Symptoms of mold poisoning and toxic mold exposure include:
• memory loss
• personality disorders
• shortness of breath
• abdominal pain
• hair loss
• skin rashes
• numbness in extremities
• mood swings
• pain in the extremities
• sore throat
• rectal bleeding
Other symptoms of toxic mold include: destruction of brain tissue, open skin sores, fungal infections, lung diseases such as Aspergilliosis), and chronic sinus problems.
It’s like a soap opera, isn’t it? I know you are tuning in today to catch the latest in the lingering saga. The bad part about this soap opera is no one gets to see Ryan (Cameron Mathison) shirt-less.
When we last saw our heroine, Mom, (although we can’t really call her a heroine, since we know what she’s trying to do is save Mom reputation by fixing what should have been taken care of all along) she was taking on the Property Management regarding obtaining copies of the work orders for Brighid’s apartment.
After two phone messages left today at 10:30 this morning, I finally got a call back just before 5 o’clock this evening from Megan Edwards, the property manager for Pegasus Landing. If you are having a problem with your apartment in Pegasus Landing, you can call Megan at 407-362-5190. Don’t bother calling Jay Peters (every time I write that name, I think of Seinfeld), because the number of have for him – 407-362-5055 – just goes to voice mail, and he hasn’t called me back.
Megan tells me that the work orders for Brighid’s building are out at the property owner’s office being scanned. Normally, these work orders are not released to people making requests, but under the circumstances, she is going to see if she can get them for me. She will make a call on my behalf to the owners of the Pegasus Landing Property tomorrow to see if they will allow her to send them to me.
Then I asked about the mold that was removed from Brighid’s room. Brighid was told that someone would be back to paint a mold resistant paint where the mold was removed. Megan doesn’t know anything at all about that. If mold was removed from Brighid’s room (IF?? WTH?), it was done by “the hygienist”, and not Pegasus Landing maintenance. Therefore, if it needed to be painted, “the hygienist” would have had to order the painting to be done, and she doesn’t think there is a work order in at Pegasus Landing for mold resistant paint in Brighid’s room.
In the meantime, all of the Resident Aides living in the apartments were removed by UCF due to health concerns. Well, who’s going to remove the rest of these kids?
We spoke with our family doctor, who concurs that Brighid should NOT be permitted to return to this unit. She is coming home until she has to go to Disney on May 19th. She has a follow up appointment to her ER visit, where she was diagnosed with severe sinusitis, on Thursday.
Tune in tomorrow for the next chapter. Perhaps we’ll see Dr. David Hayward revive the reputation of Pegasus Landing apartments, or we will learn that the perennial Goody Two Shoes of our story – the University of Central Florida – is not as pure and innocent as we all hoped. Who knows what evil lurks….
Jim and the kids have been incredible. Eilis made me the most adorable gift, and Granuaile did a craft at school that is so cute. Jim bought me a iPhone docking station so I can plug my iPhone in upstairs and set the alarm without worrying about the phone dying before the alarm goes off in the morning. I love it.
The best part is that dinner was take away BBQ, so I didn’t have to cook a thing – for lunch or dinner!
I hope everyone else had a wonderful day, surrounded by love, being thought of by your children, and being grateful for the incredible gift we’ve been given.
About three weeks ago, they removed mold from the area around Brighid’s bedroom window, promising to come back when the area was dry to pain it with a special paint that would inhibit the growth of additional mold. They have never come back to paint.
I phoned the front office yesterday to ask for copies of all of the work orders from Brighid’s apartment, from the time they were first residents there. The office told me I needed to speak with maintenance, and they promptly forwarded my phone call.
The woman in maintenance answered the phone, and I told her what I was looking for. She told me she could help me with that, and she asked if I could give her the building number. When she was supplied with the building number she replied,
“Oh, I can’t help you with that. All of the maintenance records for that building have been removed from the maintenance department, along with records from another building.”
What? Why? Who does this? And why only two buildings?
She told me in order to find out whether or not these records can be released to me, I have to contact property management on Monday.
So, Megan Edwards at 407-362-5190, please expect another phone call from me bright and early tomorrow morning. Whatever Pegasus Landing and the University of Central Florida thinks they can hide, I am determined to find.
Here’s some background, because people asked. They knew I couldn’t possibly have become a horrible mother overnight – it had to be a gradual “You Suck at This Mother Thing” process.
To begin with, when Brighid moved into her apartment at Pegasus Landing back in August, I had a long list of items I wanted them to address. There were broken blinds, paint splattered all over the leather furniture, graffitti spray painted on the balcony, food residue left on the stove. We took pictures and wrote everything down.
Brighid had a ton of stuff to move in. Her grandmother Andersen and I had gone shopping multiple times, bought everything a kid could need in a new apartment, and then had to haul it all up there. In addition to Brighid moving in and out, she had two roommates doing the same. So when it seemed hot and humid in the apartment, we just put all the fans on, lowered the temperature on the air conditioner, and assumed it was because it was Florida. And August. And the front door had been open more than it had been closed over the course of the day.
But several days later, with the temperature on the air conditioning unit turned down, it still wasn’t cooling off. So I went to the office and told them. And they said it would be fixed.
And it wasn’t.
I lost count that first two weeks when Brighid was living there how many times I went to the office. We stayed in Orlando into September, until the other kids had to go to school, and we were at Pegasus Landing so often, they weren’t asking for our ID as we went in the gate (which they are required to do for non-residents). Finally, the day before I left, I went to the office AGAIN. I demanded the manager, the woman who was supposed to be in charge of all of the 19 year old college kids getting a break on their rent by working here doing nothing. The manager, Katie Price, was not on property that day. Or apparently any day that I was there. How convenient.
I left Brighid with instructions to stay on top of this. If maintenance doesn’t come, you have to keep calling. And she did.
And they came, and they said it was fixed, and they said the unit was old and insufficient, and it was the best they could do.
Then the bill came at the beginning of October for the amount they had gone over their electric bill. It was $40. Per kid. The electric bill for that unit had exceeded by more than $120 the $115 budget. I. WAS. LIVID.
I called the office. I was told I had to speak to accounting. Accounting told me they had to investigate. I called the office to ask for the manager. I was told Katie Price was no on property. I asked for the number for the property manager. I was given Megan Edwards at 407-362-5190. She told me she would look into it. I paid the bill, because if you don’t, you get an eviction notice. I got a call back from Megan Edwards. She told me accounting would look into it and see what the bill was. I argued that I didn’t want to know what the bill was, because obviously, they were charging me what the bill was. I called maintenance, and spoke with a person there who identified herself as the manager. She was going to look into the work orders.
Then they told me they had no work orders on file for this unit. No one had apparently ever complained, so the bill stood, no refund, but they would have someone stop by and check out the air conditioner. Again.
And when I got Megan Edwards on the phone, she told me there was nothing they could do. A work order was NOW in for the air conditioning unit. And I said to her, “You do know you can get mold in their, it’s so humid.” And she told me they would have someone fix the unit.
Over the past 10 months, I’ve made numerous calls to the office at Pegasus Landing. Every time I have visited Brighid – which as been once a month since she started college – I have visited the front office at Pegasus Landing. None of my issues have been addressed.
Thank goodness for winter. The girls shut their inefficient, barely working air conditioning unit off when the temperatures got cold. And to save on their electric bill, they didn’t put the heat on unless it was ABSOLUTELY necessary. And I got a bit of a break from the monthly contact with Pegasus Landing.
But spring came, summer is on it’s way, and I’m back with a vengeance. They thought I was a pain in the ass before…
Don’t spell check this one, folks. As fast as my fingers can type, anger is flowing out of them and onto my blog. And it might be long. Go get a snack. And a drink. Make it coffee. Skip the decaf.
So, many years ago, we had a tiny baby and named her Brighid. She was a preemie – by more than 2 months, and of the many concerns doctors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the biggest was her lungs. She needed to be able to breathe – at first, oxygen, fed directly into her tiny, up-turned nose; and then, air. Good, fresh, clean air. The kind we take for granted, especially seeing as how it’s free and all.
Today, thanks to www.clickorlando.com , I found out that my now 18 year old college student has been paying more than $550 a month for the privilege of breathing in air that has caused her chronic health issues for nearly a year. The air, especially the air she was breathing all night long as she slept in her bed, was making her sick; causing her respiratory problems; giving her headaches. All the agony I felt watching that baby struggling to take her first breaths came rushing back to me, and not in a “I’m so glad she got through that, and she’s okay!” sort of way, but in a way that makes me feel sick to my stomach.
And here, folks, is where I admit that this Mother’s Day, I am not going to be winning any Mother of the Year Awards. No one is going to knock on my door, hand me a bouquet of flowers, a lovely trophy, and a tiara. Because for this entire school year, every time this child called me on the phone and said, “Mom, I have a headache” or “Mom, my throat hurts again”, I told her to suck it up. I told her to go to Walgreen’s and get some Tylenol or some sinus medicine or some cough drops. I told her she was a grown up now, and she should know by 18 years of age that if she doesn’t feel well, and she’s 1000 miles away at college, I can’t make chicken soup, plug in the dehumidifier, keep her cup filled with hot tea, or check her room for mold.
Wait, what did she just say? What does mold have to do with this?
My daughter has been a resident of Pegasus Landing Apartments, a University of Central Florida affiliated apartment complex. Funny thing is, UCF directed us to this apartment complex during parents’ orientation back in August; and realizing that our original plan to have Brighid stay with her grandparents for her freshman year of college wasn’t going to work, we signed on the dotted line as soon as we left orientation. We toured the complex, believed the sales pitch about how safe it was, thanks to the patrols by not only local law enforcement but also UCF security, and left our child there to breathe in mold spores, the result of what they are now calling “water intrusion”. Where were the patrols for that?
Every freakin’ time Brighid called me to tell me she had a cold, or an allergy, or a sore throat, or a headache, I dismissed it as a college kid staying up too late. Or a kid allergic to the carpeting, which we don’t have in our hardwood floored home. Even when Brighid called a few weeks back and said a team of people came into her bedroom in her apartment to FINALLY clean the mold that had been growing on the window next to her bed, I didn’t make the connection. Where were the thoughts of that baby struggling to breathe? Why didn’t it occur to me that something serious was going on – as it would have when she lay there, tiny and helpless?
I have made monthly phone calls to Pegasus Landing since October. Prior to October, I visited the office numerous times and made multiple complaints – almost on a daily basis – to tell them that my daughter’s apartment was SO humid. The air conditioning didn’t seem to be touching the hot, wet, humid conditions that the kids were living in. I went off like a freakin’ fireworks display in October, when in an absolute rage over the kids being charged an overage on their electric bill, they told me they had no record of complaints about the air conditioning. And with the exception of a month or two over the winter, when they didn’t need air conditioning, I have called the office at Pegasus Landing on their behalf. They have contacted maintenance multiple times.
And I never made the connection. And that’s why Mother of the Year will go to someone else. Perhaps Joan Crawford. Andrea Yates. Susan Smith. Bristol Palin.
In a conversation I had with the property manager, I was advised that I could have all of Brighid’s medical records sent to them so they could check her history to see if the severe sinusitis she was diagnosed with today after I insisted she go to the ER is caused by something in her medical history. Then I can send them the bill. Maybe they’ll open it. But if I want to move Brighid out of the apartment – ummm, yeah – for the tidy sum of $350, if they find another parent as dumb as me who will move their kid into her unit, they’ll release her from the two months of rent left on her lease. I told them I’d rather leave her stuff in there, pay for the two months, then go in and have the mold that grows tested myself to prove that their mold has been making my kid sick.
So Moms, on this Mother’s Day Weekend, I beg you to keep posted to my blog for updates on this situation. It does not die with the venting of the anger and guilt I feel. If it doesn’t keep you from letting your kid move into Pegasus Landing – or it’s sister property Pegasus Pointe – the next year, you won’t be getting your Mother of the Year tiara.
I will yell until I’m blue in the face about what these people KNOWINGLY have done – not only to my daughter – but to other people’s daughters. And sons. And Megan Edwards at 407-362-5190, who claims to be the property manager, is going to know exactly what I think about her offer to allow me to take my kid out of the apartment so someone else’s poor kid can move in. I’m not done yet….
I was concerned about lunch today, because I ordered the mushroom souffle and Gruyere Cheese panini on whole wheat ciabatta bread. After the bread difficulties I had with breakfast, I was not excited. To make matters worse, I don’t know if other bypassed people have this problem, but bread microwaved can be disastrous.
I didn’t heat the sandwich as long as I think I should have, but with breakfast still looming large in my head, I was worried. As a result, I got some cheese melting, but the inside of the sandwich was essentially cold. It would have been much better warm. And pressed, like a panini.
The flavors were very mild, and I should have added a little something (salt is my go to, but I didn’t want to throw salt on the sandwich), but it wasn’t as bad as the French toast experience this morning. The cheese was good, there was nothing special about the mushrooms, but it was definitely a nice sandwich.
I think I would have thought more highly of this had it been warmer, but again, my own stupidity in ordering a big sandwich is to blame here.