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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….