The Mold Drama of 2014

The Mold Drama of 2014

I know I’ve been promising this story, so here it (finally) is!

Since about February/March, we have had a lot of mold showing up in our bathroom on the walls above our shower/tub. Not huge patches of it, but a fair bit of specks dotting the walls. Around the time when we first noticed it becoming a problem, one night when the house was rather still, we heard what sounded like running water in the wall/ceiling behind the shower head. We dismissed it, assuming it was just the neighbor above running some laundry or draining the tub or something quite ordinary and it just sounded so loud because the house was extra quiet that night.

Well, by the beginning of May (after trying and failing to clean the mold out of the walls, which are textured so that mold really stuck in there), I had had it with the mold. I felt like it was not healthy, was not normal, and should be dealt with by the apartment complex. So maintenance showed up, took a look at the bathroom, and told us he would report to his manager and they would go from there. Then we waited to hear something else. And waited. And waited. Finally we called up and asked what the status was with our bathroom/mold, whereupon they told us that the water heater above our apartment was busted and had been leaking down into our apartment (when were they going to tell us that if we hadn’t called, I wonder?), so I guess the noise we heard that one night was the water leaking. Apparently they had already fixed that and they knew they needed to come in and fix our bathroom as well. So the Thursday before our anniversary, they talked to Derrick and told him they were going to come in starting the following Tuesday (it was Memorial Day weekend coming up) and that we wouldn’t be able to use the shower during the time they were in fixing the problem.

Would you like to know what their solution was? Move into “our courtesy suite” (a glorified studio apartment) while they work…but wait! there’s a catch…no pets allowed in the courtesy suite. So we could have moved ourselves into the studio apartment for a bit, but our cats were still going to be stuck locked in our bedroom (I was really excited about having the litterbox in our bedroom for weeks). Well, I was already pretty unhappy about this but we decided we would just use the courtesy suite to shower. Had I known the suite was down the hall, down the stairs, across a courtyard to another building, up the stairs, and down the hall, I may have put up more of a fuss about this whole situation. To top it off, we told them that we would both be out of town for business the following week and that we were not comfortable having people in our apartment when we were not in town (we didn’t want the cats locked up in the bedroom for days straight while we were both gone). Oh no, they assured us, we’ll be done by Friday, no problem. Fantastic, right? Well, let’s take a look at how things went:



2014-05-27 17.29.45


2014-05-28 17.11.26



2014-05-29 17.54.21
Nice close-up view of some of the disgusting mold they just left hanging around after they left…hopefully they got rid of that before putting walls back?

2014-05-29 17.55.44Friday (quick note about the extra holes in the bottom of the walls–I had to call and ask the construction manager why they hadn’t bothered to fix all of the water damage because the floor was bubbled up in the corner on the wall where the water was leaking, to which he responded that that was the first he had heard about it and he would send “his crew” back out to look at it…shouldn’t it be their job to check the entire area for water damage without me telling them? And also, we did tell them about that initially but-surprise surprise-nobody paid attention:

2014-05-30 17.54.42 2014-05-30 17.54.17 2014-05-30 17.54.08Now, does it look like my shower is functional? Wasn’t I promised that by Friday they would be done, so it wouldn’t be an issue that we would be out of town the following week? Yeah, soooo I was irate. Derrick had to listen to me being a howler monkey about it all, but he promised he would call on Monday (he didn’t leave until Tuesday) and would make sure they wouldn’t come in on Tuesday or Wednesday, since I would be back Thursday.

So Monday, Derrick lets me know that they are coming in the apartment regardless of our wishes and denial of permission to enter. The person he talked to at the office (after he tried calling for an hour while they ignored his number, which he knew because as soon as they picked up they said “Yes, Derrick?”) told him it wasn’t their problem that we didn’t want to board our cat while we were out of town and that they would be going in to the apartment. I felt pretty violated. I wasn’t even comfortable that during the day strangers were in my house, so imagine how that feels when we are both in TEXAS and we have strangers with free access to the apartment (and they probably know it because we raised a fuss about them not being in the apartment while we were out of town).

I flew in late on Wednesday night to return to this:

Hey, knock over my vase by the sink, it's cool. Don't bother picking it up or anything
Hey, knock over my vase by the sink, it’s cool. Don’t bother picking it up or anything
I know it is just a bobby pin (a ruined bobby pin), but since when is it okay for contractors to use my personal property?
I know it is just a bobby pin (a ruined bobby pin), but since when is it okay for contractors to use my personal property?
Why yes, that is a dirty, filthy, soaking wet rag left on my KITCHEN COUNTER.
Why yes, that is a dirty, filthy, soaking wet rag left on my KITCHEN COUNTER.

In addition to this, I had paint on my floors, on my trash can, splattered all over our mirror, and on other odds and ends that were unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity of the walls that were being painted. They were supposed to come replace the linoleum in the bathroom on Thursday, so in my tired, grumpy state on Wednesday, I thought, well they will be back tomorrow and will clean all this up.

I got home Thursday. They did not clean up anything. I still had that foul rag sitting on my kitchen counter and all the other messes. PLUS they used up my box of tissues in the bathroom, then left the empty box on the counter and they also moved the washer/dryer to replace the floor but got a ton of dirt all in the washer, plus they didn’t actually put the door back correctly that opens to the washer/dryer. Cue the howler monkey (me). Even now, writing this, I can feel myself getting angry and tense and my blood pressure is going up and I am smacking these keys on my keyboard a little more vigorously than is probably needed. Anyway….once they replaced the floor, there was a bit of a gap between the new flooring and the baseboards. So naturally I assumed they would be back again on Friday to finish the construction. I again was incorrect.

So when Derrick came home on Friday, I have exposed floorboards, paint all over the place still, the wet rag by the sink (I refused to touch it so I just used the other side of the sink), dirt and grime all over the kitchen floor, the carpet, and the bathroom floor, a washer/dryer sticking out into the bathroom with the door not attached properly, and drywall shavings and dirt all over the tub still.

We called the manager on Saturday who finally took an interest in our whole situation on Wednesday of that week and asked if they were done in our apartment. When she told us they were, we just had her show up to our apartment and gave her the full tour. An hour and a half later, we had $1000 off our rent, the promise of a full apartment cleaning by their staff on Monday, a note on our account that we would not be responsible for any move-out cleaning fees, carpet cleaning, etc, and a free parking spot for the rest of this lease term. And a manager who was very apologetic and who genuinely seemed to want to fix things (when Derrick told her about the girl who told him it wasn’t their problem we didn’t want to board our cat, she wanted to know the name, which D was kind enough to withhold because he had a sneaking suspicion that girl might not have had a job here if he told her). But oh. my. gosh. The whole process was so exhausting; physically because I had to trudge to the courtesy suite on my pilgrimage to the shower every day for about two weeks (okay I got to stay in a hotel room with a working shower a few of those days) and mentally because I was so ridiculously stressed out the entire time this whole thing was happening.

I know I’m not the only one in the world that has had drama when people come in to do work in the house, but if you’ve never had to deal with it in an apartment complex where you are even less in control of the whole thing than you would be when it is your home, I’m telling you, it is really the pits. BUT, because Derrick was very nice and calm and rational with the managers about it, we ended up getting some nice perks out of the whole thing, though to be honest I would have been okay not getting any of those perks if it meant I didn’t have to go through any of this. I’m still skeptical that they actually cleaned out all the mold, seeing as they never really got in behind the bathtub, so who knows. All I know is that if I see one single tiny speck of black mold show up on the walls above my shower, I might go insane.





2 thoughts on “The Mold Drama of 2014

  1. Girl. Oh. My. Gosh.

    While I am so sorry you had to go through this, I am GREATLY comforted by this tale of woe. Do you know why? That has been my life for three weeks now… a slightly different tale but the theme is VERY MUCH THE SAME. I am glad yours turned out so sweetly… I am hoping that mine does, too.

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