Moisture is dripping from several spots on the ceiling, nourishing large patches of black fungus. Behind my husband’s office door is spot about 1 foot wide by 2 feet high. The wall is so waterlogged that his door no longer closes. Our bedroom only had water spots – but the mold swiftly started growing there too. It is also on the ceiling in the hallway, under the kitchen sink and around every window.
My husband’s parents agreed that the mold was not a health concern. His father said he knows people living in similar conditions and they are fine. His mother said that it was probably just in my head because I desperately want to leave Normandy and move to the south.
While she is correct about moving, it does not explain why the medicine the doctor prescribed a week ago had no affect on our daughter. In fact, she is coughing is more frequently and forcefully now. My family and friends reacted much differently – telling us to get out now. His sister, who is also plagued with allergies, agrees we must get out asap. Her allergies flared up when she came over this past weekend.
My allergies affected me when we moved in this house in June, but I am used that – especially since I am allergic to things like dust, pollen and certain grasses. It started getting worse in September when my eyes became unbearably itchy. I have never had itchy eyes before. This continued until our trip to Florida in November. During our three-week trip to Florida, I was finally feeling healthy. I woke up at 7am with my mother and even did a light run/walk (she wanted to run, I wanted to walk – she kicked my bum). In Normandy, I wake up past 10am (1pm if I am lucky) and am dead before having a cup of coffee.
Also during the trip to Florida, my husband came down with bronchitis. It was strange because he is never sick. He also never had anything like this before. I found out later that he was susceptible to bronchitis because of longterm exposure to mold.
We decided to go to the doctor armed with photographs of the interior of our house. Our doctor said to get out now. He is not 100 percent sure that this is the reason Juliana, or daughter, is sick, as it could be a virus. However, since I am allergic to mold, there is a good chance she is as well. He prescribed a breathing tub to administer her medicine from an inhaler to help her breathe.
Over a week ago, we showed the landlord the mold throughout the house – before we were thinking it was affecting our health. He said it was nothing and it happens every year. My husband went back to him after figuring out it is affecting our health and the landlord said that we could leave if we want since he cannot afford to fix the problem. Later, he told my husband that he is installing a mechanical ventilation system. I would consider staying but he still says he is not going to clean the mold.
This house is a gite and is normally only rented out on a short-term basis. I have a feeling that he will clean the mold on the surface so that it is not noticeable and continue renting it out with this problem. The ventilation system will ensure that new mold does not pop out, so the problem will be well hidden. My husband’s uncle has the same system and said that it will take at least a month for it to make a noticeable difference and it will not dry out the interior part of the wall or get rid of the mold – professionals need to do this. The ventilation system should have been installed before there was a problem, like in his house, not after there is a problem.
I am sure there is some action we could take against this landlord since he knew about this problem and let us live here – especially knowing a pregnant woman was moving in. We do not want to pay to stay in a hotel and hope that it gets reimbursed later by winning a court battle against this guy. It is just easier to stay at his mom’s for a couple weeks and then move to a new house. Even though, he is threatening to withhold 50 euros of our deposit because he claims there is a little tear in his wallpaper somewhere. We will give him our medical bills from living here that are not reimbursable if he wants to play that game!
We were planning to move to Provence on May 1st, so it now looks like the date has been pushed up to February 1st. While it is sad that we will be leaving his family sooner rather than later, I am excited about starting this new adventure soon. I am also relieved to know that soon my daughter and I will be able to breathe regularly again.