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Family's belongings in UPS limbo

August 15, 1997

By LAURA ERNDE

Staff Writer

BOONSBORO - Thursday was Joshua Pilatsky's 11th birthday, but when he asked his mom where his presents were, all she could do was shake her head.

"Well, Josh. It's with UPS," Andrea Pilatsky said.

Nearly all of Pilatsky's belongings are somewhere between here and Phoenix.

Pilatsky dropped them off at UPS on Aug. 1, three days before the Teamsters strike.

The three large boxes were supposed to arrive by Aug. 6 at her sister's house in Walkersville, Md.

"My whole life is lost with UPS," said Pilatsky, 31, the single mother of Joshua and 20-month-old Jonathan Pilatsky.

There are clothes, towels and pictures in the three boxes that weigh 231 pounds.

But most importantly, the boxes contain Joshua's asthma medication.

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In about a week, they will run out of the medicine for Joshua's breathing machine that he's been using three times a day.

Pilatsky is preparing herself for the possibility the boxes might be lost altogether.

"The more it sits, the more I stand a chance to lose it," she said.

She is asking relatives and friends to buy Joshua clothes, instead of toys, for his birthday.

He'll need something besides gray sweatpants to wear when he starts the fifth grade at Boonsboro Elementary in a week and a half, she said.

Luckily, their family has provided them with some necessities, like basic furniture and kitchenware, for their Mountain View apartment.

They have a television, but their VCR is in transit.

UPS officials apologized for the delay. Managers are delivering everything in the system and hope to be finished by later this week, a customer service representative said.

Although the boxes contain medication, they didn't get priority because they weren't marked as medical supplies, the representative said.

UPS is supposed to call Pilatsky's sister when the boxes get to Frederick, Md.

Pilatsky decided to move to Boonsboro because of Joshua's asthma.

She had thought Arizona would be good for his breathing, but says pollution in the large city forced her son inside for two months out of the year, she said.

The UPS fiasco is just the latest in a string of bad luck to befall the family in connection with the move, she said.

Shortly after the family left on the cross-country trek Aug. 5, the radiator hose broke in their 1985 Chevrolet Celebrity.

The third day on the road, Pilatsky had to replace two rear tires within two hours.

In Abington, Va., about 350 miles away from her destination, the car's steering failed and she had to have the car towed to Boonsboro.

She doesn't have the money right now to have it fixed.

Pilatsky has no dresses to wear on job interviews. She is certified in data entry, although she has been on disability with a leg ailment.

She applied for welfare this week, but was told that the red tape involved with transferring her case from Arizona could take weeks.

"Things can't get any worse, so they have to get better," she said.

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