Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stings Like A Bee

Someone recently commented about how I have somehow managed to keep this inside of me, or not to have posted about our attack and Jim's stabbing. Initially after the attack, I made a few brief posts and for those I think you can find them in the archives for May 2008 and perhaps even June 2008. I did save some footage that the local tv station broadcast the day of the attack as well as the few days immediately following it. Not for the faint of heart, but if anyone is interested in watching one of the news reports, simply click HERE to view. You'll need a simple media player to view this file.

Ultimately, three young men were arrested and charged with the attack on us as well as the stabbing of Jim. While all three of them participated fully in the attack, only one of them actually stabbed Jim. This was probably a good thing as the one fellow doing the stabbing managed to stab Jim a total of twenty four times. While a number of his wounds were defensive in nature, three of the stab wounds were extremely critical ones, and for whatever reason, should have been life ending rather than life threatening. To this very day, his doctors are still utterly amazed that Jim managed to walk away from this alive. He now has a near four inch scar on his neck where the knife ended up slashing through. By sheer luck or miracle, his main artery managed to be missed by the smallest amount, although the knife managed to damage nerves and tendons in this area. Jim still suffers the aftermath of this wound today as he has yet to regain feeling along that side of his body from the top of his head down through the upper part of this leg. He is by no means paralyzed on that side, but it is very apparent that some form of damage has been done, not to mention the loss of strength and co-ordination vs his other side. His lung was pierced which caused it to collapse at the site of the attack, plus his liver was also pierced b y the knife. Additional liver issues is exactly what a recovering addict wants/needs to deal with later in life as well! As a result of these two wounds, Jim now also has a major scar on his chest running from the end of his throat to his belly button due to the emergency surgery required to repair these wounds. Lucky me got to witness this entire attack.

To say that we have both been dealing with issues since this attack is definitely a bit of an understatement. Obviously, for Jim, his immediate concern was getting his health back which has required a lot of work on his part. He has had to go through some brutal physiotherapy sessions to get himself back to close to normal. He still has a long way to go but at least he's able to even do this, something the doctors weren't too sure of this time last year. Pretty soon he will be starting therapy to deal with PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am currently in therapy myself getting help for the exact same thing. Initially, I had no idea how much this attack had affected me and my outlook on life and the rest of the world, but the longer that I am in treatment, the easier it is for me to see the damage. I have mixed feelings about everything IE the attack, our recoveries from it, the accused and what will ultimately happen to them. By this, I am referring to their ultimate criminal trial which has now been postponed twice. This is so very frustrating as we are now waiting once again to get subpoena to testify. Initially, the trial was to be held in January but that was canceled. We got another subpoena for the trial to begin May 7, 2009, but less than 24 hours before it was to start, we received a call stating that it was going to be adjourned until a later date and to disregard our most recent subpoena as we would be issued another once a new trial date had been set! Grrrr...Apparently one of the defendants decided he wanted/needed a new lawyer so now his new lawyer needs time to prepare.

I have mixed feelings about having to testify in court as in I'd really rather do anything else but this! I know that if this does actually proceed to a trial then I ultimately may have no choice. Obviously in the end, I will also do the right thing. I guess because for so many years, we lived in that gray area of drugs and dealers that for me, its kind of a knee jerk reaction to avoid the law and courts at all costs. Its like I'm being a rat of some sort if I testify against these three. I know that I am not, that this is an entirely different situation. These are people that you had never, ever seen before that day. These are people that don't run with the same crowd that we used to run with, nor will they ever. Yes, its now been three and a half years since I removed myself from that environment, but its still hard to shake off the stink. Also, ultimately, these three attacked and deeply affected me and mine, and by their actions, very much made it personal. I also know why they are dragging this out delaying their day in court, even though, to this very day, not one of them has been able to make bail and have sat in jail since about three hours after the attack. I understand that one of the accused is still only a landed immigrant to this country and that there is an extremely good chance that once he has served his sentence, that he will be deported back to his country of origin - the Sudan. I suspect that the other two - who happen to both be brothers - are counting on getting two for one credit when sentencing is finally handed down.

The thing is that, honestly, I don't really care what happens to these three now. Whether they are released five minutes after their trial ends, or whether they are sent away for another few years it doesn't really matter. Their damage is already done. No sentence or punishment will give us our old life back. Its gone, over, changed forever.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Very Long Overdue Rant

About thirteen months ago, my husband and I were victims of an unprovoked, and very random, attack by three unknown young men - at the time, they were 20, 22 and 23 years of age. The attack occurred while we were responding to what should have been a routine noise complaint made by one of the other tenants of the apartment building where we were Building Managers. Within seconds, it was all too apparent that this was anything but routine. What should have been fairly straightforward and quick to resolve, quickly escalated to a harrowing and extremely violent and savage beating and stabbing of my husband. While the blame obviously lies in the hands of the three young men who initiated this attack, I hold one of the the other tenants primarily responsible for the resulting escalation of violence. I strongly feel that is was his actions immediately prior to the attack that nearly ended up costing my husband his life. I'm very surprised that something similar had not actually happened before this, and while I still hold a huge amount of anger and resentment towards my husband's attackers, there are times when I find myself angrier and extremely bitter towards this tenant. In the end, I suspect that I will find it easier to forgive the attackers before I will be able to forgive the tenant. Not only did his actions, immediately prior to the attack, do much to exascerbate an already potentially volatile situation, but his utter lack of action while we were being attacked and immediately after resulted in even greater injury to my husband.

This was his second complaint in less than 25 minuted that day to me regarding his neighbours. During his second call that day, I requested that he please give the police a call to issue a formal complaint against his neighbours. Generally regarding noise issues, the landlord, or his agent, is not really supposed to contact the police. At a later date, there is always the possibility that the tenant could end up charging the landlord with harassment, as well as a number of other things, because of this particulat type of action. It is preferable to have a third party make the noise complaint to the authorities, thus allowing the landlord to maintain his neutrality. In fact, the very fact that we were even receiving a noise complaint from one tenant against another tenant within the building was practically unheard of. This was, and still is, an exceptionally quiet and calm building. It is extremely unusual to hear noise of any kind. In fact, I can easily count on one hand, the number of noise complaints in total that we have even received since we began working here. This particular problem simply does not exist within this building. Kind of ironic when you think about it now, but the few noise complaints that we have actually received, surprisingly, have all come from the exact same tenant. Colour me surprised.

Shortly after Jim and I had started working as Building Managers at this property, we were contacted by this particular individual regarding a tenant that lived on the floor beneath his. On this particular afternoon, apparently, the tenant residing below him had been listening to here reggae music quite loudly - is this even possible? He requested that one of us go and investigate what was happening, so immediately upon hanging up the phone, off I went. As I arrived at the floor that the other tenant lived on, I witnessed the complaining tenant walking away from her unit. During this time, I also witnessed her response apparently to his direct involvement in this situation. She was shouting quite loudly at him through her closed door to "f**k off, leave her alone, stop coming to her door using his cane to knock loudly on it until she came to her door". Hmmm, most interesting.

Typically, we encourage tenants not to get directly involved whatsoever with each other when it concerns any type of noise issues. Surprisingly, there is a tendancy for violence to develop between the two tenants. We strongly advise the complaining tenant to allow their Building Managers to handle this situation. We ask that they give us reasonable time to investigate said complaint, as well as time to resolve any issues associated with their complaint. This is pretty much the industry standard, and the majority of Building Managers do their damnest to adhere as much as possible to this procedure. Problem is that it is next to impossible to do this when you've got a loose cannon thrown into the equation. Lucky us, as this is exactly what this tenant is, a loose cannon - may I add at this time that I'm being very charitble describing him as such. He is the type of tenant that is utterly incapable of leaving well enough alone. He has to be right in the middle of everything, and generally ends up doing more harm than good, not to mention, undermining our job each and every step along the way. This guy in particular is really quite the piece of work. He is a walking cliche and stereotype come to life.

The day of our attack, I can easily imagine all sorts of petty and annoying things that he was bothering his neighbour about because this would be his way of getting back at them for their allegedly disruptive behavior. Not that his behaviour in any way excuses or remotely mitigates the other three individual's subsequent violent actions towards Jim or myself. Not at all, but I wonder if what ultimately ended up happening that Monday afternoon just over a year ago, could have possibly been avoided entirely, not to mention allowed us to handle the situation differently then what ended up happening. I believe that are options for resolution ended up being rather limited, as well as being almost completely out of our control by this time. In the end, this resulted with us walking into a completely different situation than what we had expected and anticipated, and right from the outset, we were set up to fail somehow or someway because we only had the smallest of pictures, so tp speak. If it wasn't bad enough that it was due to his actions towards his neighbour over the course of that particular afternoon ended up with is being attacked, he did absolutely nothing at all to help us in anyway while we were under attack.

Later on in the day, he was interviewed by one of our local tv reporters and what he said to the reporter ended up being played at each news broadcast over a three day period. He was able to describe to this report what actually had happened when we approached his neighbours door. He had a good enough view of us to recount how we had been given no chance at all from our attackers. He stated that after we had approached their door and knocked on it, the moment that their door opened, I was pushed off to the side, while Jim was charged and thrown violently up against the door across the hall from them. He said that we weren't given any opportunity at all to even identify ourselves before they attacked. At least he confirmed part my statement that I ultimately gave to the police that it was a completely unprovoked and unwarranted attack against us. But that's about all that he is good for as the only thing that I am able to bring away from this is that he was lying in wait for us to arrive at his neighbours door, essentially spying to see what was going to happen. Then after seeing how they ended up responding to us, rather than attempt to assist us in any way, and by any, I mean he didn't even call 911 on our behalf. All he ended up doing was slamming his door and locking it behind him. Nice.

At one point during their attack against us, I found myself outside of his unit, screaming for help and pounding relentless on his door. When he did finally respond, all he did was open his door to quickly slam and lock it right in my face. Through the closed door, I remember scrreaming at him that they were killing my husband, and begging and pleading for him to either call for help or call downstairs to our main office. I understand that when he looked out into the hall, what he must have seen scared him half to death. I know it surely did me. At no time did I expect anyone to put their own lives in any sort of danger by actually physicallly assisting us, but I had hoped that somebody would pick up their bloody phone to call for help. Whatever...

Initially, I had actually doubted whether or not the complaining tenant was exaggerating the extent of his neighbour's disruption on this particular afternoon, as his reputation preceeded him. Every high rise has this tenant, some even a few. They are the ones that know absolutely every little thing about their immediate neighbours, as well as the majority of tenants in the entire complex. Rarely are they ever satisfied with the property management nor their direct representatives, their Building Managers. The company can never do enough for them, whether it is ensuring the cleanliness of the property, its daily maintenance and upkeep or anything else that they could possibley think of bothering the office about. They feel entitled to getting a new paint job annually or new carpet or flooring or lighting or whatever, and goodness, don't let them find out that another unit may have gotten an appliance replaced for whatever reason, like, perhaps after thirty years, a new stove was actually warranted. They are absolutely incapable of leaving you alone. On a daily basis, you can be assured that they will somehow find a way to contact you, and believe me, it will never be to pat you on the back for doing a kickass job either!

Every other tenant understands when asked to contact their Building Managers during business hours only. After hours is to be reserved for emergencies only. This tenant doesn't care what time it is. When he has a bee in his bonnet, then this is the time. Who cares if it happens to be a Sunday evening before 11pm - or better yet, a Saturday morning before 7am. If he has decided that he just wants his first initial appearing on the tenant listing at the building's entrance, rather than his full first name, then to him, this is very much an emergency and the moment this idiotic idea grips his tiny, narrow mind, he just has to let his BM know. To really drive home just how utterly self centred and egomaniacal this idiot is, he doesn't even have a modicum of courtesy when he attempts to reach you. He couldn't be bothered using the telephone to communicate said ridiculous request. Instead, to ensure that the BM's entire family is disrupted, he actually goes directly to their unit and knocks loudly and relentlessly on their unit's door - even though he could have also submitted a written request and dropped it through the door's mail slot that I got hastily put up shortly after meeting said nuisance. Everyone else managed to adapt nicely and quickly to this alternate route for communication. In the end, of course, he had to because a policy was implemented that no request by a tenant would be addressed unless submitted in writing to either the property management or their agent, their Building Manager.

Anyway, I'm sure that you have more than enough information now to be able to draw your own picture of this tenant. Given the time and opportunity, I could easily go on and on about this tenant as he is truly that annoying. In the end, it was kind or ironic that he stopped being his normal daily nuisance around this place. I presume that somehow he was able to connect the dots to figure out that perhaps he played a larger role than he imagined in the violence against us. I'd like to think that when he heard the extent of my husband's injuries combined with the near seven hours of emergency surgery that he had to endure immediately after the attack, not to mention the last rites he received from the family priest that day, that just for a moment, he felt a tinge of guilt or possibley a modicum of responsibilty for what had occurred. If he did, I doubt very much that it ended up lasting too long. His type can too easily dismiss away these intruding feelings pretty readily. Its second nature to them as they've had a lifetime of practice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Yet, once again, I am commenting on the fact that it seems to be an eternity since I last updated, and I guess it has. A number of things have kept me away from my computer these past few months, although nothing specifically. I did finally get my new computer all set up the way I like it. For me personally, it was quite the computer upgrade. I ended up buying a refurbished HP Compaq d330 Slim Tower Desktop PC at Factory Direct. It's an Intel Pentium 4 Processor with 800 MHz Front Side Bus, 512 KB L2 cache with HyperThread and came with 2GB memory, PCI card or external USB, 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 4 rear), and 48X/24X/48X/16X Combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM Drive, plus Windows XP Pro installed as its OS. There's a bunch of other stuff which I can't readily recall, but its all been good. I've been more than happy with it so far, and is easily twice the computer I previously had been using. I got all of this goodness for $89 plus tax - no monitor, but we had extra monitors anyway so no big deal. I'm using a near brand new 19" Acer flat screen which we had picked up for a good price just after Christmas. We gave my old computer to the girls to use, and then gave their old computer to my brother's three kids, so that they would now have two computers between them - they are ten years old and younger with another on the way, due just before Christmas. Yikes!

We've both been swamped with various doctor's appointments as well. Both of us are still on MMT, and both of us are continuing to do exceptionally well in regards to our recovery. No slips still and I don't forsee any in the near future either! Jim just celebrated three years on MMT, while I've been on it since February 2006. Jim just started his treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorderrelating to the attack last year. He is currently scheduled for twenty four sessions initially. I started my own treatment for PTSD in February of this year and am about halfway through it - I think. Both of us attend different doctors for this. I go to one of our city's hospitals which has an entire department dedicated to PTSD and PTSD only. There, I deal with up to three different individuals - a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker - depending on my scheduled visit. Jim will be going to a private psychiatrist, who also happens to be a pain management specialist as well. I guess, two birds, one stone...Much more on this whole subject of PTSD in an upcoming post, especially as I have a number of questions that I want to throw out there that hopefully some will be able to answer for me.

Also, I've been doing a lot of sewing, something I haven't done anywhere near enough of ever since we were attacked last year. I also undertook a few home decorating projects in our living and dining room which happily turned out perfectly. We have one fairly long wall in the living room - about nine feet - that had basically just sat there bare naked since we moved in over a year ago. This was bothering me to no end, but as I didn't have a boatload of money available, I had to think of something on the cheap, as well as creative side. We have a store in town called XSCargo, which is like a discount store of sorts. They sell all kinds of stuff at exceptionally low prices. I found a variety of different sized mirrors there ranging in price from $2.99 to $9.99 and in size from 11" x 11" to 20" x 24", so I ended up grabbing 12 mirrors in total. The mirrors that didn't already have a silver frame, I painted silver. I arranged them in a flattering pattern so that they fill up almost the entire length of that wall, and measure close to four feet in height. There was a small posrtion of wall left over near the entrance to our kitchen. I found this large metal butterfly in blue and dark brown - which are the basic colours of both my living and dining room - as well as a butterfly chain measuring about 40", also in a light blue. I hung both of them up in this empty space of the wall. Now I am thrilled with that previously bare wall. I also had this old wooden half table with three legs that I was able to resurrect quite nicely by painting it silver. I placed it basically in the centre of the wall and added a small silver lamp which had a cream coloured shade with blue and brown strings thoroughout.

I have also started some work on our dining room. I put a 60" x 36" dark wooden table with black metal legs lengthwise in the room, exchanging it with a 42" light wooden table that had been there previously, moving it into our kitchen. I had a number of canvases that I had attempted painting a year or so ago, but had failed miserably at. Rather than throw them out, I decided to cover them with some fabric. I found some beautiful taffata with patterns in complementary colours. I ended up covering all of the canvases I had because this project ended up working out exceptionally well - I even had one canvas measuring 30" x 40" which I hung directly above the table. I also bought new curtains for the dr window - sheer navy voile with some silver threads throughout them. I still have some more work yet to do in the dining room, although the living room is more or less completed now. I ended up slip covering one of our couches as I had found a 2 piece slip cover in a stretch navy check fabric that I really liked, plus it fits the couch like a glove so you can't even really tell that the couch is covered at all. We also got a dark brown area rug in chocolate brown berber to place between both of the couches. I also ended up hanging up some of the fabric covered canvases in the living room to fill out some of the wall's bare spots.

Well, I guess that this is all for now. Will be back shortly with a better update, I promise.