Thursday, May 12, 2011

Three Years

It has now been exactly three years since we were attacked and Jim stabbed by three completely unknown and random strangers. In that time, our life has changed so very much. Most of the changes have turned out to be for the good, but not all. The changes that we didn't want or expect are the ones that we continue to struggle with, and do our best to overcome at the very least. Even though this amount of time has passed, there are still so many reminders of what happened that day.

After the first officer arrived on the scene, the paramedics and other support personnel were quick to follow. Everyone was wonderful to both Jim and myself. I would think that all of twenty-five minutes passed in total from the time that we knocked on the tenant's door to the time that the ambulance pulled out of the parking lot. Once things started happening, they started moving rather quickly. I know that it was just before 6pm when the ambulance left with Jim. I had wanted to be on it with him so very badly, but the police managed to convince me that I would be better served remaining behind for the time being as it was important that I give my statement while everything was fresh in my mind. In the end. they were probably correct. Jim was taken into surgery immediately, and even if I had gone directly to the hospital, I still wouldn't have been able to see him until he was out of surgery which turned out to be close to 1:30am Tuesday morning, or almost seven and a half hours after he left the apartment building in the ambulance. At least while I was giving my statement to the police, I didn't have time to dwell on anything else!

It took almost two hours for the officer to take my statement, but then, I was able to remember quite clearly almost everything that had just happened. I've always had a pretty great memory and it certainly didn't disappoint me this time. I don't know how great my recollection would have been had they waited to take my statement, and now, in hindsight, I am glad that I didn't have to test it. The officer was utterly fantastic, which was quite surprising considering how old, or young as it would be, he was. He couldn't have been much more than twenty six, and by the initial look on his face when he had first arrived on the scene, hadn't been exposed to too many gruesome sights as yet. I am a smoker, and he allowed me to smoke while I gave my statement - I had to sit in the back of his police car so I imagine that allowing anyone to smoke in there was fairly rare. He was patient as he took down all of the details. Midway through, I could hear quite a bit of excited chatter coming through his police radio. Suddenly, he stopped to pick up his radio and rapidly jumped out of the car, calling back to me that it looked like they had managed to get one of the three attackers. Even though he had rolled the window down for me earlier, there was no way for me to leave the car on my own as the back doors automatically lock. I could do nothing but wait for him to return.

About fifteen minutes after he had bounded away from the car, he returned all excited. Apparently, they had managed to capture one of the three not too far from our building. He had been hiding across the street behind another apartment building's large green generator. The officer said that while he had somehow managed to change his clothing, he had forgotten to change his socks which were completely covered with Jim's blood. I guess he resisted somewhat as the officer said that in the end he had to be hogtied! Imagine that. Once back, we picked up where we had left off. I managed to finish my statement just prior to 8pm. Even though the police had offered me a ride to the hospital, by then one of my friends had managed to show up so her boyfriend was able to give me a lift. In the meantime, Sara and Katie had gotten to the hospital and were waiting for me to get there. When I arrived, they told me that Jim was in surgery, his second one since he got there! 

Initially, they had taken him into repair the two and a half inch gash on the right side of his throat as that had been the most obvious injury. It wasn't until he was out of that surgery and upstairs getting an MRI - I believe this is what was done next - that they noticed he had an immense amount of internal bleeding.  It was discovered that both his liver and spleen had been lacerated badly, plus one of his lungs had been punctured and since collapsed. It was this second surgery that ended up lasting the longest, and from reading his medical report which we had to request for our lawyer, I finally discovered just how very serious and how very touch and go, this had all been. 


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Party Animals Review | BBC2 2007

I thought I'd try something a bit different for a change. If nothing, it keeps things from getting all first ever review of one of my favourite series...

This eight part BBC2 series originally aired overseas in 2007, although I didn't have a chance to watch it  until last year when TVO, here in Ontario, first presented it. While I enjoyed it immensely, I didn’t fully appreciate how truly wonderful it actually was until very recently.  I happened to get another chance to watch it again and, got to watch it all at once giving it my undivided attention.  I was not disappointed.

Diverse, classy and clever, Party Animals is an incredibly gripping drama series which follows several young political researchers and advisers in Westminster as they struggle to balance their burgeoning careers with their ever increasing turbulent personal lives.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that it also just happens to star two of my absolutely favourite actors, Andrew Buchan (Scott Foster) and Matt Smith (Danny Foster), both of whom are starring in one of their first feature roles! They are utterly mesmerizing as is the main female lead, Shelly Conn(Ashika Chandiramani). Through each of them, we are given an intimate view of the political landscape through very different lenses. Danny is the determined researcher for Home Office Junior Minister Jo Porter and is about to make an enormous mistake which could possibly undermine his integrity not to mention his beloved job.

His brother is the complete opposite. Scott is a confident, in fact near arrogant, lobbyist who finds his world literally is turned upside down when he meets the beautiful Ashika Chandiramani. She turns out to be like no female he has ever met. For the first time, he finds himself in uncharted territory becoming increasingly uncomfortable with his own person and embarrassed by the reputation he had acquired. Ashika is the chief adviser to Shadow Minister James Northcote  with who she is having an affair.

When she meets Scott, she has just started to question this relationship with a married man and finds the attention from Scott flattering and somewhat bemusing at the same time. She too finds herself in unknown waters yet is intrigued by the excitement she feels whenever she encounters Scott.

As the series progresses, the lives of these characters intertwine in monumental ways with some truly devastating and heartbreaking results. It is easy to see how their personal lives end up being so bloody messy when combined with their character’s naked ambition, desire for power, mixture of sex and friendship and love never-mind the daily stress of having a career in politics! It’s enough to leave the viewer dizzy and breathless and not a little frustrated.

If you are anything like me you will soon discover that the more Party Animals you watch, the more you'll want to watch. As it is also a challenge to find, anyone having difficulties locating a copy is more than welcome to contact me as I’d be happy to help you out!

Andrew Buchan and Matt Smith as brothers Scott and Danny Foster.


...And just like that, I've found another blog of a recovering addict...when it rains it pours...

This blogger says that she is a 26 year old over-comer of many addictions and mental illness and this is one of her outlets to dealing with an addicted mind that still fights. Very strong religious emphasis.


peace, love and happiness...


Life of a Recovering Drug Addict

I just found a wonderful blog written by a former addict who looks as if they're well on their way to a successful recovery and wanted to post the link for anyone that might be interested in checking it out. There seems to be a scarcity of journals/blogs etc written from the perspective of the recovering addict as of late, while it seems that on a daily basis a new journal is started by yet another parent of an addicted child which is just so utterly tragic. Each one I come across seems to make my heart feel just a little bit heavier. It is so very sad. I know I'll be thrilled the day that I find no more new additions to my ever growing list of links.

Life of a Recovering Addict

peace, love and happiness...


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Condemnation Part Two

The day of our attack and Jim's stabbing was pretty uneventful. It had been a quiet, lazy day as most middle of the month days can be in apartments. Nobody moving out, nobody moving in. The weather was nice so there was little physical work to do outside. Most of Jim's current work orders had been completed and any administrative tasks had been dealt with by me earlier in the day. Just before five that afternoon, I stopped into say goodnight to the girls that worked in our Regional Office. While I was in there chatting, the Office Manager asked me to check on one of the units on the sixth floor as they had just received a noise complaint from one of their neighbours. I left the office immediately and jumped on the elevator which took me up to the sixth floor in no time. Even before I got off the elevator, I could clearly hear audible sound coming from down the hall. There seemed to be what appeared like loud crashing noises being made as heavy furniture or items came crashed to the ground after having being thrown into the air.

I knocked fairly loudly on the unit's door while announcing myself clearly at the same time. After a brief hesitation, the door opened to reveal a young, black male in his early twenties. When I asked to speak to the tenant, he advised me that she wasn't home at the moment. I asked him if he knew why I might be here, and he answered that he did. He also told me that they were all getting ready to leave as they had just called to request a taxi to collect them. I thanked him for his time, and reminded him that it was the actions of himself and his friends that would reflect positively or negatively on the tenant as she was responsible for any of her guest's behaviour, whether she was there herself or not. He apologized to me, promising that this would be the end of it. While I was talking to him, I took the time to survey as best I could the state of the unit. I noticed that a book shelf had been overturned, as well as the sofa and coffee table. This would explain the loud thumps I had previously heard to be sure. While I was only able to see two others while I was standing at their front door, I could not help but notice that both were most definitely under the influence of something. Regardless, there wasn't much more that I could do so I thanked the young man that had answered the door and returned to my own apartment which was located on the main floor at the time of the attack.

By the time I got back to our apartment, it was close to twenty past five which meant for all intents and purposes we were finished work for the day. Jim and I were getting our jackets on when our phone rang. It was John from the sixth floor and all he said as way of introduction was "They're at it again." I asked him if he would call the police as they could only receive a complaint of this nature i.e. a noise complaint from another tenant and not the property's owner or representative. He responded that he "couldn't be bothered" but he still expected Jim or myself to do something about the situation, and to do this immediately! If it had been any other tenant, I most likely would have ignored the complaint but because it was from this particular tenant, I knew that if neither one of us responded that he would most definitely submit a complaint to our Regional Office regarding us. I also knew that he would be peeking through his own door waiting for one of us to return to the unit in question. With all of this in mind, I grabbed Jim to come upstairs with me figuring that as soon as we'd dealt with the complaint, we could be on our merry way to do some shopping at the mall!

If only we had managed to get that far. We both could hear a bit of noise as we stepped off of the elevator but nothing like I had heard earlier. This time Jim placed himself directly in front of the tenant's door while I stood slightly off to his left. He knocked a few times with authority, but didn't have a chance to announce who it was. We both heard the deadbolt and lock just prior to the door opening up. Literally the second that the door opened and without any sort of warning, a fairly large fellow jumped across the door's threshold and pushed Jim extremely hard across the hall and against the door to the opposite unit. Our building has proper fire doors which are by nature extremely sturdy. When the back of his head hit that door, I could literally hear his skull cracking. It not only seemed like such a loud sound but the only sound. Jim was immediately knocked out and didn't end up regaining consciuousness until the beating was near its end. In short order, two other pretty big fellows came running out of the apartment.

At one point, one of the three assailants took a moment to push me off to the side, otherwise all three of them were intent on savagely attacking Jim. It was utterly incomprehensible in so many ways. They all seemed to be following the lead of the first fellow to attack, and were mimicing everything that he was doing.  If he was pummeling Jim with his fists then so were the others. If he was jumping in the air and kicking Jim with his heavy boots, then so were the other two. It was deeply upsetting as I felt complete helpless and useless. I didn't know what to do after my intial attempt at jumping on one of the attacker's backsides, in the vain hope of distracting him, had been quickly and effortlessly stopped! From a great distance, I could hear my own voice screaming at them to stop, that they were killing my husband and that I didn't understand why they were even doing this to us. My brain couldn't seem to remember how to dial for emergency services although my fingers somehow managed to dial 911 all on their own. It wasn't until I managed to barely hear a distant voice offering assistance that I even realized what I had done. The kept repeating that I needed to tell them where I was in order for them to send any assistance. Eventually I managed to get my cell phone to my mouth, and was coherent enough to obviously offer our address to them.

Probably the entire attack lasted all of two minutes, perhaps a bit longer though I honestly can't say. Near the end of the attack a fourth fellow came out of the unit and actually attempted to help me and Jim. He tried to pull the others off of my husband in an attempt to get them to stop. When the attack first started, I was absolutely convinced that they were not going to stop until Jim was dead. That's what it looked like to me. I had never witnessed anything so utterly savage and out of control as these three lads appeared to be to me. Then as suddenly as it all started, it seemed to end. I don't know at what point the four of them made the decision to stop or even why they made this decision. All of a sudden they seemed to have taken flight, and just as quickly, were gone from my sight. I couldn't even begin to tell you which direction they took or how they even managed to get off of the sixth floor. The moment that they were gone, the only thing that I could see was Jim, and the state that they had left him in. I couldn't get over how much blood there was. It seemed to be everywhere. It was soaking through the carpet rapidly and there was so much of it, you could actually see where everyone had stood as footprints had been left behind. There seemed to be an equal amount of blood all over the door and wall behind Jim as well as all over both of us. We were covered.

At that point neither one of us was aware that a weapon had been used. I never say the knife and Jim said that he never felt it. It wasn't until the first police officer had arrived on the scene that a weapon was even mentioned. He noticed something peculiar about Jim's jacket and t-shirt - if you can believe it, Jim was actually wearing a red jacket and similarly colored t-shirt at the time of his attack !!! By this time Jim had regained consciousness but was having an extremely difficult time talking and breathing. We would later learn that this was a result of one of his lungs being punctured and subsequently collapsing at the scene of the attack. After closer examination, it looked like he had approx seven decent stab wounds on his left upper arm, five on his upper back, four throughout his head, six on various parts of his chest and one dangerous looking wound near his throat on his right side. They had managed to literally split his forhead in half. There was a constant stream of blood flowing from this wound. All in all, he did not look in very good shape.



Sunday, May 01, 2011


It's been almost three years since Jim and I were attacked, and Jim stabbed multiple times, while at work. Even after this amount of time passing, I still find it rather difficult to talk at length about this event. Just thinking about what happened that day still feels so surreal to me, almost as if I am watching it happen to somebody else and not myself. I have pretty much avoided even mentioning that day if at all possible in any of my entries. The few times that I did bother to reference the attack, I pretty much made sure that this is done in passing and as casually as possible. Immediately following the attack, I was still so much in shock that it was relatively easy avoiding this topic. Even today, I find it difficult to wrap my head around what ended up happening to us that Monday afternoon, and how, almost three years later, we are still suffering from the events of May 12, 2008. Now, though, I feel I am ready to share all of the details and specifics of this attack and stabbing that has been so absolutely life altering to me and my family - kind of mind boggling what can end up happening in what was probably no more than two minutes in length!

At the time of the attack, Jim and I were Building Managers for one of the larger high rises in the city. The building we were responsible for looking after had always been a pretty quiet and peaceful one. In the half year that we had been there, there had been no unusual or significant events that stood out as particularly unusual. Pretty much a gravy job all in all. Jim and I shared a single position so to speak, and we divided our duties accordingly. For the most part, I did all of the administrative work related to this position such as rent collection, maintaining building's rental ledger and ensuring all vacant units were in "rentable condition" et al , while Jim looked after all of the physical aspects i.e. cleaning and maintaining all common areas of the building, garbage and snow removal and any unit repairs as required.

Obviously, being a Building Manager of a reasonably large apartment building - 96 units over eight stories - you can absolutely be assured that there will certainly be some very special moments, not to mention a stereotypically odd assortment of characters residing within these eight floors. Some days were definitely easier than others, as were some tenants, but all in all, we knew we had it pretty easy. The majority of the tenants were easy to get along with and undemanding at best. Everyone seemed to respect each other's space so intervening in tenant disputes of any kind were practically non-existent. For the most part, I rarely found any of our tenants irritating or annoying, but like everything else in life, there will always be an exception to the rule!

The exception of our building just happened to be one of our sixth floor tenants who had lived in the building with his wife and two young sons about five years at the time of our attack. Where all of the other tenants were a joy to interact with, he was the complete opposite and then some. You could count on hearing from him on a daily basis, even on weekends and after hours which were normally supposed to be free of any work related issues, not to mention your time off and away from work! John, as he will be referred to from now on, would literally be waiting on the main floor for one of us to unlock our office bright and early every morning without fail. There was always some important nugget of information that he felt compelled to share with us without delay. It took every bit of self control not to over react and lose it on him. I don't think I've counted to ten as often as I had during those six months. Jim and I eventually learned how to effectively deal with him so that we were able to minimize any interaction with him while leaving the impression that we were taking everything he said seriously and then acting appropriately. It took a bit of time and finesse but in the end we became extremely adept at handling this particularly loathsome tenant!

Now, to compound issues somewhat, the Regional Office of the company that we worked for just happened to be located in one of the empty units on the first floor of the building that Jim and I both lived in and were responsible for maintaining. As well as annoying us on a daily basis, he also paid a visit to the girls working in the Regional Office every day. You have no idea what an utter treat this one tenant could be, never mind how much crap we were expected to suffer because of him, but suffer we did. At the end of the day, he was nothing more than a bit player in the bigger, more important picture - or so I thought. Work is work is work, and most of the time, it didn't come home with me - so to speak. Obviously, when you work where you live and live where you work, it tends to be a little bit more difficult to keep the two separate, but this is certainly not impossible. I always ensured that there were very specific boundaries created with the tenants, and then, made sure that they were all very much aware of what these boundaries were. John would prove a bit challenging to these boundaries, and ultimately, because of him, Jim and I would find ourselves in a most untenable work situation!