Sunday, January 18, 2009

Part Two

*continued from previous post

It was a Tuesday night. Or maybe a Friday. Anyway, it doesn't matter what day it was -- it only matters that it was 4 o'clock in the morning on one of the seven days of a week. I was startled awake alarm clock? No, I thought, I still had a good four hours of sleep I came to I realized it was the smoke detector in the apartment. Because of the time of day, and because no one was burning toast, for the first time in my life I actually thought "Fire?!"
I jumped out of bed and met my roommate, Melitto, in the hall. Amid the shrill noise I found myself teetering on a swivel chair batting a broom at the smoke detector on the ten foot ceiling. Finally it stopped. What could have set that off? we thought. I wasn't able to fall back asleep after the whole episode, so I got dressed and left early for school. 

I didn't end up returning home until close to midnight that night. As I reached the landing at the top of the stairs I began to realize that something was seriously wrong. The carpeted floor outside the apartment door was littered with drywall debris, which had clearly come from the gaping basketball sized hole that was in the wall. Which had clearly been put there (quite violently) by an axe. Stunned, I peered through the damaged wall into my apartment, sure I'd see evidence of some criminal act. A madman, I thought, A madman had hacked his way into my residence all "Here's Johnny" like. But I saw nothing. Slowly I turned the lock and entered. My roommate's bedroom door was shut, but I heard her faintly call my name from behind it. Oh dear God, the lunatic has her held hostage with a knife to her throat and I'm her only hope! My knees gumbied.

The truth is, friends, my life is simply not that thrilling or dramatic (thankfully). As it turns out that blasted smoke detector went off spontaneously again during the middle of the day when no one was home. Concerned neighbours called the authorities and a couple of fire fighters lumbered their way up the stairs to unit 5 and broke into the apartment by what means they had (so yes, an axe was involved afterall, and, I might add, they missed the fuse panel by about an inch). The reason they went through the wall was because it is apparently a lot less expensive to patch up drywall than install a new lock system. Too bad we missed the action. Although, I suppose there wouldn't have been any action had we been home.....

So all this excitement got me thinking. What if there really was a fire one day? The old building we lived in wouldn't stand a chance, and in fact there was only one exit stair to escape by. If it was blocked, my only option would be to jump from the third storey window and break several bones doing so. I really should have a rope ladder, I thought, and I mentioned this safety concern to Scott, whom I had just started dating (the love story).......

(to be continued......)

speaking of love, I'll sign off with a design for a Valentine's Day card I've been working on this afternoon:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Part one

Halifax waterfront post Hurricane Juan, September 2003

I am compelled to share a true tale whose parts are threefold: it's part mystery, part horror, and part love story. Each takes place in an old Halifax apartment building on the dusty corner of Barrington and Morris, which, incidently, was also once the residence of two japanese fighting fish bearing the same names.

The mystery:
I lived on the third floor of this building from 2003-2005 while I attended Dalhousie University. My first roomate was Melitto, followed by the brilliant and lovely D'Alvey. Deana took my room when I left Halifax for Vancouver. 
Just the other day, D'Alvey emailed Deana and I from her London locale where she is currently working for Foster & Partners Architects. Apparently, she had received a peculiar email from Steve, the tenant who had moved in post D'Alvey and Deana. The gist of his query was as such:

"You'll probably recall that shortly after I moved into your old place on Barrington I spoke to you about having found some things that appeared to belong to a fellow named Chris Duffet. Not being able to find him, I set the few things aside and forgot about them....One of the items I found (the only one of value) was a diamond engagement ring complete with appraisal info. I've tried contacting the appraiser and, since Mr. Duffet's Aeroplan card was included in the little bundle I found, I put in a call to them hoping they'd offer some help. I tried an address in East York from the woman I spoke to on the phone, but she said the email address they had for him was shown as inactive since 2005. The address was a dead end. So, there you have it."

Unfortunately I don't know anyone by the name of Chris Duffet, but more unfortunately I never found a diamond ring hidden in an apparent cranny of the house! My mind boggles as to where he came across it. The back corners of the upper kitchen cupboards? In the base of the pedastal bathroom sink? How could I have lived there for two years and not sniffed out the precious gem? It is not often I overlook a diamond. I wonder in what spot of the apartment I was ever in closest proximity to the hidden treasure? And of course I wonder of the stone itself. Princess cut? Cushion cut? One carat? Two??
And then I wonder of the owner's fate. I am interested by Steve's use of the word "bundle" in reference to his findings. Perhaps Mr. Duffet was en route to the airport to fly to Paris (and collect points) to meet his lover in Montmarte and propose (very Amelie, methinks), when on the eve of his departure he discovered evidence of an illicit affair she was having with a frenchman, so, never wanting to be reminded of his heartbreak again, he abandoned the objects in a secret place and fled Halifax for.....Yarmouth?
Or a more sinister theory is the possibility that the ring, etc. was stolen off Mr. Duffet's person in a violent encounter, and....what of him? No one can say....

I was telling my husband about the lucrative discovery on Barrington and Morris and he was at first skeptical: "Where could he have found it? What, did the guy take an axe to the wall or something?" I quickly reminded him that stranger things had happened in that place. Like, for instance, when a guy took an axe to the wall (the horror)......

*to be continued tomorrow.....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Baby Eames

At just 9 weeks old, Sadie received this beautiful gift from her Uncle Ivan and the team at Meade Design Group. It's a children's version of the mid-century iconic rocking chair designed by architects Charles and Ray Eames. This is the best shot I could get considering it's difficult to conduct a photo shoot with a 2 month old who can't quite sit up yet. Give it time though....pretty soon she'll be rocking away in her chair, the most stylish baby on the block!