The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Dumbass Factor

Late at night when I'm too brain-dead to do much else I watch reruns of That 70's Show. In a recent episode, Red Forman and his son Eric are talking about some recent misfortune that's befallen Eric (forgive me if I don't get this verbatim):

Eric: "Bad things are always happening to me. All I have is bad luck."

Red: "Eric, bad things don't happen to you because you have bad luck. Bad things happen to you because you're a dumbass."

The same is true in construction and life as a whole. I don't know of anyone that has ever won The Darwin Awards because they were unlucky, they win because they are dumbasses.

For instance, there is the matter of the two windows in our master bathroom addition. My wife and I are the worst kind of sadomasochists, so we decided to install old, salvaged double-hung windows to match the house's original windows. The thing to remember about double-hung windows of this type is that you have to allow for a gap (about 3 inches per side) between the window frame and the studs. The window's weights hang in this gap and move up and down as you open and close the window.

We had the good sense to realize that framing up the additions to the Queen was beyond us. We finally found a good contractor (Tony Anderson) and all he needed from us was the measurements for the window openings so he could make them the proper size, and I screwed the pooch. The measurements that I passed on to him were for the windows sans the weights. So, a month or so later when I got around to installing the windows - surprise!
I now have had the distinct pleasure of reframing both window openings (a special kind of hell with 12 foot high studs). I'm not sure how long it has taken me to do this but it has been a substantial amount of time, not to mention the huge, stinking mound-of-grief my wife has (rightfully) piled on me. I can only imagine how much further along we'd be if I'd done this right in the first place. Remember, measure twice and cut once, measure once and kiss your ass good-bye, dumbass.


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