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, July 05, 2005

Happiness In Slavery

My wife gave me a call at work today to see what I had planned for this evening.

"Well, I'll probably be working on the mural again tonight."

"Likely story. You probably have another woman on the side," she said.

"Are you kidding? You keep me so busy that I couldn't handle another woman. Hell, at the end of the day, all I want to do is go to sleep."

She laughed. "You need a life, seriously. I mean, I wouldn't even want your life at this point."

Later in the day I checked my email. My sister forwarded a copy of her itinerary for the next week or so. She is in Italy now and Paris at the end of the week. A friend of hers from college is dating an Italian. His family has a vineyard and they invited my sister and her boyfriend to stay with them for a while. My sister is probably having a great time visiting over some homemade grappa in the Italian country side as I write this.

So, what is the cost of a house? I've been wondering a lot about that lately.

So far the Devil Queen has cost a lot of time and money. But, to say that it is only time and money is an over simplification, it's too sterile. For my wife and I, it means a dramatic change in our quality of life and our lifestyle.

While my sister and my coworkers are enjoying their summer vacations, I'm using all my time off to hang wallboards, strip paint, haul lumber, and lay floors. The quality of our groceries has taken a dive. Fresh salads, fancy cheeses, fresh baked bread, and nice cuts of meat have been replaced by pinto beans and anything with ground beef. Instead of buying books (our greatest weakness besides the Queen) to read on lazy weekend afternoons, we've sold about third of our library to help fund our never-ending project. Day in and out we are tired, sore, irritable, and worrying about money.

On the really bad days, I wish we'd never started this project. Sometimes I hope my misery will be ended by divine intervention - a tornado lobs the whole damn thing into the town below. But, by the time the weekend roles around, I'm looking forward to heading up to the Queen. It doesn't matter if it's ditch digging, demolition, or laying floors. I can't wait to start.

It seems sick that we still love that evil, old whore of a house on the hill.

"I have found you can find happiness is slavery"


Blogger merideth said...

I relate perfectly...your pre-house activities and interests are frankly dead-on with ours...we used to travel every weekend and spend leisurely hours reading in the park, at the coffeehouse, in the winecountry, etc...lately, we've started to embrace the idea of slowing down on projects and squeezing in some of things we're's amazing that that is sometimes hard for us to do...good luck in sorting in out for the meantime, chin up!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

wow, this post really hits home. Although I've never really lived that kind of carefree existence of travel and shopping at gourmet stores, etc...I do recall sleeping in till 10am on Saturdays and running to keep in shape.

Now I'm 5 pounds heavier and less a waif and more work horse. But I love love the results on the house. I think I'm addicted to the results and how incredible it will be when we are done.

I truly relate to the utilitarian eating though and the irritability/fatigue. Speaking from experience, it gets alot easier when you get over the halfway mark-hang in there.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

I could just copy your last post and put it on my page. My sister is in Germany and is constantly sending e-mail from this beach or this great art museum. She will have been there for a year in August. I would visit, but I can't afford it.
Somedays I stand in this place and close my eyes and wish really hard that it would just burst into flames. But at the same time I'm so scared of what's going to happen when this project is over. If I don't have to think about paint colors, what will I think about. And now I'm starting to realize that I don't really want to think about anything else but paint colors. I'm really starting to get an itch for a new project. Could it be I'm happy being "misrable?"

11:19 AM  

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