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!

Monday, October 31, 2005

How Bono Found My Water Leak and Other Mysteries of the Universe

The weekend sucked, but it wasn't entirely without merit.

Saturday, Charlie and I plumbed all day. We installed one of the on-demand water heaters, plumbed the hall shower, and began work on the second hot water supply line for the other half of the Queen.

While we were are work, a woman came by to look at the Devil Queen. Her house had just burned down a week or two ago, and she was looking for an old home to remodel. I believe she thought the price was too high or that too much work was need (both?). In any case, I do not imagine I will be hearing from her again.

Charlie and I were pretty sure that we could finish everything off Sunday, but Fate had a different future in mind.

Saturday night my wife took our son to Halloween party. I decided to stay home to take care of chores and to enjoy some quiet time. I had an old U2 song stuck in my head, so I decided to track down my copy of Rattle and Hum. I still haven't found it, but I did discover our hot water heater had a slow leak. I have no idea how long it had been leaking. I went to the closet in my son's room to look for the CD. My wife and I have all sorts of crap stored here. Income tax records, property deeds, art supplies, picture frames, and anything else without a home of its own. As I rooted through the closet, I noticed that carpet felt odd. Strangely, it felt cold. I then noticed that several cardboard boxes were soaking water up from the floor and molding.

Then I freaked out. Where in the hell was the water coming from?

A frenzied search uncovered a hot water heater standing in a pool of its own fluids. At first I thought that the heater tank had rusted through, but a closer inspection reveled
a small plumbing leak.

The idiots that built our house cut every corner that they could. The hot water heater was no exception. They had screwed a cast iron (?) 90 degree elbow on to the hot water heater's threaded nipple (is that the correct term?). They connected a pvc pipe to a pvc threaded coupling and screwed it into the cast iron elbow.

At first, I thought the pipe was cpvc because it was so yellow-brown. The prolonged exposure to heat caused the pvc to deteriorate. It had cracked inside the cast iron elbow and begun to slowly dripped. It puddled on the heater, ran over the edge, pooled on the floor, and seeped into our closet. Judging from the copious amounts of rust and water staining, it had been leaking for a long time.

It was 8:15 PM, it took 20 minutes to get to Lowe's, and they closed at 9 PM. I shut off the water to hot water heater, scribbled a few notes on a scarp of paper, and ran out the door.

In hind sight, I wish I hadn't rushed out so fast. First, Lowe's now stays open until 10 PM on Saturday nights. Second, I assumed that since all the couplings, the cut off valve, etc were 3/4" that the pipes were too. I was wrong. In my haste, I didn't notice the damn reducers fit into every coupling and valve. Of course I was at home at 10:30 PM by the time I discovered my mistake. I was one damn 1/2" to 3/4" reducer away from restoring hot water to my house.

Figures. I've had worse though. The last time we had a plumbing problem, we spent the night at my in-laws because we had no water.

Sunday, we went to Lowe's and bought the damn 3/4" to 1/2" coupling (and some Devil Queen supplies). It took less than 10 minutes to finish my repairing the cold water feed to the water heater. I was tentatively pleased with the result, but I felt like complete shit. As the day had worn on, I developed a horrible headache accompanied with slight nausea. I had to wait two hours for the glue to set, so I took some ibuprofen for my monstrous headache, drank some herbal tea, and took a fitful 45 minute nap. Mercifully, I felt much better for it.

So far, so good. No new puddles and no new leaks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So for the CD... are you saying that you still haven't found what you're looking for?

6:38 AM  
Blogger John said...

Yes, you could say that (I resisted to urge to post it as such, too obvious?).

8:08 AM  

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