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!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Boudicca & Tamerlaine, Home Improvement Warlords of the Apocalypse

I thought about what Greg said in this comment and decided he was right. Here's the parsed down version of my original "psychotic" post.

I’d say that our (the Mrs. and I) collective attitude toward the Queen shifted from anxiety to animosity over the weekend. If the Queen were a person and not a house, we'd have tied her to our kitchen table and taken a nail file, a propane torch, and a pair of pliers to her.

So, why the change in attitude? First, after waiting for two months, our brick mason has not shown up. The is no one else we can afford, and we're tired of waiting. We’ve officially decided that we're through with it. We're returning the bricks and all other material as of this week. Two, the plumbing is still not finished. Three, the materials we ordered two weeks ago to enclosed the crawlspace still haven't arrived. Four, we are sick of screwing around with contractors, bankers, etc.

Case and point, my wife went to return several items to Lowe's. Normally, this would be no problem. We've spent a lot time and money there over the last three years, and we've never had a problem returning anything in that time. Even if the staff, on the whole, isn't particularly knowledgeable and the management sucks, they are usually polite. However, there is always an exception to the rule.

One of the plumbing parts my wife took to return was a 3 inch pvc T. It was a little dirty since it had been dragged around under the house. When I say dirty, I should clarify that it was covered in a fine, powdery coating of dust and dirt.

The girl at the returns desk refused to accept it because it "looked used." Since there are no purple cleaner stains or dried glue on this piece, I'm not sure how exactly it looks used. Apparently, to this girl's way of thinking, anything brown on plumbing is poop. I can only assume the only experience this girl has had with plumbing involved a wild party that culminated in the accidental flushing of her brain. Not only did the girl refuse to accept it, she refused to touch it because, "lots of people have been digging up plumbing and trying to return it."

I'm still not sure what to make out of this gem. Are people honestly digging up a single pvc T or a couple hundred feet of sewer line complete with a thousand years of excrement and a tangle of roots in hopes of exchanging them?

"Miss, I need to return this."

"What is that?" girl at the returns desk asks while gesturing at the fetid pile of pipes and holding her nose.

"Oh, that? Those are roots. It came like that. We just bought too much for our job, can we return it?"

I guess it's possible people are doing this, but our 3 inch T couldn’t look that bad.

My wife's fuse was lit long before she got to Lowe's. The fact that she had to go to Lowe's again had already soured her mood and ruined her day. Exasperated, she told the girl that she didn't want or need the pipe. If it was too dirty for a refund, she could have it and the hell with the money.

The girl made an indignant "fuck you" grimace and shoved it off the counter into the trash can.

This royally hacked my wife off. It don't think that girl realized how close she came to getting bludgeoned senseless. Or, maybe she did. In any case, there was an inch or two left on my wife's fuse, so I didn't have to bail her out of jail.

"If you won't take that pipe, you will pick it up out the trash and hand it to me now."

Cowed by the wild flicker in my wife's eyes, the girl fished it out of the trash and returned the T. I'm not sure how my wife does this, but I've seen all 5'4" of her back grown men into a corner with a stare. She can be damn scary when she's in the mood.

My wife didn't go off until she made it back to the Queen. The girl could have been a quarter back. They guy at Lowe's gave her a 3/8 to 3/8 fitting instead of a 3/8 to 5/8 fitting, and she went ballistic. The fitting, a pile of scrap wood, and anything else handy sailed across the yard as it was chased buy a steady stream of profanity. That was after she beat the front porch with a board until it broke in half (the board, not the porch).

Finally I said, "That's it, lets go."

"Are we calling it a day?" Charlie asked.

"Yeah, I'm sick of being here. I'm going home."


Blogger jm@houseinprogress said...

I SOOOOOOO understand this post. I don't think it is psychotic at ALL! It's just reality when working with an old house. I agree with Greg, keep posting this kind of "real life stuff" in the future.

9:26 AM  
Blogger StuccoHouse said...

I had to laugh out loud at this one. Had a similar episode as your wife....when after hunting through the Big Box for hours looking for my stuff.....I got home to find that the checkout girl decided not to ring my whole sale and sent me home with a bag w/o half of my stuff. No other customers in line....just got tired mid sale I guess. When I got back to the stuff was sitting under her register. I told her it was a bit of a hassle to get home and find half of your stuff missing. This little high school girl wagged her finger at me and told me..."Don't you be giving me no attitude." She had not seen any "attitude" out of me, but her boss sure did. Lol...from then on the story is pretty much the same as your wife's. I empathize.

4:39 PM  
Blogger derek said...

I've had good luck returning plumbing at Home Depot, they even gave me store credit for stuff I bought at other stores, since I didn't have a receipt for them. I have a whole bag of stuff to return, wish me luck. You could have just brought the piece home, washed it off, and returned it next time. I understand the anger though, after spending thousands at a store, and they nit pick over a couple bucks.

10:12 AM  
Blogger John said...

The last I saw of the "used" plumbing, it was in my wife's purse. I figure we'll wash it off and try again.

10:48 AM  

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