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!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Nervous Tics

Restoring an old house is kind of like having a baby for the first time.

You read up on it, you know people who've had kids, you babysat some for extra cash, you've seen movies, and, hell, maybe you even ask your parents about what it was like for them. You think you know what to expect, but the truth of it is you have absolutely no idea what you're getting into. There is no substitute for the actual experience. You hope for the best, but you really have no guarantee how it'll turn out. And, you'll find that your life is changed in ways you never expected.

For instance, buying the Devil Queen has made me a pretty good amateur chef. Not what you'd expect, is it?

It hasn't been a burden for me. Really, I like cooking. My mom's side of the family is peppered with a number of professional chefs, so it's in the blood. I was a passable cook to begin with, however, the Queen has given me great incentive to learn a lot more. In part, my noticeable improvement has been driven by a desire to eat well while on a tight budget. You can only eat chicken so many times before you start looking for new ways to prepare it.

The Queen has also burdened us with an immense amount of stress. My wife handles this in normal ways: irritability, a short temper, and an occasional, old fashioned cry. Not me. The stress has accentuated all of my neurotic tendencies in some unflattering ways. The oddest behavior I've come to exhibit is that I bake when I'm stressed. Some people count cracks in the ceiling or wash their hands compulsively. Not me. I make bread.

I didn't notice it myself, but my wife did. She thinks its funny, so much so that it's a bit embarrassing. My wife was in really bad shape after she had our son. She nearly died twice over a month and a half. In the first week we were home from the hospital, I baked two loafs of bread, a tequila cake, a Key Lime pie, and ton of Russian Tea Cookies. My mother-in-law stayed with us for a while to take care of my wife and son while I was at work, and she thought I was nuts. I couldn't figure out what they were staring at.

If my wife wants to know how tight money is, she watches how much time I spend in the kitchen.

"Is money that tight?"


My wife smiles, "I asked if money is tight."

"Yeah, it is. Why do you ask?"

"You're baking bread. Again."


Sometimes I think that I'm the craziest person without papers I know. Well, maybe I'm in the top ten?


Blogger Tony Maro said...

You aren't at least going to SHARE the bread recipe with us?

My wife bakes when she gets stressed. She does cheesecakes as a specialty. Now though I never get to eat them. They're always for someone else - either someone ordered one and is paying her, or someone has a birthday or whatever.

12:47 PM  
Blogger jm@houseinprogress said...

Wow. I wish I felt compelled to bake or do something HEALTHY/PRODUCTIVE when stressed. I usually just lose myself in the bottom of a carton of ice cream. While I'm hiding under the covers.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I love baking, too. I don't enjoy any other form of cooking, but baking is awesome! I guess I just like the end results more ... long live baked goods!

11:30 AM  

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