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!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

You've spent years of toil and struggle renovating your home. You've spent thousands on the project, maxed your credit cards, and ensured that your decedents will be in debt for perpetuity. Sure, it's a heavy price, but you're willing to pay it because now your house is perfect. So, it would really suck if you died in your sleep because you were too lazy or too cheap to install a carbon monoxide detector.

"According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America," writes Dr. Anne Helmenstine.

Buying a detector is only the first step. Installing it correctly is the second step. Once again, according to Dr. Helmenstine:

"Because carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and also because it may be found with warm, rising air, detectors should be placed on a wall about 5 feet above the floor. The detector may be placed on the ceiling. Do not place the detector right next to or over a fireplace or flame-producing appliance. Keep the detector out of the way of pets and children. Each floor needs a separate detector. If you getting a single carbon monoxide detector, place it near the sleeping area and make certain the alarm is loud enough to wake you up. "

While the improper installation of a carbon monoxide detector may potentially be life threatening, it may, more importantly, lead to embarrassment and humiliation. Having finished your Magnum Opus, you're going to want to show the beauty off. To ensure that folks keep coming back to stroke your ego (Oh, I love your cabinets! Who built them? You did?! They are fabulous, aren't you quite the Renaissance Man/Woman!), you must master the art of being a gracious host.

To be gracious host, you must take your guests' feelings and preferences into account at all times. To ensure that everyone has a good time, you need to provide a comfortable and relaxing environment for all. A carelessly place carbon monoxide detector can be an unexpected source of discomfort or embarrassment for a guest.

For example, my wife's Uncle Mike was visiting his in-laws several years ago. They had all enjoyed a nice dinner and were sitting around visiting afterwards. Suddenly, the in-laws new carbon monoxide detector goes off. The in-laws are baffled. Is there a carbon monoxide leak? They reset the detector. It doesn't do anything. Maybe there is something wrong with the detector? If there had been a leak, surely it would have sounded again, right?

Shrugging it off, everyone eases back and continues visiting. About ten minutes later the detector goes off again. The in-laws are very anxious now. They are seriously concerned that there might be a leak. Should they leave the house? Call the fire department? What should they do? They certainly don't want everyone to die in their sleep.

Finally, to advert disaster, Mike is forced to make a confession. The carbon monoxide detector, which was plugged into a wall outlet directly behind his chair, was going off because he'd been passing gas, albeit quietly. This embarrassing incident could have been avoid if the detector had been placed in the correct location. So, the next time you have company over, make sure your carbon monoxide detector is properly located.

Consider yourself warned.

Post Script: Fortunately for Mike, flatulence alone does not qualify for a Dumbass Award nomination. The family did enjoy the story though.


Blogger derek said...

It must have been one of the Natural Gas/CO detectors. I don't think there'd be any CO, although, I'm certainly not an expert in any such thing. Our Co/natural gas detectors goes off if you're stripping trim with chemical stripper , the solvent in the air causes the detector to go off. I hear it's best to buy one that has a digital display, they're more accurate than the ones that are in the smoke detectors.

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