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, January 10, 2006

Gambling on Hired Help Again


What can I say? In spite of what I may say here, I must really like pissing my money away. I can justify my reasons as well as the next person. Sometimes I even sound levelheaded and logical, but the truth is I am a moron. Or, a crazy moron perhaps. Isn't the definition of crazy, a person who does the same thing over and over, yet expects a different result each time?

Before Christmas, Kenny, one of Tony Anderson's (our favorite contractor) construction crew called us. He was starting his own business and wanted to know if we had any work for him. I told him that I was definitely interested, but, with the holidays and all, I wouldn't be in any position to hire (i.e. pay) him until the new year.

Last week I gave Tony a call. We wanted to make sure that Kenny was reliable (i.e. hadn't been fired because of a drug problem for example) and that he'd left on good terms. Tony gave Kenny a thumbs up so I called Kenny back.

Saturday night Kenny came by the Queen to give us a quote on some work. My wife had met him before and said that she liked him. I did too after I met him. In addition to having worked with Tony (a good thing), Kenny had also worked on the Queen before, two times to be exact. The familiarity helped. Also, he wasn't intimidated by her like most contractors around here are.

We ended up hiring him for a week. In this time, he is going close in the crawlspace, block in the base of the exterior walls where they open up into the crawlspace (this is to keep the blown insulation from spilling into the crawlspace when the walls are insulated), and do some minor trim work on the porch and a few other spots. Once that is completed, he will move inside to put up all the missing and/or loose ceiling boards. We figure this should take the better part of the week.

If he does a good job, we are going to have him finish out a lot of the additions and interior carpentry. Our plan is for him to finish all major construction work inside and out on the Queen. Hopefully, this will leave the wallpaper stripping, sanding, painting, and other finishing work to us.

While I am a firm believer in the value of sweat-equity, we are running out of time. Between April and June, we will have to pay out $3000 + in interest on our construction loan if the Queen isn't finished enough to get a mortgage. I'd rather pay Kenny about that much to finish the work, than to pay the bank for an extension. It certainly isn't how we planned for this to go, but it's the cheapest way for us to save our financial-ass at this point.

Of course, all of this is contingent upon Kenny coming through for us. For all of those who've worked with contractors, you know what and why we fear. Hiring work out is always a gamble.

2 Comments:

Blogger Brenda from Brooklyn said...

Bwah-hah-hah. The Queen laughs at your little scheme to keep the blown insulation out of the crawlspace. If it is anything like the poured insulation between the joists of the CrazyStable attic, it will be sifting out of your crawlspaces, ear canals, and other orifices for several decades. But it makes such nice nesting material for so many furry little animals, who can complain?
Thanks for keeping me laughing with the Dumb-Ass Awards...we may have to start a Brooklyn Division!

11:56 AM  
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