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, April 25, 2006

Rabbi the Kosher Kitty

Disclaimer: I wouldn’t normally bother to post about our pets, but, since Kristin over at 1902 Victorian asked, I’ll make an exception. Kristin, sorry it took so long to get this to you, I kept hoping that I’d find an old picture of Rabbi to post, but I haven’t had any luck. For those who are looking for juice DIY tips or other house related topics, please check back later. This post isn’t for you.


The poo-fearing cat that I mentioned in this post is Rabbi the Kosher Kitty (aka “White Loaf”), or just Rabbi for short. He was one of the many cats people have dumped on us over the years. Apparently, my wife and I are tattooed with the word “softy” so everyone dumps their unwanted, wormy, retarded animals on us.

Rabbi is no longer with us. We gave Rabbi away shortly after my son was born. Why? First, a newborn and three cats produce copious mountains of poo. Cleaning it up gets old fast. Second, Rabbi was too stupid to figure out that we didn’t want him in the baby’s crib, ever. The other two cats quickly learned this lesson and abided by it. A fifteen-to-twenty pound (my wife maintains he weighed closer to thirty pounds) cat and a sleeping newborn don’t mix. Three, he just plain bugged the hell out of us.

Rabbi and his sibblings were all the product of non-consensual, back-woods cat sex. According to their former owner, their purebred Persian mother was dragged into the woods by some enormous tom cat, which may or may not have been a lynx. A few months later, some truly stupid white cats were born (the only exception to this was their brother, Titus Andronicus, who now lives with a cousin in Louisiana).


[Titus loose on the roof; Rabbi was a short haired version of Titus]

At best, Persians are pampered, indolent living-accessories. At worst, they are semi-functional, neurotic, invalids. While Rabbi was only a half-breed, he personified the Persian cat personality.

First and foremost, he was strictly Kosher. He had exacting requirements when it came to his diet and his cleanliness. If he ate anything besides Iams cat food, his bowels would open like flood gate. To be honest though, we never figured out if he had a genuinely sensitive stomach. The problem with Rabbi was he’d eat out of the cat food bag if you forgot to put it away. Unlike our other two cats who’d knock the bag over and eat out of the open top, Rabbi would eat the bag until he got to the food. As my wife put it, “I could never figure out if he had a bad stomach or if he had problems because he ate so much damn plastic.”

Rabbi was a fastidious groomer and kept his coat a shinning white (unlike his piss-yellow sister). He was very particular about his liter box. He had a specific corner in which he liked to do all of his business. Thera, our trash-can kitty, would deliberately crap in Rabbi’s corner just to irritate him (you might think I’m making this up, but I’m absolutely serious). If the liter box was too soiled in Rabbi’s opinion, he was prone to poop in the bathtub. Needless to say, we spent a ridiculous amount of time keeping the liter boxes clean.

The worst part of cleaning the liter box was Rabbi would hover over you as you cleaned it. He was not adverse to holding it for hours until you cleaned it to his liking. He’d hardly wait for you to finish before he was muscling you aside to get into his pooping corner. I’m not sure how to describe his technique, but it was the cat equivalent of using a toilet without touching the seat. Before the last log could hit the liter, he’d rocket out of the box in a bug-eyed panic and run to the far end of the house. You see, he was afraid the poo would touch him. Touching poo was unacceptable. He was so terrified that he wouldn’t even bury his mess like a proper cat. Are you beginning to see why we were so thrilled to rid of the little bastard?

Rabbi had a curious collection of neuroses and phobias. Narcissistic, he would watch himself in mirrors for hours at time. He was also afraid of heights. Anything over three to four feet tall was far too high for Rabbi. He was also claustrophobic. He liked playing with toy-mice, but only the bright red ones. My wife had some iridescent butterfly stickers that he really liked. In fact, he liked them so much he ate them.

One irksome behavior was his penchant for crawling under furniture and moaning/grunting for ten or fifteen minutes at time. We’d be sitting in the living room watching TV or reading a book, and you hear an odd sound. Think Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (The “I’m going to lay in bed and moan” scene). Hmm… ugh. Hmm… ugh. Hmm… ugh.

And, as Persians are prone to do, Rabbi had moments when his mind would flat-line. You’d look at him and you just knew that no one was home. He would get walleyed when he was mentally absent, which was pretty funny to see. It always made me thing of the hyenia Ed in The Lion King.

Rabbi, as Persian cats are prone to be, was very skittish. And, he was a wimp. The one time I saw him try to assert his manly tom-cat inner self, he got his as kicked by a giant wolf-spider.

The spider was huge. If you include all the legs and other fuzzes, the thing was bigger than the palm of my hand. It was tarantula sized. How it got into our house, I don’t know.

Things started off well enough for Rabbi. He cornered the spider and forced it into a tactical retreat. The spider would creep backwards in it ninja fighting posture, three or four its legs held high revealing its fuzzy spider death-maw. Rabbi would creep closer, and the spider would back away. Finally, the spider had enough. Rabbi nosed closer and the spider pounced on him. It jumped at Rabbi and wrapped itself around Rabbi’s neck just under his chin.

Terrified, Rabbi went nuts. His eyes bugged out, he ran backwards all over the kitchen, and shook his head from side to side trying to escape. I fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard. Finally, the spider turned loose and ran for it. Since it went for the master bedroom, I felt obligated to squish it. Ideally, after such a gladiatorial show, I would have granted it its freedom, but it didn’t work out that way.

At one point, I considered writing an illustrated children’s book based on Rabbi. I figured the little bastard ought to earn his keep somehow. I did a few pages of text, but the project didn’t progress too far. My wife read over the first draft and told me that Rabbi’s dialog sounded like Humbert Humbert from Lolita. In case I’m not clear on this point, it wasn’t what Rabbi said but how he said it that sounded like Humbert Humbert. I may be crazy, but I not that sick. In any case, it didn’t sound like a winner so I dropped that idea.

Kristin, that was probably a lot more than you wanted to know, but there it is. If you ever want a retarded cat, please let me know. I’m sure that we could find you one.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Joyce said...

Cats and I have a love/hate relationship -- they love me, I hate them. So, normally, I would not have bothered to read your post because just thinking of those sneaky animals makes my skin crawl. But, I nearly broke up over your shall-we-say diatribe. You did the right thing. Rabbi, however, is lucky to still be alive.

10:47 AM  
Blogger JLynnette said...

LOL! How funny:)

I've had my share of mentally challenged cats over the years, but I think your cat beats any of mine hands down.

2:02 PM  
Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

HA! I had a stupid cat too: Peekaboo. So named because she would hide under the fridge when someone rang the doorbell.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Lenise said...

I concur with the LOL, and have no trouble believing that the other cat was deliberately antagonizing Rabbi. I don't have much experience with Persians, but I've had my share of non-stupid cats. I'll have to post about Buckley someday. Now THERE was a cat!

7:21 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Somehow I missed this post! Rabbi sounds delightfully neurotic. I always say dogs expect us to entertain them, but cats entertain us (of course, they don't realize they're doing it or they would stop).

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