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!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Wicked Mojo

Someone must hate my wife and I. They are sending some serious black-mojo our way. This weekend is proof of it. The whole thing was freaking weird. Everywhere we went we were pursued strange happenings.

First and foremost, we didn’t do anything on the Queen. We’ve had a lot of my wife’s family in town for a funeral, so that pretty well took care of that.

Saturday, we dragged ourselves out of bed early to go to an estate sale in Russellville. On the way out the door, I discovered this.

I’m a city boy, so I rely on my wife to identify crap like this. I just assume everything is poisonous until I find out what it is. According to her (and confirmed by an internet search), this is probably an Eastern Hog Nosed snake. This is a non-poisonous snake, so it’s not too bad of a find. It's much better than a Copperhead or Cotton Mouth. Our main problem with it is that is seems to be living under a rock next to our front steps. It definitely moved cleaning, mulching, and planting our front flower beds up on our priority list. We're hoping if we irritate it enough that it'll find some place else to hide.

We left the snake to its slithering and went to the auction. They were selling a lot of power tools, and we were hoping to buy some cheap. They had some good stuff there: miter saw, radial saw, drill press, sanders, clamps, et cetera. The guy refinished old furniture in the shed out back, so there was some nice stuff. We also found some highly collectable silverware we thought we might sell for a profit on eBay.

However, two things conspired against us.

First, the auctioneer was slowest I’ve ever seen in my life. He also made it a point to sell all of the shit items first. It was agony. He’d work his way down the table selling junk souvenirs, garbage you know they found in the guest bedroom’s bedside table, boxes of rusty nuts & bolts, et cetera. Finally, he’d get to the silver, a good tool, or something of the like and pass over it to start on another mountain of junk.

Normally, I find that I have an advantage at most estate sales. I’m at least 20-30 years younger than 97% of the people there. Whether it is hot, cold, of lasts for eight hours, I can out wait most of them. We negated this advantage by bringing my two year old son.

About two hours into the auction (we’d arrived late, so it had been going for close to three hours), we were still waiting for them to get to something we wanted. Suddenly, the auctioneer stopped. He was perched up on a ladder where he could see everything, and he was staring down at the ground next to him.

The auctioneer says, “We need some help over here. We’re gonna need someone to call 911.”

People start milling around. Cell phone leap from every pocket and purse. Apparently, an old man just flopped over in the middle of the street.

The auctioneer says, “He might be havin’ a heart attack. Anyone have some nitro pills? Anyone?” A moment later, “Is there a nurse, a doctor, or anyone that knows more than we do here?”

The auction was in the middle of Russellville, so the ambulance was there in about three minutes. The old guy seemed alert enough, so I hope he made it okay. It was the last straw for us though. We gave up and headed home.

The rest of the day passed without too much fanfare. My son was a holy terror for a good bit of the afternoon and evening (fits, wouldn’t take a nap, etc), so that was a real pleasure.

Sunday was a lot more pleasant. We met two of my wife’s cousins up at the Queen to give them a tour. For the last few days, the weathermen had telling us about all the rain we would be getting. Of course, we never got any. We pull into the Queen’s driveway just in time for the blue sky to cloud over. Then, it started to rain. We went in and gave them the grand tour. About half way through, we all stop and listen.

Bang. Clunk, clunk, ping. Whap. Thud.

We all look out the window. It’s hailing. It starts with pea sized pellets. Then nickel sized. Then half-dollar sized. Finally, it became golf ball sized hail. I swear I saw a few pieces that were freaking enormous, palm-sized monsters. Mercifully, none of our windows were broken. Unfortunately, it dinged the hell out of my wife’s cousin’s new Chrysler.

Ten minutes later, the sky was blue and the storm was gone.

“What is it about this house?” I asked my wife. “Every time we bring one of your cousins here for the first time, it hails.”

Maybe it isn't the Queen. Maybe it's the cousins.

We did manage to take a few pictures of the work Kenny has finished in the mudroom.

The surround Kenny built is awsome. We wanted two access panels in the surround. One at the far left to access the shut-off valves, and one on the far right to access the reset button and wiring. I'd been thinking about hinged doors, but Kenny had a far better idea. The far left & right panels slide off. You unscrew two screws, and push the panel toward the center of the surround and it slides right off. Genius.

Here is the 1920's sink that was originally in the master bathroom. It needs some cleaning, doesn't it? The faucets probably need new gaskets, but everything seems to be in working order. The underside of the sink has a hair-line crack in it, but it doesn't appear to go all the way through to the enamel. We're going patch it with JB Weld just to be on the safe side.

And, here is where the washer and dryer will go. We'll have to buy a new washer and dryer set because I screwed the pooch when I designed the addition. Our current washer and dryer should have fit except that I didn't account for two things: 1) the actuall thickness of the walling (beadboard and/or sheet rock) and 2) I didn't leave enough room for the hot tub base.

So, now we'll either need a W/D that are both 24" wide or a stacked W/D unit. I can't help but wonder how much easier my life would be if I weren't a moron.

I’m in for a busy week, but I’m hoping to post some about our floor sanding experiences.


Anonymous Shauna said...

I would probably never garden again if I saw snakes like that around! We have grass snakes up here, but generally not much else.
Kenny seems like a handy guy...think he might ever want to visit Canada? I could put him up for awhile for free...okay, with maybe just a few small fix-it jobs attached...

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sink is PERFECT. I wish I could clean it up for you. I admire the way you're incorporating the old elements with the new -- exactly the way I would do it, given the opportunity. Hang in there.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have any further information about your tools that you discovered in a pawn shop?

Have you had to dispose of any bodies?

8:28 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Great sink! That was one enormous snake, though. I can't tell if they're poisonous or not either, so when I see one, I freak out just in case.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

The sanke is big, but if he stayed you sure wouldn't have any problems with mice.

9:29 PM  
Blogger C&C said...

We had the same problem with our laundry room, absolutely would not fit a regular washer & dryer. We went with the LG stacking units, we've been really pleased with them. The sink looks familiar too, we have one just like it! Your house is looking great, hope no more bad mojo comes your way!

6:32 PM  

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