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, May 26, 2006

House Sloth and the Dream of Being Gainfully Unemployed

I was inspecting the Devil Queen Wednesday; I was looking at a door jamb that needs some trim when I caught myself thinking, “I’ll have to have Kenny take care of that.” Then, I thought, “what the hell, I can do it myself. I should be saving Kenny for the things that I can’t do. I’ve gotten lazy.”

And, I have. The sad part is that I hadn’t even noticed. After spending a long time looking at our budget, bills, and what not, I’m trying to figure out when the era of Kenny will finally come to an end. It’s time for us to wade back into the mess ourselves, and get it finished. Sure, there are some things that are still beyond or skill level that I want him to do, but there is a lot that we can do.

While things have been terribly complicated lately, I’m hoping to start pushing things around in such a way that our lives will become simplified. Getting our renter in and moving into the Devil Queen will reduce our bills by about 10-15%. While there is the great Do-we-want-to-live-in-it-as-we-work debate, I think that the Queen is at a point where we can live there without too much bother. And, we can work on it whenever we want. Have 15 minutes to spare? Pull wallpaper tacks, plan the next project, caulk some trim, etc. And, no more 30 minute round trips to and from the Queen.

I much as I would things to calm down, I’m sure things will be in constant flux (i.e. an enormous fucking mess) until we get this old whore mortgaged. No more crippling interest payments, no more mountainous contractor bills, etc.

At that point, I would like to pursue my dream of being gainfully unemployed. I heard a brief piece called Choosing Life Over Career by Dana Goldman on NPR yesterday that got me thinking about this. She talks about how she quit her job and worked miscellaneous part-time jobs to make a living. She has enough money to pay her rent & medical insurance and spend the rest of her time doing whatever it is she wants. Sure there are trade offs, but, as one of her friends observed, “You’re so much happier now.” And, that is worth something to me.

So, ideally, I’ll find a way to pay off our college and remodeling debts, get a few rent houses, and “work” part-time at something I like. With the notable exception of one job, none of my other jobs have meant anything more than a pay check to me. Life is too short for bull shit like that.

On a different note, I’m worried about Kenny. He was AWOL for payday which I’ve never seen any contractor do. Clearly something was up, but I don’t know what. I certainly hope that everything is okay. The situation was further complicated by the fact our phone is now dead. In preparation for our move this weekend, my wife called the phone company to see what we needed to do to have our phone number and service transferred to the Devil Queen. Instead of just telling her, they went a head and did it. Who knew that efficiency could be so inconvenient? We called once from a payphone and once from my in-laws. No answer and no answering machine. Weird.


Blogger Lenise said...

One of your loyal readers probably whisked Kenny away. You've got to downplay his talents if you want to keep him, you know!

Seriously, I hope everything's ok and that your moves go well and happen in rapid succession!

7:22 PM  
Blogger Archimedes24 said...

Herewithin lies "The conversation between the good angel, and evil devil on John's shoulders the day the idea of quitting his job popped into his mind."

GA-John, would you look at what Kenny's been up to! It's amazing! That boy truly has the Lord's gift when it comes to carpentry.

ED-Don't listen to that pussy! Kenny don't have nothin' you don't have! You could do that sh1t in your sleep! [3 second pause] If only you didn't have the crap-ass job weighing you down! [Tents fingers & chortles]

GA-John! Do not be misguided by my fallen brother! You *need* that job, if for no other reason than to give your brain a rest from this cruel mistress which hath enslaved thee!

ED-Are you going to buy that crap? Why'd you bother getting a college degree anyway? Don't *YOU* think you're smart enough to figure out how to do only the stuff you want? Cuz brother, I sure do...You don't like going to that job anyway. And think of all the money you'll save in gas!

GA-But John, you'll be driving to Lowe's every oth....[GACK]

---At which point, the devil has leaned over and rammed his pitchfork down the angel's word hole.---

Even talk of this herecy has now elevated you from the "Balls o' Brass" category I previously categorized you in. Now, my clever friend, you have been promoted up into something like, "depleted Uranium testes" range...I had to create a new category just for you.


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