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!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

State of Perpetual Exhaustion

Age: 29
Weight: 183 lbs.
Hours of sleep: 4
Digestion: Good
Nervous Tics: Intermittent
Attitude: Irritable, itchy

God hates me. Or, someone does. Why, why can I not get a good night’s sleep?!

Last night we were on the receiving end of two lines of violent thunder storms. The first one hit sometime around midnight. We’d been asleep for nearly an hour and a half when my wife and I were awakened by a cacophony. It was hard to figure out what it was at first. The thunder and driving rain were pretty easy to identify. Then, there was the terrified, crying baby. And, then . . .

“What the hell is that? Is that the cat?” I asked.

My wife rolled out of bed and went to the back room.

We keep our cat in the laundry/storage room at night. He has food, water, and a liter box, so it keeps him quiet and out of our bed at night. Since it’s been so hot the last few days, my wife opened the window for him. It was still open when we went to bed last night. It’s a small window too. There is maybe a square foot worth of screen when it’s open. The storm was so fierce that the rain was coming in sideways, and the entire 8’ x 10’ room was soaked as was the cat. Between the cat’s yowling, the thunder, and the roaring wind my son woke up scared. Somehow, my wife managed to pacify everyone in short order and came back to bed. Then the power went out. Tired, we went back to sleep.

I woke to a pitch black, hushed house. It was kind of creepy. In the far distance, the thunder grumbled. The rain had stopped, but the clouds were too thick to tell what time of night it was. I crawled out of bed, put on my shoes, and went out to the car to see what time it was.

3:00 AM. I still had two more hours to sleep. I went back to bed.

Sometime around 4:30 AM the power came back on. The sound of the fans, answering machine, refrigerator, and everything else kicking-in woke me up.

At around 5:00 AM I got up and did my normal morning routine and got in my car to go to work. I was barely half a mile down the road when I happened to look at the car’s clock. It read 4:55 AM.

What the hell?

I’d forgotten that our battery-backup alarm clock has some issues. For instance, when the power goes off, the display dies but the internal clock keeps track of the time. However, for reasons only known to the crafty Chinese bastards who built it for Walmart, the internal clock speeds up when the power is out. For every minute the power is off, the clock speeds up about 30+ seconds.

I turned back around and went home. About five to ten minutes after I dozed off in an armchair, second line of storms moved in. I didn’t get much sleep. I can only imagine that it was roughly the equivalent of trying to sleep through an artillery barrage.

As usual, I’m trying to function in thoroughly sleep deprived state. I read somewhere that someone my age functioning on this little sleep has the mental agility and alertness of a 75 year old. It’s no wonder I act like a crotchety old man, I am an old man.

So, what the hell does all this matter? Or, what does it have to do with the Devil Queen? As lay awake in the dark, I’m thinking, “I hope Kenny starts installing all the vents for the crawl space this week,” and “We need to lay the vapor barrier as soon as the plumbing is 100% finished,” and “We need to install the gutters.”

My wife and I had talked about working on the Devil Queen tonight after work. Screw that. I’m going home, eating dinner, playing with the baby, and going to bed. Maybe I’ll even get to sleep.


Blogger Kristin said...

We had a bunch of storms here all yesterday. My poor cat hates storms. He was so relieved when I got home from the beach mid-day (after almost getting struck by lightning in the car) and let him crawl between my back and the couch to hide. Poor little baby.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Archimedes24 said...

Hey John,
(Sorry to keep writing hey, but I just can't type, "Dear John" without somehow thinking we're breaking up every time, which is really weird and a little gay...not that there's anything wrong with that...)

Anyhoo, when Red and I were dating, and my Australia project was gaining momentum, and we were contemplating marriage, and, and, and...I couldn't get $hit for sleep either. It's hard to turn your brain off when you've got as much stuff worrying you as you currently do.

Easiest solution for me at the time was a Tylenol PM (or it's cheaper Wallymart friend). Sure, you feel cotton headed for the first few hours the next day, but it beats the living crap out of exhaustion.

If one doesn't work, try two. You may have to work out some sharing situation w/ your wife. I don't know if your son is sleeping through the nights, or if you take turns getting up. But I want it noted I gave it consideration...not just "Oh sure! Get looped on sleeping meds and damn the torpedoes!" At least I'll have some electronic proof at the trial.

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