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, September 18, 2006

Carnival of Pain

Our weekend was one death-match after another. Unfortunately, the RemovAll v. Grunt Work death-match was rained out, so we must defer this dubious pleasure to another day.

Instead, I spent around 3 hours Friday night and 5 to 6 hours Saturday trying to set up our Air Port Extreme. This brutal encounter serves as a definitive example of my ineptitude with computers. If you trust the instructions, the Mac Book Pro user manual, and the other reference material, this should be a simple process. Basically you plug the AirPort in, turn on your Mac, locate the AirPort, select the appropriate settings, and you are finished.

In the end, I had to call the Apple Help line. The downside was spending 10 minutes on hold waiting to talk to someone. The upside was they were very helpful and they got us up and running.

We had two major problems:

1) Our cordless phone is on the same frequency as the AirPort; the interference kept crapping up the connection between the Mac and the AirPort.
2) I’m stupid.

Both have now been overcome for the moment, but tomorrow is another day.

Due to the rain, we turned our destructive energies to some interior projects on Sunday. I spent most of the day fighting the 9th round of the laundry/bathroom ceiling death-match. Before we can do anything with this room, it is imperative that all the old paint is scraped from the beadboard ceiling. The room is fairly small (80 square ft +/-), but it requires a lot of fancy foot work. The hardest part is the section of the ceiling directly over the Jacuzzi bathtub. For obvious reasons we don’t want to set the ladder up in the tub, so we’ve had to improvise.

My solution was to turn some scraps of wood into extension poles and then strapping paint scrapers to the ends of them. I have two sizes. One is approximately 3 ½ feet long and the other is about 9 feet long. The short one can be used from the top of the 10 foot step ladder, the longer one is best used from the floor.

If I were in better shape, I would have simply run up the wall like Jackie Chan, made a couple of passes with the scraper has I hung in the air like Michael Jordan, and then landed with panther like grace on the edge of the tub. Then, repeat till finished.

Since I’m a flabby little white guy, I had to fight dirty. To this date, the project has kicked my ass in the first eight rounds. This time I threw sand in its eye, knee capped it with a pipe, and stabbed it in the face. The sorry bitch went down for the count.

Of course it wasn’t an entirely painless victory for me. I particularly enjoyed the quarter inch long splinter I drove in between my right middle and index fingers. Rubbing the skin off my knuckle was a bonus. Since I’m a real man, I made a pitcher of lemonade by hand squeezing the lemons until the pleasure of the burn reduced me to a blissful, Nirvana like state.

Ms. Scarlet indulged in some old house ennui and painted some more of the kitchen trim.

All in all, it wasn’t too bad of a weekend.

8 Comments:

Blogger Lisa Jo Perdue said...

Wait till you have Rosetta problems with your existing software on your (I'm assuming) Intel Mac. The heat from your blood boiling should remove some paint pretty well.

9:21 PM  
Blogger SmilingJudy said...

Why not build some "scaffolding" over the tub? I assume there's a surround of some sort? Stack some bricks, small boards, whatever, to clear the tub. Then throw on some 3/4" ply or long boards. I can't imagine reaching over it to sand. ouch.

9:28 PM  
Blogger feliciak said...

I love the Jackie Chan image...but I think The Matrix would be even better. Slow down time, do the job right!

2:36 PM  
Blogger John said...

Lisa,
You're scaring me. I don't even know what "Rosetta" is. I'm screwed.

Judy,
I thought about the scaffolding option, but I'm lazy. That, and I think it would have taken me longer to build the scaffolding than to scrape the 4-5 square feet of ceiling with extension poles. However, if I need to caulk some of the boards, I may have to build a scaffold anyhow.

Feliciak,
The Matrix! You are absolutely right, that would be a much more efficient approach.

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