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!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Little Earthquakes

Here is a quick rundown of our most recent mini-disasters:

Last Thursday: What started as on oil change for my wife's VW TDI Beetle spiraled into a major overhaul to the tune of $2500 in parts and labor (fuel injector or something of the sort crapped-out, the fuel lines were flushed, the serpentine and timing belts were replaced, the oil and air filters were replaced, the oil was changed, and few other small items were attended to). The VW was in the shop from Thursday morning till we picked it up on Saturday afternoon.

Most of Thursday afternoon and evening we had torrential rain which turned into snow in the middle of night. The wind howled all night and the temperature plunged from the low 70's to the low 20's in about 8 hours.

We arrived home to discover that something was very wrong with our septic system. Mainly, water/sewage was backed up from the septic tank and into all the sewer lines under the house. We are incredibly fortunate that the sewage didn't back into the house itself. However, we couldn't flush, shower, or even wash our hands.

We called the guy who installed the tank and he said that he'd be out first thing in the morning.

Since we didn't know what was wrong with the tank, our minds ran wild and we assumed the worst. You know, stuff like having to dig the entire system up to repair/reinstall the whole thing. That would cost at least as much as the car repairs. And, until it was fixed, the Devil Queen would be uninhabitable. We spent (or I did) most of the night on the cusp of a nervous breakdown.

Friday: Our septic guy came out early that morning (I'd taken the day off of work, go figure), and he told me that the GFI outlet the septic pump (yes, we have to make our shit run up hill for a short stretch before it can run downhill to the field lines) somehow shorted out. As a make shift solution, we ran on extension cord out under the front door and plugged up the pump. It kicked in immediately. Within 30 minutes, we were back in business.

Things were starting to look better until Saturday morning.

Saturday: My wife, Gideon, and I all piled into my POS Saturn and drove over to my in-law's. The plan was to drop Gideon off and then to drive down to North Little Rock to pickup the VW. We dropped Giddy off and got ready to leave. My car wouldn't start. No lights, the engine wouldn't turn over, nothing. We borrowed my mother-in-law's brand new car (way too nice for us, it cost more than our 1st house), and picked up the VW (that hurt). My wife wanted to do a little Christmas shopping while we were in town, and every store we want to go to was out of business except for the one that had absolutely no parking. So, we called it quits and went home.

Sunday was a messy blur as my wife prepared to depart for her first week away at her new job.

Sure the whole weekend wasn't a complete and total loss; some of it was actually good (Dim Sum, jumping in mud puddles, and Christmas trees). But, in keeping with my bleak, pessimist personality, I spend a lot more time looking at the black clouds than the silver lining.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man. Wow. Uh, I'm grasping at straws here, but your house didn't fill up with raw sewage. That must trump everything else. Any day you come home to find that your house is not filled with raw sewage must be considered a good day. You could start your morning with it. Everyday when you get out of bed you can say to yourself, “Well, the house isn’t filled with raw sewage. This is going to be a good day!”

10:20 AM  
Blogger John said...


An excellent point! Any day you don't have to wade through raw sewage in your own home is a good day.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life, it sure isn't easy. I know sometimes I question my choices, but I have to believe that things will get better and I will look back and feel it was all worthwhile. I know people who have it alot "easier" than us - like people who are going to Hawaii for 2 weeks this x-mas, but like my Mom always told me, comparing is a complete waste of time. My life is my life and it's up to me to find the good.

I hope things get better and sorry to hear about these bumps in the road. We're having our own right now too so you're not alone with set backs if that helps.

8:47 AM  
Blogger My Marrakech said...

Oh ack. Listen, we have a spare guest room in case you decide you want to throw in the towel and move in with us. I personally have always wanted to live with a woman named Scarlet who reads palms, and so really, you would be doing us a favor;-)

Sorry, sorry, sorry that life is so crappy right now for you.

4:54 AM  
Blogger John said...


Thank you for sharing some very good points I should keep in mind. Sorry to hear about your renters, but I would wish misery on you just for the company. Hope things work out for you all.


Thanks. Give us a little time and we may just do that; we both cook and clean and I'm a great un-skilled laborer.

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