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, January 19, 2007

Five Things

After some of the other lists I've read, these seem rather banal. Sorry if these are too long, but here they are.

1. I have pronounced neurotic tendencies. They've gotten worse with age and I make a serious effort to break myself of them once I notice them. Otherwise, they become an ingrained habit like checking the alarm clock three times before going to bed. I know that I've alluded to these before, but I don't think I've really gone into them too much. The most annoying compulsion I have is my need to repeatedly check things (typically three times, or an odd number of times according to my wife). This would include checking to see if my alarm clock has been set before I go to bed, whether I've left the faucet dripping, whether to doors and windows are locked, whether the stove is on, and so on. It takes the use of a great deal of will power to not do this. My wife thinks it's funny to wait until I get into bed at night and ask, "Is the front door locked?" Now, she knows it is because she's watched me check a few times over the last 15 minutes. She just asks this because she thinks it's funny to watch me crawl out of bed to check again.

2. When I have something on my mind, I'm anxious, or unfocused, I clean the kitchen. As far as I can figure, this serves as a kind of Zen meditation for me. When I'm finished, I'm feel much more focused and relaxed. This is useful for working on the Devil Queen too. If there is some project I don't want to do but really need to, I can usually begin it after I've cleaned the kitchen. Maybe this belongs with item #1 above?

3. I have had a life long fascination with all things military. When I was twelve, I thought that commanding an armored division was an awesome career goal. I'm probably one of very few teenagers who spent their free time reading books by Liddell Hart, Erwin Rommel, and the like. In addition to all the World War II stuff I've inherited from my grandfathers and great-uncles, I've had pretty extensive collection of military collectables (many of which I've had to sell to keep from starving while working on a certain house). By the time I was in college, I'd pretty well moved on to other interest (or so I thought). However, once I was out of college and desperate for a job that wasn't minimum wage, I went took the exam for Navel Officer candidates. I forget how many sections are on the test (six?), but, if you want to be an intelligence office as I did, you have to pass them all. According the Navy Seal administering the test, I had the highest score they'd ever seen for a first time test-taker. However, there is an "extra" section to the test which I failed, the personality test. Apparently, introverted, book-worm, loners don't make the best team players. Based on the rest of the test, they were willing to overlook my misanthropy, but I came away with the distinct impression it wouldn't be a good fit for me. So, I enrolled in law school and dropped out the first week of classes (a long story in itself).

4. After college, I taught myself to read Old English for fun. I wasn't fluent, but I could do pretty well with a dictionary at hand. Really, I feel like I cheated though. Knowing English as a first language and taking 4 or 5 years of German gives you a real advantage. The last few years have been pretty busy, so I've probably forgotten most of what I knew, but I hope to take it up again in the future.

5. I have fear of large bodies of water (drowned in a past life?) and I'm a poor swimmer, so it makes perfect sense that I'd like to learn to sail. I have had this itch for the last three or four years. In particular, I'd like to learn blue-water sailing. Sounds like all the ingredients for a perfect disaster, no? Then again, that has never stopped me before. I mean, have you seen where I live?!

9 Comments:

Anonymous Leslie said...

I had to smile at your item #2. For me, it's when I'm upset/angry - I'll start scrubbing sinks and stovetops, putting things away that have just been sitting out, not just in the kitchen though that tends to be my first spot (maybe because it puts me in the right spot to start phase 2 - stress eating LOL). I have accused my partner of picking fights or getting on my nerves just so that I'll then spend a half-hour or more frantically cleaning or organizing.

I've been enjoying these "5 things" posts!!

9:33 AM  
Blogger Oblio70 said...

Holy cow, that #2! What is it about the kitchen that makes it today's domestic whipping boy? I, too, confess to taking out my angst and interior torments on the dishes, countertops and floor. Though we have a dishwasher and mop, I eschew all these accoutrements in favor or more manual labors. I have to question if there is any relevance to an OCD here, albeit a mild one. Cathartic, indeed. The relief comes at 3-4 am.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous tarr said...

We call #1 securing the perimeter and it is an important, important evening task.

There is a guy who hangs around here and pats my head who claims to have been your college roommate at the "Harvard of the South" - he may have some things to add to your list.

7:14 AM  
Blogger John said...

Tarr,

I only had two roomates in college, and one has been MIA since 1999, so say hello to Jeff for me. Lord, I can only imagine what he might have to add to the list.

9:01 AM  
Blogger slateberry said...

When I took the MLAB (military language aptitude battery), the recruiting officer told me that it was the highest score they had ever seen. I was all set to go off to santa cruz to work for the military, and then there was some technicality during a physical exam. I went to another doctor, repeated the test, and was fine, but in the time it took to do that, I'd changed my mind.

I'm glad I did. When you're in the military, they OWN you. There are fundamental aspects of your life over which you have no control. It wouldn't work for me. I know that now that I'm older.

What I also know now that I'm older is that the recruiting officers probably use that "highest score" line on anybody who does reasonably well. It's a great ego trick to get you to enlist--heck it almost worked for me.

And I am freakishly quick with languages, and I know you're freakishly smart. Maybe we both did top the charts. But it's also very likely that they were messing with our heads.

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