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!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is My Caulk Big Enough?

I am a captive of my own mind. Lately, I can not escape from this self-made, bastardized parody of a Dead Kennedy song, Pull My Strings.

Is my caulk big enough,
Is my brain small enough
For you to make me a star?

Give me a toot
I'll sell you my soul
Pull my strings and I'll go far

The worst part is that isn't even particularly fun nor does it make much sense, even to me.

Like every other frustrated home improvement monkey, I've been playing with my caulk for two or three hours every day. Don't worry, in the interest of health and safety, I always try to keep latex between me and my caulk though the occasional breakage is evitable. It’s a good thing rubber gloves come 10 to a pack.

Actually, I only squeezed in 45 minutes of caulking last night. Why? Because I finished caulking all the cracks in the laundry room ceiling.

Of course you may wonder why there are cracks in the ceiling since the laundry room is in one of the two new additions to the Devil Queen. The short answer is we used salvaged (or is it cooler to say "reclaimed"?) beadboard. Beadboard, like a good kiss, ought to have a little tongue. Unfortunately, salvaged beadboard has an propensity for loosing its tongue during removal. We got pretty good at saving it, but a large majority of it has damaged or entirely missing tongue. And, the laundry room ceiling got the dregs of our beadboard selection.

The cracks weren't too noticeable until we had insulation blown into the attic. While it did a great job of keeping the Queen warm, it also gave us row upon row of hairy crack. That was unacceptable.

[This wasn't the worst crack, but I'd already filled the rest in at this point]

I started the priming/caulking job several months ago before I was put on a strict one-room-at-a-time diet. As it was, it was good to be moved to the hall bathroom because I was stuck trying to figure out a way to prime/caulk/paint the ceiling and walls above the hot tub. I didn't want to stand a ladder in the tub and stacking a platform on the rim of the tub wasn't an option either. The tub is fiberglass and most of the weight is supported by the tub's bottom which rests on the sub-floor. The rim which rests upon the tile surround isn't meant to hold any great amount of weight (me plus platform and step ladder). All I needed to do was break our $1400 tub before I ever used it, right?

Well, my wife had a solution to the problem for me.

She saw the dry wall guy do this. Basically, butt the feet of the extension ladder up against the wall, extend it up to the ceiling at nearly a 45 degree angle, and rest it upon the opposite wall. I was reluctant to try it at first (heavy guy + ladder leaning at weird angle against dry wall = hole in wall?), but what the hell. And, it worked.

So, tonight I will give the ceiling it's second and final primer coat. If I have time, I'll finish priming the walls too. Or, I will work on them at any rate. Who knows, maybe we'll have some actual paint up by the end of the week?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'd think the ladder would break through the drywall. You might need some plywood between the ladder and the wall

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I put wood in-between the ladder and wall when I did stair well. I take the wood up with me and push the ladder off the wall a bit with one hand while I slip the wood in to position. I don’t think it will make a hole without the wood, but it could leave some dents.

7:08 PM  
Blogger John said...

Greg & Derek,

An excellent point. I'll have to try that when I work on it tonight. It certainly couldn't hurt.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous davidLBC said...

all this talk of wood and caulk and hairy cracks is just very distracting

1:13 PM  
Blogger John said...

David, isn't it though?

As for the ladder, I checked last night and there was some slight dimpling from the ladder. I'm not sure if it is bad enough to bother smoothing out or not.

I don't know how the drywall guy did it without leaving a mark (maybe he used plywood?). I thinking I'm just fatter is the real explination though.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I didn't even see the crack until you pointed it out (and it's way over head!)
Although I'm sure the house appreciates the effort...

9:04 PM  

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