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, February 09, 2007


Having a father-in-law in the car business has its ups and downs. Ups? When your car breaks down, you have quick access to a car trailer and loaner car. Downside? Most of the those loaners are in nearly as bad of shape as the car you just left at the shop.

I can't remember if I mentioned this, but the dealer did not completely fix my wife's Beetle. It starts and runs with a dash full of new electronics, but it has some other serious issues.

Service Manager: "Do you go off-roading in this car?"

Me: "What!? No. Why?"

Service Manager: "Have you been in a wreck?"

Me: "No."

Service Manager: "Huh. It looks like something hit the underside of the radiator. It broke the core support (WTF is that?) and shoved the radiator and the two cooling fans into the engine. They all need to be replaced."


Service Manager: "Yeah. They're all pressed together."

Me: "How much is that going to cost?"

Service Manager: [long pause, a calculator clicks ominously in the background] "Umm. Gotta add that up . . . With parts and labor, it'll be $2300."

Me: "$2300?! The car runs right?"

Service Manager: "Yeah."

Me: "Don't do anything else to it, I'll pick it up today."

That afternoon I picked the thrice-cursed car up and drove it to a mechanic in Atkins. The mechanic does a lot of work for my father-in-law. He can fix the VW for about 1/3 of the cost of the dealer, so I was suppose to drop it off and pick up a truck he'd just fixed. Sounds easy, but it wasn't. The truck wasn't finished.

Mechanic: "Come and take a look a the truck."

We walk over to the red truck. It looks fine but there is something black and twisted laying on the ground next to it.

Mechanic: "See." He points at the contorted, melted mess. "I knew the gas tank had caught fire when he brought it in, but I didn't know how bad it was." He kicks it and something, hopefully non-flammable, sloshes inside it. "It's a lot worse than I expected. All the wiring is burned away and I'll have to replace a few other things too. It won't be ready for a couple of days."

So, the situation is I've left a VW without a cooling system at the mechanic's shop, and I am driving a Saturn with 3 gears to work while I wait on a burned up loaner. Sweet.

I had to laugh. It was one of those sublime moments when everything is so implausibly awful that it is the only thing you can let yourself do.

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Blogger Patricia W said...

I'm sorry but I'm speechless. It sucks the troubles you're having but you're right. This is so awful it's funny. TGIF

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Those kinds of car problems would make
me run for the hills.

It also reminds me to give my dear husband
a big hug when he come home from work.
He is an auto mechanic and has saved us lots of
$$$$$ over the years fixing our cars.


3:26 PM  
Anonymous davidLBC said...

The fins and tubes of a radiator are referred to as a "core". The core support is the structural sheet metal that holds the radiator in the body. Jamming the radiator and cooling fans into the side of the engine probably broke the fan shrouds and bent the radiator core. A body shop or your local mechanic can pull the core support approximately back into position. If the radiator is not leaking it may not need to be replaced, but most likely the tubes and fins are bent enough to block cooling air flow. Sounds bad from the dealer's description, but don't you think your wife would remember driving over something that would do so much damage? Shit, maybe THEY did it driving onto the car rack/lift.

3:29 PM  
Blogger John said...

David, very informative, thank you very much. You would think we would have noticed, but it is hard to say. The car rides very close to the ground, and, from time to time, it has been taken down a dirt road or two (ah, the pleasures of country living).

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