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!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

An Evening of Unanticipated Events

When 11 PM reared its pug-ugly head last night, I had one of those son-of-bitch moments as in, "Son-of-bitch! I can't believe I didn't get to stain this damn floor tonight!" I mean, for the love of everything evil and hopeless, I'm so close to finishing this floor that I could piss on it.

So, what evil did the heartless universe spring on me? Really, it wasn't anything too onerous, but it gobbled up my ever dwindling time. Jack was going to bring his pressure washer over for me to borrow, but he threw his back out so he couldn't load it. I drove over, played with Gideon, said hi to everyone, and hauled the pressure washer back. That ate up an hour. Then I tended to my painting zombies and set things up for my tile-guy. Then I talked to my wife about perverts, reporters, and go-go boots for a while.

As such, I have no new photos of freshly stained floors. Bugger.

Not one to squander yet another personal failure, I'll take this time to answer a few related questions.

As Brooklyn Row House asked, why not a use a belt sander for the floor? This is an excellent question, but the answer is a little complicated.

First, our original belt sander was stolen a little over a year ago with the rest of our $2000 of tools and equipment. We borrowed one from my wife's grandfather, but it is smaller than the stolen one so none of the remaining belts fit. We're too lazy and cheap to buy more at this point.

Second, I don't really like them much. As Brenda mentioned, they are a booger to control even if you have good upper-body strength. And they tend to gouge; God help you if you hit a nail head or tack with one. At best the belt will shred. Worst is it jumps all over the place and tears the wood up.

Three, as Brooklyn alluded to in their comment, if you have any amount of significant finish on the wood, the paper quickly becomes coated in a thick, hot, tacky mess.

Four, belt sanders tend have blind-spots that make getting flush with walls and other obstacles difficult. This room is filled with weird trim, shut off valves, angles, and what-not, so I wouldn't be able to get to half of the room with one anyhow.

I'd like to say that my decision to scrape was carefully made with some grand plan in mind. Mostly, it was just dumb happenstance. I started of using a grinder, palm-sander, and a sanding block, but I was unhappy with the progress. In one night I ate through $15 worth of sanding paper for the palm sander but barely finished a 1/3 of the room. There was a lot of wood putty to sand flat, and it was taking for ever to get it ground down smooth. Dust was everywhere. Through some experimenting, I discovered that one or two firm passes with my paint scraper was enough to take care of most buildups of wood putty or anything else. At some point, I quit sanding and grinding and just started scraping like mad. And, it seems to be faster. Maybe I'm just making the last part up? It really feels like it though.

And now for my beer recommendations per Brenda's request. Having traveled a small bit of the world and tried many beers, I'd still have to say that my favorite one is Guinness.

It's just damn hard to beat a good pint of stout whether you like it chilled or room temperature.

Every now and then, I like something different. One of my favorite standbys is a pint of Franzischkaner Dunkleweiss Beer (a.k.a. fat-happy-monk beer).

Another memoriable beer whose name I've forgotten was one a German friend smuggled through customs for us. It was unpasturized and from a local brewery near Mainz. It came in a corked pottery bottle of sorts. Excellent.

For those of you who don't obsessively check and recheck the comment sections of my old posts, DavidLBC has some interesting thoughts on hand scraping in the good old days here. I don't have time to cover it now, but I have some thoughts on it as well that might make for a future post. I would say that David and I seem to be on the same page regarding this one.


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Blogger Chris said...

Aaaah...a pint of Guiness. Just in time for St Patrick's Day.

11:29 AM  
Blogger My Marrakech said...

Okay enough of that business of sanding and staining. I just want to know about WHY you were talking to your wife about go go boots. I suspect that you and Scarlet have hidden very interesting private life:-)

6:56 PM  
Blogger John said...

Chris, ya gotta love St. Patrick. The Irish aren't bad folk either.

Maryam, you have no idea how right you are.

Go-go boots? why wouldn't we talk about go-go boots? As Scaret says, "boots are excellent." She has quite a collection too.

Regarding shoes, my mother-in-law wears size 5 1/2, but one foot is funky looking because a horse broke it. I'm not sure how much that would effect fit, but we can provide a tracing if it would help.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous brenda from flatbush said...

Guinness, yes! (at least the "draft in cans" stuff, amazingly good storebought version of a pulled pint)...I'll bet Guinness rubbed right into a freshly scraped floorboard wouldn't look too bad,either!

8:05 PM  

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