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, March 27, 2007

The Killing Fields

This warm weather has everything just burning to go. The wasps are all a buzz and building nest under every eve and over the front door. Every evening I kill as many of the little devils as I can, and the next day more have come to take their place. As annoying (and sometimes scary) as the wasps are, this year is a real improvement over previous years. In years past, they'd awake from their slumber and fill the Devil Queen's interior, like 200 in the master bathroom. We've only had a dozen intruders this year and they were handily dispatched.

Last week I started to wire the closet light in Gideon's room. I immediately ran into a snag. Whether the switch was on or off, the voltage detector was going nuts. I took a closer look and discovered and extra set of wire(s?) in the receptacle. Like any intrepid DIY'er I said, "screw this," and found something else to do. Then I called Jack and asked him to take a look, no big deal.

Friday morning, Thera, our cat, woke me up a little before 5 AM.

Usually, I'd have been annoyed if not pissed, but not today. Why? Instead of waking me with his emotionally co-dependent need-me-love-me caterwauling or his feed-me-now-lazy-stupid-biped call, Thera was giving the hall wainscoting his your-ass-is-mine call of the wild. "Weird," I thought, "it must be mice." Then, since it was nearly time to get ready for work, I took a shower and didn't think about it again until that night. That is when I found this in the living room.

Apparently, not only did his ass belong to Thera, but a back leg did too. The big question for me was, "Thera, did you eat the leg or am I going to find it in my shoe or on the couch later this weekend?" Unless I am proven wrong by some grisly, future discovery, it appears to have been eaten.

I disposed of the corpse and gave Thera an impromptu celebratory party, and this was a big deal given the long standing pseudo-antagonist relationship Thera and I have.

Thera's relationship with my wife easily predates our marriage, so we've been living together for a while. Thera thinks I'm a stupid interloper who will leave sooner or later; he thinks he can out wait me. I typically think he's mouthy mooch whose only contribution to the household is mule sized shits. Now, after nearly eight years, Thera has proved me wrong. He is a bonafide mouser. He has earned his keep and is welcome for the rest of his days as far as I'm concerned.

Friday was a busy day. In addition to a finger sized cadaver, I also discovered this.

And, Jack came over and wired everything up in a jiffy. The problem? The electricians had run a ground wire in from someplace else to tie in there, or something like that. I forget the particulars. In any case, no electrocution or fire and there is light so everything is good.

I called Jack to thank him and he asks, "Hey, did you see the dead mouse out front?"

Me: " You mean the one in the living room?"

Jack: "No. There was a dead baby mouse in the front hall when I came over. I threw it out in the yard."

Me: "Really? Wow. Thera has been busy. There was another dead mouse in the living room when I got home."

Thera had been very busy indeed.

Much later that night, Scarlet and I were sitting in the kitchen talking when Thera chased a huge grey mouse across the kitchen floor. Thera was winning though the mouse had spirit. He actually tried to jump onto Thera's face and bite his nose. Thera bitch-slapped the mouse for his effort and bounced him off the refrigerator a few times. The mouse got tired and Thera got bored so we had to intervene before we went to bed. I caught the poor bugger and tossed him outside.

These mice were pretty dumb, not the uber-mice of last year. Until now, I thought that they were pretty clever, staying in the walls since we move Thera in with us. Did they just get carried away with Spring Fever or what? Why else would they come into the house during the day to tangle with the cat?

What can I say, Darwinian Selection at its best?

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Blogger Poppy said...

Thera is my kinda cat! Though the legless mouse left in the living room was gross!

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Patricia W. said...

LOL! That is one busy mouser. It's March and all of the critters have gone mad.

4:49 AM  
Blogger John said...

Quite gross, I agree.

6:20 AM  
Anonymous mindy said...

Ewwww. Better dead mice on the floor than live mice in the walls, though. Hope the missing leg does not surprise you (or a house guest) at some inopportune moment!

6:28 AM  
Blogger Kathie said...

Use windex on the wasps. It's got ammonia in it and will drive them away. It's what my hubby uses in the pest control business.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Brenda from flatbush said...

Thera probably ate the leg. They usually eat everything but this funny little green part (spleen?) Bad news wasps--one of those buggers once stung me right thru the palm of a heavy-duty leather work glove!

1:55 PM  
Blogger CEP said...

Read the post twice to friends, who convulsed. Thera "bitch-slapping" the mouse was a particularly vivid image. I think everyone appreciated the tripodal mouse corpse picture, too. Incidentally, I have read your blog from the very beginning, but this may be my first comment. Have lived through many a remodeling, and so have been able to appreciate much of your mirthful misery.

2:08 PM  
Blogger John said...

Brenda, I'm voitng for eaten too. Wasps suck. I haven't been stung by them, but my wife has. The worst was the one that got caught in her hair and stung her across the face 7 times before they got it loose.

CEP, wow and thank you! I'm glad that you (and said friends) enjoy it.

8:38 AM  
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