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, November 30, 2007

2007 Dumbass Award Winner

As long time readers of the Devil Queen know, Thanksgiving means it is time for this year's Dumbass Award. For those of you who are not familiar with this family tradition, the Dumbass Award is my in-laws' version of the Darwin Award (minus the whole death-by-stupidity angle). After Thanksgiving dinner, nominations are taken, the incriminating stories recounted, and a vote taken. The winner gets a plaque with their name and all previous winners' names on it. They must display the plaque in a prominent place for the whole year and bring it to the next year's Thanksgiving dinner to be passed on to the new "dumbest of us all."

Here are some previous winners:

2004 Dumbass Award

2005 Dumbass Award (the funniest one to date)

2006 Dumbass Award

Despite my prediction that I would be this years winner, I lost out to my wife's cousin, Kevin Owen. While the story was decent, I still think that the only reason I didn't win was because Scarlet galloped far too fast through the telling of the story. While the story was decent, I still think that the only reason I didn't win was because Scarlet galloped far too fast through the telling of the story. Charlie pointed this out after the fact, and I have to agree. It should always be remembered that good comedic timing is extremely important.

And, I suspect there was some behind the scenes politicing going on. For instance, Uncle Mike hasn't been nominated for one since he bought his wife a new car. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Kevin is a pugnacious kind of guy who likes a good fight to work off tension. Since he has been known to piss off more people in one sitting than even a big fellow like himself can easily manage, he likes to carry some back-up, a pocket taser.

Kevin and his wife were playing slot machines somewhere in Mississippi one night, and Kevin went on a short drive to a local ATM for some more money. The taser was in his pant's pocket. Apparently, if he shifted his weight just right while driving the taser would go off giving him a nice jolt. Again. And again. And again. All of the way to the ATM and all of the way back.

His wife said that he was "real wild eyed" by the time he made it back with the money, but she didn't figure out why until later.

After the story was told, my mom leaned over and asked Scarlet, "but why didn't he stop and take it out of his pocket after it went off the first time?"

Scarlet grinned and said, "I don't know, and that is why he's going to win."


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Trash Fairy

A couple of weekends ago we came home late from a day in town. As we pulled down the driveway, Scarlet asked, "is the old air conditioner gone?" It was dark and I hadn't noticed, so I just shrugged. Neither of us was interested enough to go wandering back to the old air conditioner's final resting place in the weeds and the dark, so we went in and didn't think about it again until the next morning.

By the light of day, we could see that the whole unit, a four ton air conditioner, had vanished from our property. Nothing else had been touched. No, we were not upset in the least. We'd been calling people for years to come and haul it off, but we couldn't get anyone to come and get it. We were baffled. Bewildered yet pleased, we decided that the Good Trash Fairy had hauled it off in the middle of the night. We could accept that.

A couple of days later, my mother-in-law mentioned that a friend of the family's eighteen year old son was looking for some extra money and had hauled it off to sell for scrap. Not as an exotic of an explanation as a Trash Fairy (I don't think Madison would appreciate being called that either), but we're not complaining. Gone is gone.

Aside from an arduous testing schedule for the hot tub, not much home improvement action has been going on at the Devil Queen. My bout of flu pretty well derailed me. Suffering through my first bonafide migraine headache today hasn't helped any either. I'm just looking forward to a long Thanksgiving weekend and maybe a some refinished floors before Christmas.

More after the holiday. Cheers.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Best Home Improvement Project Ever

Before the fever set in two weekends ago, I had what I imagined to be a very clever post regarding our first Saturday with the plumber. Something along the lines of how great it was having an ass load of plumbing completed while your family sits around the table in their pajamas eating breakfast. And, it is a great experience that everyone should try at least once because life is too short to spend all your spare time plumbing.

Russ, our plumber, and his assistant were very quick. All of the first Saturday's scheduled work was completed in roughly three and a half hours. When we commented on how impressed we were with his speed, Russ replied, "It was easy since you used CPVC. All I had to do was cut out the old stuff [Titan heaters] and hook-up the new ones. I didn't have to re-plumb anything else." That was a feel-good. Aside from bungling-up a few things, maybe we really hadn't done too bad of a job as plumbing novices?

Also, for those of you might not know, CPVC is the plastic pipe that you ought to use for all of your hot water lines. If you don't and us PVC, your pipes will become brittle, crack, and flood your house. Then you'll have to hang yourself because it is much easier to do that than fix that much home-improvement sorrow.

The most impressive thing about Russ and company aside from their speed was that after they left everything seemed to work. And, a week and a half later, it still does.

So, last weekend we had Russ back to finish off the Devil Queen's plumbing: the leaking claw foot tub drain (long story), the leaking master bath vanity drains (short story - I'm a weak monkey with only two arms), the bum hot water shut off valve in the hall bath (cheap ass Lowe's plumbing hardware), and the non-plumbed hot tub (we are just too demoralized to even try).

And, in a flash, the last of this woe passed. For only $190.00, the last plumbing punch-list went quietly.

The first time I tried the hot tub's plumbing I felt a little stupid. It turned the faucet on and just gaped when water began pouring into the tub. I don't know how long it was I stood there just looking. You'd think I'd just seen Lazarus raised from the dead.

So, last night I decide to tackle the last hot tub related task, connecting the electrical. Now, this might sound arduous, but all I had to do was open the access panel and plug in the hot tub's built-in heater and the pumps. I'll skip all the gory details and skip to the part where I fill the tub and hit the on button. It immediately started. Now, this is where an amateur DIY person might start rejoicing. You know, like I did after I installed the master bathroom vanities before I noticed the small, trickle of water leaking from the drain.

So, before I did my victory dance, I put the tub to the test. I jumped in and ran the thing non-stop for an hour. Someone had to do it, right? After an hour of such demanding work, I was weak in the knees. As I stumbled out of the tub, I couldn't help but think that this was the best home improvement project ever. Really.

Seriously, I'm really very, very glad the hot tub seems to work. We bought the damn thing so long ago that the warrantee expired before it was ever install much less connected to anything.

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Friday, November 09, 2007


Very, very sick this week, so no post till next week. The plumber did come Saturday and will be back this weekend to finish the rest of our to-do list.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Too Smug for My Own Good

I guess I should have known better. Dismiss a leak because the plumber is coming? Guess what? No plumber. No call, no anything. Sign. I guess I know what I'll be doing once I get the floors prepped for sanding.

[Update: the plumber is allegedly coming Saturday morning. Will he make it?!]

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Thursday, November 01, 2007


Plumbing is the Devil, but, for once, I have found a leak that I just don't care about at all. Really. Last night, I was cleaning out the master bedroom closet when I found this.

I thought, "Oh fuck."

I run my hand down the hot water line out of the heater. The copper to cpvc coupling is wet, the joint is leaking very, very slowly. "Well that looks like it's been there for a while (note dry watermarks on the floor to the right of the heater).

I wonder if this is where the water from our mystery drip was coming from last . . . August? Well, no point in turning it off I guess. I mean, I'll need to take a shower tomorrow morning (technically later this morning?). Besides, the plumber is going to be here tomorrow anyway. Perfect timing. How is that for some fucking luck for once? Screw this, I'm going to bed."

How is that for prescience? Didn't I say something about water heaters flooding the house yesterday? Now, the question is: will the plumber show?

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Home Improvement Hangover

Feeling this bad without booze is a sin. I was up until 12:30 AM trying to meet my self-imposed floor-prep deadline for the dining room and getting everything ready for the plumber.

Behold, photographic evidence that I am not a wretched, worthless DIY slacker. Well, not last night at anyrate. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to resurrect myself with coffee and aspirin.

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