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!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Battening Down the Hatches

The cold has been creeping in lately. This is to be expected just two weeks out from November, but I am not happy about it. Sunday, I managed to put up two storm windows which was one shy of my goal of three for the day. When your in-laws show up and ask if you want to go sailing on a sunny, blue skied afternoon, how can you say no? And, the sailing was great.

The storms should be a quick project in theory. Just sink six screws per storm and they are up. Sounds easy. However, these storms have been in storage for two or three years now and they're filthy. So, after they are wrestled out from under the back porch and matched to the correct window, I disassemble them and wash them down while being careful to not get bitten by a brown recluse or something equally nasty.

Really, the storms are not all that bad, but the windows are. Invariablely, while washing the windows, I discover all sorts of nasty bits I feel the need to take care of before the storms go up. I'm not going for a perfectly redone and restored window just now since we don't have that luxury, but these windows look so fucking bad you could just cry.

The side of the Queen that I am working on now is especially bad. The worthless ass-monkey "professional" painter not only painted this side of the house the wrong color, he also over-sprayed the shit out of these windows. Sure, as he said, you just take a razor and scrape them clean, but that takes time. And, stupid me, I thought the dumb bastard would be doing this as part of the job. Wrong, but you already knew that. At that point, I should have known better too. Oops! Just one more for the school of hard knocks and bruised balls.

As I'm scraping off the over-spray, I notice twenty or thirty places around the window trim that need caulking. So far I've been using one tube of caulk per window. I don't see this trend changing any. I'm hoping to put up four more storms this week, which I might manage if the weather holds. After that, I only have seven (five for the bay-window room, one for the master bedroom, and one for the laundry room) more to go before I'm finished. Who knows, it could happen.

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Blogger Jayne said...

I feel for you. I'm still trying to finish painting my house, although I'm beginning to realize the impossibility of that this year and am concentrating more on scraping, caulking and priming. I have 4 or 5 storm windows in bad shape--the top storm's fallen down into the bottom frame, or the storm's cracked, or there's a wasp nest between the storm and the window. And...I discovered I can take 'em off my myself to fix, but I can't put 'em back up alone. Damn.

12:15 AM  
Blogger StuccoHouse said...

Every year I think it's going to take me 10-15 minutes to put in my storms. Every year I am sucked into a job that takes me the better part of an afternoon (or weekend). Just like you....I keep seeing other things....and getting sucked in to fixing them. Do you ever wonder what it will be like when our houses and done and we truly just have to do minor season stuff?

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I was doing this last night: scraping paint off glass and discovering that hey! This is hard f'ing work when you can't GET the paint off the glass! And then, it turns out that the caulking sucks too! And yeah, I just used "caulk" and "suck" as a verb in the same sentence and I don't even CARE!

I've turned your blog into a NAUGHTY BLOG.

My point is, I hate people.

10:14 AM  
Blogger John said...

Jayne, fortunately, our storms are from the 1970's or so. While ugly, they are lighter than the traditional ones. Still, getting them up by yourself is tricky.

Stuccohouse, I dream about the end all the time. It involves beer, oil painting, and tee shirts. That, I can handle.

Ottawa-Emp, I find that spraying the window with Windex first helps the scraping process. I don't know if it weekens the bond or lubricates or what, but it works.

If you haven't noticed, this is already a naughty blog. One blog's most frequent keyword searches is "handjob queen." Besides, there is real beauty and poetry in well crafted profanity which I encourage.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Brenda from Flatbush said...

I haven't stopped by for awhile and I forgot how hard I laugh around here...Your reference to brown recluses brings back vivid memories of my dad struggling with storms in the ancient ruin of a house we lived in when I was a kid; to my horror, there were always tons of spider egg sacs or something white and cocoon-like inside them. I seem to recall muttered profanity, caulk tubes, and other coping mechanisms...

7:06 AM  

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