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, July 31, 2009

Post Script to F.U.B.A.R.

I have noticed that my blood pressure has gone through the roof as I've written all these posts. I think I'm going to step away from this for a while in the interest of not acting like a totally mean, psychotic, and angry asshole. Life goes on after all irregardless of how this idiotic tragicomedy comes out in the end.

Anyhow, I'll update again when I'm not feeling totally evil.


F.U.B.A.R. or Closing As An Abortion (Part III)

This inane delay is screwing up a number of things for me. And starting Monday, they are going to start falling like dominos.

I spent most of my financial reserves in the last couple weeks: lawn mowing, hired help, et cetera. All of this wheel greasing was done with the thought that the house would be sold before I had to pay for the next mortgage payment. That payment is due tomorrow and considered late after the 15th.

I have an apartment in Little Rock. It's rent is due tomorrow.

I was thinking about taking off the last half of next week as a last mini-vacation for the year. This is my last chance until December because I start going to law school part-time on the 12th of August. Sometime before the 12th and 20th of August, I have to buy about $800 in text books. Oh, and tuition is due on theā€¦ 19th I think.

I think you see where this train wreck is going. And it doesn't get any better unless the Devil Queen sells. So, until that happens, here I am. Waiting.

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F.U.B.A.R. or Closing As An Abortion (Part II)

I'm going to have to go back to the very begin for this to make any sense. Or, at least I hope it makes sense.

Back around 1998-1999 a gentleman in our area bought a huge parcel of farmland. He financed this through a bank since it was large purchase. Then, he subdivided this parcel in to lots and began to develop a subdivision. People paid for the lots, he paid his bank, and the little pieces of land were released from the larger original parcel. Or, that is how it is supposed to work.

Back in 2001 I bought two lots in this subdivision. The gentleman in question owner financed it to us. In 2003 we sold one lot to someone living in California. They bought it as an investment and the lot has sat undeveloped ever since that time.

We took our profit and used it to move the Devil Queen. We didn't have enough money to do it all, so we took out a construction loan with a local bank. The bank paid off what we still owed on the lot and rolled that amount in with the construction loan so it was one big package now. This was also in 2003 or so I believe.

Things went on and then we "finished" the Devil Queen in the summer of 2007. We had the Devil Queen appraised and took out a real mortgage. The construction loan was paid off at this time.

The bank then sold our mortgage to the secondary market.

All of these transactions took place without a hitch. No problems with the title company et cetera.

Now, in 2009 we try to sell this goddamned, godforsaken house and we can't. Or, at least not yet.

Why? To be honest, I am not one hundred percent sure. If I understand it correctly, the VA or whoever is financing our buyer isn't happy with the level of documentation provided. They want a "letter of release" stating the developer released the property to us when we paid him off with the construction loan some 6 odd years ago. Until today, no one has been able to find a copy of this document or documentation proving that we paid. As of 10 AM or so, the title company had located this information. Everything is okay, right? Nope. No fucking way.

See, there is another snag. Sometime in the last year or so, the developer defaulted on his payments to the bank for the original note on the original parcel. So, everything involving the master parcel is being handled by a bankruptcy attorney for the bank in question. So, everything has to go through them for approval. As of 10 AM today, the title company sent off all the documentation they'd requested so that the bank could issue another letter of release or something of the like. I really don't have a full grasp of these details. In any case, the buyer, the realtors, the title company, and I have been waiting since 10AM for a goddamn bankruptcy attorney in Nebraska to respond to an email. At this point, I'd gladly choke the bastard half to death.

Not that you probably care, but if you happened to be a bankruptcy attorney in Nebraska reading this, respond to your fucking email because you're completely screwing up about 10-12 people's lives down in Arkansas. Thank you.

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F.U.B.A.R. or Closing As An Abortion (Part I)

If I could throw something now, I would. After a week of this shit, I'm actually starting to get mad about this whole thing. But let me back up yet again.

I took last Friday off of work and busted my ass for three days getting the house ready. I had to make sure a freaking railing was put on the back porch because the VA are a bunch of nit-picking douche bags. I had to finish moving our copious collecting of little treasures out of the Devil Queen and into storage. I swept, mopped, and dusted. I took down the antique light fixture in the foyer which does not convey and replaced it with something a little less dramatic and dear to our hearts. Jack was kind enough to loan me a truck and his time so the countless truck loads of shit could be laid to rest. Kenny came with a truck, trailer, and two helpers to move our washer & dryer, the refrigerator, and the armoire that Andre the Giant was meant to be buried in.

By the end of it, I was covered in chiggers & seed tics, cuts, bruises, and a smattering of poison ivy. I was exhausted. I ate continuously and somehow lost a couple of pounds. Saturday was a 16 hour day. But, come Sunday evening, it was finished.

We were on schedule to close at 4:30 PM Tuesday, July 28, 2009.

Then, Monday evening the title company calls and says there is a problem. Fucking brilliant. But, I thought I was clever. I was expecting something like this. Some weird, unforeseen delay. I did not panic. Supposedly, all I needed was a letter or something from the gentleman we'd originally bought the lot from back in the days of Moses. Sure. No problem I though.

Well, you know how that goes. Right?

Now, I actually did get that letter, but it turns out that wasn't what I needed after all. Now, Friday, July 31, 2009, I'm still waiting to close. More to come.

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The Home Inspection and Another Bleedin' Tease

I'm sorry about the long silence. I am superstitious though, and I'd hate to jinx myself. The way things have been going, I can't help but think that I'm cursed. But, I'm getting ahead of myself now.

Anyhow, the story. We have an offer on the Devil Queen. There was a lot of the usual back and forth, and finally buyers and I were in agreement. As I mentioned, there was a home inspection. I was dreading this for a variety of reasons. The big one is that house is still technically not finished. I still consider it to be under construction. Therefore, this leaves a lot of issues that still might need to be worked out.

A secondary worry was: what if they actually found something wrong that we didn't know about like a leaking pipe, twenty raccoons living in the crawlspace, or a roof leak? You know, something horrible.

As it was, I think we lucked out. There were three things marked on the report that we needed to "fix."

1) Repair a "broken" electrical conduit under the house.
2) Physically mark the septic tank and drain field.
3) Physically mark the water shut-off.

First, the electrical conduit was not broken. We ran the main power lines from the power pole to the breaker box through a plastic conduit. The conduit was buried from the pole and under the house. It then comes above ground and makes two 90 degree turns before it runs up into the pantry wall to the breaker box. Apparently, when we ran the conduit up to the box, all wiggling and swearing popped the glued joint on the first 90 degree turn. So, all I had to do was clean the conduit and re-glue it. It didn't even take 5 minutes.

The other two items don't really count as repairs or real issues in my opinion. It's more like a request. Anyhow, my friend Jack was kind enough to wade through the deep grass and pound in some stakes so I didn't have to get anymore poison oak on my legs than I already had. I still owe him a case of beer for the service which I will take care of if I ever close on the Devil Queen.

The home inspection hurdle was cleared, but things don't end there. More to come.


Friday, July 17, 2009


Well, we have an offer on the Devil Queen. Provided that the appraisal comes through and the buyers don't die or move closer to rehab as all our past buyers have, our Babylonian captivity may come to an end. No rejoicing till the dirty deed is done though. If I've learned anything from the Devil Queen, never tempt the Fates.

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