Tools required to check for rot in a belfry: Haz-mat suit and courage

Our story so far: The seller of the church we wanted to buy and convert into our house disclosed the belfry was “rooted.”

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On our third showing of the church, which occurred while we were still waiting for the title to clear and we talked our real estate agent into letting us in again despite the prospect of the tiny commission, my enterprising husband packed a hazardous materials suit, goggles, a face mask and a big flashlight. Oh, and a hammer.

He donned his apparel—what a dashing figure, not too unlike the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man—and climbed a step-ladder in the closet on the second floor that led to the belfry. A couple of whacks at the trap door, and he was inside.

daylight in the belfry
Here’s what the inside of a very old belfry looks like. That bright light in the center of the picture? Daylight shining through the roof beneath the bell.

Unfortunately, he could see the sky. Coffee-can sized holes dotted the perimeter of the roof around the bell. On days with worse weather, rain was probably pouring into those holes. And who knows what else!

Well, we found out what else.

Here’s what a very mummified squirrel looks like.

Stan the squirrel.

The mummified and dust-covered rodent’s wide-open mouth betrayed the terror he must have felt in his last moments.

The real estate agent and I were standing along the far wall while Tyler poked around. We had no interest in coming face to face with a bat.

Tyler found Stan. But he didn’t find any bats.

Oh, joy! We didn’t have bats in our belfry after all! (I told that joke ad nauseam for days afterward. And I’m not promising I won’t use it again.)

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Tomorrow: Tyler cooks up a plan to repair the belfry. Read it here.


3 thoughts on “Tools required to check for rot in a belfry: Haz-mat suit and courage

    • My name is Julie (Hill) Mulligan, I am part of a very large family, we all went to Sunday school here, confirmations, baptisms, Easter sunrise service, Christmas eve service and even the funerals of both my parents were held here. This church is a large chunk of my life and who I am. I’m very excited for you and your adventure! Everything will be fine, only love flows from those wall.


      • Oh, I’m so glad you found your way to this blog, and I so appreciate your supportive comments! I hope you find our renovation interesting.


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