Now here’s a home contractor you’ve probably never heard of before

Our story so far: My husband Tyler agrees with me that his DIY solution to the disintegrating belfry in the church we planned to convert into our house was ill-conceived.

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First Tyler called three area roofers. Roofers have no fear of heights. Or, at least, they have the equipment to mount such a repair on a 30-foot high belfry. Keep in mind, we didn’t even officially own the property yet. Tyler, with his salesman-like charm, persuaded the roofers to have a look. One of them actually followed through, submitting a quote by email for reroofing the entire church.

Um, that’s not what we want. We wanted you to reroof the belfry.

Tyler was undeterred (which is what we would need if we ever hoped to finish this project). He discovered an entire profession created for just such a project: Steeplejacks.

A steeplejack is a craftsman who scales tall buildings to carry out repairs on chimneys, church spires, cupolas, clock towers and, fortunately for us, bell towers. And they have an association, too. Alleluia!

The first steeplejack Tyler contacted looked at the pictures of the belfry and provided a highly detailed quote within a week for ten times what we’d estimated in our Tequila Budget.

We wanted to cry. That figure was more than we were paying for the entire church building!

Tyler didn’t give up, though, and the second steeplejack—a pro with a mission who signed his quote with “in His Service”—confessed he couldn’t promise he could do it for less than the first quote until he could climb up there and see what was going on. Just erecting the scaffolding would take a day to accomplish. Besides paying for him and two assistants (at $2,400 a day), we’d have to shell out for the materials of course.

Of course.

But we loved our bell tower (or, at least, the bell tower that would soon be ours). And I loved my husband. Avoiding having his broken body at the bottom of a set of rickety steps was worth $2,400 a day to me.

And, as if guided by a divine scheduler, the pro with a mission would be available in November.

This coincidental schedule opening only made us more impatient to close on the church. But perhaps the divine scheduler could see a bigger picture than we could.

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Tomorrow: Chapter 4 opens with a debate about our plan to get the church livable. Read it here.

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