The price of peace of mind

Our story so far: The contractor we hired to fix the flat roof of the bell tower in the old church we’re converting figured out how to not only save our 1,000-pound bell but ring it, too.

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Our roofing expert, hard at work.

The bearded contractor I renamed Reroofer worked tirelessly on our bell tower for three days, fueled only by cigarettes and king-sized Snickers bars. He reinforced the framing, installed new decking and replaced the backer board and aluminum fascia. He put a new ice-and-water shield all around, wrapped all eight pilings with shielding and built a new trap door.

More work—to the eight original pilings holding up the structure—was required in order for us to ring the bell reliably and regularly, but that would have to wait for heavier equipment and better weather.

Reroofer finished the initial work to the belfry just in time. A thirty-mile-per-hour wind was whipping up, and the forecast called for temperatures in the teens. It was December in Wisconsin after all. When he was done, the belfry actually looked worse. Oh, it was more solid by a long shot, but aesthetically, ye olde belfry looked half-dressed without her siding. We’d agreed Reroofer would come back in the spring to make the belfry pretty, but for now, it was structurally sound and waterproof (also, squirrel free).

When he climbed down and cleaned up his tools, he handed Tyler a bill: $1,500.

After the initial extravagant quotes we got for belfry work, I was so relieved I could have cried tears of joy.

There were many nights between the time we first saw the holes in the roof of the belfry and the day we closed when the rain on the roof of the camper made me cringe. I hated thinking of all that water coming into the church unimpeded.

The night our Reroofer made the belfry water tight, I lay in bed listening to cold spiky drops of rain hitting the windows of our little rental house. The rain sounded like rice being thrown against the windows. I turned over and smiled as I drifted back to sleep.

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Tomorrow: Chapter 11 opens with a few tips on saving scrap wood, a valuable commodity in our renovation. Click here to read it.

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