It takes a village

Our story so far: After working through every detail of construction for the spiral stairs we dreamed of for the old Methodist church we were turning into our home, delivery day arrived.

# # #

To be clear, delivery day was officially delivery only. The install was the homeowner’s responsibility. The spiral stairs proprietress suggested we needed one guy for every hundred pounds of stairway, meaning we needed Tyler plus seven guys. I could help, but I counted as only a half a guy (which was a pretty accurate assessment of my strength).

Accumulating seven guys willing to lift a spiral stairway in a village to which we hadn’t even officially moved sounded like a tough sell only to me. Tyler drafted his hired man St. Johnny, our tiler/master carpenter You-Can-Call-Me-Al, the carpenter helper, three drywallers plus a very large man invited by the chief drywaller. Plus me, a half-lifter. The proprietress and two of her men unofficially pitched in.

Ten guys and two women.

A little grunting.

This should be easy, I thought.

spiral delivery
Our spiral arrived on a trailer.

We began by removing the stairs from the trailer, which we accomplished reasonably easily.

A spiral stairway with a diameter of six-foot-three would be considered larger than normal (ironically, my husband at six-foot-three was also considered larger than normal). This size spiral would need to be literally screwed into the church—twice because we had one exterior doorway and one doorway at the top of the entryway steps to the great room. Fortunately, both were double doorways. The proprietress and her head man had performed this feat hundreds of times, and they were confident it could be done.

With a little grunting.

Their record was seventeen minutes from trailer to securing the bolts to the floor.

We began spiraling our stairway in bottom first. The top of the spiral had a landing which would be secured to the balcony, making the top even bigger than the rest.

spiral first attempt
Excuse me, question: How is that landing going to clear the doorway? Answer: It’s not. Back her up, boys.

After several minutes of turning, and grunting, and shaving off some edges of the exterior wooden doorway, it was apparent we weren’t going to get the spiral in bottom first.

We backed it out. Most of us huffed and puffed in the middle-of-the-day sunshine while You-And-Call-Me-Al removed the doors from the hinges in both doorways.

At this point in the installation process, I was reminded of the Bible story in the Gospel of Mark about the father who brought his child to Jesus to have him cast out the spirit that afflicted the mute child with convulsions. “If you believe, all things are possible to him who believes,” Jesus told the father, to which the father replied, “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!” Jesus followed through and cast out the unclean spirit.

I expressed my skepticism to the proprietress.

“Oh, we can get it in there,” the ever-optimistic proprietress said.

“I believe!” I said. “Help my unbelief!”

She laughed.

# # #

Tomorrow: Oh, ye of little faith. Chapter 28 concludes. Read it here.

3 thoughts on “It takes a village

  1. Impressive – I’ve always used the term “Piano Friend” which means you know someone well enough as a friend that you could call them to help you move your piano. After 22 years in Albany I would be hard pressed to name a a piano friend (Don’t get me started on the term “Minnesota Nice”).


    • To be fair, most of our Spiral Friends were paid cash. And EVERYONE was offered cold beer. (If I lived in Albany, I would be your Piano Friend. Or least half a one.)


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