Teamwork makes the dream work

Our story so far: Having moved into the old Methodist church we’d renovated into our home, my husband Tyler worked to make the belfry winter-ready.

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lumber delivery
Oh, happy day!

A nice, warmish day in September, Day Three of the belfry reconstruction project dawned with a lumber delivery. A truck with a crane dropped a literal ton of lumber in our back yard, most of it for building the garage but some of it for the belfry.

The goal of the day was to sheath the eight pilings of the belfry with new lumber, thereby reinforcing them and adding back the strength sapped by decades of weather and animals.

belfry four men
Coming right up! Tyler and St. Johnny on the ground, You-Can-Call-Me-Al and Reroofer up top.
belfry bricklayer wheel
This is a little blurry, but it’s probably because You-Can-Call-Me-Al working on that ledge was making me nervous. You can see the bricklayer’s pulley hanging off that horizontal board.

This was a four-man job. You-Can-Call-Me-Al was Nail Man. Standing on the narrow ledge outside the bell tower with a nail gun, he called measurements down to Tyler. Tyler was Cut Man. He cut lengths of wood with a table saw on the ground. He then attached these pieces of lumber to a rope on a bricklayer’s wheel acquired and installed by You-Can-Call-Me-Al. You-Can-Call-Me-Al pulled up the planks and attached them at the top of the pilings. Meanwhile, Reroofer was the Middle Man. He stood on the ladder all day attaching the planks inside the belfry. St. Johnny helped Tyler on the ground and frequently ran smaller items and tools that couldn’t be hoisted up to the second-floor, where Reroofer retrieved them.

At some point in the afternoon, Tyler sent me to the hardware store to buy more bolts, enormous pieces of metal bigger and longer than my fingers. I paid more for each bolt than I would have for most fancy drinks at Starbucks. These were substantial fasteners that meant business.

belfry close up of piling
This is an inside view of a sheathed piling. You can see one of those $4.50 bolts in the center there.

None of the men sat for more than a few minutes all day. You-Can-Call-Me-Al balanced on the narrow ledge, Reroofer stood on a ladder, Tyler maneuvered mighty planks on the ground and St. Johnny scurried around, picking up after them.

Four o’clock, the customary quitting time, came and went. Five o’clock came and went. These guys had a system going, and they were determined to finish the job. Six o’clock, and my stomach rumbled. Even I, who had been sitting at a desk most of the day handling arcane paperwork, was hungry.

The men wrapped things up about half past six. All eight pilings now sported new sheathing all the way around. The belfry had a new-car smell about it.

I attended an evening class nearby and returned an hour later. I found evidence that Tyler had fixed himself his favorite comfort food—macaroni and cheese—and I peeked in the bedroom: Tyler was snoring softly.

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Tomorrow: Ring my bell. Here it here.

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