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Published April 20, 2021

Freeze repairs conclude with a long, loud roar

By John Toth / The Bulletin

The technician wanted to rip out the entire guest room ceiling. They must know what they are doing, I thought, but I really didn’t want the whole ceiling to be demolished.

The big freeze was over, but what it left behind took time to tackle.

Repairs don’t happen overnight, or over the span of a week… or a month. It took patience, perseverance and most importantly - money.

‘If you take out the whole ceiling, it will cost a couple of grand to put it back. Can’t you just take out the section where the water dripped down?” I asked, trying to cut my losses.

The tech insisted that removing the whole thing would be the best way to go.

“Let’s just start with removing that one section,” I insisted.

Insurance will pay for it all, you could argue. For some of it - eventually.

I could blame many factors that got us to this point, but by now I just wanted the house to be returned to normal.

The tech agreed to take a section of the ceiling out that would be easy to replace with one sheet of sheetrock. That simplified things a lot.

The cost of sheetrock was not the problem - it was the cost of labor. If I could professionally float sheetrock, fix plumbing or dry out walls, I would have done the job myself. But I can’t.

So, the consequences of the big freeze continued for many weeks That was just the beginning.

There seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel, but I was mistaken. It was just the attic as viewed from the guest bedroom before they covered up the opening with a heavy-gauge plastic sheet.

Then they brought in the commercial-grade heater and high-speed fans, packed them all into that small room and turned them on.

It took a while to get used to the sound, which I would compare to flying in the back of a four-propeller airliner in the 1960s during a thunderstorm.

I can make that comparison because I did that at age 11, flying across the Atlantic Ocean.

I was hoping that the plane would make it, but when I saw the pilot walk down the aisle towards the bathrooms with sweat covering the back of his shirt, I wasn’t so sure. But it made it, since I’m here.

This constant roar lasted for two full days as the room’s walls were dried out. It kept taking me back to that plane ride.

“This is like your clothes dryer,” said the technician. “Except the room isn’t tumbling around.”

The plane was. In my young mind, I was wondering why this flying bucket would be sent through a monster storm in the middle of the Atlantic.

The non-stop roar of the fans in the room kept reminding me of what had to be one of the riskiest passenger plane flights in modern times. In my opinion, anyway.

Then the roar stopped. The walls were dry. The hole in the ceiling was still there. The room was nice and warm. The technician signed off on the job and loaded his fans into the company truck.

Other workers came and patched up the ceiling, painted it and reinstalled the light fixture-fan combination. Then they cleaned up and left after I gave them a big, fat check.

The ordeal came to an end, unless something else pops up.

But for now, the pipes are working, and the room looks great.

Oh, about that plane ride - I’ll elaborate on it in a subsequent column. Promise.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)