elissande: (house)
So, of course, it has to be a house update as much has happened since the old house was demolished. First, there was just flattish ground, then there was cut and fill so the ground the house was going to be on was not only flat but also level.

After that the piering and the slab went down pretty quickly.
IMG_0453

However, that happened not long before Christmas and so there was a break of about a monnth before anything else happened. Then one day we drove past and behold! There was timber. Frame these days is modular, so it went up pretty quickly, so it wan not long before we had this.

PICT0006
And by early February we had


IMG_0529

Then there was another break, but the bricks began to arrive last week and they are now about head high on most external walls and the scaffolding arrived today, so hopefully we will have external walls by the end of the week!

There are, of course, a lot more photos and if you want to see more, check out elissande's Flickr photostream.

Of course, we've done many other things regarding the house since then - most of which have meant cost increases, but what the hell! Firstly, they (the builders) mentioned in passing that as the plans had passed Basix and NatHers without having sarking in the roof, that, in fact, there wouldn't be sarking in the roof. Considering that the sarking helps with the insulation and also slowing down any leaks in the roof, we decided to have it put in anyway.

We've also looked at and discussed the electrical plans with the company that will be doing the electricals. Of course, we wanted more power points, data cabling to both studies, extra external circuits and extra circuits for the airconditioning. We also specified the type of sensor we want in the smoke alarm and that we wanted an extra smoke alarm. Did I mention more money?

The day after we did the electrical discussion, we sallied forth to choose our tiles. Now, in the building contract, there is an allowance for tiles in all the wet areas which, apparently, doesn't include the kitchen. However, the allowance does restrict the tiles that you can choose. We were very good and only went over budget for the ensuite and the front balcony. But still, did I mention more money? While we were there, we did choose the kitchen tiles and some times for the entry.

I think that just about brings things up to date in the house construction department!
elissande: (house)
Yes, the old house has been demolished. Currently, there is still rubbles and branches on the site, but that will soon all be gone.

Photos don't seem to want to publish here. So check out my Flikr account.
elissande: (house)
It's been a busy few weekends - and some week nights - getting everything out of the old house. DA approval came through a few weeks ago, so we arranged the demolition date. That gave us a deadline of Monday 25th October.

It's not that there was very much more to go, as we'd moved out of the house about a month before, but those last little bits can take so much time.

One of the things we were intending to do was take most of the old kitchen (only 3 years old, after all) and reuse the cupboards and such in various areas about the new house. This, of course meant removing them and storing them.

Turns out that they made these things of about the heaviest grade wood product they could get. The large cupboards, while they were whole, were a hard carry for 2 pretty strong men. And they are over 2 metres tall, so they were also hard to transport. We realised that we really had no storage left for these tall ones at the rental and that, realistically, they wouldn't easily find a place in the new house either. But we were a bit reluctant to leave them to be demolished.

Fortunately [profile] little_foxy and X came to our aid. A large part of Sunday afternoon and a bit of the evening was spent reducing the kitchen to its component parts and fitting it into their trailer. All without power available in the house! All we have kept of the kitchen is the very thin spice cupboard and the peninsula bench!

After this we celebrated with pizza and various beverages and they took their very heavy trailer home very carefully. :)

On Monday morning the demolition did, indeed begin. Yes we are taking photos. Yes, it is a bit sad.
elissande: (house)
Having found a rental house as previously described, we have been organising the move. S took last week off and moved a lot of stuff in the van. Unfortunately, the van spat the dummy a couple of times, with the mechanic finally deciding it was an undiagnosed, intermittent fault in the EFI system. I interpret that as 'we have no idea but we don't think it's anything to do with us, go and talk to someone electrically minded.'

Still, a lot of stuff did get moved. And we'd organised movers to come an move the big/awkward/heavy stuff on Saturday morning. They were supposed to turn up at 8 am but didn't. They rang at about 7:45 and said they'd be late - finally got to us about 10 - about the time we were hoping they'd be finished.

We had friends ([profile] little_foxy, X, [profile] tatianiska and D) turn up to help us pack up and to keep our sanity. Thanks guys, really, really appreciated!

While the movers were moving stuff, mostly we just kept out of their way. Not watching them try and fit furniture through narrow openings is the way to go. Still, it looks like everything arrived in the new place undamaged. Now we just have to sort and pack and find the vital stuff currently missing - like my music for tonight's rehearsal.

The cats were moved after they re-emerged from wherever they'd been while all the commotion was happening. Stupid first as he came out first and then Rerrol. We kept them inside for over 24 hours. They both ended up deciding that the best place to hide from the world was under the folded up futon base in my study (which is, of course, also full of boxen... and stuff). In fact they spent most of Saturday night curled up only a few inches from each other. :) Last night they actually went outside for a bit and came back in again after a while, so I think they'll be fine.

On the new house front, Council has given approval for the development, so now things are starting to happen. First we remove the trees that have to be removed, then the demolishers can come in and do their thing. Finally, the house building can start.

It's not all quite that straightforward, of course, there are some requirements included in the approval, but most of them are included in the demolition or building quote. At least it feels like things are happening and that we didn't move into the rental house while we still had months to wait.

Am now completely exhausted and all my muscles are sore. I'll get better. :)
elissande: (house)
Well, we're hoping that the DA will be approved sometime this week. And when that's done, we can get the necessary trees removed and the demolition organised while waiting for the construction certificate.

In order to make this as quick as possible, we set out the last 2 weekends to look at rental properties. We need a couple of weeks overlap in order to get things like air conditioners and ovens removed.

The whole rental market has changed considerably since I last looked to a rental over 20 years ago. Back then, you went into the agents in the area and asked what was available and they took you round to see them and you said I'll have that one please. Now, there are all sorts of hoops to jump through and they give you 10 minutes to look through the place. And the first couple we looked at there were about 20 other separate parties looking at the same time. With no real rental history, we weren't sure how we would go.

We did discuss putting in for a couple that we saw last week, but weren't enthusiastic enough to get the applications in on time. We did have a few criteria:
1) Total cost of rent and any extra storage we may require should be no more than $X/week.
2) They had to allow our cats.
3) Preferably not too far from our current address.
4) Not on a busy road and
5) Not too much mould - this last added after seeing one house that fit the other criteria but which we both decided we wouldn't live in it if they paid us!

So, this week we went out looking again, with a strict timetable so that we could fit them all in. One of them fit all our criteria (the only one so far). Not only that, but it had a few things that were in our 'nice to have' list - big back garden, air conditioning (we'll be there over a Sydney summer), an acceptable kitchen and off-street parking for both van and car.

the down side is that it was at the top end of our price scale, but we wouldn't need to rent any extra storage, so it did fit the requirement. So, we put in our application (emailed over the weekend) and got the response today! So we are soon to be the proud tenants! Actually, we'll be the first tenants. Not that it's new, but it was lived in by the owner beforehand. Don't know whether that was the current owner or if it was sold to an investor. Anyway, we are both surprised and happy that it turned out to be so easy.

Now to hope that the council plays ball and gets that DA completed RSN.
elissande: (Default)
So, after 2 weeks of extreme discomfort - the details of which I'm not going into - I had a cystogram Friday last week to make sure the bladder was healed and not leaking. It was uncomfortable, but not as bad as the one I had when there was a tear in it. And on Monday, the specialist said it was ok to have the catheter removed and the nurse did it almost straight away. Oh blessed freedom!!

Of course, my bladder then had to get back into the real swing of things, but all seems to be going well. Now I'm more concerned about the appendectomy itself and whether all the abdominal spasms may have slowed the healing. However, I'm so much better than I was and I went to work for a half day on yesterday and today and was really only tired at the end of it. Hopefully I'll be able to do a full day of work next week - as long as work mainly consists of sitting at the computer. I still have a few weeks of no heavy lifting, which can be a bit difficult as 5 kg isn't really that much. I picked up one of the cats today and then realised that she would be pretty close to that limit.

Of course, now that I'm coming out of the brain fug induced by being unwell, I'm starting to think about all the things I need to do. Argh!
elissande: (house)
Last Tuesday morning we had an appointment with the colour consultant for the house. This is where you get t choose most of the colours that you're going to have to live with for a while. And make any last minute adjustments. The timing wasn't great, but at least the catheter was out and I was able to get out a bit. I was a bit concerned that we might have to change the appointment due to my medical interlude, but we managed.

So, we'd already chosen the brick, the roof tile, the gutter and downpipe colours. These had to be chosen for the Basix assessment. We also thought that we'd chosen the garage door colour, but it turned out that the colour we'd chosen was discontinued, so we had to do that again. I suspect I like the new colour better anyway.

Then we started on the inside. Mainly kitchen, bathroom and such like. And the overall colour for the inside of the house. In many ways it was fun, but it's difficult to try and keep imagining the small samples over large areas, and whether it will go with other colours you've chosen for the same room. And it's not as if any of them can't be changed if we realise, once we move in, that we've made a big mistake. And then, it's amazing what you can live with. I've lived with a pink bathroom for over 20 years - even though it was very high on my list of things to change when I bought the house.

We upgraded a few things from the very basic inclusion package we'd opted for. We live in Sydney, deadbolts are a necessity, not a luxury. Also, a slightly more upmarket front door that would let in a bit more light.

I'm pretty comfortable with most of the decisions that we made. There are one or two that will either look great - in which case we are awesome - or will look spectacularly awful - in which case we are not so awesome. :)

In other news, the development application has so far been going through council without problems. Deadline for public comment was last Wednesday, and there doesn't seem to be any, so now it's under assessment and we may know in under 2 weeks.
elissande: (house)
But not a very big one.

The development application is in to council and we can now track its progress online. Turns out that when the council website said about 40 days, they were not just talking about working days. So we are currently into day 15. A similar house got through in 37 days, so things are racing by comparison to the last few months.

This means that we may be seriously starting to look for rental accommodation in a few weeks. And, of course, I'm relatively incapacitated regarding packing. No heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks!
elissande: (sigh)
Ok, so I came home on Saturday with a catheter and an external bladder for the next couple of weeks. This is so the hole in my real bladder can heal itself without too much pressure being put on it.

However, a catheter, as it turns out, is not a very comfortable thing and, being a foreign object, your body wants to reject it. This causes your body to give you some very strange signals and often uncomfortable signals. To make matters worse, this morning there was quite a lot of blood in the external bladder. So - another trip to hospital.

Turns out that it wasn't out of the expected range (would have been nice if they'd told me to expect it) and that there were ways of making it a bit less uncomfortable (which it also would have been nice if they had told me).

So, appendectomy itself is healing well and I'm feeling well aside from the problems above. Unfortunately, movement is also somewhat limited by the above and that bending down to pick up or put something down on the floor (such as the cats' food) is still a mite uncomfortable.

Counting the days - only 12 to go!
elissande: (sigh)
If you don't want the details, I've had a nasty appendix removed with complications but am now recovering nicely. Gory details below as I'm too lazy at the moment to remember how to put it behind a cut.

Sitting on a chair in Westmead Hospital, recovering from very nasty appendix removal with complications. Times like this I'm very glad of private health cover. For those who want details, I had S take me to Westmead emergency on Monday night just before midnight as abdominal pain was becoming rather nasty. Long wait in emergency of course with things not getting any better. Dry heaves and blood - yucky stuff. They took bloods, waited soem more. Eventually had an abdominal xray and a doctor. Everyones best bet seemed to be gallstones or a kidney infection though the symptoms of none of those we typical either.

Eventually a senior consultant came along and ordered ultrasound which showed perfectly healthy kidneys and gall bladder. Consultant then insisted on a CT scan (I heard him on the phone to the CT people getting them to fit me in - turns out I was lucky as I had a senior and well-respected consultant). By this time it was about 4 pm on Tuesday afternoon)

After the CT scan, he came back with a very serious face. My first thought was that they hadn't found anything, but no - turns out they had found a very nasty appendix so then it was a matter of organising surgery. This finally happened sometime around midnight on Tuesday. By this time I'm losing track of time.

Woke up in recovery, I guess, but don't really remember it. But got wheeled around to my room - at times like this, I appreciate my private health cover - but really woozy all night. The next morning the surgeon comes and chats to me about it. Evidently stupid appendix was almost gangrenous and hiding behind and below the bowel and was only ever going to be visible on something like a CT scan. It had needed a lot of washing out with saline, so they'd left a surgical drain in.

I was doing quite well by this time until the nurse started to remove the drain as the surgeon had said could be done. After only a few minute of the drain being closed, I was in agony. Fortunately, she had the sense to open it up and ask a few questions. Anyway, it became clear that there was probably urine going into the drain and later tests indeed showed this. So last night I was in surgery again, at about the same time and with the same team with added urologist and radiographer.

Coming out this time I was much less woozy and less narcoleptic. Had real sleep, even though woken up every hour for vitals to be taken. Turns out that the drain had also pierced the bladder, so that's being fixed and things are looking up and I'll hopefully be able to go home tomorrow or Saturday.

At least now I'm internet connected.
elissande: (house)
Yes, at long last the development application has gone in to Council! Now it's 8 weeks to anything up to 6 months of waiting for the approval. We, of course, are hoping for the 8 weeks but not betting on it.

Still, it's one major step nearer and more real.
elissande: (house)
As you can see from the title, I'm expecting a long haul.

However, we got the BASIX and NatHERS certificate yesterday and the builder was pretty close in their estimate of what it would cost (said estimate being included in the original quote), so we only have to pay an extra $600 or so dollars to meet the requirements.

So that means that the development application can go in to council. Then it might take anything from 6 weeks to 6 months. When we went to have another look at the display house and drop some documents off the other weekend, the consultant said they had just got approval through for a house in Parramatta council area. Curious, we asked where it was and when the application went in. It turns out the house is in the next street - still a fair way away, but closer than we expected. Unfortunately, it also turns out that the original application went in to council in October and they only got approval at the end of April.

This, as you can imagine, was a cause of some dismay. But I've been thinking about it since, and I reckon that application has had to be resubmitted at least once and that it might be the reason we were told about the extra height ceilings. Hopefully all the problems with the house will have been already addressed and council will let this one sail through. I can dream, can't I?

Also got a call from the landscape people about the landscape plan that has to go into council along with the DA. Basically, we're asking for a minimum at this point. We won't have huge amount of money left at the end and don't want to be tied into landscaping because it's on the DA.

So, progress of sorts, but a bit of worry about the time council will take.
elissande: (house)
We got the final plans on Tuesday, and they went in for BASIX and NatHERS assessment on Monday. When that is done (about 10 days) they go in to council. No real estimate of how long that will take, but hoping not more than 8 weeks. The council website says 40 days, but not whether they mean working days (i.e. 8 weeks) or just 40 days. I can hope the latter but suspect the former. So, somewhere between 6 and 10 weeks from now we may be ready to start.

Of course I'm feeling impatient. :} Seems quite a few friends are buying houses at the moment. They'll be all moved in before we even start building so I'm very envious as well as being really happy for them.
elissande: (Default)
We're being given an industrial sewing machine!!! Before I joined the SCA this would not even have been on my list of things that I'd like to have. Now it's a cause of great excitement - even though it's one more thing to move.
elissande: (house)
Yes, things are still happening but no, we haven't moved yet.

We got a copy of the final plans to check. There were quite a few things that had been missed that were in the draft plan, but we got that sorted out and a few other minor changes. You remember that I mentioned that the council required that the ground floor be taller than the base house plan. Turns out that this was very useful, even though it cost us (will cost us) a considerable amount of extra dosh. Because the ground floor ceiling is higher, so is the garage roof. This means that we can have higher doors on the garage. When we checked the original size, we would only have had about 1cm clearance for the van. Now we have plenty.

All of the extra changes (including the change in the garage door height, wider door for the front entry, change to the ensuite shower screen, window size changes) added very little to the overall cost as there were some deletions and some had been included in the original costing.

So final final plans now being prepared to send in for various approvals - BASIX, NaTHERS and Council.
elissande: (Default)
So lj is really behind. To summarise:
I have a new job. It's still at the same place, but now I'm down in the labs doing testing. It also means I'm working 5 days a week and I do miss the extra day off that I used to have. How do I get everything done now?

Anyway, I have a few weeks to get up to speed in fridge testing. This has been slightly complicated by a NATA inspection this week and a lot of extra work pertaining to a certain fridge that has been in the news recently (ok - before Easter, but it's still recent from my point of view).

I'm actually quite enjoying the change. There's a lot to do and to organise, but it's a different challenge and I do like working in the laboratory. I guess that's why I did science in the first place. I just wish the place hadn't been inhabited by TALL men for the last umpty-ump years. There's an amazing amount of stuff that requires a stepladder.

I'll update on the house in a specific post, but, of course, that's taking up time as well.

In addition, I've been doing consultant work occasionally and that recently saw me up in Brisbane for a day and I'll be in Canberra this Friday. Only flying visits - literally for Brisbane - so I won't be able to catch up with anyone this time. I was hoping to have had the weekend to visit with my parents and maybe socialise a bit, but it's the same weekend as May Crown and I'm doing Lists, so need to be there bright and early on Saturday morning.
elissande: (house)
Over Easter, we were emailed the detailed plans and should get the hard copies on Monday. Once these are to our satisfaction ans signed off, they can go to council and the next waiting stage begins.

We could sign off on them next week if they were all correct... but they're not. I think this draughtsperson was off with the pixies for some of the time. Some of the changes that we'd requested and were in the quotation were not in this 'final' version. So it will be at least another week before they even go in to council and that assumes no other hiccoughs.

Just checking my last house entry and realise that I haven't mentioned that we'll have to demolish the old garage after all. It will be too close to the house to allow them to put scaffolding up. While I'm sure there are ways around this, they indubitably cost, so the garage goes. However, we can keep the slab that it's on, so we can put something up on it later. As the old garage would have required a new roof, guttering, doors and windows, it probably won't cost us much more to put up a new one.

But one thing that is going to cost considerably more is the extra height in the ground floor that the council requires. While it will be nice to have the high ceiling downstairs, we thought we could have done other things with the $7k that it will cost us. But we've just discovered a reason why it's a good thing - it means that there is room to make the garage doors higher. This will allow us to fit the van into the garage as well as the car. Hooray for silver linings!

Home again

Apr. 10th, 2010 11:21 pm
elissande: (Default)
Although you probably didn't realise that I was gone. But, it was Easter and that means Rowany Festival (a SCA camping event). Because it requires a fair bit of preparation before and unpacking, washing etc after, S and I took the 2 weeks around Easter off work. Theoretically, that gave us Saturday to Tuesday to get organised to get up there on Wednesday - plenty of time.
The trouble with theories... )

Festival )
elissande: (Default)
A short time ago, I applied for a different position at work. Last week were the interviews and so on and I got the the job! I'll be back to working in a laboratory - as a test co-ordinator in our thermal lab. Won't be starting for a few weeks, probably not till after Easter. It will be a challenge, but I'm obviously into challenges at the moment - the house keeps presenting challenges as well.

I figure that means changing jobs, Festival aftermath and looking for rental accommodation all happening at the same time, though the rental accommodation could be delayed depending on council and anything else that may come up between now and then.
elissande: (house)
It seems I'm using this also to record the boring details as well as the more exciting things. Maybe I need 2 icons. Maybe I should just put the boring bits behind a cut. )

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February 2011

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