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We have had a very busy couple of weeks. We will start with the plans. During the last couple of weeks Tamar has been working like crazy on the plans. Electricity, lighting, plumbing and tiling – as well as continuing with the carpentry. We went through the (very obvious) plumbing plans last week and approved them to be forwarded to Yaniv to start working on. We had 3 internet meetings (plus several phone calls) with Tamar covering tiling and electricity. These meetings took about 8 hours. The majority of the discussion was about socket placement, lighting, switches, TV, computer network and telephone points (even though we are not connecting a tv). This was complex and we want to get it right now. It took so much of our time last week that we named this blog after it. We have also been discussing moldings, cat flaps, doors, windows and curtains, kitchen cabinets, up-lighting, air-con, white boards for the kids to draw on, carpentry, drinks bar (between kitchen and lounge), stone fascia near the fireplace, the fireplace, the garden and sound systems. I am sure we have missed some – I will get to it on later blogs when we confirm / pay for it. Adam also walked through the house today with Tamar to confirm and try to visualise everything that we have discussed up until now.

Doors – Hermetix have confirmed that they can do the design we preferred as a single layer rather than stuck on to the door. This will remove the risk that any paint on the door will crack.

Air-conditioning – We have basically decided on everything we want, we just have to add one more air conditioning unit in the basement and try to lower the price as it is still a little too high. We are using a centralised Toshiba system in the house, but with the ability to turn on each of the units separately. In the basement we are using Gree units which are cheap but pretty high quality. They are supposed to be better than companies like Tadiran / Electra but slightly below Toshiba / Fujitsu / Mitsubishi.

Alarm – We have a design for the alarm and intercom systems. The video intercom will be for the front gate and will have video screens by the stairs near the kitchen and in the hall by the study upstairs. Generally the prices are ok, but a few areas of it are too high. We are receiving another quote from someone who has seen our quote. He has basically said that some of the prices will stay the same but others will drop, maybe significantly.

Sound system – We received a quote for an integrated sound system in the games room, the downstairs (lounge, dining and kitchen areas) and our bedroom and garden area. This was unbelievably expensive. We are getting another quote from someone else who is also good – but doesn’t have such market saturation at the moment. Once we get this we will decide whether we will stick with such a system – or just do something in the games room.

Contractor – Yaniv sent us a new quote (about 3 days ago) and we haven’t looked through it yet. It is nice to trust your contractor this much. So what has Yaniv done over the last week or so? He has built the platform for both of the fish tanks (one will have fish and the other will hold the pump, heater, filtration etc). I was very impressed with the quality of this base – considering it will NEVER be seen by anyone when it is completed. He has done lots of other little jobs like strengthening the areas around the windows prior to changing the sizes, closing in an area by the stairs, shrinking the fireplace, creating the space for the electricity cupboard and many other small preparations that I may not even be noticing. He has also started with the plumbing. This means that his plumber has entered the house and starting deciding where the pipes will be going as well as where the air conditioning drains will go as well. They have also started putting up the tanks for the toilets and opening up the main entry to the drains.

Shopping – we paid for the plumbing stuff (same shop as the tiles) and the toilets and other water points (showers, taps etc) have been delivered without us even knowing about it. I also took an American Express card to pay for all the shopping. I assumed that they would give me a reasonable limit, but as I have no history with them – they have given me the vast limit of 4000NIS – just over $1000! This is an American Express card. When I had an AMEX card in the UK it was literally limitless. I assume there was a limit but I had one month where I spent close to a whole year’s salary (from savings). I also planned to buy our oven and hood last week – but didn’t manage to. I am hoping to do this in the next few days.

Kitchen – we have done nothing for the kitchen except that we took delivery of our Tami4 today. This was such a pain. We arranged for them to deliver it between 4 and 6pm. So they came at 2.30. For Israel this is unheard of. They then asked me for my wife’s credit card and ID so they could deliver and install the Tami4, but she was out with the kids about an hour away in Jerusalem with her ID and credit cards and we had specifically told them when ordering that we didn’t need it installed as we were buying it for our new house early due to the great price we got through Joelle’s work. They were saying they couldn’t deliver it and I was saying that I couldn’t care less as it was purely their issue as they did not tell us that Joelle’s ID/card had to be shown at delivery. I told them that they could arrange another delivery at our convenience rather than theirs. In the end, they phoned my wife and talked her into coming home early which was a shame for the kids as they did not get to do all that they wished. At least they enjoyed the trenches at Ammunition Hill and making soaps at David’s Citadel. Unfortunately they did not get to the kotel – and it has been close to 3 years since they last went – the curse of living so close (but yet so far).

Gardening – We got the quote from the gardener. Tamar thought that it was too high so she has arranged for another gardener to come next week. When she realised that we are removing 3 large trees she changed her mind and decided that although the price was high – it wasn’t so bad. As an aside, I managed to make our new neighbour very happy by happenstance. She showed me today that our pine tree drops lots of needles into her garden and that she finds it very difficult to keep up with the mess. She asked me if I could think of a solution. I told her that we are getting quotes from gardeners to do work and that the work included removing that tree!

Will update with next week’s story soon,

Adam & Joelle.