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After a few slow weeks we are starting to gather momentum again – we are still being held up by planning permission so I will start there:

Planning Permission: I went in to the Iriyah (local council) to chat with those involved with the early parts of the planning permission process and they told me that my application goes to the “Va’ada” (meeting) during this week before the end of the month. After that I have to pay some money and do some tasks and that I should talk to my structural engineer who will guide me through the process. So, basically I now know that we are starting to make progress (after 6 weeks of waiting with our paperwork doing nothing due to chagim/festivals) but I have no idea how much longer after this stage we will need to wait to get the final planning permission so that we can order our windows. The windows will take about 2 months to be delivered.

Tiles:  As far as I am aware the last of the tiles have now arrived. There is a possibility that we are waiting for just 1 box of a different tile (we were last week) but it may have come in with this final batch of tiles.The kablan/builder is planning on starting the tiling of the attic today – and then working his way down.

Plumbing: We now have both baths, and the shower installed in the house. The basement bathroom is completely tiled as well.

Plumbing Extras: I found out last week that the plumbing deliveries came without the bath taps. These taps need to be available at installation time as they cannot be installed at a later point. Therefore the kablan bought these taps and we will have to pay him for them – and take them off the plumbing order. The kablan has also been ordering the Caesar stone for finishing off the tiling edges and bathroom shelving as he works. This is quicker than him sending measurements to Tamar – and then having her obtain and then deliver it. We owe the kablan about 2000NIS for these bits and pieces so far.

Alarm: The alarm guy came last week. I am still not quite sure why he came – but I was there at the time and I made some very important changes. Basically the window alarms work by a unit which puts a beam across the windows. If the beam is broken then the alarm goes off. The alarm company had arranged that all these units will be “outside” the windows sticking out of the building at points where kids (and their footballs) will be constantly knocking and breaking them. This was extremely badly designed and required the common sense of a fly to realise that this just wouldn’t work with two young (6 and 10 year old) boys in the house. I arranged for the position of these alarm units to be moved within the window recesses. So, even though I did not see a reason for the alarm guy to come – it was lucky that he did come otherwise I would have been furious with his solution. As an aside, I found out that the alarm person that we are using actually works for a company (and not for himself as we thought) and he was off sick for a while. The company sent someone else – who made changes without telling us or discussing it with me. Tamar (the interior designer) complained and got the changes revoked and had the original alarm contractor put back onto our project.

Electricity: The electrician is continuing with putting in the conduit for the cables, alarm system, air conditioning and sound system. He obviously had to redo parts of the alarm which neither he nor the kablan were happy about – but that is hard luck as if they had thought for just a moment they would have spoken to me about the bad positioning of the sensors in the first place.

Air Conditioning: All of the Toshiba units (the main house) have arrived and the air conditioning team is installing all the copper piping for shifting the coolant throughout the system. The main external unit is enormous! It is over 6 – 7 ft tall and about 4ft wide and deep as well. It is now sitting on our roof and – trust me – it ain’t going nowhere.

Lintel above garage: I spoke to the kablan about this – and he knows that he has to fix it.

Parking Space Barrier: I found a remote-controlled solar parking space barrier that exactly fitted our requirements to stop others using our garage. I passed this info onto our kablan who showed it to a supplier of his. This supplier used to sell this device but found that there were issues with having enough electricity in the motor all the time. He therefore suggested an identical device that was powered from the mains. This is a cheaper solution as well (unless we get extra installation costs – but as we have a fixed electrical installation fee we will probably not pay anything extra here).

Garden: The final cleaning of the garden has been done and Joelle tried to go and see a fancy concrete installation example. The problem was that the address we were given has the concrete in their garden – but it is behind a security fence and no one was home at the time – therefore she couldn’t see it clearly. I will try and go tomorrow after a shopping trip for lights with Tamar.

Design: We had a telephone meeting last week with Tamar just to confirm that we all understand where we are at, and to discuss our next steps forward. We arranged 2 more meetings (lighting and carpentry) for the next week or two.

Garden composter: This came at the beginning of last week and I put it together on the day that I got it. With experience of this specific product – I do not like the door. It sometimes falls off when turning (or every time when a kid leaves the door facing downwards after playing with the handle).
I had my youngest son with me on the day that I built it – and the idiot (meant in the politest sense possible) as children often are – decided to play. He climbed over a railing on top of the garage and was standing on a platform less that a foot wide with no barrier between him and a 2.5 metre (9ft) fall onto a concrete pavement. He was throwing stones at a lamp-post because he liked the sound it made when they hit each other. As you can imagine I wasn’t very happy and a put a stop to it extremely quickly (and VERY carefully) so that he did not fall into a trip to the ER or worse…..

Doors: we have also discussed whether we would rather have a normal interior door – or a security door between the basement and the rest of the house.

Contract: Our contract states that we have a 10% leeway of extra work that will be done within the paid work. A lot of the garden work is being done within this leeway. The kablan sent us a status of the extra work that has been done (or has been approved) and we have about 3-5000NIS left until we run out of “free” work. There are some things on this list which we have queried – and Tamar is looking into them.

Moving on: The next major tasks we have are starting on the garden when the gardener is back from his holiday, windows once we have the planning permission, fireplace/smoker and concrete areas in the garden.

Guests: We also have our first guests invited to stay at the house! We have friends coming over from the UK to stay for a couple of weeks over Pesach! This is the first time we can easily put people up after making Aliya 5 years ago. Now all we have to do is finish on time!

That’s all for now, will update you next week.

Adam & Joelle.