JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Electrician started

This week our electrician started working in our house. We had talks with a plumber and ventilation specialist about the final details.

Tuesday 13 October

Yesterday evening we rested. It was a well-deserved pause from the building activities. This evening we were back. Since we were going quite well and all tools were lined up for working with the gypsum plates, we continued on that indoor task. It is not so that I did nothing in the house yesterday. I paid the final invoice for the builder. We also paid the company that drilled our well. They had forgotten to send an invoice. Since we are such lovely people, we reminded them. A genuine capitalist would never do that, never.

We decided on applying gypsum to the wall of the “master” bedroom on the first floor. We decided on flags above the door. There would be a seem ten centimeters above the door, so we had to create support beams for that.

The character of the house is changing when we fill in the walls. Until now, it has been open so that light can flow freely. You could stand and look out of the window across the house through the open walls. That is getting lost. In place of that, there are different rooms created. In the next step, we will isolate the wall spaces, and then it is less easy to speak to each other across the rooms.

One of the most crucial advantages is using gypsum from stacks blocking the floor from being finished. With this, we can isolate, and we also have stacks of isolation material that is in the way for other things.

We added one more plate on top of the door before we stopped this evening. Then we went home, and I started blogging.


Wednesday 14 October

If you feel that this story I am telling here is going into some repetition, I cannot blame you. But there are many moments of repetition when building a house. Here we are not telling a fancy story of when we snap with our fingers, and seven or eight underpaid people from eastern Europe come and do the dirty work for us. No, that is the story of some of our neighbors. We have to do stuff ourselves.

Until now, we have spent our money on people native to the economy in the Netherlands. Many times we hire people from the same city. Some neighbors have no idea where the people are coming from working for them, and they cannot talk to them because they speak an unknown language. I don’t get it. We have hired Dutch companies providing for Dutch jobs. It is fantastic to have the European Union with all the possibilities of people’s free movements (Look at me, a Swede in the Netherlands). Still, is it not tragic and a waste of resources that people come from far to work here for much less than the locals when the local people can do the work? Is it not tragic that everything needs to be so cheap that the entire dirt road outside my house is filled with German cars?

Are you saying that Dutch people cannot build houses? That must be wrong? It is good that this free movement within the union is possible, but it is wrong that the Dutch cannot do this themselves.

Anyway, building a house is a story with many repetitions. Today I worked half day for my daytime job, and then the rest of the day, we went to the house and worked on gypsum plates. We had our Dutch electrician at the new house for the first time! He was free from Corona, so that was nice. He was coughing and sniffing, so I was a bit skeptical about his presence. At some point, I asked him how he was feeling, and then he told me that he had a cold and had tested himself of Corona and that he was negative.

We walked over the house’s electricity plans, and then he started mounting equipment in our newly accepted utility cupboard. There is no electricity, but there are two wall outlets! I got “homework” (literally) to update the plans.

While Gerard, the electrician, worked on the cupboard, I worked on the first floor’s bathroom wall, applied horizontal beams where the gypsum plates’ seams will be. My wife was isolating the bedroom wall that we had placed gypsum on yesterday.

We had a coffee and tea break in the afternoon, and just like a coincidence, our woodstove specialist that wrecked our driveway showed up and also had a cup of tea. I told him he had wrecked our driveway last time he came to us. He had not noticed and did not provide any excuses this time, either. He must be over 120 years old, but he is joking that he is 42 years old. His real age is a secret. His girlfriend is 23 years younger, so she must be 97. He does not know anything about tea, but he likes cookies. I think he can smell cookies from a very long distance. And we got cookies, freshly baked Dutch sugar waffles, so that is why he came by and had some of our cookies. This time he did not wreck our driveway. There is an improvement.

When our electrician left, the couple that sold their scaffold to us came for an impromptu visit. The man looked up the construction and thought out loud, “that is a very creative and ingenious way of building the scaffold!” He was most fond of the extensions with diagonal support. He was perhaps a bit too generous with his praise, but it was anyhow feeling good to hear.

I think they are lovely people with a much more creative house than we have. His wife is learning Dutch as I am, and she said more this time than last time we met her. With practice, she will get better at the language, so there is no time to be quiet. The couple had their kids in the car, so they could only stay for a short visit.

When mounting the gypsum plates at the top ridge of the wall in a room with a sloping ceiling, it is daunting to insert the screws at the top edge of the plate. There is simply no room for the entire screwdriver machine. For this challenge, there is a unique angle screwdriver extension. We ordered this device, and it arrived tonight. This device will be useful when mounting the fascia boards inside the gutter as well. I love useful tools. They make you able to do things you could not do without them!

Thursday 15 October

We are already halfway through October, and the time is flying away. We worked from home today. In the evening we went to the new house. We arrived before it got dark. I took a walk around the edge of the plot. I have to admit that the thistles are thriving on the north side of the house. The only places on the plot without thistles are the places I cut with the scythe. It was 12 degrees outside the house and a little warmer inside. When working in this house with a lot of activity, it does not need to be warm, but we lit a fire to warm up the house a little.

Tonight we continued to work on the wall to the bathroom on the first floor. The wall has a corner next to the door. The wall elements did not line up with each other. It was Vincent from the builder who did this. So so Vincent! I thought that the wall was straight, but it was bending. I had to fill up space to make it possible to mount the gypsum to the wall. If you look carefully, you can see I inserted spacers to fill up space. The fillers are between the wall element and the beam of which I will screw the plate.

When we were done for tonight, we had put gypsum in this wall section. We had used thirteen gypsum plates on the first floor.

Friday 16 October

Today we worked from home. It was sunny outside for the first time in many weeks. The corona infections are surging in the Netherlands. I am so sorry to say that I had predicted it based on what happened in 1918. The pandemic in 1918 was also less contaminating in the summer and picked up in the autumn. The worst part came after the summer, and that is where we are right now. History repeats itself.

Last Friday we went to the house in the evening and lit a fire. That was so nice, so I hoped the entire week that we could do that again. We prepared with two deep fry pizzas that we baked at home. Then we went to the new house and lit a fire. We noticed that neighbors did their last tasks for the evening and went to their old homes. We sat down and listened to the fire. I wonder what the attraction is with open fire and candlelight? Perhaps it recalls memories from childhood with cozy gatherings around the woodstove. A wood stove is a long-lasting wish of ours. We could not have one in our old house, so now we got to have one in the new house.

It is getting colder outside, finally, so we can keep the house warm with the woodstove. It is a hot year as usual, but no matter how hot, it will eventually become winter, and we are approaching the winter. It is not going to be a harsh winter if the pattern will repeat, and it will. The only prospect for a harsh winter is that the jetstream will get stuck in a trough that sends arctic winds over Europe. We have been saved from that weather pattern for several winters in a row. When the jetstream is weak due to climate changes, this is the roulette we play. It can happen anytime. Suddenly the jetstream can get stuck, and we will see a winter with snow and cold that can last for weeks in a row. It is nothing different than that the jetstream can get stuck in pushing heat from Sahara over Europe in the summer for weeks in a row. That is the new weather pattern that we have due to climate changes. Embrace it.

Saturday 17 October

We skipped working outdoors again. Instead, we decided on preparing the inner walls for the utility room on the ground floor. The utility room walls got multiplex plates below the gypsum, making it easier to mount things on the walls. We went to the hardware store to pick up three multiplex plates. We also went to a second-hand shop and bought a door that I can use as a temporary table in the workplace. The multiplex board was an idea of our electrician, and the door an idea of my brother in law. It is the first time I start using the workplace as it is intended. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to have a workplace, and there was no place for it in our old house. I do remember when the first time was that I wanted to have a workplace. That was 1989. We lived in a student flat in Umeå in Sweden, and I thought it would be nice to have a satisfying workplace. It took 31 years to create a workplace. Never give up on dreams. I had the tools in the washing room in our old house, but it was not a real workplace. Now we have designed a specific room to become a workplace. There will be three phases of electric current available in the room.

We did not finish the walls of the utility room. Not even close. We managed to get most of the multiplex board mounted but no gypsum plates. It was beautiful weather in the afternoon. The sun was shining, sending long shadows, and you could barely feel the heat of the sun on the skin. If there were less urgent tasks, we had stopped everything and been sitting outside to enjoy, but we had to work on our utility wall project.

In the late afternoon, our plumber and ventilation specialist arrived. We discussed the work that had to be done. He will install the water, the sewage, and the ventilation system. He is also a good friend to our electrician, and they often work together. We got the details figured out for the different systems and the price. We will perhaps be connected to the grid in a couple of weeks, but it will take a little longer for the water to arrive.

One new change came about with the plumber. Our workplace room will also get water and a sink. That is my wife’s dream to work on wool, and it is nice to have a sink next to the door.

After the meeting with the plumber and ventilation specialist, we went to our old home. In our old home, we can recharge, take a shower. That is also nice.

Sunday 18 October

This morning the sun was shining through a thin haze. It was beautiful. Today’s goal was to finish what we started yesterday, putting up gypsum on top of the plywood on the utility room walls. Around the afternoon, we had finished the plywood and gypsum of the walls. The electrician has stacked up cables below the stairs that he will put in our walls.

The utility room will have the cupboard where all the water, electricity, and data arrive in the house. In that cupboard, they will install meters for measuring how much to charge for water and electricity. The rest of the utility room will contain two tanks for heating water, and the ventilation system will be powered from this room.

In the afternoon, we met a neighbor about ordering plants from an organization providing cheap native plants. Some of the plants only come in large quantities. We agreed on splitting some batches of trees and bushes. We are planning to buy around three hundred trees and bushes in total. He also came to a similar quantity. The plants will arrive in January next year.

Along the south side of the house on the ground floor, we have a hall from the workshop to the living room’s end. Now when we finished the utility room wall, it is the first time you can feel the effect of the long stretched hall. I think it is working out quite well. There are full height windows along the hall, so it is receiving a lot of light.

The final task of this weekend was to get up the inverter for the solar panels. It is a weighty beast. I placed reinforcement behind the place where the inverter will be hanging. Two sturdy beams to hold up the inverter. The cables are coming up from below the inverter through a red hose.

Before the sun went down, we had the inverter up on the wall. The electrician may connect the inverter; that is his specialty. Around the inverter, we will build a cupboard. The compartment where the inverter will be hanging will be ventilated.

While I was working on mounting the inverter on the wall, I noticed that I was being watched. It was a bird that sat there on the scaffold outside the window. I could not open the window, though, so this photo is taken through the window with reflections of light in the room. We will slowly push away these birds from this area. If we plant enough with trees, they might return in a while, but I think there will be a time when they will not like our neighborhood anymore. It will be sad. It is essential in the future to remember when there were still rare birds in this area.

It went better to work today. Yesterday we had a little dip, you could say. It is satisfying to finish things. We do not want to have loose ends lying around. When we decided to go to our old home, I collected our tools and placed them on the tool table in the workshop. My ambition is to continue keeping the workplace tidy so that when we arrive in the house, we have all tools gathered.

It was a beautiful day. I am happy with the achievements of this weekend. I was a little concerned that the eagerness to work was wearing off a little. I do think that getting tools sorted on a table is one of the little things that will keep this effort enjoyable. Another thing is that we take our tools seriously. The hassle of cheap tools is not worth the price. The old generator has been nagging my feelings from the very first time it started to break. It feels excellent to have the electrician and plumber, and ventilation specialist to take on these tasks. We were hesitating if we should do any of their work, but it is simply too much.

With this beautiful picture of the sun setting, this week came to an end.

I was born 1967 in Stockholm, Sweden. I grew up in the small village Vågdalen in north Sweden. 1989 I moved to Umeå to study Computer Science at University of Umeå. 1995 I moved to the Netherlands where I live in Almere not far from Amsterdam.

Here on this site I let you see my creations.

I create, that is my hobby.