|Wastewater and Rainwater
||Started putting up planks on the north wall
Tried to get Internet
This week I tried to get the Internet sorted for the new house. We received heaps of clay and dirt in our garden along the road, and storm Bella undid two of our four downpipes.
Wednesday 23 December
It is Wednesday evening when I start writing this blog. I am not going to pretend I started writing on this blog already on Monday. I will, however, write about what happened up until now.
Already Monday, I started calling my Internet provider to ask what the status is of the Internet connection to the new house. On 5 November the electricity and water were installed in the house but what happened to the Internet connection? There is a roll of glass fiber cable lying in the utility cupboard, giving the illusion that it would be possible to get a data connection.
We acquired the solar panels via the company building our new house. They ordered the system for us and installed it on the roof. With these panels came a power inverter, and I could not have forecasted it, but that inverter is a kind of smart device working best if connected to the Internet. That is an issue when you don’t have Internet. The inverter is a Chinese product, and I really do not have much time to figure out why I cannot get the inverter to work – without the Internet. Hypothetically when there is an Internet connection and it is still not working, we have a different situation.
The solar panels were installed on 8 July this year. It was impossible to mount the inverter on the wall because there was no wall for it. Another issue was that the inverter requires electricity from the grid to work. We were not connected to the grid until 5 November. Then we finished the wall to be behind the inverter, and it was connected by our electrician on 12 November. That is 127 days between 8 July and 12 November. We still have not got it working. It is slightly frustrating. We have 24 solar panels that theoretically should be operational from 12 November.
I have been trying various things to connect to the inverter, and it responds well. There is an app to install on a smartphone and rather complicated instructions to connect to the inverter, but I have done it. We experimented with using my wife’s phone as a home router with wifi, and then I connected onto the inverter and connected it to her wifi. We tried this in the evening when there is no sun, so the solar panels were idle. We tried it over the day as well, but in all experiments, the issue is that my wife’s phone cannot be the permanent wifi at the new house. Her data bundle is not made for that. Besides, when we go back to our old house, she brings with her phone, obviously.
On 24 November, we figured out we would try to get the Internet to the new house. Good in general, but particularly useful to get those solar panels operational. It is straightforward in the Netherlands; it is easy to check if you can get the Internet via fiber. You just go to your Internet provider’s website and enter your address, and the service tells you if you have optic fiber or not. I decided to use the Internet provided by XS4ALL, and indeed, there was optic fiber available at the address of our new house! Well, you might have guessed that there should be because there is a roll of orange optic fiber lying in the utility cupboard, so of course, there is optic fiber at this address.
On 24 November I ordered Internet. The Internet provider said it was not available yet, although my address indicated it was already available. It was strange because they said that the delivery date was set to 1 June 2021. They told me that 1 June next year must be a mistake in the administrative system. After asking colleagues and letting me wait, they told me it will be ready on 1 December. I had to be patient. That was obvious.
December arrived. I continued to be patient, but one week into December, I had not heard anything yet. I called the Internet provider again. They had vague stories about that information will come later and that they were working on it and that they would inform me as soon as they had more information about the issue.
I spoke to neighbors about their experience, and it was totally different. The nearest neighbor will get Internet installed on 29 December, and another neighbor gets Internet on 24 December.
This Monday, I called my Internet provider again, and they told me that the service checking my address is now giving an unusual answer: an error message. They have not experienced that before. Now they told me to call Network.nl.
So I called Network.nl. I spoke to Paul R. He said it was not clear when the Internet would be ready for my house. I played my triumph card, “My neighbors get Internet, so why cannot I get it” even with the address and date for when their Internet will be installed. It did not play out as I had expected. “No, they don’t have Internet on these dates.”. I said, “oh yes, they have!” He was persistent and gave more information “The district central you and your neighbors are supposed to be connected to does not exist. There is nothing at the other end of that optic fiber. It ends in an empty pit”. He told me that the company that will build the district central is Volkers Wessels Telecom, but they have not started yet. I thanked Paul for the information.
The information I got from Paul did not impress me much. Well, it did, actually, but I still do not have any Internet.
The day after, Tuesday, I decided to call Volkers Wessels Telecom myself. I did not get past the telephone dispatch lady. She told me that people try to call them, asking for the Internet, but it is pointless. The only people I should talk to are KPN’s new building department. That is kind of funny because I had spoken only to Network.nl, but that is fine; If I need to call KPN as well, then I can do that. The lady even gave me a telephone number.
I explained to KPN’s new buildings department what my issue was, and to my surprise, the lady, Karin, told me that I had spoken to them yesterday. “No, that was Network.nl, and now I am talking to KPN’s new buildings department,” I told her. “It is the same thing,” she could inform me. This time I told her that I have a problem, I need the Internet. I am contemplating finding a temporary solution, and because of this, I would like to know for how long this situation will last. She surprised me again, “You can get a temporary solution from us. You can even have it for free”. Why could the guy from yesterday not tell me this?
There and then, I accepted the offer. Moments later, I received an email telling me I will receive a package with the Internet in it, delivered on Wednesday via a letterbox package. The exact text said that there is a 95% chance it is delivered the next day.
The requirements were relatively straightforward, I need a box that looks like a mailbox, and it needs a lid that you can open, and it should be created with reused red planks. I do think that when we got the package, I will take down this mailbox and make sure it will not fall apart, and give it a few extra layers of paint. It would be nice to make it more weatherproof because this design currently lets in moisture too quickly.
When the box was finished, it was completely dark outside. I drove the car to the place where I wanted to hang the box and let the headlights of the car light up the location. I placed the box on the pole of our sign that we put up on 27 April this year.
Perhaps you recall that I started writing this blog on Wednesday, 23 December in the evening. Today I worked half day as I usually do on Wednesdays. The other half we went to the new house to work on things.
I was excited about the possible outcome of today. We would get the Internet because the delivery service was 95% sure that our package with the Internet would arrive today. I went to the mailbox a couple of times to check if I had missed the delivery. I was also using any chance to look out of the window to see if any package delivery would enter the area. Once there was an orange car, and as usual, it took the wrong route. It was not our package. The orange delivery truck passed our house precisely on the moment when the company Jelle Rigter Grondverzet had parked on our driveway. They were busy restoring the road, and our driveway is a kind of community service for everybody to turn their vehicles. In the process, they brought much clay to our driveway.
Today it rained almost the entire day, so it was better to work indoors today. It was nice though to see that our rainwater system was working. The water in the reservoir has been more transparent lately, but today it became muddy again. Rainwater is flowing along the sides through the clay down to the reservoir, making the water muddy. When vegetation is growing on the sides, this will be different.
We decided to start preparing the fascia boards on the north side of the house. It is an awful lot of measuring and sawing to get the boards cut. This was indoor work. Actually, if the weather had permitted, it had been better to do outside because it was dusty work. We currently don’t have a shop vac for this kind of work. After a while, we put on our Corona masks, and that was better.
Speaking of Corona, by the way. A new variation emerged in Great Britain that spreads much more quickly than the original version of Corona. Just as you thought we had all the worst possible news this year, it got even worse.
There are two versions of the fascia boards on the north side:
- The sideboard is seen from the side of the building. The sideboards are wider, 40 cm.
- The “ceiling” board can be seen from below the roof. The ceiling parts are narrower, 24 centimeters.
Each stripe is 2.5 meters long, and we need at least 7 boards each since the house is 17 meters long. We managed to cut all parts of both types. Then we sanded the wider boards before we went home.
Next time we will work on more sanding, sealer around all the edges, and then a final glossy layer of paint. It feels like we will be busy many days, or even weeks, with this fascia project.
Thursday 24 December
In Sweden, this is the most important day during the Christmas holidays. This is the day when the kids get their Christmas presents. Usually, they get the presents in the evening, I suppose. In the Netherlands, the kids get their presents tomorrow. Because the festivities take place already in the evening, this entire day is called Christmas evening. Our kids are grownups, so we are slightly decoupled from all this. Besides, I am a Swede in the Netherlands, and here this day is a regular working day, kind of, because in the afternoon you sometimes get to go home early. Right now, “going home early” works very efficiently because we work from home. I think it is a nice gesture to celebrate the refugee chrisis of when baby Jesus was born. Actually, I don’t know so much about this because I stopped listening when I was told that Maria had a child without having any sex.
We went to the new house to continue on the new fascia boards in the afternoon. When we arrived, we discovered that we received heaps of dirt from the dirt road in our garden along the road. Most importantly, one of the hypericum plants planted on 21 June was entirely covered under the dirt. I worked so hard on these plants. On 20 July, I discovered they were alive. I had given these plants water every other day with heavy 20-liter jerry cans. Today I was not amused.
The barrier tape that I put up on 1 April was broken, which did not help the situation much. It happened when the street verge was dug out to install a data cable for the wastewater company that some of our neighbors are connected to. The wastewater company broke the barrier tape and left junk along our side of the road. I had been considering restoring the barrier tape because it appears as if our garden is used to dump stuff when we are not present to defend our property. Now it was time for the dirt road to be restored, and the company, Jelle Rigter Grondverzet, decided to dump dirt in our gardens on top of the hypericum plants that I put so much energy in. I don’t understand how anyone can get in their head to dump clay and mud in people’s gardens? Is the work done without supervision? Is Jelle Rigter letting out his kids without supervision to do the work for him? The people working with the machines seemed so young. Where is the manager?
The package with the Internet had not arrived in our mailbox, although the package tracking system said the package had been delivered.
The fascia boards got sanded by us, and we painted a first layer on the sides of the boards. That was it for today. When I drove home, I was still fuming about the heaps of mud dumped in our garden.
Friday 25 December
Today we went to the new house in the morning. We sanded and painted a second layer of the sides of the fascia boards.
The second mission of today was to restore the barrier tape along the road. I dug out the remains of the hypericum plants and put sticks out to mark the plants’ location. Here is a slideshow of the damage caused by Jelle Rigter Grondverzet.
I started developing an intense fury for people in diggers, trucks, tractors, and bulldozers that cannot respect other people’s property. I say it out loud, I just hate you. You cause damage to nature in a matter of seconds. You receive my hardest verdict if your damage is motivated by your own laziness.
Saturday 26 December
We decided to work on the beams on the north side. The last time we worked on the beams on the north side was on 29 September. I think it was when the first generator had broke, and we had not yet received our second generator. At that time, 4 October, we decided to do the beams our way, meaning removing the builder’s beams and putting up the beams horizontally. In that process, we bring more damage to the foil, and the room for ventilation behind the planks is narrower.
Then we worked on indoor tasks like isolation etc., so that the electrician could do his work, and while we were working on that, we started talking about if we would change our mind. Halfway through November, we reconsidered our decision. I looked back to see the exact day we decided on doing the walls as the builder intended, but I cannot find that date.
One reason not to remove all vertical beams and replace them with horizontal ones is to do this for the doors. The thing is that we are planning to build a conservatory outside the living room. It is called serre in Dutch. In Swedish, it is called Orangerie. The argument about not being able to open the doors widely is less of an issue if the doors become indoors. Besides, it is possible to create a compromise so that the doors will open widely. It might look whacky on close inspection, but it will serve its purpose.
First, we removed our horizontal beams. Then we put up vertical beams again where the builder had put them originally. Then on top of that, we put back the horizontal beams again. Our work area is from the east wall to the front door.
The fascia boards got two layers of sealer on the sides, but our paint for the front surface has run out. We ordered more of it, but it takes longer to get it delivered due to the holidays, but the paint will arrive next week. From here on, we will use water-based paint.
The other hurdle for putting up planks are the gray plates at the bottom of the façade. There are ventilation holes on the long sides of the house that need to be covered such that ferrets will not get in. The pipes are angled, which is a challenge because there are no standard ventilation grilles for that exact angle. It is ridiculous to create the ventilation this way, but I suppose this was the cheapest way, and we were not informed about this construction beforehand.
Later, when the paint arrived, we finished painting the boards, and we solved how to do with the ventilation grilles, ordered these grilles, and mounted them and the gray plates. At that point, we can start putting up planks again.
There arrived no Internet today either. No wonder because it is a holiday.
In the evening, the storm Bella arrived in the Netherlands. The night was windy. I woke up in the middle of the night and wondered if the scaffold would still be standing tomorrow. I decided that it will. Perhaps it will not be standing at our neighbors, though. The trail of Bella will bring lots of rain.
Sunday 27 December
Today we had a slow start. It was very windy, and it rained a lot. I suppose this is the tail of storm Bella. What could we do while it is raining and windy? When it is nice weather, we can do useful things such as working on the house’s exterior. With this weather, I could perhaps exchange the tires of the car? It is not pleasant to work high up on the scaffold with a lot of wind, but the lower levels are doable. Especially when the planks on the upper levels hold off on some of the rain. There are often drips of water hanging under the ledgers of the scaffold. It has happened more than once that I sweep off some of these drips. The drips then usually land in the most awful place, in the neck inside the sweater or in an ear.
When we arrived at the new house, the scaffold was entirely intact. Our temporary downpipes at the south side were down, and the barrier tape towards Mrs. PMT was broken. Those were all issues we had. Elsewhere a tent had collapsed, and torn tarpaulin fluttered in the wind here and there at various building sites.
The first task became changing the tires of the car to winter tires. This is because the car needs to go through vehicle inspection at the beginning of the next year, and the winter tires are much less worn down.
With that task out of the way, the next task was to put up some beams. We did two beams! We started talking about solving the situation around the door and decided that the plank will overlap the door. We have removed the vertical beams on the east wall to make the design as flat as possible because the door to the workshop opens outwards. The north wall has no issues like that. The front door on the north wall opens inwards. But how should it be done? We let the horizontal beams rest on the doorframe. The doorframe is L shape with one leg outwards along the wall. When letting a horizontal beam rest on the leg of the door frame. It is then possible to put up vertical planks and have them overlap half the door frame.
It was like starting the entire discussion all over again. However, when we understood each other, and the confusions were sorted, we concluded it was similar to what we did on the east wall but one layer outwards. Above the door, it is the same thing. On the east wall, we have one horizontal plank resting on horizontal beams attached to the wall. A horizontal plank is resting on a horizontal beam on the north side, but that beam rests on vertical beams on the north side. Because the inner layer of red planks can rest on the door frame’s outer part, we let these planks use half the door frame.
While we were busy, a DHL bus drove into the area. I walked to it and asked if I could help him. He had a package for our neighbors. I hoped he had a package for us, but that was not the case. I will call the company again and ask where our Internet disappeared.
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.