Monday, 12 August 2013

A green light - but where's the NBN?

Woohoo yesterday I woke to see a green light on the NBN box. Excitedly I logged in with my phone to experience ├╝ber fast Internet but was met with nothing.

Surely this is a joke.

I ring iinet, assuming they have paused the service until they are advised everything is fixed. In a comedy of errors they tell me they can't reinstate the service until NBN officially tells them to. They call NBN and can't get through. I call our NBN contact who says everything is fine, they have the info, put pressure on them. Go back to iinet, they get hold of NBN who tell them there is still a network error. Back to our NBN contact who goes off to fix whatever is going wrong. Day 4 since install. Still no internet. Still no phone. This is becoming a joke.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Pendant Lights

Very lucky to have Dad spend the day with us on Saturday helping to install some of our pendant lights. It had taken us ages to agree on a light for the kitchen - funny how that happens. The kitchen table light was a quick decision - bought whilst we were deciding on the carpet quote. The kitchen lights though were a completely different story. There were many lights that we liked individually but it was next to impossible to agree on a light together.

On a trip to Prospect to find a fabled new interior store we gave up after not locating it and went into Beacon in the hope of finding something, and if not the exact light some inspiration. I was starting to give up after we kept looking at lights that one of us said no to when Doug finally poured out a glass/wooden option that I adored! Quickly I agreed that we should get them for fear that this moment would not come again
Whilst the sales person was out the back making sure they had two we were still looking around. I had seen the perfect light on The Block for our bedroom a couple of weeks earlier but it seemed that they were sold out when I went looking online so had found an alternative that I hadn't quite ordered online yet. And lucky I hadn't! Doug and I stumbled upon the last two in NSW. What a find! Such a successful day that was then matched by Ike's shopping.
Apart from the pretty lights Dad has also installed the ensuite heat light with exhaust fan. As the weather is getting colder very quickly I am very happy to have that in. He'll be back soon to put in the bedroom lights, but I think I want to get in with some feature paint first.
I am a very lucky girl to have a Dad like mine.

Waiting for a little red light to turn green - or the NBN waiting game

I have all these wonderful posts ready to be written and uploaded with their appropriate photos, but no Internet. It is so disappointing.

Since moving into The Ponds the neighborhood has been wonderful - great friendly Neighbours up and down the street, beautiful parks to enjoy and long winding walking tracks that allow you to actively explore but the biggest and most annoying downfall is the lack of communication services. The Ponds has the lovely benefit of being in a complete black hole to mobile service and when my telco investigated with Optus, the service provider, about this we were told Optus have no plans in the near future to rectify this. Admittedly there are two places in our house we can get some bars of service - my side of the bed (not Doug's) and in an alcove in the kitchen and random service will appear for lightening fast moments in other sections but these will be enough service for your phone to ring but not for the caller to be able to hear you. Helpful. None of these points are consistent, they ebb and flow like a meandering river. Most of the time our great 3G network is reduced to Edge which is pretty much like being stuck on dial up. I am getting very good at playing "statues" as I try to keep service.
But not to worry a lot of posts were written on the train on the way into work. And then I got slack. And then I ended up in hospital with a detached retina in both eyes. Right eye has been operated on and I am in week number 3 of a 6 week healing time before I get to go through it all again for eye number two. I can't work. I can't drive. I am stuck at home unable to lift anything heavy or work in the garden (by garden I mean clay pit). So I long for Internet. I long for a phone service that I can use anywhere in the house.
Finally we received word on Monday that we were NBN live after months of fighting by our Neighbours who have been in since February to get the system working (not happy Landcom - apparently your advertised "NBN ready when you move in" commitments aren't worth a bar of soap). On Friday NBN were at the house connecting the various different boxes that provide the holy grail of Internet that takes us out of the dark ages. Mr NBN tells me he's going to have to head to the connection box up the street because the access light is red, not green. He comes back. The light is still red. "Well it seems you aren't really live. This happened in Windsor and it took weeks to fix". What!? He's reported it. I've called our Critical Case Worker. He's on to it and "hopefully" we will have a green light by Monday. Tuesday at the latest. I hope he is right, I have episodes of True Blood and Games of Thrones to watch.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

And we're in

After neither of being able to get the day off work we set mum up at the house to be ready for the installation of the appliances. I took this as an opportunity to have a few more things delivered while she waited. Every time mum called to give me an update somebody else was turning up - from sparkies, plumbers and delivery men the blinds were also installed. Mum, dad and Doug put the bed together before I got home and then Doug and I enjoyed a bottle of wine, pizza straight from the box and Ben and Jerry's straight from the tub. A picnic in our lounge room.
The weekend has been full of drives eternal the Hawkesbury and The Ponds, filling car loads and getting them inside. Mum and Dad have been amazing in their help - seems they are quite eager to get us out!
A sense of accomplishment though as the kitchen, family room and kitchen table are all sorted sans for a few paintings on the wall. But it feels like a home now - so long as you ignore the first few rooms in the house!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Post handover flooring

The week is now upon us where we are arranging our flooring prior to moving in.
I was going to write a post about the lack of organisation and how the perfect preparation to have tiles, carpet and appliances installed within perfect timing of each other was all in vein, it was going to be a very negative post. And then last night I saw the quality of the jobs. Saw how perfectly lined the tiles were, how perfectly square the carpet is. And then I let the few days of arguing to find out why we had tilers but no tiles and the disappointment of when our carpet was somehow not loaded on the truck in Victoria so would not make installation schedule. These moments have been washed away with simply how in love with our flooring I am. And also because now out place finally feels like it is finished. Let me hear a Woop Woop for no longer having any concrete under foot!

Looking at the mammoth cleaning job we have ahead of us of cleaning the fine layer of grout off the tiles I wonder if we should have just done our flooring with Clarendon. It would have been easier. We wouldn't have to go through this process. It would all be lovely at handover. But then I think of the time and money we have saved. We have been able to get tiles and carpet installed in a matter of days of each other. To be honest the big C would have taken a week for each. Plus an extra week to clean. And another to check.
The money savings are massive. The exact same tiles would have been an extra $2000 and comparing the quality of lay in our home compared to the display homes we are by far ahead.
Carpet we booked during an Easter escape to the central coast. We went in for a rug - a big beautiful shag pile rug that some can understand was on sale but too us is luxury - and came out having bought all our carpet. We secured a builders discount as well here. The company that originally quoted us at our colour appointment was unhelpful, giving me three choices (which upon further investigation the highest quality carpet was the lowest quality at larger chains) and expecting confirmation within 7 days or the offer would be revoked. This really just peeved me and convinced me that doing this after handover was the way to go. And we definitely made the right choice! The slight pattern is perfectly straight with the tiles. There are no joins anywhere - or at least we can't feel them. They were finished by 9.30am - who knows what time they started!

Tonight will be our first night in and I can't wait, despite the night being filled with cleaning and building the bed. Between the glasses of champagne of course!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

We have keys!!

Yay handover happened on Friday morning - and probably lucky for everyone at home it was in the morning due to my excitement! I am the one that still can not resist having a peak at her Christmas presents before the big day and yet still gets excited at Christmas and today was no different.

Clarendon came to the party on Wednesday afternoon advising us that they would agree to refund us the extra cabling they didn't actually lay. That was a fight harder than it should have been and certainly wasn't worth an argument taking nearly all month to resolve. DH then has to sign the paperwork on Thursday to get a new invoice created. We had already requested the higher amount from the bank and after a quick talk with our broker it was decided that it was better to hand over a higher value cheque and receive a refund from Clarendon.

Our SS met us at the house and he walked us around showing us the items that had been fixed. The painter was still there fixing up the skirting board in the garage so we had the opportunity to have him touch up anything we found (only the electrical box). We set up the appliance delivery date and our SS took us through a folder that explained things to consider when looking after a new home. It also had all of our various certificates in it.
Then it was finally the exciting time - our keys were taken from their packet. First we were shown the window keys. Then the internal garage door key. Then the laundry. Slowly we were taken by each external door being shown that the builders key no longer worked and how our keys worked in the doors. Finally we reached the front door and the official handover occurred!!
A couple of signatures later, a handover of the cheque and a gift of lovely Sheridan towels from Clarendon and the house was all ours!

Friday, 10 May 2013


Yesterday we attended our Practical Completion Inspection. Doug and I met with Dad and the Site Supervisor in the afternoon at the house - now without the fence and portoloo - to go through our inspection. Our SS is great, he is knowledgeable and goes through each section thoroughly.
We started with the Final Consolidation report where we systematically went through each section ticking everything off, whilst Doug got distracted eagerly wanting to move onto the "hands on stuff." Finally we were able to get through all of these sections with everyone confident that everything had been included. We then systematically went through the house room by room, testing all light switches, taps and toilets, looking at the paint quality, windows, frames and all other bits and pieces.
The tilers turned up part way through the day to fix the wrong tiles in the laundry. They turned up without tiles, not knowing where the spare tiles were located in the house and proceeded to use a hammer and chisel against the bricks to remove the wrong tiles. SS threatened them with the bill if they damaged any part of the house - and then recommended to us that we didn't go into the laundry whilst they did their work! It was all quite amusing - but glad I chose not to buy my tiles through Clarendon for the $2000 extra cost if these were the guys that were going to do the work.

There wasn't a lot to fix, mainly little bits of paint that needs to be gone over. This is our list:

  • Plumbing to gutter to be relocated
  • Brickwork joinery at entrance and in alfresco to be repointed
  • Bricks around house to be repointed
  • Scratches in glass of sliding door and one window to be fixed/replaced
  • Broken window to be replaced
  • Under oven drawer in kitchen did not close
  • Missing screw from cabinetry above dishwasher
  • Missing divider under sink for tea towel holder
  • Holes in slab to be filled
  • All globes to be installed
  • Paint touch ups
  • Final clean
  • Skirting board in garage to be made straight (yay WIN!)

From some of the lists I've seen others go through ours seems pretty minor and the overall build quality looks fantastic. SS was walking around with bits of tape himself and was happy for us to mark anything we liked. We do feel that the skirting board conversation - helped very much by Dad simply saying "come on it looks stupid" was a big win and Doug is happy to have been able to get him to agree to get the brickies our to look making a couple of the corners in the brickwork neater. So overall a very successful day.

It is now over to Clarendon's estimators to reassess some of the site cost charges they are not refunding back, due to changes to location of services prior to land registration but after contract signing and then we can happily head off to the bank to receive our final check. SS says he is expecting handover to be in two weeks! Fingers crossed these weeks fly by.