Happy 21st Birthday to this Blog. Consume!
Today's posting marks the 21st birthday of this blog, which has grown up before our very eyes. By the time the house is built, this blog will be about 45 and largely irrelevant. But right now it's all about Facebook, binge drinking and taking an ironic attitude.
Our house is still being built and Gemma and I are being kept busy with a whole lot of details. At the moment we are deciding where all the plugs and light switches in the house will go, organising quotes for painting the exterior and some of the interior of our current house so that buyers will be crawling all over it wetting themselves over the "character", and talking to real estate agents. I'm also thinking hard about the information/audio/video in the house. We can't really afford much fancy stuff, but I want the house to be "future-proofed". There's no way I want any future happening anywhere near the place.
Our basic policy for plugs and light switches is to think of our current house and then add a couple of plugs and switches per room. Walking around our old villa I notice (apart from immense charm and character, oodles of space and how handy it is to shops) that we are using six multiboards and five extension cords - and those are just the ones that sit there permanently in place. Extension cords are like the black-market of wiring: illegal but tolerated. Can a house be built that doesn't need any multi-boards? I bet it can't. I bet no matter who builds a house, even if Kim Dotcom built the biggest, most expensive house with a pool and mirrors all over the place, he'd be down at The Warehouse two weeks later just getting one multibox.
On top of the walls that have been fitted in our garage level (see last week's blog post) a floor is being built for the next floor - called the "midfloor" henceforth. Because a massive meteorite could hurtle to Earth and smash into the structure at any time, this floor is going to help gird up the structure of the garage. It is made with precast concrete ribs which have wooden slats placed between them. First the ribs are lowered into place.
Then rough-hewn wooden slats are placed between the beams.
Local douchebag ruins weeks of hard work at Three Kings building site by pretending he laid the roof while probably screwing something up that won't be noticed until the house is finished then immediately collapses.
Notice an anomaly of the consent process. Any building is only allowed to occupy a certain percentage (about 33 per cent, I think) of the total area of the section. And our house uses up every bit of allowed "footprint"' on the site. So to crib a few extra square metres (or "squares" as they are called in the building trade (or "trade" as it's called in the trade)) tricks like this can be done:
These "bay windows" are cantilevered out from the walls to give more space on the higher levels. They give more room but don't affect the ground coverage. Our house has three of these little protrusions.
Next the subbies come in to lay the electrical conduit from the garage level where the electricity enters the house, to a central spot on the midfloor from where the electricity will be distributed through walls and ceilings to the various rooms according to the plan above.
Then reinforcing steel mesh is laid down and pipework for the underfloor heating is laid in loops.
The pink dachshund is pointing out where the electrical conduit comes up from downstairs, and the blue dachshund is showing where it pops out of the floor in the wall of the hallway. After the pink underfloor piping was laid, the installer filled it with water and pressurised it (go on, try a cigarette, everyone else is). As the build progresses, an eye will be kept on that pressure gauge. If it drops, that means someone has pierced a pipe.
The grey dachshund (Sandy) is showing a loop in the pipe which will extend into the floor area yet to be constructed. When they eventually make that floor, the pipe will be cut and extended with more pipe.
We are only laying the pipework for the underfloor heating, we aren't buying a heat pump or boiler or anything to actually make it work. Then we can live in the house for a winter and see whether we'll actually need it, or whether we can just nip down to Bunnings for a heater and a multibox and make do with that. The pipework cost us about $3700, which will be an expensive invisible underfloor bong or something if we don't end up using it to heat the house.
Then a concrete slab will be poured over the whole thing. This floor construction system is called concrete beam and infill or something like that. Here's an explanation with a diagram I stole from a website.
Our slab will be slightly thicker at 100mm because of the underfloor heating pipes.
Now it's time for a quick digression. Part of my contract as a semi-professional part-time Lifestyle blogster on stuff.co.nz is being allowed to digress every three weeks for not more than 400 words. The following digression starts off with a grisly accident and ends up with a fashion tip you are going to thank me for. Digression begins... now:
I fell off my bike at a bike race on Saturday* and ended up in hospital. I ended up in hospital because the people at the bike race called an ambulance. In actual fact I was fine - my mates could have given me a lift to the doctor's, but apparently the ambulance guys were pretty happy to give me and my friend, who'd also crashed, a lift. It had been a quiet Saturday in ambuland: "only one head-on and that's about it".
All that was running through my head in the ambulance was the taunting football hooligan song "You're going home in the back of an ambulance" which they sing at players who are injured on the field. It seemed like the perfect time for someone to yell that at me but nobody did. I actually wished they would.
It had never struck me before Saturday that the "song" is of course complete rubbish because nobody goes HOME in the back of an ambulance, they go to hospital. Ambulance drivers don't say "where to, mate?" They only have one destination. They're the homing pigeons of the road. The ambos were awesome and answered all my questions about everything in the van while giving me an airline pottle of water and taking my blood pressure.
The reason I'm telling you this story is because while I was being well looked after at Middlemore Hospital, there came a young man into the waiting room. I later heard his name called out so I know it was Anesone (I don't know if that's how it was spelt or if that was his first or last name). He was 19: cool, with an arrogant air, a flat-brim cap with the sticker on, a swagger and a two-dollar coin in his ear.
Yes. Nestled right in his ear was a two dollar coin. At first I wondered if that was why he was in hospital - to have that two dollar coin removed from his ear. It wouldn't be the weirdest thing removed from the strangest orifice that afternoon in Middlemore. But an hour or so later he disappeared for a few minutes then came back with a bag of chips ... and the coin was gone!
He was wearing it there for fashion. It was his way.
So now I say to you that I went to Middlemore and I saw the future. I saw what the kids are doing today and now I am also doing it because if they are doing it in Mangere today, we'll be doing it in Mt Eden and Berhampore and Cashmere tomorrow, and they'll be doing it in Invercargill in 2018.
After Anesone it was all a bit downhill at the hospital. A lot of waiting, a few injections, a very nice nurse, some washing of gravel out of my gash, a couple of cheeky X-rays and a cheery goodbye.
But the coin stayed with me. After a bit of research (Googling) I found a blog called "What Panamanians Like". At number 57 was putting a coin in their ear. The Panamanians (aren't they called Panamen or Panamaniacs?) who commented all agreed it was part of their street culture, but for reasons that varied from indicating that you had drugs for sale to being able to give change easily when selling newspapers to stopping coins jingling in your pockets. I guess New Zealand is becoming Panamanian. Other things that Panamentals like are Crocs, having a lot of last names and billboards depicting white people.
Before I end this blogging post, which I can't bear to end so soon, I have to tell you about a new campaign I'm starting. Three Kings is a fine suburb. One commenster from last week's blogging postulation said it was a "bit to state housey"(sic) for him or her. I dare him or her to come to Three Kings and say that. But that aside, I have had a brilliant idea which will turn a great suburb into an iconic location like Rio de Janeiro,
Big King is the only real volcanic cone left of the original four or more cones that made up Te Tatua o Riukiuta before people like Gemma and me started digging away at it. The only reason even Big King is left is the reservoir which sits atop it like a grey hat.
I like the reservoir, but a King doesn't wear a hat, especially a Big King. A Big King has ... a Big Crown!
I know, right? Now don't get too excited - there's a long way to go. I have to korero with iwi, seek the blessing of Council (holy be thy name, through this life and the next, amen) and raise money to pay a sculptor like Anish Kapour or, better, Neil Dawson to bring it into existence. I just wanted you to be the first to see the future. Please don't send any money yet. All in good time. Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted in the comments below, but I think the idea is so clearly genius I can't imagine you could think of anything to improve it.
We just received the invoice from the excavation contractor. If you will remember blog posts past, you will recall that we had various quotes for the excavation from $65,000 right down to $14,500. In the next post I'll compare and contrast those quotes, including the one from our contractor Design Construction Home, with what the actual price came to.
In next week's blog also see the slab go down on top of the garage! Watch the contractor backfill behind the garage walls, probably using our own fill we buy back from Winstone Aggregates.
Tomorrow morning as I write, the concrete pourers will come back and pour a slab over all that wood and beams and mesh and wires and water pipes, locking it all forever in place. May it all lie inside that concrete perched on the side of Big King for many, many years. When, in an earlier blogging post, I asked commensters what was traditional to lay in a concrete slab for posterity, the consensus seemed to be a coin, so I will be at the slab pouring to lay into it a bright $2 coin.
Luckily I'll have one handy in my ear.
Thank you for reading
As usual please feel free to "Like" this blog's page on Faceingbook, which will bring you all the joy of an alert when a new posting is blogged. And email me whenever you feel like it for no reason at all. Finally, here is another fine page of The House that Beebo Built, the dreamlike version of our own build.
* I don't really want to get into it, but 30 of us Lycra fools were sprinting for the line like a bunch of chimps chasing a banana when someone ahead of me lost control and hit the tarmac. We all fell over like a bunch of chimps diving on the last banana (except like chimps on bicycles who arrived at the banana at 50kmh and the banana was on the road). About seven of us crashed. It was a humorous scene. Thank you to whoever gave me a towel to staunch my wound. I would offer it to you back, but it had more of my blood in it than I did for a while. (Not actually true.) Nobody was seriously hurt and, more important, my bike is AOK, but Karl and Rob's bikes were written off.