Arranging for the Internet Kevin at His Best

As I’ve written about a number of times before, having a good internet connection is really important. Since there aren’t cables that can run to our house, we need to use the solution most houses in the country use: over-the-air internet. It’s not satellite-delivered, but delivered from a tower with a line-of-sight to the antenna on the roof.

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Kevin has been trying to get this set up for us with the provider, Fidoka, and had hit some snags in getting them to send a technician to the house to be sure we can get access and to prepare for the installation. Fidoka didn’t seem to want to work with Kevin, only the property-owners.

So off we went to the local office. I realized along the way that I didn’t have a copy of the document that shows we own the property in Evernote on my iPad, so I was afraid our visit would be for naught.

Kevin patiently explained the situation to a woman in the office: could they just send a technician to the house to make these tests? No, unless we already had a contract set up.

But what if you can’t supply them with the service? (Which would really be a problem.) No, that’s not a problem, I’m sure we can serve that address.

Kevin then asks how much an hour of a technician’s time costs. Surprisingly, it’s only €48. So what if we pay for an hour of time, and then later, in December or January, when the house is done, they can sign a contract? No, they need to sign and pay for a year in advance. (That’s like €50 a month. so €600.)

But they won’t be using it until at least December. The house isn’t done yet.

Finally, Kevin, who has been very calm throughout, gets her to agree to send the technician out for the hourly fee — which, by the way, will be refunded when we sign the contract.

In the end, all I need to supply is my Italian tax ID, my codice fiscale, and we seem to be all set.

We’ll see how this all sorts out.

Image: Pixabay CC0 |

Picking Some Lights Sticker Shock

Over two days, we spent about 7.5 hours looking at lighting and making some decisions. We didn’t quite get to everything, but when we finished the second meeting, on our last day of the trip, we felt we were in pretty good shape.

possible light

To give us some guidance on our lighting choices, we had engaged Alessandra to help us. Off we went, joined by Kevin, to a lighting supply store.

Oh, my! It was a nice store, full of samples hanging everywhere, and my first reaction was that no one would ever buy any of it. It looked like just a bunch of unsold inventory. Both Anne and I had our doubts whether this was going to be a fruitful visit.

We were looking for 27 different types of lights, not counting where we were going to use the same light in multiple locations.

Slowly, we started to identify a few lights that might be right or that gave us some guidance for what to look for in the catalogs.

We spent quite a bit more time looking at catalogs than floor samples. One limitation of this approach, which we realized later, is that the floor samples were tagged with a price, so we knew what we would be spending. The catalog items were shown without prices.

Predictably, when the costs were totaled, we came in too high, probably 40% above what we expected. The only good news is that most of the overage was caused by just a few high-priced lights, so if we can find replacements for those we may be able to get the costs back in line.

We started our search for alternatives the next afternoon during our flight home. Anne was able to find lights she liked, but from US sources, and since the electrical system in Italy uses a different voltage and frequency, we can’t use US lights there.

So we’re looking at and other sources, from which we may be able to have items shipped to Kevin for storage until needed.

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Lots of Interior Work

Three big activities today: plastering, window frame installation, and more electrical and plumbing work.

Here are some shots.

All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Work Outside and In Stone and Plaster Work

Outside stone work has reached the top floor and seems to be about a third complete.

Work also continues on the inside, with plastering and laying pipes and cables.

Stone on the Back
Stone on the Back
Click image to enlarge
Wires and Pipes in Utility Room
Wires and Pipes in Utility Room
Click image to enlarge

Here are all of today’s photos.

All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Refining the Electrical and Network Plans Identifying Some Overlooked Items

They have roughed in the electrical on the ground floor, following the plans I prepared for light, switch, and outlet placement. Kevin and Alessandra, who we’ve asked to help with lighting, did a three-hour walk through with Francisc to ensure everything was in place.

Kevin came back with a list of changes they had to make — very minor, all related to placement of elements where there is a column. He also had a few questions for us.

Q: Were we planning to mount the TV on the wall, so that the outlet and connections should up at the mounting location?
A: No. We’ll put in on a table or cabinet with the satellite receiver.

Q: Did we really want those pesky floor outlets? They’re concerned that the placement won’t be right.
A: No, we’ll do without them and rely on overhead lights and lights near a plug in the wall.

Q: Were we OK with wireless remotes for the ceiling fans? Francisc said it made wiring easier.
A: Wireless remotes are fine. We just need to be sure the fans we choose have them or can be fitted with them.

updated electrical plans
Updated Electrical Package
Click image to read

In going over all of this and looking at my plans, I realized that I’d left out switches to some of the lights we added recently. I revised the plans and sent them along.

The other questions related to the network. I had drawn up a plan that included a separate modem and wireless router, like I have at home now. That confused the electrician and the network guy, as they use combined modem/routers. Obviously, no problem here.

They also raised an issue about the three wireless access points I have planned to ensure good coverage throughout the house. Could they directly wire and wall mount them? Again, no problem.

Ubiquiti Access Point
Ubiquiti Access Point

Kevin sent along a picture of his access points. I’m familiar with them and they are supposed to work great. The question now is whether the internet provider Fidoka supplies all the equipment and leases it to us or if we can buy the pieces outright and save some money.

Finally, I asked them to relocate the top floor access point to be closer to the bedrooms so the signal is stronger there. I don’t think it should be any problem.

Image: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure