27 May 2012

Heating & Driveway



     For the first time in so many years in Japan, we finally spent winter in a well-insulated house with double-paned windows.  We no longer had to deal with dripping wet glass and humidity.  No mouldy walls either, incredible!

     As opposed to houses back home in Canada, ours here does not have central heating. The weather in Tokyo doesn't warrant such a powerful system, and yet we didn't want to rely solely on air conditionners to heat the house. So we opted for "yuka danbo" or underfloor heating.  As soon as we started using it, we knew this was one of the best decision we made about the house: it is simply amazing!

     All through winter, we did not use the airconditioner on the first floor and hardly ever upstairs. The kids don't feel the cold anyways, and since we use down comforters, there's really no need for heating during the night. An extra layer, comfy slipper boots and a nice hot water bottle did the trick for me!

    Oh, and of course, the life saver during nighttime trips to the toilet: the seat warmer!  Absolutely indispensible!

     Now, onto a differet topic, we made a of progress with our driveway.  No, it wasn't easy, and it took a lot of planning to figure out the best way to go about it.  We also had to look for the perfect pavers, assemble all the materials and tools, and finally get some help to do the actual work. 

     Here's Efrain's brother unloading the pavers we had ordered from DoIt in Kokubunji.  The store would not deliver all the way to Mitaka-shi, so we had to rent a small truck and pick them up ourselves.


     Then we went to pick up the sand, the gravel and the cement we needed for the job at our nearby J-mart.  This time we were able to use the store's trucks to bring the materials home.


     A lot of work was involved in preparing the driveway for cement.  The area was first covered with gravel and pounded.  The tricky thing here was to ensure an encline from back to front and left to right. 





Then came the stenuous work of preparing the mortar and laying the individual pavers at just the right height and location.



The job took a few days to finish...




but we now have a clean driveway!


      Efrain also finished the area to the right of the stairs to the main door, where we have our water meter.  The stones had to be cut to fit just right.


      We also added a handy tool shed that we painted and protected against the rain.

Now we still need to get some green to liven up our front area!

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