I don't have pics for you guys - I'm such a slacker! I will get to it, though. I have been trying to keep busy with the projects around the house that don't require new/large expenditures. I redeemed most of our American Express points for two Home Depot gift cards, so now we have $200 to spend there. I used $10 of that to buy some glass/tile drill bits so I could install the organizer rails I bought from IKEA several months back (finally). It was pretty easy - I was a little afraid to crack the tile but it worked out. If you ever have to drill through tile, make sure to buy the drill bits for that specific purpose. I don't believe a masonry bit would have worked as well (perhaps they would work best on natural stone tile like slate). The glass/tile bits look like little arrows you'd shoot from a miniature bow. There isn't much left to do in the kitchen that doesn't involve the floor. All the molding is done, painting is done, backsplash is done. I've even hung blinds on the windows (purchased before the Husband got laid off). The very last thing to tackle would be the final top coat of stucco outside, below the new windows. Nothing like a lack of funds to force you to tie all the inexpensive loose ends in a project.
I am also 80% done with he LAST TWO holes that remained from the slab leak plumbing overhaul. I suppose that is a triumph - we managed to patch all the holes in less than a year. These two holes are way the hell up the wall. Like, 12-14 feet up. We have cathedral/volume ceilings in the living/dining room, and the new plumbing route (by-passing the old in-the-slab plumbing route) to get to the upstairs bathroom runs up the wall by the entry way. The first time I climbed the ladder - holy shit. And I'm not afraid of heights. The Husband is, so I wasn't going to as him to do it. Plus, I've gotten kinda good at this drywall mud floating business. Should I ever need another side job, perhaps I can do drywall! Tonight I'll spray the orange peel texture and then they are done.
So the Husband has applied to 20+ jobs. Not a single response. It is truly ugly out there in the construction industry. He is looking at things outside construction but given the economy, I think it will still be tough to switch industries since it's an employers-market. They have the pick of the litter, so why go with someone with less industry experience. The good news, for now, is that given the stimulus plan (thank God for the stimulus plan) health insurance through COBRA will cost us $313 per month. Without the 65% subsidy, it would have cost nearly $900 per month. That is a prohibitive cost and quite frankly, ridiculous, for a service we hardly use. That is more than a mortgage payment for a lot of Americans. But given the fact that getting coverage outside of a group is nearly impossible (been there and been rejected twice), what other choices are there? If I'm going to pay taxes and I get some say over what it's used for, I'd like it to be used for programs that allow regular people to buy into group health insurance (without being rejected for a hangnail) at reasonable rates like the $313 we will pay until the end of year - which hopefully one of use will have health insurance via employer by then. I don't think that is asking for a lot and I don't think that is nationalized/socialized health care. That is what is fair.
I found out one of my former coworkers has a 100% laid-off household. I was shocked - this country is truly in a mess. She has been out since early February when we got laid off together, and I guess her husband lost his job in the last 2 or 3 weeks. I feel awful for them, because the stress of having both earners out of commission has got to be tough. I am thankful that at least I have a well-paying job.