The Remodeling Project From...
We started out with a small 24' x 24' house that was about 70 years old.  There wasn't a square corner in the place.  One of our neighbors actually knew the people who had built the place, and they used old lumber and foundation block from a barn they tore down somewhere. . .
What we SHOULD have done then and there was call this guy:
BUT WE WERE STUPID!  WHY START OVER WHEN WE ALREADY HAD THE SHELL THERE?  WE COULD LIVE IN THE PLACE WHILE WE WERE DOING IT, TOO. . .
And so began our remodeling project from HELL.  Our little adventure spanned over fifteen years, and we still weren't done!  When we added up the receipts we had over that time period, the total was over $40,000.  This doesn't begin to cover our time or all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the project.  Living in the mess and doing it paycheck to paycheck also adds another dimension to the chaos!
It didn't take us long to figure out that the most important thing to have when undertaking a project of such magnitude (aside from stupidity!) was. . .
. . .A serene place to imbibe alcoholic beverages!  The sign in this picture is difficult to read, but, trust me, it says "BOB AND BETH'S BEER GARDEN."  The landscaping of the garden left a little to be desired (we hadn't got that far in the project yet!), and the five-gallon bucket should actually have been a 55-gallon drum, but you can't have everything, right?           
Our project didn't intentionally start out being large.  We were "just" going to gut the interior of the first floor, get rid of a few of the five doors into the kitchen, put in new cabinets, and redo the bathroom. . .

Har dee har har!

We soon found out that behind every wall was another surprise!  Surprise Number One was a termite ridden bottom plate on the east side of the house.

Har dee har har!
My first inkling that I should run away as fast as possible and go live in an apartment somewhere was when Bob got out the hydraulic jacks and a bunch of lumber and concrete blocks and actually wanted ME to get in the crawl space with him and fix the termite ridden bottom plate.
When THAT problem was fixed, the east side of the house ended up being higher than the middle of the house, so Surprise Number Two had crept in on little cat feet while we were still working on Surprise Number One:  We now had a BIG SAG in roughly the middle of the house!
What fond and happy memories we have of crawling, G.I. Joe style, under the house with lumber and buckets of concrete to pour footings for a beam to get rid of the BIG SAG!  The beam had to be built in the crawl space, otherwise we couldn't get it in there.  When it was finally in place, I told Bob if I EVER saw another hydraulic jack, it would be way too soon for me!

How does that Carpenters song go, "We've only just begun. . .??" 
THAT part of the saga we ended up calling "Phase One," because when we were done with it, we hadn't had enough punishment yet!  We were so good at the first floor that we decided a second story with kids' rooms, another bathroom, family room and storage space would be nice. . .
And, thus, Phase Two reared its ugly head. . .
Eventually, we ended up with the house pictured at the left.
For more gory details, please continue on to Page Two.  By the way, we urge viewers NOT to try this at home!!