If you were to track the mood swings of a large reno, it would probably look something like a chart for a typical stock market cycle. After some initial demolition jitters, you begin a steady upward trend (yay--things are going smoothly!); then the excitement tapers off and you ease into a somewhat boring, but stable period (the "flatline".) Just when you've lulled yourself into a false sense of control...BOOM--that control is completely eroded by some nasty surprise.
Our surprise? Ants. Lots of them. Laying down roots in the framing of our front porch (aka, the one and only part of our house we hadn't torn open.)
We really loved the quaint character features of the porch--particularly, the gentle, scalloped curves of the stuccoed facade. We had planned on replicating these elements elsewhere on the exterior--until some critters crashed our party.
Now we are on to Plan B and a complete rebuild of the porch, the details of which I am still figuring out. The important lesson I am learning in this process: find something to be optimistic about, or the project will swallow you up like a sinkhole in the Sahara. The bright side here: we discovered the problem early enough to deal with it in a reasonably cost-effective way.
In the scheme of things, I guess that's not so bad.