With the move behind us, new troubles began to brew. "You're ruining my life!" shouted our then 14-year-old son, Spencer, just a month into the project, as we were planning another weekend work-a-thon. We're pretty traditional, and, as naive as it sounds, Sharon and I were counting on Spencer and our daughter, Lindsay, then 9, to be our built-in renovation crew—supplemented by friends and contractors—even though none of us had wielded more than a hammer before, never mind renovated an entire house.
But Spencer routinely rebelled against the weekends of stripping paint and carting out debris to stay in Dallas and play football and Nintendo with his friends. Lindsay mostly went along with our plans, as long as she was occasionally allowed to bring a friend to help.