I know a fair amount about the building business, after all I live with an architect. So, you'd think nothing would surprise me. Wrong! I was baffled to find myself in the fray as I put a small remodeling project out to bid. "This won't be bad," I thought. "I have the plans and permits, I can get my own windows, flooring, and HVAC. This should be doable." Wrong! Even with the NAHB (National Association of Homebuilders) reporting a 21% drop in sales of new homes since the high in July and a slowdown in production, I can't seem to get an estimate that encourages me to support the industry. Imagine $200 per square foot not including finishes, any plumbing, design work, or permitting. Now I've heard many a builder complain about homeowners who think they can do it themselves, but I'm ready to jump in and GC my own project—I'd make a great general contractor and I've always wanted my own hard hat. So, I'm back to the drawing board and into the home stores. I'm going to wrestle this project to the ground yet—just watch me!