To Janie Margolis, “assistant contractor” sounds like the ideal job for a mom whose role raising kids has become routine―but her perfect plan starts to unravel when she and her husband, Wim, find themselves arguing about everything from money to masonry to man caves. Then the economy collapses, and it’s hard to surmount the reality ahead: they are about to sink their entire savings into rebuilding a new house they can’t afford while trying unsuccessfully to sell the one they already own. Will Janie back herself so far into a corner that she’ll find herself homeless before she finds herself a home?
From crushes on contractors to frenzied shopping expeditions to the erection of a cupola that looks a little too phallic for her upscale new neighborhood―or really any neighborhood!―Janie navigates the pitfalls of building. Along the way, she deals with a con artist kitchen designer, a construction worker and architect who fight like schoolgirls, and a tile guy who turns her shower into a pornographic work of art, all while struggling to stay out of debt and keep her marriage going. In the end, she comes face to face with her flaws and learns that dreams can be achieved―but the only way to authentic happiness is through truth and acceptance.