How to get along, and what to expect when renovating:

- A mess. Keep the broom and/or Dustbuster handy.

- Inconvenience. Plumbing and electrical work might involve an interruption of service.- Delays. Expect things to be done when the contractor promises them, but don't be surprised when they aren't. If you're doing the work yourself, make a conservative estimate and multiply by four.

- For major remodeling, consider a multiyear plan.

- If you hire a general contractor, you might choose one you like. You'll be seeing a lot of each other. Keep a unified front when you and your spouse discuss things with the contractor.

- Before embarking on a remodeling adventure, take into account the communication strengths and weaknesses you have with your spouse. They won't get better during the renovation.

- To avoid quarrels while renovating, therapists advise assigning duties so you don't fight about who is supposed to do what.

- Keep your sense of humor well-oiled.