Phases 2 and 3 of the remodeling might actually get started in a week or two. Meanwhile, I have started the process of garnering quotes for a deck. I have an idea of what I want - something simple! low or no maintenance! - but I'm open to suggestions, as long as they don't cost a lot of money.
Deck guy #1 came yesterday. Unfortunately, he is the front man, not the designer. He tried pushing for railings and benches (more expense but they would reduce the likelihood of falling off the deck), then he fretted over the potential pergola (how to fit it under the eaves, whether it would need its own footings, etc.) And for a while, he detoured into the topics of inflation and how the government just prints money when we should go back to the gold standard.
It is going to be about four weeks before this outfit can even get a quote back to me. I'll call some other places; maybe I will discover this lag time is the norm. I hope the topics of conversation are not.