Back in July, four new teams of DIY enthusiasts descended on The Block NZ's Hobsonville Point site, with a twinkle in their eye and a hopeful spring in their step.
Approximately 3,000 episodes later, those same four teams are staggering down the home stretch towards auction night, fuelled by just a few snatched hours of sleep and bottomless cups of show sponsor coffee.
It would be safe to say Amy and Stu, Ben and Tom, Claire and Agni, and Chlo and Em have all learned a few hard lessons during their tenure on The Block.
And after spending more hours of my life than is probably healthy watching the show this year, I've discovered a few things, too:
DIY doesn't mean squat.
Just in case prospective contestants haven't already taken note, successfully competing on The Block NZ is as much about winning random games of skill as it is about knowing which end of a hammer to hold.
If you're planning on applying for any future seasons, it might pay to start practising the following: decorating cakes using power tools, creating paintings out of scraps of carpet, herding sheep using a human dressed as a sheepdog, and building towers out of marshmallows and noodles.
Blocked pipes are no fun for anyone.
The proverbial well and truly hit the fan for a mortified Chlo and Em this year, when they managed to block up their townhouse's pipes in week four.
So, for the sake of the environment, the plumbers getting showered in sewage while cutting open blocked pipes, and the unfortunate viewers watching all this unfold while eating their dinner, may all future Block NZ contestants mercifully think before they flush.
Sleep deprivation will mess with your brain.
That's the only conclusion I could come to when Amy and Stu hid their electrician in an alcove, so as to skirt the show's strict 6pm 'Tools Down' deadline during hallway week.
It really would have been the perfect crime for the 'Gizzy Hard' crew, had it not been for those microphones attached to them and the cameras filming them.
There is such a thing as too many recessed shelves.
I'm not exactly sure what the ideal number of recessed shelves in a bathroom is, but thanks to Claire and Agni, I do know that nine is not it. And while we're at it, let's also agree now that ponga trees are best kept outside and not in the family bathroom.
MediaWorks has a new go-to star.
What is it with David Seymour and MediaWorks' reality TV stable this year?
Just a couple of months after hijacking Dancing With The Stars, the Act Party leader also stopped by The Block NZ to judge one of its 500 challenges. At this rate, don't be surprised if Seymour winds up being one of the nervous grooms meeting his bride at the altar on Married at First Sight NZ, too.
Beware those who appear to not know what they're doing.
Right from the start of this year's The Block NZ, Amy and Stu looked like a shoo-in for the series win.
They snaffled the most coveted house and then proceeded to produce one impeccably finished room after another - even managing to score 21 out of a possible 20 at one point.
In contrast, childhood buddies Ben and Tom flailed around for nine weeks, making decisions that left all of us wondering exactly where Ben had found his architecture degree.
But then came kitchen week, where the boys finally pulled their entire house together with a simply stunning kitchen and dining space.
Sure, Ben and Tom's house still features a void that looks quite terrifying (a sensation I imagine everyone enjoys feeling while walking around their home), but they're suddenly giving early frontrunners Amy and Stu a run for their money.
A recent visit to The Block site by former contestants Niki and Tiff wouldn't have been that reassuring for the Gisborne couple either. After also winning the majority of room reveals during their own season, Niki and Tiff finished last on auction night, while a couple of blokes (Sam and Emmett) walked away with the win.
Is history about to repeat on The Block NZ?
Maybe. Maybe not. But at least it's finally starting to look like a real competition.