I give you the finished product.
Things I learned:
1) - Get more friends. More help and this bad boy would have been done much sooner. Almost ALL of the work was done by my wife and me. I personally put in EVERY screw and EVERY nail myself, as well as cutting EVERY piece of wood myself. Sure, we had father-in-law help with the concrete footings, and a bit of my dad help installing the decking boards, but it was pretty much all me and my wife.
2) - Better Quality Tools = Better work. I pretty much upgraded every tool I had on this project (circular saw, drill, cordless drill/driver) as well as buying some new ones. Better quality tools may cost more, but like they say "you get what you pay for".
3) - Treated wood scraps are a bitch to get rid of. No one wants to take them away, can't burn them. What do I do with them?
4) - Planning everything from the start was a HUGE help, but evn then, things can and will go wrong. Plan, plan, plan and then over-plan. As mentioned earlier: measure once, measure twice, then cut. It will save time in the long run to double-check each step along the way.
5) - Finally, listen to your wife when she starts talking. If you hear her say, "it can't be too much work to build a deck ourselves, can it?" - Run.T