Welcome to the Breeze Inn. After countless fits and glitches and snags–not to mention unsuccessful bids on four other houses, we are now the proud owners of a beach house. The Breeze is a circa-1943 concrete block structure–what they call CBS down on Key West. But our Breeze is nowhere near Key West. She’s on a lovely block on a lovely street near Savannah. That radioactive yellow and blue paint combo will be changed as soon as we come up with an overall plan for her restoration. And those unlovely circa-70s windows on the second floor –on what used to be a sleeping porch before being turned into two bedrooms, will be replaced with more appropriate six-over-one sash windows. The downstairs floors are crumbling brown linoleum over concrete slab, the upstairs floors are, we think, heart pine, painted over with such colors as hot pink (really) and green. The bathrooms are straight out of a nightmare, and the kitchen is just sad. All the plumbing and wiring has to be replaced. Oh, we’re making our plans all right. At night I dream of color schemes and floor plans. I’ve filled a loose-leaf notebook with magazine pictures of dreamy beach decor. Our basement here in Atlanta is officially full of Breeze Inn furnishings. It’ll probably take all summer to get her ready for occupancy. We’ve been told the former owners raised seven children under this roof. We had a glimpse of some of their old photo albums, and the pictures, of birthday celebrations, Army days, and family gatherings, tell us that this house was once a happy place, full of life and laughter and good times. That’s what we want for our beach house. Nothing fancy or hifalutin’. We need a good kitchen where we can whomp up a pot of low country boil, with a fridge for beer and Diet Coke. I’ve found one of those old cast-iron sinks with the built-in drainboards on eBay, and if I can figure out how to haul it home, it could be just perfect. I’ve already got a long wooden farm table for the dining room, and I’m assembling chairs enough to seat our extended family and friends, for meals and card games, and maybe even some jigsaw puzzles. We’ll need bookshelves for all those beach reads, and big, comfy sofas, the squishy kind that beg you to take an afternoon nap when it’s too hot at the beach. And yes, a TV, so we can keep up with the Braves score in the summertime, and football games in the fall–not to mention old movies on rainy days. I’m planning to wedge beds in whereever I can, enough to sleep everybody and their friends. Upstairs, we’ll have a master bedroom in that old front porch area, and a new bathroom, hopefully with a clawfoot bathtub. My friend Ron, master shopper, is on the lookout for just the right tub. One corner of our bedroom will hold a desk and chair, for those times when I run away to write. Each of the kids will have their own rooms, of course. I’ve even bought an old metal washstand to put in Boomerang Boy’s room, just like a lot of the old beach houses that had sinks tucked into bedrooms. Downstairs, a screened porch runs across the length of the back of the house. I’ve been buying wicker sofas and chairs and rockers for that porch for three years, and I’m also trying to figure out if there’s any way to also squeeze in a glider. We had a great glider on the front porch of our old house. You could stretch out full-length and squeak yourself to sleep. That pink screened door I bought at Brimfield is destined for the front of the house, I think, and I can’t wait to hear it slapping each time somebody comes in the door. Of course, in the meantime, as my editor and agent POINTEDLY keep reminding me, I’ve gotta finish the damned book this summer, to pay for all those lovely dreams of mine. Sometimes, dear friends, reality does bite.