What a treat! We get an extra day this year on February 29th to play, work or whatever. I have decided to do my best to enjoy being at home, with a little piece of my own ‘retreat’ while my noisy and very annoying neighbors seem bent on sharing their misery with anyone within earshot…

As I daydream about one of my favorite spaces in my home, the yard (which is truly a dream considering I live in a townhouse with a patio instead of a yard, hence the dream) I find myself yearning with that urgent need to turn my dream yard (patio), into an oasis. In any case, size does not matter, really, it’s more of a feel than anything else but, of course, aesthetics play a major role, as well as sound and scent.

My husband and I thought a townhouse was perfect for us, and it was for some time. However, the yearning for a backyard has become stronger over the years. And, as we start the hunt for our new home, I see an intimate space – all corners peppered with banana trees, a few white bird of paradise, a couple alexander palm, bamboo, ficus benjamina, jasmine and red bougainvillea; with the sound of the hummingbirds, and even the crows filling the air. This is not unlike our home now, thanks to my hubby’s “green thumb.” And while the plants are similar and plentiful, the worst is the noise from the neighbors. So, this makes the dream of having a quiet, private ‘retreat’ most urgent.

It’s interesting that there are some things you cannot predict, regardless of how much research and due diligence you put in. People are people and they will always show themselves for better or worse. And even if we’d spent a night, week or month near the home before moving in, that would not have sufficed in this case. So, the best we could do is to just live and enjoy life. There are bigger things to worry about; and we’re very fortunately to live in a country, where one of our “problems” is an obnoxious neighbor and not a war torn city. I have a roof over my head, and my family is safe and sound. After all, to borrow from Pliny the Elder, “home is where the heart is… ”


“Take a step back, evaluate what is important and enjoy life” – Teri Garr