New Cat Tree Is Put Together

The new cat tree I ordered is now put together. But I could not have done it without having enlisted my neighbor John. He lives right behind me.

I’d get part of it put together, realize I’d done something wrong, and then take it apart. If I’d had any hair on my head, I would surely have been pulling some of it out.

The directions were abysmal.

The new cat tree I ordered from Chewys for Ivy and Gracie is now put together.

Another Neighbor Helps Out:

For the time it took him to take it apart and put it together, I ordered a steak dinner for John at Outback just down the road. He went to pick it up and had a nice dinner at home for his trouble.

I had him move it where you currently see it, which is about 5 feet from where he put it together. But I don’t know exactly where I need to place it for the kitties.

Certainly, I didn’t want to dilly-dally on where to put it when I was depending on someone else to help me.

Somehow it’s much bigger than I envisioned it!

Neighbor John said he likes to help his neighbors. But he probably never expected someone he barely knows to knock on his patio door asking for help. I’d given up figuring it out by myself and was completely and utterly stuck.

I’ve met so many kind people here. Steve next door has been great too. We’re all just neighbors trying to help one another.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors:

I asked John if there was anything I could do to help him. I told him that I was a pretty good decorator if he needed those services.

He said: “Do you know how to decorate a yard?” I think what he really meant was to design a garden.

Apparently, he had a beautiful garden last year but didn’t know how to maintain it. All he’d planted dried up and died.

He had pulled out perennial vines like wisteria that he thought were dead because they stopped blooming. So in other words, he planted things because they were pretty. Which is a common mistake of new gardeners.

I told him perennial vines take a few years to get established. He’d yanked it out when it had probably just gone into dormancy for the season.

I told him if he could tell me what his goal was for his little fenced backyard, then yes, I could design it for him. That’s if I could provide the brains and he could provide the brawn.

I so wish I had his nice little yard that is even and level. He has added a pathway from his patio to his gate and has bird feeders, a birdbath, and a fountain. So he’s really tried to make it a cozy little yard.

His Dog Boomer:

His beloved dog is Boomer and Boomer is the dog that, when let out the gate to go for a walk, first heads across the way to Ron and Pat’s.

Boomer always runs straight to their patio door and jumps up on it to let them know he’s outside. And then Ron comes out with a box of dog treats, sits down in his rocker, and hands out treats.

Ron and Pat lost their dog and now dote on Boomer.

Boomer was here inside the apartment the whole time and is truly the best-behaved dog I think I’ve ever been around. He and Ivy eyed one another but left each other alone.

A Patio Door That Is Hard To Open:

I can barely get my patio door open. It keeps getting stuck.

The maintenance guy will come and dilly-dally with it and say it’s fixed.

That’s because he’s laying on the floor moving it back and forth.

When you’re standing and trying to open it, the heaviness of the door somehow sticks right about the middle. When you’re on the floor, it isn’t the same angle.

The maintenance guy they send to fix things is in really bad pain most of the time. He’s in his forties and has chronic pain from an old injury. He no longer trusts doctors, so just puts up with the pain.

It makes me feel terrible when I see the look of pain on his face as he’s trying to repair things. He’s worked here for years. At this point, I’d just rather have it taken care of myself and not ask him.

I guess I might have to locate The Doorman again.

Remember he’s who came out to the other apartment and put up a storm door. Plus another time he created a threshold underneath the storm door with concrete.

Helping Others Garden:

If I can help others who need what gardening expertise I’ve gained over the years, it will lessen the disappointment I feel about being unable to do much myself just now.

Yesterday, just from being on the floor and my garden cart for hours trying to put that cat tree together, my hip hurt so bad last night I could hardly sleep.

It was actually worse than my ankle. I just couldn’t find a comfortable position.

My Appreciation:

What wonderful readers I have who have followed me over the years as I’ve moved from place to place.

You have certainly helped me and hopefully, from time to time I have helped you.

I just want to continue decorating and gardening for as long as I can see into the future, and share it all with you.


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  1. You got so much more than just a bigger, nicer place to live with this move. You got friendly, helpful neighbors, and I’m guessing, once the warm weather comes and you are all outside more, these neighbors will become friends. It’s wonderful that you have the opportunity to design someone else’s garden. You’re going to be in high demand after that!

  2. Brenda, it makes me so happy when you talk about your neighbors! I love that you are in a little community of people that seem so friendly and kind. I cannot wait for you design a garden for your neighbor, you can take photos of it and share them. Have a wonderful week!

  3. Just a thought about the cat tree Brenda – my 2 cats were only interested in our cat tree if it was close to or near a window where they could see outside. If I tried to move it anywhere else they seemed to lose interest. When I put it back by the window they were all over it again as if it were new!

  4. It makes us all happy to hear that you have moved to a home where you have great neighbors who visit and help each other. Love what you have done inside and I know that you will make your yard pretty even if you can’t plant much.

    1. I so love seeing your new home. It’s pretty and cozy, and I enjoy hearing about it. And I am deeply grateful that you are now in a real neighborhood where folks are eager to lend a hand. I am fortunate to be in such a place and I appreciate it very much. You are a good neighbor, too!

  5. For your door, first use some wd-40. That will clean out any rust and stoppages. Then the next day use some sort of silicone spray to oil it. People think that WD-40 is oil, but it is not, it’s a cleaner to open up tracks and tight spaces.

    1. I guess I need to order some of that. Because I don’t think they believe me and haven’t responded to my work order.

  6. How nice that you can help this man with his garden and he can help you with things too!!! VERY neighborly…something not common anymore in a lot of locations!!

    1. No, you don’t often see such friendly helpful people who were strangers before being neighbors. Not like when I was a kid.

  7. You gave me an idea when you mentioned your neighbor’s yard….why not turn your space into a bird and butterfly sanctuary while you step back to observe the amount of sun you get before you plant? A bird bath, feeders, houses, and squirrel snack bar! Then arrange shade containers around all of that….with flowers attracting bees and butterflies. Sit out there with binoculars and watch the show!
    I think when people reach retirement age and are financially secure, they make the best neighbors. No more competitive stress, and time for reflection on what life should be…peaceful, helpful, and grateful. I think you’ve found a little patch of heaven there! And you are a kind neighbor right back to them all!

    1. I’m a bit hesitant to bring my birdbath out of the storage area. First, it’s very heavy. Second, I don’t know how I’d get water to it to change it every day. I’d need a hose to clean it out before refilling it I think.

  8. I was thinking the same thing, that you and your neighbor can help each other with the gardens!
    I am so happy for you that you have great neighbors!

  9. I’m so happy that you have good neighbors. And it’s great to see that you are coming out of your shell (of safety and shyness) more. I’ve been reading your blog for many years and this is the most interaction I have read about you having with others, and I think it’s wonderful! I hope your daughter’s move went smoothly, even though there is much left to do for her new home to be completed. It seems that no matter how much we plan, sometimes things just happen and there is not a whole lot we can do about setbacks and delays except roll with them and keep on keeping on. I had hoped to get some backyard clean-up done today. It is just too cold and windy for me to work outside. Winter is giving us one last blast in SE WI, with cold for at least a week. We had warmer weather in the first couple of weeks in December. The robins are back though, a couple sit on top of the fence looking toward the patio door waiting patiently for me to appear and throw out raisins for them. I am very well trained 🙂

    1. Well, now that you mention it, I think maybe you’re right about my interactions with people recently. I just feel more comfortable around the people here. Maybe because most are around my age?

      1. Despite how much we love them, kids add stress to life. And they’re noisy and inevitably do things to annoy neighbors. Tensions build. People close off and become suspicious. Your neighborhood has none of that. It’s one reason why everyone’s so pleasant. And people leave others alone, respecting their space and temperament. When people are happy, they share their joy by making others happy, too! I’m just so pleased you found this space!

  10. Brenda it is so nice to hear of your neighbors helping each other. That is the way it is supposed to be. Even if we think we have nothing to give in return just the company and kind words we share are sometimes more uplifting than anyone can imagine. Everyone enjoy the weekend!

    1. Awesome 😊 to read how everyone in your apartment complex is so nice!!!
      You sure made the right choice Brenda!!!
      The catty plaything is really huge.
      Wow. Hope Ivy or ❤ even Gracie enjoys!!! 😉
      You are such a caring & kind person!
      Thought so marvelous of you to order a steak dinner for John.
      Also, one day we’d love ❤ to see Boomer!!
      Hope the weekend is a good one Brenda!

  11. Brenda can you give us more shots of your back patio area where the dilemma is. Also what did the office say regarding the sprinklers and the slopping area? May have a few low maintenance ideas for you. Perennial herbs and or a rock garden type of flowing perennials might work. Thyme and creeping rosemary come to mind as well as rock rose. All should weather well in both winter and summer there. Just a thought.

    1. I asked the manager a month or so ago to come look at the area at some point and talk to me about it. But it was snowing at the time, and I guess she’s forgotten about it. I’ll need to remind her.

  12. My husband used silicone spray on our track and it really helped…then run it back and forth…used to have a cat tower just about like that…gave them all away when we lost our cat…now I am thinking about getting another one…our 2 teddy bear dogs loved our cats…had to rehome one because she would not stop tormenting our tom cat…she finally hurt his eye with a claw..and then we had to separate them…I cried for 2 weeks…later the tom cat got sick with urinary problems…so sad…but I miss having a cat so we will see…you do help all of us in many ways…I love to decorate and mostly shop in my house …after losing my last cat I got into house plants..my daughter works in a green house and got me started with a nice variety.. she takes good care of her mom…she is a Vinnie and good will shopper and finds great things…your patio was really beautiful…I have cut down on outside plants also…but will have a few veggies…and hanging baskets…and I fill an old wagon with pots of flowers using old tea kettles and sprinkle cans..it is really cold here today in Wi….we long for warmer weather…hope your pain lessens soon …and the flowers you do come up with bring you joy💕

    1. My nextdoor neighbor may be getting one of his daughter’s grown cats. But he’s waiting until after Earth Day when they spread his wife’s ashes.

  13. It is wonderful to have good neighbors. I also bought a kitty tree and my husband and I almost never got the thing out together. You are right the directions are terrible. My kitty never liked it so I gave it to my nephew and his kitty loves it. Go figure lol.

    1. Ivy has been in the “apartment” part of the cat tree sleeping for hours. She’ll probably hiss at Gracie if she tries to get up there. The “apartment”, the square-cube, is the only part of that darned thing I was able to put together accurately. Today my hands are hurting from turning and unturning all those screws!

  14. Hi Brenda,
    You are truly blessed to have ended up in such a lovely apartment with such kind and helpful neighbors. Since you’re going to be helping your neighbor design his yard and he’s going to do the “heavy lifting” maybe once you decide what you want to do with your yard, he’ll do the “heavy lifting” for you too. Sounds like a wonderful group effort with all of your neighbors. So happy things have turned out so well for you in your new surroundings.

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