Two Cat Packs Stalk The Cloister

 There are not one, but two Cat Packs at The Cloister. 


One pack of cats is led by an orange and white calico “thug” who roams and controls the neighborhood. One evening the bully cat noticed our cat Jake sitting in the open window of the back bedroom. Bonney and I heard two different cat voices hissing and snarling at each other. Then Jake made a terrible squeal. The orange and white “tough guy” cat had launched itself at the window screen and shredded the screen with his claws.  Jake barely escaped as we knocked the viscous attacking cat back outdoors with a pillow. We had to replace the screen wire.

The cat has roamed our back area for several years since that incident. It has recently clawed and bitten Jake. Jake is shakened up but seems to be healing well. I suspect that a Cloister neighbor has been feeding the Shorthair and his sidekicks. The Calico has become mangy looking and has gotten slower. He is beginning to show his years and some wear.  I hope this animal doesn’t decide to attack a neighbor’s grandchild or kills someone’s pet before he fades away to cat heaven. The other cat pack is different…….

The other cat pack consists of sheet metal cats with marble eyes and painted in different color patterns with a different color and pattern on each side of each cat. These cats sit astride the chain link fence surrounding The Cloister swimming pool.

Many thanks to Carole Giorgio for her artistry and work to provide these wondrful cats. The tin cats guard the pool and swimmers from sky-diving birds who attempt to bomb their targets with droppings.

Accepting the fact that the swimming pool is still attacked on all sides with some bird droppings(despite the tin cats), insects, leaves and grass clippings the pool is surprisingly clean. We can thank our Pool Committee volunteer Chair Barbara Swift for all she does to help assure we have a clean, safe, and well maintained swimming pool.

During the Pool Season, Bonney and I are enjoying the pool nearly every day. We usually go early morning but we have also gone to the pool in the late morning and late afternoon. Maybe there are some who go to the pool late night since it appears that the pool has night lighting but we have never gone at that time. The great thing is that we meet different people different times of the day and all of them are interesting to hang with. After a recent surgery I told my Physical Therapist that I had one very important goal. That goal was to be able to use The Cloister pool. The dual handrails on the pool stairs make that possible. They allow me to get into and out of the pool easily and safely.

Barbara Bentley is doing a great job leading the 10:00 am Mon/Wed/Fri Aquatic Exercise Group. It’s great to have dedicated volunteers like the two Barbara’s which allow us all to make use of The Cloister Clubhouse pool.

Some trivia….I have since discovered that packs or herds of cats are called clowders or clutters.


We Found a Tiny Store with Prices Beating Costco and WalMart

For several years Bonney and I drove down Charlotte Pike and never noticed what looks like a small grocery store hidden behind a fast food place in the West Nashville area. Recently a friend suggested we try shopping at a store called ALDI. We tried it and discovered that this is not a Mom and Pop grocery store but rather one of thousands of stores run by a major European retailer. A typical Supermarket carries 50,000 items. ALDI claims their stores carry only 1,400 regularly-stocked items.  ALDI is a discount grocery chain with great prices for the items they carry.

The store is located at 405 American Road off Charlotte Pike and hidden behind Captain D’s . We wondered why their chocolates and coffee are the best we can find in Nashville. The answer was simple. Aldi’s has stores located in nearly a dozen countries but the company headquarters and the original stores are in Germany. Where can you find great chocolate and coff-ier coffee?…..yes…Europe. We like coffee with a smooth, strong and full flavor.

But we stay away from their frozen fish which is not as good as found in other markets. They carry fresh meat, produce, frozen foods, dairy, bakery, canned goods, and paper products. It is a unique store where we find ourselves buying more of our groceries and foods.

But Aldi’s is not your typical food market and here’s why……

  • Almost all of their products are sold under various private label brands.
  • ALDI has a Double Guarantee – return the unused portion (or even the empty package)  and they’ll refund money and give a replacement product.
  •  You insert a quarter to release a cart. When you return the cart, you get your quarter back.
  • Bring your own bags or boxes, or they will sell their paper, plastic, or insulated bags.
  • They accept only Debit cards or cash.

It is a strange place to shop but we like saving money when we visit this quaint store.

Something I No Longer Do at The Cloister…….

One of the things I can’t do anymore is to climb up a laddar to change a light bulb. My wife can do it but not without a great deal of difficulty and anxiety on both our parts. So what are we to do? Well……we have a to-do list for when a son visits.

But we did something very smart recently. Why smart? Here are the reasons.

CFL Light Bulb

LED Light Bulb

The two reasons are called LED (Light Emitting Diode) Light Bulbs and CFL (Compact Fluorescent) Light Bulbs.  The LED bulbs last for up to 30 years until they burn out. The CFL bulbs are ugly wiggly bulbs and less expensive but last for up to 7 years before they fail. That is really good performance compared to a standard light bulb which lasts for 1 to 2 years.

Prices for the LED bulbs range from $10 to $25 each while prices for the CFL bulbs range from $3 to $8. I can buy a 100 watt incandescent light bulb for less than $1.00 each but they are usually available only in 4-packs. For the same light output the power consumption either CFL or LED bulb uses 1/4 the power of an incandescent light bulb.

What are the drawbacks to the new type bulbs?

  • They cost more
  • You can’t use a dimmer with a LED bulb
  • The life of a CFL bulb is shortened over time if you don’t let it burn for a least 5 minutes before you switch it off.

So what did I do?

There were 60 watt equivalant LED bulbs on sale for $9.95 at Lowes. I bought enough so we replaced every ceiling lamp bulb in the house, hallways, bathrooms and front porch ceiling lights. But not the kitchen because we put in 6 flood lights when we remodeled and LED flood lamps cost over $60 each. We’ll wait until the old floods burn out and hopefully prices will drop for the LED flood lamps.

We replaced the bulbs in the outside wall fixtures with the wiggley CFL bulbs because these  fixtures have dimmers and LED bulbs will not work with dimmers. We also use the lower cost Compact Florescent bulbs where it is easy to reach a fixture to change the bulbs. 

We gave our son the To-do list and he went to work. We will not have to replace our Light Emitting Diode LED ceiling light bulbs next year…or the following year…or for the next 30 years. And hopefully, we will get seven years from the Compact Fluorescent bulbs before we have to replace them. We’ll also save $120 per year on our light bill. No more ladder climbing to change bulbs for either Bonney or me for quite some time.



Warner Park…….Nature á la Cart Just Four Minutes Away

Nature á la Cart

Every so often Bonney and I will drive through the beautiful Warner Parks roads just 2 miles from The Cloister. But at least once a year we take the “Nature a la Cart” tour that begins at the Warner Park Nature Center.

Designed for people who have trouble walking the trails, this one hour golf cart tour explores the forest and hills of Edwin Warner Park. The Parks people describe it better than I can.

About the scenery….

“Most of the Parks consist of woods which lie within the Western Mesophytic Region of an Eastern Deciduous Forest. Diverse habitats are preserved and wildlife abounds here. The two dominant forest communities are oak/hickory and beech/maple. Approximately 110 species of trees, over 400 species of wildflowers and roughly 200 fungi have been identified. Some common trees include tulip poplar, walnut, persimmon, dogwood, black cherry, sassafras and pawpaw. Spring brings trilliums, trout lilies, Dutchman’s breeches and larkspur to the forest floor. Meadows bloom each fall with ironweed, goldenrod, daisies and butterfly-weed. Visitors can enjoy looking and listening for close to 200 species of birds and at least 30 different mammals, large and small. The Park is also home to over 40 species of reptiles and amphibians.”

These are the details….. 

5 person golf cart, 1 hour tour, meet at Nature Center (Edwin Warner Park Entrance off Hwy. 100, the exact address…7311 Highway 100, Nashville, TN 37221),  Call ahead to reserve seats on Fri and Sat 9:30 am and 11:00 am  through October 30. Other days and times are available depending upon Tour Guide availability. Call 352-6299 for reservations . Tour leaders are either Nature Center Staff or a volunteer. The Nature Center is open Tuesday through Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is closed on Monday and major holidays.

What They Didn’t Tell Us When We Moved to The Cloister…….

Bonney and I heard the earsplitting and shrill alarm coming from the home of someone on our block. We joined several neighbors out on the street to determine who was in trouble. Shortly we discovered the alarm was coming from Elizabeth’s home. What was the emergency?

As we opened the front door to her unit we could see disturbed Elizabeth in the great room at the far end of the hallway and a panic stricken young girl in the hallway holding her hands over her ears. The girl was a new healthcare assistant who, while attempting to switch a hallway light, switched on the emergency medical alarm. The innocent girl had no idea what she had done and was petrified. One of us walked in and threw the switch to the off position and the horn became silent.

I was not surprised this happened to the girl since I had activated our alarm the second day after we moved into our unit thinking I would switch on a hall light. No one had told us that a brown switch was an emergency medical alarm. Besides the switch in the hall we had another one in the master bedroom.

At one time each Cloister unit was connected by phone line to an emergency response number as well as the Emergency horn on the outside of the building. The system was called “Silent Knight” with an electronic  sending box in the garage of one of the residences in the Duplex building. The Medical Emergency and Smoke detectors for both residences were connected to the one sending unit. Some people still have the original  Alarm stickers on their front door. A new Metro ordinance, service costs, and annual license fees made this service too inconvenient to continue.  The “Silent Knight” box was disconnected.

Silent Knight or Cutoff Control Box?

The system was rewired so each side of the duplex had a cutoff control box for their smoke detector. In the garage of one unit was the disconnected “Silent Knight” box(a metal box with a key and red button in the front panel) and a new Smoke Detector Cutoff Control box(with a black button on the front panel) mounted on the wall near to the “Silent Knight” box. The other residential unit in the building had a cutoff button located in the hall closet or the laundry area.

I learned another lesson the hard way while grilling a steak on our new stovetop grill pan. I thought the vent fan would take away the smoke. Was I wrong! The grill smoke bellowed out of the kitchen and set off the smoke alarm. I poked at the button on the ceiling smoke alarm but that did nothing and the outside horn kept on screaming. Bonney and I ran to the garage and were faced with two boxes. At that time we didn’t know which was which. We tried each, the disconnected “Silent Knight” red button, and what we now know is the Smoke Alarm Cutoff black button.  I held the black button down while Bonney opened the outside doors and cleared the place of smoke.

Unfortunately so many people have set off false alarms that many of us tend to ignore the alarm horn. If you hear an alarm coming from my home and it lasts more than several minutes please come to see what’s wrong because we probably need help.

A Handy Tip From A Cloister Neighbor


We recently received an updated Directory of the Cloister Residents. Bonney decided she would update her previous 2009 Directory. When she was finished we discovered that 44 residents in 2009 no longer live in the Cloister while 42 new residents have moved in during the intervening 2 years. To my amazement, that is a turnover of one of every six residents  in two years.  At this rate, in six years, half of all the current residents will be gone. There are very few origional 1984 first owners left. Thats not surprising since the minimum age to purchase was 55 years old and adding 26 years when the last Cloister condo unit was built means that the youngest first buyer at 55 years old would be 81 years old today.

When we moved into the Cloister a neighbor visited us and advised us there was something we could do for our own convenience, personal safety and health.

1.Type up a card, about the size of a business card and tape it to the front door. The card reads:

In Case of an Emergency Call:

Neighbor 555-5555

Son 666-6666

2. Leave a spare house key with the neighbor.

We have one of these cards taped onto our front door. It not only allows a way for emergency response people to enter the house in case of an emergency but is a safe and convenient way to keep a spare house key.