The neighbor’s cat was sitting a few inches from the screen door and staring at me when I opened the front door the other morning. It hesitated before running away. I keep telling it that I mean no harm. I don’t think it believes me.

I’m not sure what it was looking at before I opened the door. We recently installed a screen door so maybe the cat was wondering what was on the other side. What was on the other side was the same door that has been there longer than that cat has been alive.

The new screen door lets in a lot more light than we expected. That part is wonderful. I only wish we had done it years ago.

We have been working on the house for what seems like forever. All houses demand ongoing upkeep. They are like cranky people who demand attention just when you thought you had everything under control. The new screen door is simply the latest project and the only one to have the approval of the neighbor’s cat. I am guessing it approves because it was napping on the porch later that day.

In addition to working on the house, the gardens and flower beds demand even more upkeep. I try to wait until the baby bunnies are out of the nest before tackling the flower bed on the corner. This gives Mother Nature a head start. She keeps planting grass where I don’t want it to grow. I keep yanking the weeds out but that just seems to give them a second wind. And to all those who tell me that poisons are the way to go, let's just say I don’t agree. They are referred to as poison for a reason. The only things I will use poisons on are the thistles, and they deserve it.

We have friends who sold their house and moved into a condo. At first, they enjoyed not having to mow the grass, tend to the garden, shovel the snow and all the other chores they usually did. Everything was going well until there was some kind of problem with one of their neighbors. It was bad enough that they sold the condo and moved. I haven’t heard from them for a while. Maybe I should call them and see how they are doing. I could send the cat to spy on them but our friends are dog people, not cat people, so that probably wouldn’t work. Besides, it isn’t our cat.

In addition to doing the usual upkeep to our home and gardens, we need to do a little upkeep on our relationship with our neighbors. It doesn’t cost anything to cross the street and say, “We haven't seen you for a while. Are you ok?”

When Mom died and I was cleaning out her stuff, I walked across the street and asked if the little girl who lived there would like some of the dolls Mom collected. They came over that same evening and took home a load of toys.

I so wished that they had crossed that same street before Mom died. It would have meant the world to her. But that is not the way the world works.

As I sit here typing I can hear the house mumbling as it tries to select which new project it wants us to start. It is conspiring with the yard and garden to determine what chore is the last on our list. Then it will get together with the neighbor’s cat to ensure that something will happen that will cause us to tend to whatever disaster the house has determined needs to be done.

It's always something.