Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring break!

Martha Smith Standish, that doyenne of Shaker Heights, Ohio and Lake Worth, Florida society has finally wore me down and convinced me that if I "don't take a few days off for myself, who will?" 

"With your house staff, if you need groceries you have them call the market and place the order and request delivery," she smartly pointed out.  "But if you need time to rest from all the volunteer work you do, or the charity balls that you simply must attend, or even hosting those luncheons out of social obligation, it isn't like you can send Phillipe or Bessie - who does the laundry - to your place in Lake Worth for a restful weekend on your behalf."

So right you are, Mrs. Smith Standish. 

So I will see everyone on Monday.  In the meantime, Mrs. Smith Standish wants me to remind each of you to be good to those around you, including your house staff.  They are much more than the staff that maintains your home, your laundry, turns down your beds and prepares your meals; they are people, too. Try and remember that.

See you Monday!  Tah, tah! 


  1. I flew into a rage and fired the staff just this morning! But I think it will be a fun and rather bohemian adventure to live without them for a brief period while the agency sends me applicants to interview.

    Now, let me see, how DOES one make toast?

  2. Mrs. Smith Standish asks me to remind you of the first rule of interviewing a cleaning woman: let her go up the stairs first. WHen she is three (or four) steps ahead of you check the edge of her slip. If its clean, she's clean.

  3. What if she doesn't wear a slip at all?
    Then I think she should be hired right there on the spot.

  4. I was in rehab once with Mrs. Smith Standish. She was filthy, but amusing.

  5. A proper housekeeper dresses appropriately. This includes the wearing of sensible oxfords when on the job. According to Mrs. Smith Standish "The use of 'bedroom slippers' while working should be discouraged in all cases. Work is not a casual affair. Once it becomes such, all manner of small errors will result in a home that is not a reflection of who your or how you live."

    Jason, regarding your desire to higher an improperly dressed maid, Mrs. Smith Standish replies "You could not employ such a person. If they do not respect themselves enough to be properly attired, can you trust them to be sanitary in the other areas of your home? Can you trust them not to take your sterling when you are not there to supervised them? Loose women working as housekeepers pose all manner of problems. Why invite the uncivilized into your home?"

    And Mrs. Smith Standish adds that "it is no longer reasonable to expect your household help to turn towards the wall as you pass through a room in which they are working. Such conventions are dehumanizing to Maid, to Cook and to Driver."

  6. when i allow the staff to come up from the basement, i treat them with the utmost care. i treat all my belongings as such.

  7. She's absolutely correct. If you don't refill the well, so to speak, you will run dry. I just returned from the desert, where, conversely, I refresh myself. Go rest, dear.