Abby: House cleaner tries being an interior designer

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I am wondering if anyone else has ever asked about this. I have had the same cleaning woman for three years. She does an excellent job and works hard. I got her the last six or seven of her clients. However, she has made little changes in the past when I’m not home.

For example, she reorganized a kitchen drawer and laundry room cabinet without first clearing it with me. Yesterday, when I walked into my laundry room, I noticed two pictures had been removed from the wall and rehung in my living room. Furthermore, she used three nails to hang them and left the first nail in the wall because she had made a mistake. I removed the pictures and returned them to their original spots. The three holes in the living room wall remain.

I rent an expensive penthouse. The holes are like bullet holes to me. In addition, I do not have the paint that matches, and I am not handy with spackle and painting.

My cleaning lady is very sensitive. When I asked her to let me know the night before if she needs to cancel, I almost lost her for good. I had to call repeatedly, and I’m walking on eggshells now.

Renter in Nevada

Dear Renter: For your cleaning woman to have done what she did was wrong, and you need to explain it to her so nothing similar will happen again. Sometimes it isn’t what you say, but how you say it. Hang onto your temper while telling her she has created a problem for you. It’s the truth, and she needs to hear it. If her response is to punish you by not showing up, you are well rid of the woman.

P.S. Visit a paint store or home improvement store and you may be surprised to know that paint can be closely matched these days if you bring a small sample with you. They may also be able to recommend someone who can fix the wall for a reasonable price.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.