Monday, February 06, 2006

Angry, Confused, and Ready to Cut and Run

I have a friend who cleans my house once a week. She's great at this job. She is compulsive about cleaning and organizing. This is a good trait when you are cleaning houses. She occasionally gets sidetracked by organizing the toy bins, but otherwise she good at her job.

About four weeks ago this woman fessed up to me that she was a drug addict and that she had taken the pain pills I was given after my last c-section. This was a tearful and heartfelt confession. It was real contrition on her part. She said she was going to meetings and was on a detox program. I told her that as long as she paid for the pills she stole that she could continue in her position with us. And, this was not a bad decision because I don't wear jewelry. What little I do have is actually quite valuable or is a family heirloom, and, therefore is in a safe deposit box at the bank. The things of value in our house are the large electronic items, and since I usually arrive home at the end of her cleaning session she would have no time to take these out of the house. You also have to realize that if she did really wrong by me she would jeopardize her friendship and another two job she holds with friends of mine.

Today, something changed. She told my close friend that she was no longer going to meetings because they got in the way of enjoying time with her boyfriend, who apparently is a recreational pot user. (Isn't it just getting worse by the word?) This friend, although feeling like a tattle tale, felt that I need to know this. So what are my feelings now? Oh so complicated.
  • She's had an extremely rough life, nothing like the nice stable one I've always had. I don't feel as if I can judge her.
  • I do not want to be contributing to her downfall by employing her and allowing her to purchase these painkillers.
  • I do not want to support someone who is endangering the welfare of both her children by engaging in the culture of illegal drug use.
  • I no longer trust her decision making skills or logic. She says she is focusing on her young daughter but that is just a load of carp she is spewing to make herself feel better about not doing something about her addiction.
  • This woman is just cleaning my house, and the cost is not astronomical.
  • She once took great care of my daughter and two sons of TWA Pilot. Nothing that is happening now can erase that.
  • If I drop her from my employ will I be making her more desperate for cash? She's on public assistance for housing and food already.
  • I'm trying really hard not to be a complete jerk. I really want to let her go, but I don't know what the consequences are.
  • This is only helping firm my opinion that some people are beyond help, certainly beyond my help.
  • If you can't get off your tush at the age of 41 and get a real job with benefits, why should I feel guilty and keep giving you jobs?



molly said...

I would let her go. I would say something like, "I thought I could get past your lying to me, but I can't, so I will have to let you go."

you can support her as a friend without employing her.

Trixie said...

I would let her go, too.

Her boyfriend could decide that your electronics - sold out of his truckbed - could help to defray his pot costs or her drug costs or the needs of their other druggie friends and break in when you least expect it.

You can tell her nicely that you no longer feel comfortable with her being in your home given that she is no longer in therapy and that because she was a good friend and faithful employee you are offering her a severance package. Give her one month of severance. Also tell her that when she is ready to come back and pass a drug test, you would be happy to have her and to recommend her again to other employers.

Don't make it about the boyfriend or the lying. Make it about therapy and encourage her to return to counseling. Also make it clear by suggesting a drug screen in the future that you won't be taking her word on whether or not she is clean.

Then if you have a hidden key that she uses - change the location or eliminate hidden keys entirely. If she ever had access to a key or alarm code - change it. Make sure the kids and the neighbors know that you won't be using this person's services and that if they see her at the house to let you know.

It's not the girl I worry about or actually her boyfriend - it's their friends and what trouble they might wind up in as part of this culture. Since Phill is a doctor, they may think he has access to drugs or carries samples in the car. Our neighbor in DC was a phrama rep and had his car stolen by someone who thought he would carry samples in it. However the neighbor was smart and never left samples in the car.

Kell said...

I'd go with what Trixie said... Sounds reasonable. If you feel like you want to keep her, I guess you could if you were there the whole time she was there - and if she had no other access to your house...

I'm sorry - that sounds tough. I've learned that many times, the things you really think will help someone won't - because people tend not to change till they're ready.

Good help really IS hard to find... Not to sound trite, but my guess is that you can't trust her around your home or your family, right? sigh.

Maverick said...

I agree with everyone else, let her go. My reasons are legal: If she has the drugs on her (whether they are the pills or something else) and she is in your house and she lets the police in, you and Phil could be implicated because there are drugs in your house. This would endanger Phil's job and your children. This is too much at stake.

Yes, she has done some wonderful things for you, but that does not mean she gets a free ride.

Trixie's advice is great and I would add that she is endangering the life of her daughter and that if she continues on this downward sprial, she could lose custody of her daughter.

It will not be easy, but it must be done.

Kuky said...

Yes I'm with everyone. Let her go. It's sad that she has traveled down this path of life but it's her life, her choices. You need to do what feels right for you, not her.