12/31/2020 2:58:00 PM Gardener's work is getting worse with age
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a gardener who I have been using for many years. He's gotten much older, and I've noticed that his work isn't as good as it used to be. He tends to show up late and leave early; he reschedules and cancels a lot; sometimes he forgets to come by at all. The grass is cut unevenly, and he leaves a chopped grass trail on the lawn. It doesn't look like he is trimming my hedges at all. I've asked him to bring extra help to get the work done; he says he will, but he shows up alone, saying the guys weren't able to come in to work. I get the feeling that his health is not great and his business is slowing down, which is why he doesn't bring other workers anymore.
It feels like I'm wasting money because my yard doesn't look like I have a gardener. I want to hire someone else, but I am stuck as to how I am going to fire him. Any tips on how to let him go? -- Goodbye Old Gardener
DEAR GOODBYE OLD GARDENER: Ask your gardener to meet with you. Thank him for his many years of service to your garden. Offer him a small token gift, along with a check or cash, as a thank-you for helping you for so many years. Tell him that you no longer will be needing him to work for you, but you want him to know how much you appreciate his dedication to your lawn. If he says he wants to continue to come, gently let him know that you will not be hiring him in the new year.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter suffers from depression. Quarantine has been difficult for her; she misses school and her friends and hates being stuck in a room all the time. Before, I could tell when she was having down days because she would come home and go straight to her room. On up days, she would come home, stop in the kitchen and do homework in the den around the family, and she would be present. With her home all the time and needing privacy to do virtual school, I can't tell what kind of day she is having, and it's not like teenagers are going to tell us.
I can't read her anymore; everything is so different. She keeps her door locked, and I've asked her not to, but that hasn't changed. She's tried to hurt herself in the past, so I don't like her door being locked. I want to take her door off the hinges until she returns to school. I am much more concerned with her safety than her privacy, but I don't want her to resent me either. What kind of changes can we make together so I know she's doing well? Is taking the door off the hinges too drastic? -- Quarantine Depression
DEAR QUARANTINE DEPRESSION: Speak to your daughter's psychiatrist to ask for specific coping mechanisms to use. Do not take her door. You may want to install a small surveillance camera just to be able to check on her safety. Also, establish a daily check-in time when you and your daughter talk.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.