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Protecting Mom Is Top Priority


Dear Annie: I am one of four adult children. Our father died a couple of years ago. Three of us have our own homes. One sister, "Diane," has been married twice and has lived with numerous men and was kicked out when each relationship ended. She has no place that she owns.

Our mother has told us that after she is gone, Diane will get the house and still share a quarter of the remaining assets. Dad was not in agreement with this, but Mom outlived him. In the past few years, Mom has spent at least $10,000 "fixing up the house" for our sister, sometimes at Diane's suggestion. Diane moved in with our mother and treats her badly. She doesn't spend much time with Mom, but when she does, she is terribly rude and condescending to her. It's more than we can stand.

Mom has dementia and is getting worse. The house is filthy, and Diane becomes angry if we try to clean it. What can we do without a full family blowup? We all agree it is elder abuse, but don't know what to do. — Heartbroken Daughter

Dear Heartbroken: A full family blowup is the least of your worries. You have to protect your mother. The National Council on Elder Abuse ( offers a list of state resources for reporting abuse, including Adult Protective Services in Mom's area. You also can call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 for resources and assistance.

Dear Annie: I have a question about tipping in hotels. I always tip for the number of nights I stay. If I checked in on Monday, I would leave a tip on Tuesday and again prior to my checking out on Wednesday. I thought this was correct.

Recently, we needed extra towels. I walked the note to the front desk and added a tip, telling the front desk clerk that we were leaving in the morning and would like the room made up early. The desk clerk thanked me on behalf of the housekeeping staff and assured me that the tip would be passed on.

But when I spoke to the housekeeper later that day, she said she didn't receive the tip. When I asked the desk clerk, she said she had been instructed by the manager to give the tip to the housekeeper who made up the room prior to our Monday check-in. Was the manager correct? When I tried to leave a tip for the other gal the next day, I discovered that was her day off. How best can I make this up to her? What do I do in the future? — Tipping Quandary from Ohio

Dear Ohio: You are correct to leave a tip for the housekeeper each day of your stay, because you never know who is cleaning your room on any given day. The problem occurred because you handed the tip to the desk clerk, and the manager gave it to someone else. If you insist on making it up to the housekeeper, send the tip to the hotel with her name on the envelope. But in the future, we'd leave tips on the dresser and ask for extra towels by calling the front desk from your room.

Dear Annie: You've printed several letters from those who feel inadequate about the cleanliness of their homes due to comments from family members.

I am clean and organized, but that is not always evident in my home. As my children were growing up, I found it much more important to take them to the park, museums, plays, the library and the zoo. My husband and I coached sports and were leaders of their school groups, etc.

Our children will remember those activities and be influenced by them for a lifetime. People should live life instead of trying to clean it up. If it bothers others, it is their problem. Your true friends won't care whether there's dust on the furniture. We all end up as dust anyway. — Been There, Learned From It

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



33 Comments | Post Comment
LW1 - I have no idea why preventing a family blow up is important to you since you think so poorly of your sister anyway. Call your county social services. If you can't find them or get nowhere, you can always call the police. They will know whom you should call.
LW3 - aren't you special and better than all of those people with clean houses.
Comment: #1
Posted by: kai archie
Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:09 PM
Kai archie, I think you're being unnecessarily hard on LW3. It would benefit a lot of women to remember that just as no man on his deathbed ever wished he'd spent more time at the office, no woman on her deathbed ever wished she'd spent more time doing housework.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Kimiko
Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:22 PM
LW1: Whenever we get letters like this, I REALLY try to see the other side of the story, in this case Diane's side.

Some people are just not meant to be caregivers, and it sounds like Diane is overwhelmed and ill-equipped to take care of your mother. And your letter is very critical of her (see, I didn't use the J word, Maggie!). When you go over to clean the house, you are heaping more criticism on her and she feels it.

My advice for you, LW, is a little different than the Annies. I think you should contact the Area Agency on Aging and get a social worker/elder care adviser to do an assessment of your mother and the environment she's living in. Chances are, the adviser will suggest your mother go into an assisted living facility because of her dementia.

Until you have taken care of an elderly person with dementia 24/7, it is impossible to know the stress that is involved. And the LW doesn't know what happens when she isn't there. MOM may not want the house cleaned up: I saw that happen with my god-mother who had Alzheimer's. It may have nothing to do with Diane's level of cleanliness.

It's clear to me that BOTH the mother and Diane need help not criticism. If the LW approaches it from a place of understanding and not judgment, she may avoid the blowup she is afraid of. And the best way to do that is to get an objective third party to come in.
Comment: #3
Posted by: nanchan
Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:54 PM
LW1 - Please, for your mother's safety, move and move quickly. You cannot care if there is "a full family blowup". Diane is trying to isolate your mother by getting angry at you for trying to clean the filthy house. She thinks she can keep you away if she gets mad. If your mother can no longer clean, chances are she is having difficulty feeding herself since Diane isn't around much. If Diane is not cleaning, (I'll bet she is not grocery shopping and is not cooking. Please use the resources provided by the Annies. Your mother needs an advocate and Diane ain't it. I also suggest you get an attorney involved. What were the terms of your father's will? Does your mother have a will? You said your mother has dementia. Is she still capable of making financial decisions? You need to make sure the household bills are getting paid. What kind of funds does your mother have that will take care of her now and in the future? You need to know if your mother has added Diane to her bank accounts and/or given her power of attorney. Her dementia will get worse and your mother is going to need the proper care of professionals. This will include an assisted living facility. If mother has already spent $10,000 on the house that is $10,000 less she has for her care.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Lori C
Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:10 PM

LW3 refers to the thread which began with the second letter on 30 April 2014 (Concerned Grandparents). There were follow-ups and side trails on 30 May 2014 (Not Quite a Grownup), 17 June 2014 (Busy Mom), 22 July 2014 (Manitoba, Canada), and 17 August 2014 (Oregon).
Comment: #5
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:24 PM
Kai and Kimiko:

I can actually see both sides of this.

There is true VALUE in having a clean, comfortable safe haven to go home to. I've learned this lesson a bit late in my life, I used to live in chaos because of my schedule (or so I justified it). I used to hate walking in the door, looking around my home used to seriously depress me. After finding an online site called "FlyLady" I've turned things around and we now have a company ready home all the time. It's not a ton of work with her system, it's all based on simple routines (15 minutes twice a day if that, and once a week for about an hour). But it feels good to know when I come home that it's clean.

Having a clean home should not be anybody's main goal (unless they are a housekeeper), but just like we should take care of our bodies (exercise, diet, etc.) we SHOULD take care of our homes. It is an indication of how we feel about ourselves. One of the first indicators of depression is an unclean home. Hording has become so common that we now have television shows dedicated to it and almost EVERY horder has mental issues of some sort.

I agree with LW3 that true friends won't worry about a little dust on the furniture, but I also think that true friends would notice if things got out of hand and try to help you.
Comment: #6
Posted by: nanchan
Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:28 PM
LW1, I have to wonder about Diane's side of the story.

You say she says mean things to your mother. I wonder if they're any worse than the mean things you're saying about her? It can be extremely stressful to take care of an Alzheimers patient full time. Diane may be acting abusive, or she may just be getting a little short tempered the hundredth time mom pours her oatmeal on the floor.

BTW, I suspect that Diane reacted badly when you offered to help clean the house because of the way you offered. Your letter reeks of judgmentalism, including your irrelevant rant about Diane's failed marriages.

You're "heartbroken" because Mom has spent a couple thousand dollars a year fixing problems with the house (or maybe your heartbreak is about Diane's failed marriages?) You're mad because Diane gets to keep the house, though you have a house of your own, and Diane doesn't. I guess you'd rather see her out on the street when Mom dies. I don't know the whole story behind Mom leaving her the house, but I suspect it's because she understands that Diane is more needy than her other children. You might learn something from her compassion.

Your comment about Diane's treatment of your mother is disturbing, but I can't help but wonder if it's the whole story. It seems thrown in to justify your invective against Diane. You appear to have a hard time separating your complaints about Diane from your sense of entitlement to Mom's assets when she dies, and irritation with mom's decisions in making up the will, not very well masked as "heartbreak" over your sister.
Comment: #7
Posted by: sarah morrow
Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:51 PM
LW1 - I agree with Sarah Morrow that you seem lacking in compassion (or bring it out selectively when it makes your point). What do Diane's marital troubles have to do with your "heartbreak" over the state of Mom's house? It's had to tell what you're "heartbroken" about --- Diane's two failed marriages? Her being mean to Mom? You and the other siblings being denied your fair share of the loot (the value of Mom's house) when she dies? You need to separate what's best for Mom, from the financial interests of yourself and your other siblings.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Nowhereman
Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:03 PM
LW2 had me a little stumped because it was a little hard to follow the story but I'm disturbed by the Annies' answer.

First of all, when I check into a hotel, I request no housekeeping unless I'm going to stay longer than 3 days. Usually, there are more than enough towels in the room for 3 days. But more importantly, I don't like housekeeping in my room. I ALWAYS travel with my laptop and several electronics and I don't want some housekeeper messing with my power cords, etc. and yes, it has happened.

The Annies idea to leave a tip on the dresser is PARTICULARLY bad because most housekeepers are told not to take anything from a room. A housekeeper who takes cash from a dresser could well be accused of STEALING! I know I would accuse housekeeping of stealing if I left cash on a dresser because that's the first place I would put cash after cleaning out my pockets or purse. I wouldn't leave it there as a tip. A tip should be given directly to the housekeeper or added to the bill.
Comment: #9
Posted by: nanchan
Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:53 PM
Nanchan (#49), like you, I ask for as little housekeeping as possible. Hotels are using an increasing array of harsh chemicals on bed linens, and the last thing you want is to breathe a new dose every day. (For me, it's so irritating to my eyes, nose, and throat that I can't sleep.) Also, reusing your towels and sheets is better for the environment. And like you, I don't like having my stuff moved around.

However, if you wanted to leave a tip in the room, you can always put it in an envelope or leave a note indicating that it's for housekeeping; some hotels provide envelopes for this purpose. Frankly, I'd rather do that than trust someone at the front desk to give it to the housekeepers.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Baldrz
Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:32 AM
It's hard to tell exactly what's going on with LW1. Dianne could be sensitive about what she views as criticism of her care of her mother. It's hard to believe that she'd ask for $10000 worth of improvements but then let the house run down from lack of care. I'm inclined to side with the view that she's bitten off more than she can chew by taking on the care of an elderly woman with dementia. She needs help, it's a 24 hour a day/365 day a year job.
As for the hotel cleaner's tipping thing, I've always left the housekeeper's tip at the end of my visit, after removing my stuff from the room and heading for check-out. That way there is no ambiguity about it being meant to be a tip. I presume that the cleaners pool their tips, the same way restaurant employees do. Cleaning hotel rooms is a very hard and strenuous job, so these people get some of my most generous tips.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Seabeast2
Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:26 AM
Bitey Fish thinks Diane and Mom need separate fishbowls.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Bitey Fish
Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:24 AM
Thanks nanchan! (re - "J" word) AND I agree with you on #6. LW3 makes it sound like an either/or situation. Either you do things with your kids OR you have a clean house. It isn't. No one has to channel Martha Stewart to have their home sanitary and liveable - I am certainly a "relaxed" housekeeper - but being a slob makes the house just that more unappealing to come home to.

Some people have brought up LW1's pointing out Diane's failed marriages, but I think the personal information is pertinent. The worry is because they know the kind of person her sister is. Two divorces is not so uncommon, but moving from house to house with first one man and then another is not a sign of a responsible person. And who wants an irresponsible person living - and being harsh to - their aged parent? At this point, Mom could actually be afraid of Diane and not know what to do except pander to her even more, which is why I think contacting some kind of elder abuse hotline may be a good idea.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:14 AM
LW1—Honey, there are three of you and one ‘Diane'. What you three responsible siblings need to do is locate your backbones and confront Diane directly about her treatment of your mother. Also inform her that from now on, you and your other siblings are going to be keeping your eyes on her and her behavior. Lay out clear expectations with regards to her upkeep of your mother's home and what is and is not appropriate behavior towards your mother. And insist that if she doesn't clean up the pigsty she's created of your mother's house then the rest of you will hire cleaners who will. What is Diane going to do? Really?!? Diane likes to pretend she's holding all the cards but she has nothing but jokers. It seems as though without your mother she wouldn't have two nickels to rub together. If your mother chooses to will Diane her home after she passes, so what? It's your mother's decision. The rest of you have done well for yourselves so get over it.

LW2—While I'm sure your attention to the housekeeping staff is very much appreciated, you're a little too obsessed with both getting your tip to the housekeeping and making sure she knows it was you who gave it. Instead of playing detective, why don't you simply do what normal people do and slip a $5.00 bill under the pillow with a post-it saying ‘Thanks' when you leave the room for the day.

LW3—While I agree with you wholeheartedly about living life to the fullest and ensuring that your children receive a worldly view and leave home with an open mind, I certainly would put aside a trip to the museum if the cure for cancer were growing in my crisper drawer or a fairy ring of mushrooms had sprung up on my living room carpet.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Chris
Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:43 AM
Nanchan beat me to the punch about the location of the tip. I travel for a living, staying in hotels 5 nights a week. I leave tips on the PILLOW--not anywhere else in the room--because hotel chambermaids are strictly forbidden to remove money from anywhere else in the room. I also tip EVERY day, because it's not the same chambermaid every day. Also, I've learned from talking with some chambermaids (and, oh, what a lucky advantage it is when travelling to be fluent in Spanish!) that housekeeping management sometimes make a practice of checking rooms on the morning of checkout for the express purpose of collecting those "final" tips.

Incidentally, in seven years of intense travel, I have never once had anything stolen by a hotel chambermaid, and I have had MANY expensive electronic gadgets that I carelessly left behind returned to me.

On one occasion, the hotel laundry found and returned my wedding ring, which had come off during the night and been bundled up with the sheets by the maid.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Mel Johansson
Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:48 AM
P.S. The wedding ring incident is why I now have my husband's initials and the date of our wedding tattooed on my ring fingers, and leave my wedding ring at home.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Mel Johansson
Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:50 AM
Re: Mel Johansson (15)

Good points all the way around especially about the rotating staff, and thanks for the advice on where to leave the tip.

Like you, I've never had anything stolen from my hotel room, but I HAVE had computers and power cords moved. At one point, the housekeeper unplugged my computer during an upload and I lost data which is one reason I request less housekeeping.

Baldarz brings up a great point as well about the chemicals.

Maggie (13) Also agree with you that it's not an all or nothing deal. But a LOT of women seem to think that it is. One of the first things the Fly Lady taught me is that perfection is not the goal. She signs off every email with "
You are not behind! I don't want you to try to catch up;I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?" because many people tend to think there is no way they can catch up with their housework so they just stop doing it.

Comment: #17
Posted by: nanchan
Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:32 AM
Re LW#1-------
Although your 'concern' for your mother is a bit diluted by your 'concern' that Diane will get the house PLUS her 'share' of your inheritance (which, by the way, NONE of you have a right to expect), you do appear to have a reason to be worried, since your mom has dementia and Diane MAY not be caring for her properly.
If there really is cause to be concerned for your mom's well-being and not just for who's going to get whatever money is left, the three of you can certainly band together and force some intervention. Real dementia should be easy to verify, and you can then take steps to fix things, including having one of more of you have legal authority to take care of her, etc. (Are any of the three of you willing to step in and be a full-time, live-in caregiver? Or is her only option to leave her home, where she presumably feels comfortable, and get into a care facility? If Diane is not the best option for her care, what about a live-in caregiver whose JOB it is to care for her and can be monitored? Would cost money, which would lessen your inheritance, but would maybe be best for your mom.)
As far as the money is concerned, you don't have really good choices-----you either let Diane stay and risk her going through it all, or finagling to get everything left to her, or you get your mom into some other care, which will also eat up what money she has, plus perhaps result on a lien on the house so that no one gets it when she dies, the state does. If you don't care about any of that, then go for it, and get her some decent care IF it turns out she's not already getting that.
Not trying to be unsympathetic here, but your obvious concern for the money, and your dislike of Diane, kind of slants things here. If you have a real case for her being mistreated, it can be verified and fixed.
Comment: #18
Posted by: jennylee
Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:37 AM
LW3, how about minimizing cleaning time by getting the kids involved and helping? More hands make the work go faster, you are still doing something with the kids, and teaching them some good habits and life long good habits. Who says family time should always be about fun?

When we were kids, my father used to let us help him with projects like painting and hanging wallpaper, and now I know how to do those things. No need to wait for my husband or pay someone if I want to change a room. Time spent with him, and my mother on her home projects like cooking and baking, also made for good memories.
Comment: #19
Posted by: Carly O
Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:47 AM
Re LW#3-----
Got it--------- when your kids were at home your priority was to spend time with them and not on having a spotless house, which is fine, though you're a bit smug about it.
So how is yourhousekeeping now, since it sure sounds like your kids are grown? You're probably not still taking them to the zoo or the library. If you just don't care about having a spotless home, good for you, your choice. Just don't imply that those who do care did so at the expense of everything else important. Some people can even do both-----keep a reasonably clean home AND give their kids good memories--------and an added plus is that hopefully they wil NOT grow up with an idea that a dirty house is the way to go.
(My mom kept an incredibly messy/dirty home, and I can't really say I had those great memories of what she did with her time instead, because I always thought she could have done BOTH, at least to a certain degree.) Now, I really apporeciate cleanliness (not necessarily spotlessness, but----- because I didn't get it growing up and it was embarrassing to have a boyfriend come to pick me up and see the dirt, unless I did all the cleaning myself, which I ended up doing. And even when I was raising my daughter, and had a full-time job, I worked at both. She didn't seem to feel neglected, it's not like there's only one option.
Clean your house, or don't. Just don't sit up there acting like you're superior to someone with a clean house. I suspect you're a bit defensive because you are just a bit embarrased by how your house looked. Did you explain to everyone who saw it that your REAL job was raising those kids?
Comment: #20
Posted by: jennylee
Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:55 AM
With LW1, it is important to remember that there is at least one other side to the story, possibly two... from my own family history, I know that sometimes adult children can be too quick to claim their elderly parent has "dementia" (when said elderly parent is lucid every time anyone else interacts with them).

Plus, LW1 is clearly thinking that Diane's troubled relationship past is some kind of character flaw, when it could simply be bad luck (I think the number of Americans with two failed marriages is fairly significant, actually).

It's also not at all uncommon for parents to want to give more help to their less successful adult children -- because the successful ones are doing fine on their own and don't *need* the help.

So I think the important issue here is to get some sort of outside, objective reading on the situation, from someone who doesn't have an axe to grind against Diane, or a financial stake in Mom's estate. Someone recommended by the elder abuse hotline, maybe, or someone from the local Council on Aging or similar community group, or a social worker, could be very helpful.

Bottom line, though, is that the LW would do well to set aside the issues of money and inheritance, and just focus on mom's health and well-being. Too much focus on the house and investing in it and the fact that Diane will get the house, that makes it seem like the LW is primarily incensed about this situation for selfish reasons. When, frankly, even if the mother was perfectly lucid, she'd still be free to leave the LW nothing at all if she wanted -- because it's HER money, not the LW's.

So if *concern for her mother* is really the issue, then the LW should simply focus on that. Her mother's health, the living conditions of the house, and things of that nature.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Mike H
Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:01 AM
For LW2, I actually don't have a lot to add to this -- when we travel we tend to seek the minimal amount of cleaning possible while we are in the room, preferring to reuse towels, etc, for environmental reasons. Plus we tend to like to stay in B&Bs, where there is a smaller staff and it's often the owner who greets you and does a lot of the work themselves.

For LW3, I don't disagree, but on the flip side you can *both* live life *and* have a reasonably clean home. And there are a lot of websites and books out there that give suggestions on how to arrange your belongings for your space and make it faster and easer to clean up. (And there are plenty of suggestions for families with children as well).

It's a balancing act, of course, and everyone's a little different. I know that some people will read letters like those and feel defensive about their own home, but it never hurts to be a little self-reflective and take a moment to step outside of your routine to see if you might be able to change things up or do things a little differently. A lot of us get stuck in ruts and then get defensive when we see or hear anything that challenges that rut.
Comment: #22
Posted by: Mike H
Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:10 AM
Re: Carly O (19)

OMG, you just brought back a powerful memory from my childhood, very timely since it's Saturday morning.

Every Saturday, all of us kids had to clean the house and our individual bedrooms before we could go outside and play. We used to joke that Mom had eight kids so that she'd have a cleaner dedicated to each room in the house. As my older siblings moved out and went to college, it soon boiled down to my sister and I to care for the house (Mom worked most weekends, so we were there alone).

My sister and I decided to make it fun and and so every Saturday morning, we'd race to the record player (yes, we're that old, younguns!) to put our choice of music on. My sister was big into disco (which I hated, I was more into rock) so it was kind of a heated debate. I still can't listen to the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever without remembering the smell of Comet.

But we'd really just focus and get it done. My sister and I had a system and could blow through the house (at that point 4 bedrooms, three baths) AND the laundry before noon. Then she would take me out to lunch and once a month, we'd go get manicures after lunch. We'd ALWAYS go shopping.

Honestly, I don't think I ever saw Mom clean much, we did it. And we made it fun. Cleaning doesn't have to be a chore.

And you OWE it your children to teach them that they have responsibilities, like to keep their house clean!
Comment: #23
Posted by: nanchan
Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:12 AM
Re: nanchan
Agreed! I have an aunt who was 6 when I was born, so sister and I always loved staying with our grandparents because we loved being around the aunt. The same Saturday morning cleaning routine went on there, music and all, and if you were there, you were cleaning. It was fun, and sister and I wanted to spend weekends there.
When the cleaning was done, we did all sorts of other things.
Comment: #24
Posted by: Carly O
Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:36 AM
I always leave the tip under the phone or clock radio. My hope is that it will be found by the first housekeeper who gives the room a thorough cleaning.
Comment: #25
Posted by: Carla
Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:56 AM
Re: Bitey Fish ~~~ Real Bitey Fish thinks impostor Bitey Fish needs an identity that isn't stolen.
Comment: #26
Posted by: Piranha in Pajamas
Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:15 AM
Re: Miss Pasko (5)

**Off Topic - but request opinions from BTL**

I think the Annies need to take notice when Miss Pasko is able to come up with more than 2 weeks when the same letter has been discussed. Miss Pasko today found FIVE discussions on this one topic, and if SHE can do that (and presumably without being a paid editor) then certainly the Annies editors should be able to see when a topic is being overly discussed.

Thoughts on that guys?
Comment: #27
Posted by: nanchan
Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:31 AM
LW1- I agree that you should get an eldercare specialist to help you figure out how to conserve your mom's money to pay for her care. If she has dementia, she cannot do it. Try to be kinder to your sister who is living there with her. Taking care of a demented old person is no day in the park. It is kind of like watching a toddler, who messes up everything with little regard for keeping a neat home. Only the old person is bigger, heavier, and even more stubborn than a toddler. If your sister did not always keep a messy home, maybe your mom is overwhelming her ability to cope. Even having a helper come in for a couple of hours a day could help. Maybe the helper could feed, bathe, and medicate your mom while your sister cleans the house without distraction.
LW2- Some hotels may have the help pool their tips, but most do not. Whoever cleans the room picks up the tip. I always leave it on the notepad after I write "Thank you housekeeper" on the notepad. Then it is clear that it is a tip for the person who cleaned the room. I would never leave it under the pillow, or worse yet hide it under the phone or clock radio. The money might end up in the wash cycle, or be overlooked until the next room renter discovers it. Housekeepers do not always have the time to move every item to clean under it. That may offend some of you, but they are on a time crunch schedule, and their bosses dictate how much time they may spend on a room. So even if they would like to do a better job, due to their heavy workload, they may not be able to do so.
I use a CPAP machine, and it is expensive and should not be moved with water in the vaporizer. So I always empty it and put it away, so that the housekeeper will not have to clean around it. I assume that they will need the outlet that I use to run the vacuum cleaner, too. I would not leave electronics around because even if you request no cleaning, there may be a work order to fix the drain or something, and someone might come into the room anyway. I realize that a hotel room is not private like my home, so I act accordingly, and have never had a problem.
I would not request no cleaning until I check out, because some housekeepers are paid by the number of rooms they clean, and I do not want to be the reason that they were not able to make their earning goal. Leaving a big tip on the last day means that the person who cleans that day gets a big tip, and those who wanted to clean, or who did clean, get nothing. I never give the tip to the desk unless that is a specific request at the hotel, with an envelope indicating that this is their policy. And if I ask a housekeeper in the hall for anything extra, I tip them right then to be sure that the person providing the extra service gets the tip. I also notice that when I tip as I do, that I get careful cleaning, and toiletries are restocked. Even if the room was short of tissue or shampoo when I checked in, it always has plenty after I have tipped. If you take care of your housekeeper, your housekeeper will take care of you. We also smile at, and greet the help in the hallways, as a sign of respect for the hard work they do.
Comment: #28
Posted by: Patty Bear
Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:50 AM
LW 3 If there is dust on your furniture your house is not clean. If you wanted to spend time going places and doing things when your kids were growing up instead of cleaning house, that is fine. But don't claim that you are "clean and organized" when your house is dirty. I'll bet your house is still a mess even though the kids are gone and they are probably slobs too since they never learned how to clean house. Keeping a neat, clean house is just as important as going to the zoo and participating in sports. Many lazy, irresponsible people would rather play than work. You sound like one of them.
Comment: #29
Posted by: locake
Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:01 AM
Re: Patty Bear (28)

Sorry, but when I check into a hotel, I'm not there to make the housekeeping people happy.

Earlier this week, there was a section on The Today Show about how hotels are taking a page from the airlines books and charging extras that are OUTRAGEOUS. A hotel room's quoted price can go up to almost double with add-ons like paying for parking (even if you don't have a car), paying for a safe in your room (even if you don't use it), etc.

And if I'm not using housekeeping every day, I'm not going to tip them, just because I feel sorry for them. The person who cleans up the final mess deserves the tip I give them.
Comment: #30
Posted by: nanchan
Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:16 AM
LW1: You all agree it's elder abuse but you don't know what to do. You are all deeply stupid and vindictive. Congrats.

LW3: Nice, defensive letter explaining yourself. LOL

Comment: #31
Posted by: Diana
Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:31 PM
LW1 - what I don't see in this letter - and you usually see it a lot in this kind of situation - is LW1's litany of all the things she & the "good" siblings are doing to help care for their mom. Are they taking her to the doctor, taking turns staying with her at night, buying her groceries and cooking her dinner? Or are they hanging back in their "owner occupied" homes and criticizing Diane for not doing more and being mad because Diane is going to get the house? I'm thinking it's the latter, because most times when one sibling talks about how negligent the other one is, the first sibling almost always lists their own good deeds as further justification for how awful the other is. I myself wouldn't want the siblings that hated me to clean the house I lived in because so much of the time that means they're going to throw out my stuff. As for $10,000 for home repair over the course of a few years - that doesn't seem like a lot to me, and I think if it was something extravagant, like a hot tub or a pool, the LW would have said what the money was spent on. I suggest all of the siblings take a step back and try to talk together about what the right care plan for their mother is. If it takes bringing in a mediator or a social worker, then that's a good step.
Comment: #32
Posted by: kai archie
Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:18 PM
CarlyO nailed it when she said that you can keep your house clean when have kids at home by having them help. I have the same memories as nanchan about my sister and I having to clean the house every Saturday before we could do anything else Although I will admit that I still sort of rush though my housekeeping since that's what we used to do to get the the "fun" stuff sooner.

If your house is dirty enough that family and/or friends comment on it, it''s probably pretty bad, not just a little dust. Unless it's your MIL who has never liked you, or your mother who criticizes everything you do. Also, I understand when you have kids at home, there are no doubt going to be things that aren't always (or even usually) in their "place" and organized. That's not the same as being dirty.

I hear about so many parents now days not making their kids do chores, or not let them have a part time job because "school is their job" Not having them do cleaning chores is bad enough, but how are they going to manage when they leave the house if they are not taught to cook, how to do laundry etc.?
Comment: #33
Posted by: C Meier
Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:19 PM
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