Dear Amy: My fa­ther-in-law passed away re­cent­ly. Be­fore he died he had a hand­i­cap park­ing per­mit that Mom proud­ly dis­played when­ev­er she parked, even though Dad was not with her.

She still uses it ev­er­y­where she goes, even though she is very heal­thy and walks 2 miles every day.

Re­cent­ly, my wife and I took her out to din­ner. I was em­bar­rassed when she pulled the per­mit out and told me to park in the hand­i­cap space. I of­fered to drop her off at the door and park in a nor­mal spot. She would have none of it.

To avoid an ar­gu­ment, I parked in a hand­i­cap space. I vowed not to do that a­gain, be­cause it is il­legal and wrong. My wife wants to ap­pease her moth­er and be­lieves the per­mit re­minds her of Dad.


Amy says: A park­ing per­mit is a strange to­tem to at­tach emo­tio­nal mean­ing to. Per­haps you should sim­ply as­sume that your moth­er-in-law is at­tached to the con­veni­ence of il­le­gal­ly using a hand­i­cap per­mit.

Your of­fer to drop off your moth­er-in-law at the en­trance was the ap­pro­pri­ate ges­ture to make. Your wife could have eas­i­ly walked with her in­side.

Be­cause you know it was wrong of you to park in the hand­i­cap spot, you might have made your point clear­ly if you had told the group be­fore the meal: “I feel terri­ble a­bout tak­ing up that spot while we are sit­ting here eat­ing. I’m going to move the car now. When we leave I’ll re­trieve it and pick you up at the en­trance, if you don’t want to walk.”

Clean­ing lady needs to tidy up

Dear Amy: I have em­ployed a clean­ing lady for near­ly 20 years. She is kind, pleas­ant and trust­worthy. She is now in her early 50s and has no phys­ic­al limi­ta­tions, oth­er than lift­ing heav­y things.

I pay her cash. I have al­ways paid her $80 per vis­it, and she comes every oth­er week. I also give her $200 at Christ­mas.

She used to work rough­ly four hours per vis­it, and al­ways did a good job. But in the last sev­er­al years, her work has slacked off. It ap­pears she only works two hours per vis­it, and I u­su­al­ly end up doing my own dust­ing and clean­ing the floors. My friends tell me I should fire her, but I don’t have the guts. Should I give her a raise? Warn her that she’s not doing en­ough? Or fire her?


Amy says: You don’t have the guts to fire this per­son, and so you are con­tem­plat­ing giv­ing her a raise. But I fail to see how giv­ing a per­son a raise when they do a bad job fix­es this prob­lem.

I think it is hu­man na­ture to grad­u­al­ly low­er your ef­forts with a rep­e­ti­tious job. You should tell her you no­tice that she is miss­ing tasks. Review with her the scope of the job and make a check­list.

Your light house­clean­ing might not be a four-hour job. Per­haps you should re­duce it to three hours and pay her a high­er hour­ly wage.


Send Ask Amy ques­tions to Amy Dick­in­son at Twit­ter: @askingamy Face­book: @ADickinsonDaily.