Miss Manners: Where do I go when my cleaner is working?



Dear Miss Manners: I have moved into a condo and will be hiring a woman to come in once or twice a month to do the things I am no longer able to do.

What do I do while she is cleaning? In warm weather, I can sit outside, unless in case of rain. Do I move from room to room to keep out of her way?

One of our charms as Americans is our discomfort with being waited upon. Showing respect for one’s employees includes allowing them to go on with doing their jobs.

There is also a practical reason not to stand on the area of carpet you want vacuumed. This will require some movement on your part, but Miss Manners will leave the specifics to her Gentle Reader, who is more familiar than she with her own mobility and square footage.

Dear Miss Manners: I received a delivery of a gift box of fruit. The following day, I penned a thank-you note and placed it in the mail. A day or two later, the sender texted to ask if I had received the gift. I texted my thanks, and apologized for the Postal Service having not yet delivered my thank-you note.

Several days after that, I received a text from the donor, which included a photo of my thank-you note, indicating he had received it and appreciated the handwritten thanks. This odd (to me) gesture of sending me a photo of the thank-you note I had written indicated to me that the donor must have expected an immediate text of thanks, with a photo of the fruit, upon my receipt of the gift.

Is this what etiquette now requires? It occurs to me that in the recent past, I have received some texted thank-yous that included seemingly unnecessary photos of the gift I had purchased and sent.

Your friend was a bit too eager to bask in your appreciation, but this was not a major transgression. You, in writing the thank-you letter, acted properly.

As to their proof-of-receipt photos, Miss Manners can only guess that your friend, like package delivery companies, was preempting follow-up calls to confirm delivery. There was one too many exchanges here already.

Dear Miss Manners: My girlfriend says it’s perfectly all right to put sharp knives in the sink, no matter who’s doing the dishes. Can I get a confirmation if this is correct or not?

Sharp knives being as prone to get dirty as dull ones, Miss Manners sees no objection to washing both, although she believes it would be best if you and your girlfriend could come to an agreement not to booby-trap shared chores.

Dear Miss Manners: A dining acquaintance of mine, an elderly gentleman, frequently has problems with a runny nose. As a result, as soon as he sits down at a restaurant table, he takes a used tissue from a pocket and dabs his nose.

He may repeat this a few times during a meal, always returning the used tissue to that same pocket. Am I wrong to find a bit of displeasure in this practice of his?

It seems to Miss Manners that the alternatives — except, perhaps, procuring a handkerchief — would be even more unpleasant.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.



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