Ticked Off

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My neighbor and I have shared hourly yard workers for years. No
matter who finds them among students, clients, employees, children of
relatives and friends, etc, we have agreed on what hourly rate to pay
and cooperated on schedules. The last regular gal we had was
amazing, but finally got a teaching job so we both fell behind during
fall and winter. My neighbor found someone new who is not as good
but needs the work and money. I had her scheduled to come on
Sunday, but my neighbor slid in ahead of me for two hours of heavy
lifting of rocks and soil, so by the time the gal got to my place she was
tired, dehydrated, and hungry. I fed her and she worked a paltry 1.5
hours, which barely made a dent in the mess. I’m frustrated with both
of them, especially because it’s my birthday week and I am
entertaining. What should I say to whom?

Ticked Off

Dear Ticked Off:

You should speak to both of them simply and clearly.
To the yard worker you should be very clear: I made a plan with you. I
was clear about how much work I had. If you had extra time you
should have called me to see if I wanted you to start earlier or work
longer before you made other commitments. I still want you to work
for me, but I want us on the same page about what you are saying yes
to and what I can count on. I’m past being angry but I do want to
know we agree.

To your neighbor: I know you found [worker name] so you probably
feel you have a proprietary interest in her and maybe even the rights
to first place in line. But I’d made a plan for Sunday and what you did
made it difficult for me to even make a dent in my weeds. I need at
least xyz hours of her time in the next few weeks. Can you wait to hire
her again, or at least consult with me before you do? [Pause to listen
to excuses.] Thanks for letting me know before she comes back to
your place.