I've hesitated to mention this the last few weeks, because I really don't know what's going on.
For the last couple of months Eleanor, the Upstairs Maid, has been showing signs of burnout, or maybe something worse. She arrives late. She's called in sick several times. Which means I have to call in Anna, the Assistant Housekeeper, to fill in for the day. Or else I have to do her daily chores myself---I, me, moi making beds and scrubbing bathtubs. Trust me here---I have a temp agency on speed dial. Ha!
But I'm seriously worried. Her work is such perfection, and she's been with this family for thirteen years. Burnout and boredom is a definite possibility--it's lonely working upstairs all day by yourself, and I honestly don't know how she does it. But something is definitely up, and I can't ignore it any longer.
Almost daily both the Mister and Mrs are complaining about her for something amiss---an empty tissue holder on the bedside table, no shampoo in the Mister's shower, no cotton swabs on the Mrs' makeup counter---insignificant things to you and me, but to my employers, there's no excuse.
Today (Friday), Eleanor showed up late, then left midway through her chores. Nelda (the Executive Housekeeper) and I scrambled upstairs to finish her work. But the Mrs was not placated.
And late this afternoon, just when I thought I could get away early, the Mrs came downstairs and said, "I've had enough of this! Eleanor needs to be replaced!" And then back up the stairs she went.
My heart sunk. The Mrs can be so cold when it comes to household staff. But I understand her frustration, and I should have already started this process when we first noticed the changes in Eleanor's behavior. I was just hoping for the best, and after all---thirteen years count for something! But that's just me.
I immediately called the HR Department at the Foundation and told them to start looking for someone else. A big part of my training at the Butler School was how to train other staff. And I can do this. But trying to replace Eleanor will not be easy, by any means.
So there goes whatever tranquility I had hoped for this weekend. No matter. But our dear Eleanor---what's going on? What has happened? What will you do when the Mrs lets you go?