And So Begins My New Life

Join me as I embark on a new life and new career in Funeral Services.

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Location: Southeast, United States

I'm a Funeral Services graduate embarking on a new career. I graduated high school in 1981, served honorably in the United States Navy from 1982-1986, been married since 1986, and have one son. I've relocated to a new state and have begun working in my chosen profession of Funeral Services, and I've never been happier.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Results Are In

The autopsy results are in; Anna Nicole Smith died of a drug overdose. Here's my look of shock and surprise:

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nostalgic For The Past

This is another post that is not related to work, but I would like to go ahead and get it out of my system anyway. I was in the Navy from 1982-1985, serving aboard the USS California (CGN36).
I enjoyed my time in the service and I loved the job I had (search radar and surface and sub-surface warfare-I was an OS, for those of you who know what that means). I should have gone career, but a couple of things prevented me.

When you first report aboard a ship, one of the things you have to do is learn the ship's firefighting systems; where the stations are, where the emergency equipment is, critical things that are unique to each and every ship. So if you transfer to a new ship, you have to be educated on that ship's equipment/locations. I found this process tedious, and didn't care to repeat it. Secondly, and most important, I had bad bosses. The Chief Petty Officer in charge of my division was a spiteful, bitter, manipulative man. If you didn't kiss his behind and play his game, his way, you could forget about achieving any significant accomplishments. I wanted to be an ID operator, which meant I would be responsible for identifying any contacts that appeared on our radar. There are several ways this can be done; you can interrogate the IFF (Identification Friend of Foe) of the target, you can wait until the contact gets close enough for visual ID, or, if you are operating with another ship that had aircraft (such as a carrier or a frigate with helo), you could vector the aircraft to the contact and have him make the identification. My Chief never let me do this. So then I started trying to qualify for Surface Supervisor. This position had responsibility over the team operating the surface search radars. I didn't get very far in that regard, either.

When it came time to re-enlist, I told my Chief, "no thanks." He couldn't offer me anything that would entice me to stay. No special schools, no transfers to other ships, nothing. I had no interest. He was mad, because he had a very low retention rate. This means that very few of his subordinates re-enlisted when their time came. This reflects badly on his leadership ability, of which he had very little.

He got his, though. When I was in, the only way to be promoted from Chief to Senior Chief was the recommendation of your fellow Chiefs. They would all get together and consider what kind of leader you were, what kind of job you were doing, and so forth. Since my Chief spent most of his spare time bad-mouthing the other departments, his peer review board did not recommend him for promotion. He was unbearable to work with for the next six months, but we all thought it was worth it.

But now, 22 years later, I find I'm nostalgic for those times. I got to travel to all sorts of places I would never have seen otherwise, I had experiences that will never be repeated, and I had good friends and good co-workers. About once every six months, I will have dreams where I'm back in the Navy. Sometimes, most of the times, I dream I'm back on the California, with my friends. Sometimes I dream I'm on a different ship, but with some of my old shipmates.

I find myself wishing sometimes I had gone career, but then, if I had, my life would be very different. I wouldn't have the wife and child I have, and I probably wouldn't have the job I have now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Just Another Manic Monday

Monday started out fairly quiet at the funeral home. We had one funeral, visitation starting at 12 noon, then leave for church around 1:30. Right before it's time to leave for church, we get a call. As soon as we get back from church, we get another call. Later that evening, after hours, we get two calls. Then, on Tuesday morning, we get a call from a family who wanted to make sure we had picked up their loved one, who passed away the night before. We did not have this body. It turns out the nursing home had called the wrong funeral home. So we had to call the other funeral home and make arrangements to pick up the body. So in 24 hours we went from one body to five. So we had death certificates to prepare, permits to file, obituaries to type, and a bunch of paperwork to complete. The owner sat with three families in direct succession. As I write this it is Wednesday night, and most of the services for these calls are concluded, or will be by Friday morning.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Last Man On Earth

I remember when I was kid I saw the movie, "The Omega Man" starring Charlton Heston. It's about the last man on earth, survivor of a plague or biological war.
Ever since I saw that, I've always wondered what it would be like to be the last man on earth, and what I would do to fill the time. One idea I had the other night was to find a large, domed stadium and set up the world's largest domino fall. You know, where you set dominoes up on end and make a path, then tip the first one over and watch the rest of them fall. My son says the only problem with this is that there would be no one to share the joy with. I disagree, I would be plenty happy to watch it all by myself.
What might you do?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Our Newest "Employee"

This is a squirrel that lives in the front yard of the funeral home. We've been able to get him to take food from us, to the point where he will take it out of our hand. He's even been known to get underfoot when we're outside, thinking he's going to get a handout. He's almost fearless around us; the leaf blower hardly bothers him.
Sometimes he will come to the front door and peer in, looking for someone to feed him.

Today he came to the door, so I went outside with some peanuts in my hand. I laid them on the ends of my outstretched fingers, thinking he would come up and take one. Instead, he ignored the peanuts and tried to eat my finger! Luckily, he did not break the skin or draw blood. If he did, I would be undergoing rabies treatments. From now on I will not feed him straight from my hand, but put the food on the ground for him to find.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Jesus Trading Cards

These are some of the pictures on our prayer cards, which we use for Catholic funerals. They are bifold; meaning they fold in half. On the inside left is a poem or obituary of the deceased, on the right side is birthdate, deathdate, information pertaining to the service, such as when and where, who's officiating, and lastly, the final resting place. I like to refer to them as "Jesus Trading Cards" because when visitors come in, they will flip through the assortment until they find a picture they like before they take one. I imagine them going up to other visitors and saying, "I'll trade you my Suffering Savior for your Holy Mother."
I know, I'm warped. But it's ok, God made me this way.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Up All Night

Last night about 10:45 I get a call. One of our clients who had pre-arranged and pre-paid their funeral passed away. Usually in cases like this we go get the body and bring it back to the funeral home. The only problem here is that this person had moved about 3 hours away to be closer to family. So at 11:15 I leave the funeral home parking lot and drive 3 hours to make the pickup. It took about 20 minutes or so to get the paperwork and get the body loaded, and then I was back on the road. In all, it took about 7 hours, what with stopping for gas and restroom breaks. I climbed into bed at 6am this morning and slept until 11:30. Ordinarily I would not have today off, but my boss told me before I left last night that I wouldn't have to come in today.

Actually, I rather enjoyed my drive. The moon was bright in the sky, the interstate was deserted, the stars were out, and I turned on the radio and tuned in some late night preaching. It was a good drive.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Questioning God

This post is not work-related, but something came up in Sunday School this morning, and I wanted to throw it out there for your consideration, and mine. In John chapter 8 there is the story of the woman found in adultery. The Pharisees bring her before Jesus, saying that Moses wrote that persons caught in adultery were to be stoned. Jesus stoops down, starts writing in the sand, and says "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." All those who wanted the woman stoned leave, until the woman and Jesus are left alone, when He tells her she is forgiven and to sin no more.

This is my question: God gave Moses the law, so now why is Jesus not willing to enforce this law? Did God have a change of heart? Was His law flawed to begin with? Did he really want the Israelites to stone people? I'm not sure why the God of Moses and God in the person of Jesus have two different attitudes concerning this incident. Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

In Like A Lamb

The month of March has crept in like a lamb; we haven't had any calls since Feb. 28, when we had three in one day to give us a total of 31 calls for the month of February. Right now we are two weeks ahead of schedule for number of calls versus time of the year. Last year we didn't have this many calls until the middle of March, so if we keep up a good pace this year we could possibly top 300 calls. We'll see what happens, as that is way down the road.