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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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It Has Been Scheduled

I called the testing center today to schedule my State Board exam. I will be testing on Thursday, December 6, at 12:30pm. Please remember me at that time, and if you pray, please keep me in your prayers.

Monday, November 26, 2007


We've had a very busy holiday weekend. One call Wednesday, one call on Thanksgiving Day, two calls on Friday, two calls on Sunday. Today we had three funerals: one this morning with local burial, one this afternoon with local burial, and interment of cremated remains at the National Cemetery. I took the family up in the limousine for that one. We got back about 2:15, and after I dropped them off I went straight home for my lunch. While at home I logged onto the internet and checked my email.

Waiting in my mailbox was news from the State Board that I was approved and able to schedule my exam. I looked at the dates, and pretty much I can take the test anytime. I have decided to aim for December 6th. This will give me time to study, and I will be off that week, as well. So I'll have the house to myself during the day and can get prepared. I'll let you know if anything changes.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Feel Even More Like Salieri

In this previous post, I was reflecting on how I wish I was musically inclined. I wanted to write compositions that would stir the heart and soul and touch our deepest emotions. The title of the post refers to Antonio Salieri, who lived around the time of Mozart. In the play and movie, "Amadeus" Salierie is the antagonist whose jealousy of Mozart's talent drives him to near madness.

I was thinking about Salieri the other day when I realized I am very much like him, as depicted in the film. Not that I'm jealous of anybody or being driven to madness, but rather my circumstances and recent events mimic events in Salieri's life.

In the movie, Salieri is explaining how he always wanted to be a great composer, but his father did not support him. One day, his father dies tragically, and Salieri is able to pursue his dreams. He describes it something like this, and my quote may not be exact: "One minute I was a frustrated boy in a small village, and the next, I was in Vienna, city of musicians. In a few short years, I was court composer to the emporer, Joseph, the Musical King."

In much the same way, my life has followed a similiar path. I was working a dead-end job, full of frustration, stress and unhappiness. Then my father died of cancer, and I found my calling in life. I went to school, and eventually I found myself in a new life and new career. Life imitating art, I guess.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Problem Solved

I was able to resolve my wireless router issues. I'm not sure exactly how I did it, but everyone in the house is back up and running on the internet. What started the problems, I couldn't say. My son told me a few days ago he could no longer connect wirelessly. It seems to have started after he downloaded the latest upgrade to his World of Warcraft game. I tried using System Restore on his computer, but that didn't work. Anyhow, when I finally got the router straightened out, he told me his Warcraft game was telling him to download the latest upgrade - again. So before he started down that road, we tried Undo Last System Restore. That solved the problem.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wireless Headaches

Last Christmas I purchased a Linksys Wireless G router. I had a devil of a time getting it to work with my modem, but after a few hours of working with it, I succeeded. It's been working flawlessly until recently. Neither my wife nor my son can access the router anymore. They've been connecting flawlessly since I set it up last year, but within the past month they've both had difficulty. My wife has spotty access, and my son can't connect at all. I've been working on reconnecting them all week, with no luck. On top of that, the keyboard on my computer, which is the host, went out. I'm wondering if we had a lightning strike or power surge which jinxed my equipment. Still, I have all my equipment plugged into a UPS/surge protector. Eventually, I'll get it all straightened out; probably just in time to disconnect it all and move into the house.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When It Rains

Business is picking up at work. I went in to work Monday to find that we had four calls over the weekend. At least two of those are burials on Wednesday, with one visitation today. We got the body ready and placed in the chapel, flowers came in early enough to set them up before lunch, and we were in good shape. Then we got a call. We sent two people to make the removal, leaving me, the owner, and my boss at the funeral home. The secretary was out for the day. After the crew came back from getting the body, we all went to lunch. I had brought mine from home, while everybody else left the premises for lunch. One of the employees came back with Burger King and ate with me, then he got to work embalming the body we had just picked up. In the meantime, the family was due in for their visitation, so I'm waiting up front to greet them. I see two cars pull into the parking lot, so I figure it's them. The first people to come to the front door are carrying clothes on a hangar. So I greet them and they tell me they are the family of the call we just got. The other car was the family I was expecting, so I show them in. Phones are ringing, I've got families coming in on me, and I'm all alone.

I got them seated, then called my boss to let him know the family had arrived unannounced. He was on his way back from lunch and arrived in just a few minutes. While he's meeting with them, I'm covering visitation and the phones. A short while later, another couple come in and I thought they were here for the visitation. I ask them if they're here for the family, and they tell me they just lost someone and need to make arrangements. So I got them seated and tell them we'll be with them as soon as possible. The phone rings and it's a local facility, telling me they have a call for us,and the family is on their way to see us. I take the information and send the only guy available to pick up the body. My boss escorts his family out, and I introduce the new family. While he's meeting with them, the phone rings, and it's a local hospital with another call for us. By this time another employee has returned from running errands, and I send him to the hospital.

My boss, in the meantime, has told me the first family he sat with wants everything completed as quickly as possible, so I get to work typing up the obit, faxing that in, calling the doctor to see if he'll sign the death certificate, get that ready for delivery, etc. Then my boss finishes with his second family, and they're in the same kind of hurry. So I repeat the process all over again. Bear in mind this whole time we still have visitation going on, the family's popping in every once in a while asking questions, etc. Finally, I get everything done, only to be told to deliver the certificates to the doctor and take a body to the crematory. I ended up working late, which normally I wouldn't mind, but one of our employees had already made arrangements to leave an hour early. So basically, I got to pick up his slack, which I seem to do more than I care for.

Anyhow, tomorrow will be very busy. We have two bodies to dress and casket, one of them weighing about 350 pounds. We've got two funerals tomorrow, one at a local church, the other at the National Cemetery. I'll be leading that one. While we are on those funerals, whoever is left behind will have to set up for the 2 o'clock visitation. When I return from the National Cemetery, I'll have to work the evening visitation, as I will be back on call. We have a funeral Thursday in our chapel, with burial at a local cemetery. I believe one of our calls from today has Friday services, and we have a memorial service Sunday afternoon. It will be a very busy week.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Home Of My Own

I've been married for over 21 years, and in all that time I've never owned a home. We've always rented apartments, and for a while we lived with my parents. This was right after my son was born.

Sometime after the New Year, most likely, we will be moving into our very own house. The owner of the funeral home where I work also speculates in real estate, and he holds a number of properties around town. He will be buying another house, and will rent it to us for the first year, and after that we will be renting to own. My wife and I are very excited. There's a lot of work to be done on the house, but it will be worth it. It's a two bedroom, two bath, 1100 square foot home with a one car garage and screened in patio. We are looking forward to moving in.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Large People

I just returned from the hospital, where another employee and I picked up a 600 pound body. It was a challenge, especially since one of the nurses was getting really nervous about how much the body was hanging off the stretcher. She kept telling us that her side had a lot of overhang, but what she didn't know was the other side was even worse. We told her to come around and take a look, yet she refused to listen to us and let us bring the body over more. Finally, we decided to tie the body down to the stretcher and take it out as it was. A couple of male nurses walked alongside the stretcher, keeping it balanced. We had one close call while loading the stretcher into the van, but we made it out of there uneventfully. When we got back to the funeral home, we took the time to properly position the body on the stretcher before unloading. Thankfully, the body goes directly to the crematory, with no need for embalming or further handling, except the final loading for the drive, and unloading at the crematory.

I told the owner of the funeral home today that I had contacted the State Board and found out about my status. He told me something I didn't know; the Licensing Exam is administered only twice a year, so I could be waiting up to six months to take my test. If that's the case, I'll have plenty of time to prepare.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Licensing Update

I sent my application in to the State Board last month, as part of the process to schedule my licensing exam. As of Wednesday morning I had not heard anything at all from them, so I gave them a call. My application has been received and I am on their agenda for the November meeting, at which time the board will review my application and either schedule my test date or send my application back for correction due to any possible oversight I might have made. I was supposed to be fingerprinted as part of the application process, but I did not do it for two reasons: One, I did not have any official fingerprint cards, and Two, I was fingerprinted last year as part of the intern licensing process. One of the items on the application was the option to include any type of written statement the applicant wanted to convey to the Board, so I told them that while I understand fingerprinting was part of the process, I had already done this and felt it should not be necessary to repeat, as my criminal status, or lack of, had not changed at all since my last fingerprint submission. We'll see if they accept that or make me get printed all over again. If I am accepted, I'll probably test sometime in December. I'll let you know.