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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Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I got the confirmation today that my paperwork has been received by the state. In 48 hours, I can call and schedule another attempt at my State Board Exam. I'll probably call on Monday, and schedule for my next day off, which is two weeks from tomorrow. Now that I know what to expect, I'll be better prepared and will hopefully pass. I really can't afford to keep retaking these.

Work has picked up some. I'm experiencing some frustration with our last call. The deceased was a patient of the VA hospital, and I can't get a straight answer on who will be signing the death certificate. And, of course, every time I call I get put on hold, transferred, and voicemailed to death.
Hopefully, though, we'll have an answer tomorrow.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I just realized it's been about 10 or 11 days since my last post. I apologize for going so long without any news, it's just that there hasn't been much to write about.

I did send in my application to retake the State Board exam. Once they receive my app, they'll let me know I'm in the system and I can schedule the re-test.

For the past year, I conducted an experiment with my email account. In exchange for a free mailbox, they give my address to their advertisers, who send me junk mail. For 2007, I received 352 pieces of junk mail. That's almost one per day, but they would usually arrive in clusters of 2 or 3. Sometimes I would go a whole week without junk mail, then the next day I would have several waiting for me.

Does spamming work? I personally have never, ever, bought anything because of spam email.

Work on the house continues. I tore down the clothesline in the backyard. Now I have to separate the pole from the concrete base they were embedded in. (I just pulled the poles out of the ground, concrete and all). I also worked on our dead hedgerow. There are a row of hedges separating my yard from the neighbor behind me. 98% of the hedges are dead. I've uprooted a couple, but they stretch all the way across my backyard. Here's a couple of pictures for your consideration.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Today was my day off, and my wife is on vacation this week. We spent the day working on things around the house. In case I didn't mention it before, we are fully moved in. We made the move the weekend of Christmas.

Today we went to the DMV to get new licenses, went by Home Depot for some supplies, mainly, shelving brackets. We put up a shelf over our washer/dryer in the garage. Then we went out to lunch. Afterward, we came home and worked on the yard. Notice I didn't say "worked in the yard" because our yard is nothing more than a sampler platter of every type of weed known to botanists. My wife pulled weeds along the length of the fence that separates us from our next-door neighbor, and I pulled out an old flower-bed by the garage. Really, it was nothing more than a pile of landscaping pebbles surrounded by a decorative concrete border. I pulled that up and emptied out all the rocks. Work has slowed down a bit. We've had about six calls so far this year, with most of those coming the first four days.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Extra Work

We had some issues with one of our calls this week. The arrangements called for embalming, which we did. Usually our embalmings turn out very well. With this case, we didn't get very good fluid distribution or drainage of blood. We treated the problem areas accordingly (injecting each leg, hypodermically injecting areas that got inadequate fluid, aspirating twice) and we thought we had everything taken care of.

Prior to visitation, I opened up the foot end of the casket to place a special souvenir inside. I noticed an unpleasant odor as soon as I opened the lid. Visitation went well, with a good crowd. The odor was not noticeable with the lid closed, and that was fortunate. Today I told the owner about the odor, and he checked it out. We decided that after the funeral (the body was being sent out of state for burial) we would investigate and remedy the problem. We get back to the funeral home after services, and take the body out of the casket and place it on the prep table.

We began undressing it to see if we could find the problem. I pulled the socks off and immediately found the problem. There was absolutely no embalming fluid in the feet, and they had started decomposing. They were green and smelly. We injected fluid into the feet, wrapped them in cotton soaked with more fluid, put formalin powder (formaldehyde in dry, crystal form) in some plastic leggings and put those on the body, then put on more plastic leggings and taped them closed. We then gave the body a thorough inspection, hypodermically injecting fluid where needed. We put plastic pants on, then dressed the body and placed it back in the casket and boxed everything up for shipping.

Under ideal conditions, once the body is in the casket, you should never have to remove it. However, sometimes things happen that you don't anticipate, and you end up having to do that much more work to make things right. It is vitally important that we take care of these issues as they come up. This one in particular, as there will be more viewing and services in the home state.