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, August 27, 2008

No Rest For The Weary

Last Monday was to have been my day off. However, due to the fact that the owner was out of town and we had a funeral, I was required to work. There is no other day this week I can take off, due to our schedule and services. I've been looking forward to this weekend, since I'm off. Now, it turns out, I'll have to work Sunday. We have a funeral, and their is a limousine, so I've been told I am to work.

Today we had four calls, and I went and got three of them. It started out at 6:50 this morning with my first call. I went and got him, then went home for a quick breakfast and a shower before returning to work. About 10:30am we get another call. Takes A Day Off went and got that one, while my boss and I worked the funeral that was going on. Right as we're getting ready to leave for the cemetery, a family walks in and tells us they want to use us because they just had a death. So me and Takes A Day did the funeral while my boss sat with the family.

After the funeral I took our two calls to the crematory, then stopped by the hospital to get our third call. Later in the afternoon we get a call from the emergency room at a local hospital; they have a body and the family wants to use us. So me and my boss went after that one. Three out of the four bodies were in excess of 250 pounds. Needless to say, I'm beat.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kitty Confusion

In this post I introduced my new kitten, Daisy. The first time I took her to the vet to get her shots, the vet tech checked the sex and confirmed she was female. So for the past few months we've been referring to her as a "her." I scheduled her spaying for this morning. Imagine my surprise when the vet calls to tell me that while the procedure was successful, "she" was, in fact, a "he."

I had checked myself when we first got him, and I didn't see anything. The vet said they were fuzzy and hard to find. So now my "she's" a "he" and my wife says we're still calling him Daisy because he knows that's his name.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bad Attitude Day

I am having a major bad attitude day today. I'm not even sure what set it off. I think the tone for the day was set this morning when everyone came in late. One guy came in 5 minutes late (I don't think too much of him doing it, he's usually either 5 minutes early or late, about 50/50 of each). The other, Mr. Takes A Day Off Whenever He Possibly Can, came in at his usual 15-20 minutes late, and the co-owner, my boss, was 25 minutes late.

Today we had a Memorial Mass, then I was to take the ashes and the family in the limousine to the National Cemetery. We're getting everything ready, and my boss decides the limo needs gas (despite the fact that it's got 3/4 of a tank). So he decides to take off for the mini-mart, and asks if I want to go. I tell him, no, I've got to back the van up to the back door and load up everything to take to the church for Mass. He tells me I can do it when we get back from the minimart, and I tell him (again) I'm not going. He asks me, "why not?" I simply asked back, "does it really matter?"

After Mass, we head for the cemetery. Mass was at 10am; I had breakfast about 7:15am, and the ceremony at the cemetery was scheduled for 12:30pm. So the best I can hope for is to get back to town and take my lunch around 2pm.

A word about lunches: me and the secretary usually eat our lunch in, while everyone else goes home to eat. This results in a lot of lunches that are interrupted by phone calls or people walking in, or vendors dropping by, and every once in a blue moon, casket deliveries. I cannot even begin to tell you how many lunch hours last about 20-30 minutes. So I decided to myself that when I got back to the funeral home, I was taking my full hour for lunch, regardless of what was going on.

Upon my return, I find that my boss has taken the owner to the airport and is not due back for about an hour. Mr. Takes A Day Off hands me a piece of paper with a name and number on it and wants to know if I will call them back with some cremation prices, and the other employee tells me he's ready to casket the body we got yesterday; the same body that has visitation Sunday and the other National Cemetery on Monday, the day that was to have been, but is no longer, my day off. All of this within 30 seconds of parking the limo and hanging up my suit coat. I just look at them and tell them, "no, I'm going to lunch." I got in my car and left, went to Long John Silver's, then came home to write all this down. I'm due back in 10 minutes, but out of principle, I'm going to be 15 minutes late. I wouldn't be surprised if I got reprimanded for all this; but then again, I doubt it. My boss seems to think that the reasons Mr. Takes A Day Off works as little as he does is none of his (my boss's) business. If he says anything to me about today, I'll just tell him I had some things to work out, which was what Takes A Day Off told me one time when I asked him about his work habits.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moving To The National Cemetery

I may as well move to the National Cemetery. I was there Monday, Wednesday, and will be again on Friday. Wednesday's service was a full burial. The others are cremated remains, which means I take the family up in the limo and hold services at the cemetery.

My boss continues to not listen to me. We got a call today, and I told him we did not get a phone number for the next of kin because the person who called did not have that information at hand. As I was leaving to get the body, I asked him if he wanted me to call him once I got the number. He asks me, "didn't you get it when they called?"

One of these days, just to prove my point that he tunes me out when I talk to him, I'm going to try that old sitcom standby of uttering outrageous or nonsensical statements.

Errand Guy continues his pattern of taking half-days off at every opportunity. How he expects to pay his bills by only working what amounts to part-time, I'll never know. The owner even made mention of how much time this guy takes off. He said, "well, this can't's going to affect the other employees' morale." I told him, "too late."

Back to our most recent call, visitation will be Sunday, with services Monday. For the second time in 4 weeks, I'm getting screwed into working on my day off. While it seems other employees have no problem bailing out of work at every opportunity, I can't even get my regular days off!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fun With French People

I think it would be totally awesome to meet a French person, and start talking to them in German. When they tell me they don't speak German, I'll say, "you're welcome."

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bummer Of A Phone Call

I'm at work when my cell phone rings. It's my son, and he's asking if it's a good time to talk. I tell him yes, and he proceeds to tell me that while everyone is all right, he got into a fender bender at the mall, and what should he do?

He described the situation to me, and since the damage sounded very slight (a dinged bumper on the other car) and due to the fact that it was undeniably his fault, he should ask for an estimate to repair the other car and not get the insurance companies involved.

The estimate came back as $1300 due to some supposed minor axle damage. He's going to get a copy of the estimate and take it to a shop he trusts, and ask if they concur with the charges. If they do, I'm not sure what we'll do next. He has the money to pay it, but if he can avoid such a steep price, that would be better.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Busy Week

It's been over a week since my last post. Most of that is due to a busy week, although some of it is indifference on my part. I conducted two solo funerals this week; one on Tuesday, and one on Friday. The Tuesday funeral was because my boss was on vacation, the secretary was out of the office, and the only person left to cover the phones was the owner. So I handled the funeral myself. It was a mass followed by cremation, so afterwards we simply brought the body back to the funeral home. The Friday funeral was a little different. We had two funerals that day; I took one and my boss took the other. The owner was out due to an appointment. My funeral concluded with burial at a nearby cemetery, so I took care of everything start to finish. Right in the middle of it all, we got a death call, of course. When I got back to the funeral home I found I was to sit with the family. Fortunately, they had come in the week before and made all the arrangements. All I needed was a couple of signatures from them and a date for the memorial service they were planning.