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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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hold That Procession, I'm Hungry

I experienced a first this morning. We had a funeral procession from our new acquisition to the National Cemetery. Our second firm is located next to a convenience store, and when we had the family go out to their cars to line up for the procession, some of them went next door to get some snacks for the road! It held us up about 10 minutes and made us late arriving at the cemetery. Unbelievable.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Have Snatched The Pebble From His Hand

I have learned more about embalming from Returning Employee than anybody. We work well together and have done many many cases. Returning Employee and I were embalming two bodies on Sunday morning. He was having trouble raising the right carotid artery. He said he couldn't feel anything like an artery; maybe it was a small one. He asked me to come over and see what I thought. I poked around inside the neck for a few moments, grabbed a couple of aneurysm hooks, and in just a moment or two had the artery raised. Later, when we decided to shoot up the left side of the head, I told him to let me know if he needed any help with the artery. His response was that he was going to let me go ahead and do it, since I did such a fine job on the first artery. Naturally, I got the second one up in just a few moments, as well. I told him I would not tell anyone, except maybe
My Wife
The Secretary
Takes A Day Off
My Boss
The Owner
Owner's Wife
and I kept my word.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

To Boldly Go

I know it's been a couple of weeks since my last post. I've been using that time to try out "Star Trek" online. I'm on the fence about it. I'll have to keep playing and see where it takes me and if I want to continue.

Work continues to be busy, although we have slowed down just a tad. Instead of all burials, we're starting to get a few simple cremations or cremations with full service. Me and my boss haven't butted heads lately, but he did get a call last night, probably around 8pm or so. For reasons known only to him, he left the body for me and Returning Employee to embalm this morning. We also had a snafu with the tissue donation people. They picked up a body at the hospital, and after their harvesting procedures, were to return the body to us this morning at 10:30. Returning Employee camped out at the new location, waiting to receive it. Finally, around noon, we called. Turns out the body had not been picked up to bring to us. They showed up eventually, around 2pm. Of course, they had no face sheet or paperwork from the hospital, which means Monday we'll have to call the hospital and get medical records to give us the name of a doctor we can contact about signing the death certificate. While I admire the concept of organ and tissue donation, screw ups like this make me dread those calls where the tissue people get involved.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Another Thing I Hate

Visitors who arrive late to the funeral service. When we tell you the service starts at 11, we mean 11. Not 11:15, not 11:30. I cannot tell you how many funerals I have worked where guests arrive 10-15 minutes late. I have even seen visitors arrive after the funeral was over and everybody was leaving. Punctuality, or lack of it, is one of my pet peeves. I am anal-retentive when it comes to being on time, and my attitude is if I can be punctual, so can anybody else. It's not that hard, especially when you have a couple of days to plan ahead.

Edit: February 20, 2010. I also hate when people wait until after I've packed up the guest book and thank you cards to ask if they can sign the book. Why didn't you sign when you came in? Also, if there is no book out on display, the family didn't want one. Don't come asking me where it is, then get all pissy because the family didn't buy one.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Things I Hate

I was thinking about things I hate today, due to some events that transpired Monday and Tuesday. I hate when my boss is two steps behind me. Not literally, but he doesn't seem to grasp the fact that I'm good at working unsupervised. The business keeps on coming, and my boss had the kind of weekend that I had the previous weekend. Sunday we had two visitations. One of the visitations concluded with the funeral service, the other was to have the funeral Monday morning. As a result, there was some room-swapping going on, with the body for Monday taken out of the chapel so the other family could have their service. When I got to work Monday morning, I noticed the switch, and set about pulling the one body out of the chapel so we could put the other one back in, removing flowers, getting things cleaned up and organized, etc. We also had limo due at the family's residence at 8:30am. As I'm getting things cleaned up and situated, my boss calls me. The secretary comes to get me and tells me it's my boss on the phone, so I immediately predicted how the conversation would go: "Pull the one body out of the chapel, put the other one back in, tell Returning Employee he's got limo, get all the flowers out of the chapel, make sure the hearse has gas..." So when I pick up the phone, what do I hear? "We've got limo this morning, we need to switch bodies in the chapel, make sure flowers are ready to go..." I interrupted him and told him I was way ahead of him and that it had already been taken care of.

I hate when no one replaces the empty paper towels. We use paper towels all over the funeral home. One roll in each of the three bathrooms, one roll in the kitchen, two in the prep room and one in the garage. Yet nobody seems to be able to replace them when they are empty. Many is the time I find a cardboard tube devoid of paper towels parked in the dispenser. To me, it's an easy fix. If you take the last sheet, replace the roll. For some reason, I seem to be the only one that has a firm grip on this principle. I even wrote on an empty tube in the kitchen, "If you take the last paper towel, replace the roll." My boss took it down and told me the owner had taken the last sheet.

I hate when families arrive way too early. Today we had a visitation scheduled for 12:30. At 11:15 the hair on the deceased is being styled, and the family walks in, one hour and 15 minutes early. I had them wait in the lobby until we were ready for them.

I hate getting attitude for just trying to do my job. When the family arrived way too early, I called the owner, who was on his way to our new acquisition, to let him know the family had arrived. His response? "What do you want me to do about it?" I calmly told him, "Nothing; I just wanted you to be aware of what was going on."