Tuesday, May 22, 2007


STUPID's dad died while we were on vacation. I laughed very hard when it was one of the first things New FD said to me when I got back. Whew! I dodged that bullet. Then for some reason I decided to do a body count, cuz it just seemed like there were more than FD said there should be. Sure enough, there lay STUPID's dad on the top shelf of the cooler. I asked FD why he was still here and he thought I was joking. Hmm, apparently he thought Crematory Guy had taken dad while I was still gone. Nope, there he lay. So I called CG and sent him off. I was not happy. STUPID's wife called and wanted to know when they could pick up his remains. It was her turn to be not happy. I didn't care, I put her on hold and let FD talk to her. He told her sometimes there are hold ups at the doctor's office getting the death certificate signed (try again, they picked up the certified copies while i was gone, so they knew it wasn't the issue this time). He sweet talked her and hung up. The next day she called me back with STUPID conferenced in. Apparently he'd gone to the crematory to pick up the remains there but he said no one would open the door and they wouldn't answer the phone. They're both yelling at me, calling me names, feeding off each other's anger. I apologized for the inconvenience, try to make nice, hang up. Cry. Call CG and ask why they wouldn't open the door. STUPID didn't even go there he must have gone to the wrong place. CG is a little mad because FD arranged to have STUPID go to his business to begin with, he works for funeral homes not for the public. I'm stuck in the middle of something that should have been finished the week before and that didn't have anything to do with me. I hang up with CG. Cry. Can't believe I'm giving STUPID that kind of power over me. Talk with CG several more times. He arranged a pick up time for STUPID and it was done. I've not had to talk with him or his wife since. I sure hope they take STUPID's mother somewhere else when she dies. I won't deal with them. They're STUPID and mean. Very mean.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

UPS guy

I have a regular UPS guy. He's very professional, all business, doesn't want to talk about the weather, doesn't care to get to know me or allow me to get to know him. I'm chatty, I want to say hello, he just holds out the little signer thing. If I'm too smile-y, he says, "last name?", so that I'm reminded I'm not even important enough for him to remember my last name even though i've been telling it to him two or three or four times a week for a year.

Well, this week he came in with cell phone at his ear. It's a first and it's highly unprofessional. Then I hear, "You're not fat. You're not. You're five months..." He's cut off by the chattering at the other end, which I can hear. He raises his eyebrows at me.

I whisper, "You're more beautiful now than you've ever been." He puts his hand to his other ear as if asking me to repeat it, so I do, while signing my name on his little gadget.

UPS: "You're more beautiful now than you've ever been."
Wife: chattering

UPS: "No one told me to say it...."
Then he walks out the door before she could hear me bust out laughing.

The next day he told me she didn't buy it at all, she knew someone told him to say it. It made me smile.

Skin and STUPID

I found out about the guy who's legs were on backwards. He was a bone marrow and skin donor and i guess it's easier to take the bones rather than try to extract the marrow. The new FD told me, but when I saw him yesterday I knew right away that his skin had been removed. Funny (weird, not haha) that i can recognize some things after a couple days but not so much right when it occurs. I guess now I know what fresh skin donation looks like though. It seems that I am slowly being indoctrinated into the world of embalming. However, there are a couple things I may not ever be able to do so it's still looking like embalming is out for me. Although I don't always notice the smell anymore and yesterday the new FD (no point giving him a name as I think he's quitting the first of July and there'll just be another one) went to the ME's office (medical examiner) to pick someone up and when he got back he didn't stink. Szechwan would smell to high heaven when she came back from there, so does Skip, but i didn't smell it on the new guy. Good thing as it was right before we went home and his wife and children would be grossed out. Well, if they could even smell it I guess. Back to the bone donation... I'm a donor myself and whatever is needed is up for grabs, but I hope my family never has to know what a mess I'll be afterwards. I keep reminding myself that the body on the prep room table is simply a shell and that if good can come out of death for those still living, well, they are still living.

STUPID came to my work this week. You may remember me ranting about him a ways back. Or not. I thought he and his wife were our 2:00 appointment, only early. But when he stuck out his hand to introduce himself, he said "Hello Miss Sunshine" (dripping sarcasm) and I right away knew who they were and before I even realized it I literally slumped down and said right out loud "not today I'm so swamped". Cuz we were. What a butthead to start out by not even bothering to call for an appointment and then insulting me. Grr. Let's see, he's STUPID and I tell him so on the phone and yet they still choose to come to our funeral home and then he's gonna start out hostile. Good idea. I'm like the drive thru fast food worker. I hold all the power here, dummy. I could pinch your dead mom if I wanted to, do you really want to make me mad? Like I would pinch anyone's dead mom, but it's kind of the theory behind it, ok, maybe I hold no power, cuz when i stop to think about it, anyone in their right mind would never think that their dead mom might get pinched if they pissed off the office girl. Dang, not even the power of a drive thru worker! What kind of job is this anyway? Anyway, STUPID proved himself by bringing in a copy of the letter I sent him along with only a portion of the paperwork he needed to fill out. Three (THREE) times he said, "no one ever told me that", and then I'd read his copy of the letter out loud to him, and he'd say "oh, well we still need to get that". His wife my have been even STUPIDER, however I smiled and spoke with them as nicely as I possibly could, which was in reality thinly veiled hostility of my own. Perhaps his parents will outlive my position at this particular funeral home. One can only hope. STUPID asked me if I were a part owner there as he was trying to sneak one of my business cards in an attempt to frighten me that he was going to tell on me. I boldly told him "nope, I only work here" and reached across my desk for another card to hand to STUPIDER, "you may want one too. My manager's name is The Boss." (insert real name). After they left, I called The Boss and told him they were there. He laughed very hard that they'd actually still chosen us after my initial analysis of their family dynamics. He laughed even harder to think they may call him to tell on me. He's a very good boss.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Today I am...

Today I am
*Wrestling a printer, which happens to be kicking my butt.
*Supposed to be printing out next weeks statements, since I will be gone next week (Hawaii, Hawaii, here we come!) But I can't print out the statements, grr.
*supposed to be inputting into Excel the last old files which I pulled out of the moldy gross shed behind the funeral home. Somehow I missed about three boxes last fall and the shed leaked like a sieve all winter long. Now mold is growing everywhere. I'm not kidding, there are really weird mushroomy, squiggly, brown, plastic-y things growing on the floors and the walls. I've been letting these last files dry out across tables and of course I'm sneezing like crazy since I decided to bring those mold spores into the building. Anyway, i'm supposed to be going through old files and I haven't yet.

Today I feel
*happy to hear from my son who had hernia outpatient surgery this morning. He sounded totally drugged and somewhat relaxed. Now his mom can relax. When are kids too old to have their mother's present at medical procedures? apparently he thinks 23.

Today I saw
*a wonderful gentleman who came in for a preneed. He walks with a cane, since he recently fell and broke his ankle. He's healing remarkably well for 82. I wouldn't have put him a day past 70.
*another gentleman who's foot was on backwards. When I looked more closely, I realized both feet/legs were kind of on backwards. I asked Skip if it was a car accident that killed him. He said "no, it was Dancing With the Stars". He didn't look up, he didn't smile, he didn't stop working. I felt a little queasy so I came back to my desk.

Today I heard
*a story about a dead guy who got one last strip-tease. After the service, everyone was asked to leave the chapel. One lady stayed. The music started and she danced for him. Hmm... and the point is?

Correction to last post!

My husband is not "old". He is very young and very handsome with not one gray hair. He lifts weights every morning and runs five miles before eating lunch. He only eats healthy food, no junk. He swims and bikes before dinner and then finishes his days pleasing me.

Is that better? ;)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I've wondered for the past couple weeks about my motives in working at this job. It's not been fun. I am realizing that part of my uncertainty stems from blogger. I read the posts of complete strangers and what I like about it is the glimpse into someone else's life. It's like looking in open windows at night while driving down my street. I can see furniture and pictures on the wall and the occasional person in the midst of some mundane task. Once I even saw a naked lady walking across her living room. (Steve almost turned the car around so he could see.) I like looking in windows while driving. I like reading other people's ponderings. I was glued to one blog in particular, the sad reality of cancer. At work, it's kind of the same. I am looking into the window of someone's life when they are at their most difficult time. But I don't just drive by, I become an active participant, however small the role and however short the time span. They trust me and I try very hard to get it right. I've thought since I got this job that I am right where I am supposed to be. I believe that this is where God wants me and that I am making a difference to some of the folks who come through my doors. But I've been recently plagued with wondering if that's just what i want to believe and what if I'm a freak who enjoys looking into the pain of others. What if it's all hogwash and I'm just lookin' in windows? In the past couple of years almost everything in my life has changed, while it has mostly stayed the same and i know that doesn't make any sense but it's the most true statement I can make. I've always had relationship issues, believe me, I've done my time on the couch. Now in my life I have four women, four friends, who I get together with every week. We are sharing a part of our lives and it's completely new to me. Now in my life I have an amazing marriage with the same old husband. Now in my life we have "couple friends", there are dinners and visits and game playing and even a weekend trip to the beach. Now in my life, we have young adult children who I'm developing new adult friendships with. Always before in my life there have been walls erected to prohibit true intimacy. No close close friends. And I got a little stuck wondering if I'm "for real" in my relationships at home and at work. It's so easy for me to fall back into the habit of erecting barriers. Way to easy to view work families as potential stories. Easier to read blogs than to pick up the phone and call one of my girlfriends. Easier to think of a humorous tale than to think of the reality that someone's life just ended and the family is never going to be the same again. I've really questioned why i'm doing what I'm doing and I don't fully have an answer. We buried the mother of a lady who attends my church last Friday. I've spent hours with this lady over the past three weeks (it was the best planned funeral ever) but I don't really know her. I share a faith with her and it was a great experience for me to see the faith of their whole family, the hope they had even in death. But I don't really know her. I know the daughter of the beautiful lady I buried who wanted everything to be just right for her mom. But her? Not so much. Maybe it's the next step in my learning curve. Tomorrow I'm planning to call her. I'll ask how she's doing and maybe I'll even get up the nerve to see if she wants to have lunch. I've called other people the week after the funeral and one lady I've checked back in with a few times in recent months. For now I will accept that I'm not just looking in windows. That for some who come through my door, the process has been a little easier than if it were someone else sitting at my desk. I will accept that other times I really am a freak in a crazy weird job where I can do nothing but stand gaping at the incredible beings with whom I share this earth. And I guess I can also accept that sometimes a person will be changed when they leave my office. And maybe once in a while that person will be me.