Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

one of Skip's stories

So Skip and I were talking today about the casket mix up and he told me that a couple years ago he had two Russian guys. He was embalming the second one and someone had set the clothes near the table for the first guy. Well, Skip ended up mixing the clothes, he said, "Heck, they both had long names that I couldn't pronounce." So the family came for the service the next day and said the guy looked great only they didn't know whose clothes he had on. I was laughing so hard. I can't imagine how I'd feel seeing my dead husband in someone else's clothes. I asked Skip what he did and he said, "Whaddaya think? I switched the heads!"

Then we were both laughing so hard.

It's what we say to each other alot ever since one of my girlfriends emailed me a joke about Bubba the Mortician. There's probably a website of Bubba the Mortician jokes somewhere, but i've not looked for it.

It was very good for me to have Skip to make me laugh today. I needed it.

the man's an idiot

JK (Jargon King) is stupid. Plain old stupid. I had a viewing yesterday for the father of a well-known author who lives here locally. She's also a member of my church (not that i know her, several thousand people go there at different service times, plus i probably wouldn't know her anyway, not quite the same circles we run in, although she was mostly down to earth and very nice, and she gave me two signed books). Anyway, this isn't really about her, although i was a little intimidated to be honest. It's about the viewing of her father. The family was scheduled to be there yesterday at 4:00 for the family preview, followed by extended family viewing at 5, and then public viewing at 7pm. At 1pm, JK tells me there was a little bad news. According to him, the casket company sent me the wrong size casket. I ordered a 1X and he said they sent two regular sized ones, one for me one for the Gardens. He told me how he'd measured mine and it was regular and he called the company and they told him mine had not been delivered, so he measured the one he had again and determined it to be his. So he put his tiny little old lady in it. Only to then somehow find out it was mine. I was livid. LIVID. I just looked at him. I said, "Didn't you or anyone else think to look at the family name on the delivery sheet?" "Well, uh, um, No." "Didn't you wonder why it had handles on both ends, not just the sides?" "What does that have to do with it?" Oh my word. According to what he's told me, he supposedly managed 44 funeral homes for one corporation. According to what he told our courier it was 66. So, supposedly he has a TON of funeral experience, yet somehow he doesn't know that this most common of oversized caskets, has handles on both ends. "Why didn't anyone call me?" "No disrespect intended, but we didn't think you'd know." There was no point arguing. It was done. So what was being done to fix it. Well, let me back up. At my funeral home, we don't have a very good lift system. In fact we have a horrible one. Once before I got there Skip lost a big man while using it. Then last summer, me and Szechwan and another guy lost a big lady. It was mortifying. We all three cried. Szechwan got hurt trying to catch her and the lady was fine. Last week Skip, who's all of 5'6" and 150 lbs, plus he's over 60 and just had a heart attack a few months ago, got whirled around by someone he had in the lift. The guy was in the air and Skip was pushing him to the casket, when he started to whirl and took Skip with him. He said, "It was just like a blippity blip three-ring circus" and "I thought it was in some sort of blankety-blank rodeo". (add your own expletives, you'll probably choose the right ones) Anyway he grabbed the casket and got the guy wrestled in. But he wasn't willing to take the chance with my big guy. Skip planned to use the stationary ceiling lift at the Gardens to put him into his casket, which is why my guy and his casket were over there instead of at my funeral home. And of course Skip was at my funeral home doing some embalming when JK decided to help out.

A long and angry story short. Tiny lady in my 1x casket. My guy is dressed with no place to go. The casket company saved the day and five guys built me a new one, delivered it to the Gardens AND stayed to help Skip put my guy in it. Then he (Casket Company Guy) helped Skip get the casket in the van so he could drive it over to me, all by 4pm. How amazing is that. Except. JK had already made me call the family to tell them viewing would have to be an hour later, "because the casket company had delivered the wrong casket". I didn't know what else to tell them, so i lied like he told me to. Then i hung up the phone and cried. And cried. I am so overwhelmed with work right now and then a huge screw up like this. I was so frustrated. The family was mad.

When it all worked out and the casket company saved the day, JK called me and told me to call the family back and tell them they could still come at 4. I refused. They'd already rescheduled what they needed and I thought it would be much less professional to call them back and say never mind. I'd already done as much damage control as possible and didn't want to give them any reason to question the situation more.

The viewing was great, it really turned into more of a service kind of thing. Great music, lots of sharing. The real service was today at a church and JK came to my home when it was time for the family to come over for a last viewing before closing the casket for good. He wanted to apologize to the family for the casket company's mix up. What???? I forbade him from speaking to them about it. There was no point in drawing it to their attention any more. They were pleased with how he looked, the chapel was full of flowers and their viewing was a wonderful time of great stories, there was no reason to remind them that we'd messed up. I tried not to let JK be alone with any of them.

The best part of it all is that the Casket Guy called me this morning to verify that i wasn't angry with them because he doesn't want to lose my business. He said JK gave him back the extra one (the real one that the old lady belonged in) and that they'd measured it at their warehouse, and it definitely was the narrow or regular-sized one. He said aloud what I knew. JK messed up and put the lady in the wrong one and then started trying to blame everyone else. I thanked him profusely for saving the day and told him how happy the family was even if they saw him later. He and his crew totally saved us on this one. It was reassuring to know that everyone involved knew what really happened. It all would have been much easier to stomach had the idiot just admitted it rather than blaming others. Even today he started in with it again. He's an idiot and somehow i still gotta figure out how to treat him with respect for the position he holds even though I do not respect him. This is a lesson I keep getting in life. Mostly because I've worked for a bunch of idiots, I guess.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

long week

I'm exhausted. Completely. At least today I only got one more new call. I'm floating ten calls right now and I feel like a juggler. The new manager, Jargon King, calls me from The Gardens every morning and puts me on speaker phone for their morning meeting and asks how they can help me today. I've said no thanks because the last person who came to help had no idea what to do and it took longer to teach her how to use the typewriter and the copy machine than it was worth, until yesterday when I asked for someone to come over and do a preneed arrangement for me. That idiot had no idea what to do. He stammered and stuttered and said, "Uh, we have four services today and we don't have anyone to help you." I wanted to ask, "why then are you wasting my time, i'm too far behind to participate in the pretense that you're supporting me." The Boss's daughter piped up that maybe her older sister could come over and help. JK then spewed some crap like, "oh, now there's an idea, I didn't realize we could utilize her knowledge in this way. Noelle, I'll see what I need to do in order to facilitate making this happen for you. I'll get you the support you need to be successful today and we'll be in touch to fill you in on a timeframe." All i could think of was, "ok". Gone was my own silver tongue. IDIOT (spoken aloud in true Napoleon-ese after hanging up the phone ).

Ok, here's a few of my families.
1. Dad, 80s, natural causes. Daughter, 40s, caretaker for him and for Mom, who has dementia. Dtr brought Mom to arrangement conference. Dtr has the biggest circles under her eyes, she's exhausted, and she cries, for what i think is probably the first time. She's given up her own life to care for her parents who aren't wealthy people and she has no idea how she'll pay for a 650 dollar cremation. I am deeply saddened when she pushes Mom's wheelchair out to the car.
2. Wife, 58, liver cancer. Diagnosis to death = 6 weeks. Husband, devasted. Four children early 20s to early 30s. Two grandchildren who'll never get to know her. They're all in shock. Her daughter and I have swapped emails about the folders. Her last one was signed "love, X". I cried to see it. She's so vulnerable right now that she absentmindedly included me in her circle of trusted ones. She and her dad, Husband of deceased, came in this afternoon to make sure the CD she'd burned would work in our sound system. It did. I think she just wanted to come in to sit in our chapel for a few moments. Husband said she was a little upset with him cuz he'd had a drink before coming in there. I chuckled and said I often want to have a drink before coming in.
3. Boy, 12, brain cancer. He came to us from the same social worker as the Stripper's son some months ago. Born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Ward of the courts. Passed from home to home all of his life until 3 years ago when he got to go to Guardian's home where he became a part of a real family for the first time ever. Guardian and Social Worker made the arrangements together. The three of us cried alot and I didn't even know the Boy. They're having a memorial service this weekend at a local high school cafeteria where there'll be corndogs, hot dogs, cookies, and fun stuff that a 12 year old boy loved. No vegetables and no fruit because he wouldn't have eaten it. How fun.
4. Husband, 60s, blew off head in front of wife. Held gun to her head first and said he should kill her because then there'd be no way for him to chicken out and not kill himself. After terrifying her he pulled the gun back to himself. Asshole. She's so angry. And confused. And sad. There is nothing more selfish than to take one's own life. They just bought a new truck and a fifth wheel and were planning their retirement. I am trying not to judge him too harshly because i don't think that suicide should cancel out the entirety of a life. It's an act of desperation and I do understand feeling that way. Maybe it's why it's so draining to me. I've felt that desperate before, I get where he was coming from. But I chose to think of those around me whereas he chose to wallow in himself. That's the part I don't understand, making the decision to ignore the pain of family and friends left behind and making the decision to take the most selfish path there is. I just don't get it.

I long for 95 year olds who die peacefully in the night. I'm a little tired.

meme (i don't know how to pronounce that)

Tag, I'm It
Patience tagged me and since I'm worrried about the cost of her therapy should I ignore her, I decided to play along. No fancy fonts or colors or anything but questions and answers.

1. Are you happy/ satisfied with your blog, with its content and look?
Yes. It's plain, but it's functional. Content has been a bit lean of late though.

2. Does your family know about your blog? Only my husband

3. Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog or you just consider it as a private thing? No. I'm not embarrassed, but i've also not shared it with some people.

4. Do blogs cause positive changes in your thoughts? Maybe i'm a little too dense or perhaps a little too shallow because i read blogs for entertainment, not so much for changes in my philosophy.

5. Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or you love to go and discover more by yourself? Commenters and my own exploring. Although i've not really been able to come across any subject i've been looking for. I just land on random blogs.

6. What does visitors counter mean to you? Do you care about putting it in your blog? it's kind of weird to see that the count goes any higher than the number of times i look at my own blog in order to click the links on it.

7. Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures? no. Well, they're all thin and beautiful and absolute fashionistas (am i using that word in the right context?)

8. Do you think there is a real benefit for blogging? it helps me clear my mind sometimes and entertains me other times.

9. Do you think that bloggers’ society is isolated from the real world or interacts with events? isolated.

10. Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it’s a normal thing? I've not been criticized in my blog nor would i care if someone who didn't know me in real life said anything critical.

11. Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them? There are political blogs?

12. Did you get shocked by the arrest of some bloggers? didn't know about it.

13. Did you think about what will happen to your blog after you die? Not until reading this question. I think it would be appropriate for my husband to write the last blog, which could tell all about my funeral. tee-hee.

14. What do you like to hear? What’s the song you might like to put a link to, in your blog? I would not like to hear music. I would leave the blog without bothering to read.

1. Name the person, with link, who tagged you. Patience
2. Complete the questionnaire without changing the questions. Ok
3. Tag people. No

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

ho hum

Well, New FD is gone now and it's quiet in my home again. It's kinda sucky. We don't always stay busy enough for two people, so the workload is fine right now, but if I get any more new calls tomorrow, I might officially be overwhelmed. I've had four calls this week, plus did all the pre-planning for one that will die soon. Have I explained that before? When we get a new death, we call them first calls. A first call is simply the count of a new death, maybe it means when the family or hospital or whoever first contacts us to report the death. My home does between 18-24 calls a month. Our big home does between 75-85 a month, quite a difference. It also explains why they don't seem to be in a big hurry to get me a new director. They're too busy keeping their fingers in the dam across town cuz directors are quitting like crazy.

I'm pretty angry this week with The Boss and New Mgr. Well, i don't actually know if that's true. My husband Steve (similar to my wife Kara who hates hearing birds out her window in the morning when she's trying to sleep, but that's a different blog and has nothing to do with this rant) travels alot and i miss him more than usual lately. Sometimes I don't mind that he's gone so much, sometimes it's overwhelming. Summer seems to have passed us by. No camping or hiking or almost anything outdoors. I can't believe it's almost fall. Anyway, Steve's schedule is impossible for the next three months, even some weekends he'll be gone. So, what I don't know is if i'm mad about work or if work feels overwhelming cuz I'm unhappy with all this quality time alone. Well, I do have the little dog, but he is entirely insane now and I don't know how much longer I can watch him suffer. I am so rambling. My dog's a' dying, my husband's traveling, and my job is sucking. I could be a country singer. Or not. I might not be hating my job like think I am, it could be just that I'd rather be traveling with Steve, which he'd like too. But at work, they ARE taking advantage of me and they don't seem to care. If I were the owner, I'd want to pay people less and have more money for my own vacation home in the mountains, so i get that that's how life works. Owners get benefits, employees not so much. That's fine AND I would never complain as long as I felt that I were valued and treated fairly. But I'm not right now. They're paying me to be the receptionist when really I've run the place since the first funeral director retired and now I'm doing everything and I'm being paid very poorly. The pay is a pretty big deal to me, since I make now what I earned in 1990. Not that I didn't willingly take this job, I did.

I am so whining right now. and probably not making sense. Just thinking out loud really and wondering why my dang "Magic 8 Ball" even hates me and gave me every synonym of NO when I asked repeatedly, "Should I quit my job and travel with Steve?" I even tried to trick it by asking, "Are you certain that you're pointing me in the right direction?" but then it changed it's tune and yelled out "Most Definitely". What the heck.

New Mgr is an absolute putz. I think I'll call him Jargon King as he spews crap all day long and thinks it's okay to do so as long as he smiles that pearly white smile with that impossibly spiked hair in that ridiculous pinned striped suit with french cuffs and those dang things what are they called? oh yeah, cuff links and even pants that have cuffs, which is amazingly stupid since he's short and they make him look shorter. Well i think he's short, probably 5'10", but don't tell my son I think that's short, cuz i'm taller than him when I'm wearing heels and it reminds me of working for a Japanese company where i always had to slouch so I wouldn't be towering over engineers who didn't want to be looking UP at me while they were telling me what to do.

My dog is continuously growling and snapping at air. I've not slept well this whole week cuz he growls all night long even if I put him in bed and shove him under the comforter so that he can't hear any outside noise.

And I'm so tired of stupid people who call me at ten to 5 and ask what time I close and when I tell them 5 they just say ok, I'll be right there. Then I'm stuck there till 6:15 and miss my hair appt, which is fine because it was just a trim, but I really couldn't afford to miss the eyebrow wax as any second now i'm sure I'll have a full uni-brow. Not to mention the granny mustache.

AND I'M NOT MAKING ANY DANG MONEY! Whew. I'll hush up now.