Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Corey and self pity

It's been seven months and my little dog is still dead. Not that I thought he wouldn't be. Just that i thought it'd get easier. He's haunting me in the past couple weeks. I see him out of the corner of my eye. I hear him barking outside. I saw him in the back seat of my car last week as I was getting in to head to work. I feel him brush past me in the hallway.

I'm overwhelmed at work. Feast or famine. Feast this week, which makes time go quickly, but there isn't enough time to do all that needs to be done. I'll be pleased when my service/burial tomorrow is over. It's a difficult family. Two more services this week, but at least neither is mine, they belong to the other two directors.

I'm overwhelmed with homework. Did I say that a requirement of being hired as a funeral director was that I need to be fully licensable within two years? So, I have to take some classes.

That's my evening. Dog dead and I just feel tired and overwhelmed.

There oughta be a country song in there somewhere.


Friday, March 28, 2008

The cat I met today

Last fall a young man died. I'll call him Micky. Late teens. Stupid freak accident. Huge service. My new FH took care of him. Lots of media attention. Today his mom asked me to bring some pictures of the service that we still had to her house. She gave me the code to the front gate and the code to the main building entrance. As I walked up to the building I saw a cat through the windows beside the door. I punched in the code and worried a little that the cat would try to scoot out past me. No worries, he was apparently my greeter. He meowed a hello and stepped back so I could come in. Then I realized he wasn't just moving for me to come in, he'd stepped back to show me the way. He took me to the elevator and told me to press the button like I didn't already know to press it. Once inside, he told me to press again. Literally it's like he was meowing to me what to do. Without hesitation I said, "Hello Micky. Be a little patient, I've never seen a cat taking an elevator." He turned up his nose and pressed his face to the door. When we stopped, he squeezed his paw into the tiny opening of the door and pushed it as though he were making the door open faster. We got off the elevator. He turned right, I turned left. Well, he said I turned the wrong way (meowing). I said I wanted to go left (human words). He said to just hush and follow him (meowing). I followed him. He took me straight to Mickey's door. I knocked. He said, "they won't hear that". Then he looked into the window beside the door. I ignored him. He was right. They didn't hear me. I rang the doorbell. He gave a pointed sigh and continued looking in the window. Again, he was right. Someone came to the door. I was so flaberghasted. I said something stupid like, "Your cat greeted me downstairs". The cat ran in the door and I never saw it again.
What an odd last couple of days.

I topped it off by attending a senior citizen dance tonight that we sponsered, but that's a whole nother posting...

and it doesn't stop yet

Today I took a baby's urn back to an 18 year old mom who lied about the dad. Gave me some guy's name who swore to me he didn't know her so how could he be a dead baby's father. Ends up that mom's step-dad is baby's father. How can people like that exist? It makes me so darn mad.

continuing my verbal diarreaha

Yesterday I went to a lady's house to do the paperwork for her mom. I don't really like to go to houses as it freaks me out a little but sometimes it's necessary. Mom was 91, daughter is late 60s and wheelchair bound. Her front door was open, so I knocked and stepped in. She sat there in her wheelchair from across the room and she didn't say anything at first. I called her by name, and she just said, "holy smokes!" I smiled a little and said excuse me. She repeated herself, "Hoooollllly smokes!". I didn't know what to do and was thinking that she knew I was a woman cuz we talked on the phone and female funeral directors aren't all that odd anyway. Ha!! That's not what she meant. Apparently she thought I'm "smoking hot!" It made me laugh so hard. She invited me to come in and sit. Well there was only one tiny spot cleared on a love seat with STUFF stacked EVERYWHERE, exactly why I don't like to go to the homes of strangers. She said, "I'm not a lesban, but my daughter is and she would fall in love with you." I was cracking up. She pulls her glasses to the tip of her nose and then looks me up and down and stops at my boobs. I fall a little short in this area, but apparently it was sufficient. It was hilarious. Not that I think late 60s is old, but it's not spring chicken either and I've certainly never been checked out like that by a senior citizen. Some years back I discovered that once behind the wheel of a minivan, I became completely invisible to men. (true story but I'll have to save it for another day). Now apparently I'm invisible to all BUT old women in wheelchairs who have rooms full of Winnie the Pooh and other miscellaneous crap in piles over every possible horizontal surface in their homes. Smoking hot. yee-haw. That made my day. It was amazingly weird. Oh! I almost forgot. I asked for her grandparents' names for the death certificate. She couldn't remember but told me all that information is inside a suitcase under the sink in the front bathroom. I kid you not. I asked if she wanted me to get it for her. She said yes. So I squeezed past her, then past a walker in the hallway, and stepped into an absolutely spotless bathroom. What??? How could it be so clean. I kneel in front of the sink and open the door and sure enough there's an old-fashioned, hard-sided, blue suitcase under there. I take it out and bring it back to the living room and help her open it and I'm stunned to see all of her mother's important documents in there. Her baptismal certificate, high school graduation papers, all kinds of stuff. Who keeps that in a blue suitcase under the bathroom sink? Incredible.
The woman was actually wonderful. A great story teller. "Are you sitting down for this one, Noelle, oh yeah, you are, it's a good one..." I completely enjoyed my time with her and I'm even looking forward to seeing her again to take her mother's urn home, but I was also very glad to get into my white minivan with company logo on the door (not so invisible), pour on the hand sanitizer and be on my way. Smoking hot? maybe; shallow? undoubtably.

ok, so I'm breaking my vow of silence

Not that I made a vow of silence, but the past two days have just been incredible. Very good and very weird.

First for good. Today my old funeral home called me, I stay in touch with them somewhat regularly. They wanted to let me know that one of my families was there and asking for me and wondering if they can get my new phone number. So of course I said sure. They were one of my last families to work with. Three sisters whose mother died. I cremated her and then put her into about a zillion little boxes. They went to Pier 1 and got beautiful beaded jewel boxes, I'm sure you've seen them if you've been in there. So four of those. Two angel keepsake urns that they bought from me. And then they each had four or six, I can't remember, little pill boxes, also from Pier 1. I sent them there for urn shopping. I don't know why folks spend hundreds of dollars for urns when you can get perfectly good ones at Pier 1 and Ross and Kohls. Anyway, that's not the point of anything. The sisters were wonderful and I cared so much for them and it was truly an honor to get to end my time at that FH with a family like them. Today, they didn't just call me, they came to see me at my new work. AND they brought me candy. AND they started to cry and I started to cry and it was very neat. (selfishly, it was also good that my new coworkers got to see that i do a good job with my families). So that was an awesome thing for me today actually. I know that families follow directors around to whatever funeral home they go to and now maybe I have one of my own families to follow me. Neat.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I don't seem to be very good at blogging anymore. Maybe it's the topic. I've become more and more protective of my families and feel less likely to tell their stories. Also I had to sign a couple forms that I wouldnt' keep a blog or other online posting regarding my work. So it makes me a little nervous. There are a couple apartments upstairs in our funeral home and a couple of students live there. They're both going to mortuary school and get free rent and a little pay for answering phones, cleaning, opening the funeral home on weekends. One of them had a blog and someone found out about it and he got in a lot of trouble. Well it must not have been too much trouble because he still lives there and works there and I never heard it from him only from other folks. But it makes me leary of posting stuff.

Maybe I'll start a new blog...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

back to work

start the new job tomorrow. I'm not excited. I'm hoping for snow. Weatherman says I won't get it. Guess it'll be fine. I'll just keep thinking of the money in the bank for our trip next summer. I've not even started, and I'm already counting the days till vacation. How spoiled am I?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Interview part 2

So the interview went well. Mostly it sounds like a decent job and a good place to work. The funeral home is corporately owned, so i'd get to participate in a 401k again. Who knew how good that could be. The money is livable, right where Steve told me to ask for (which I didn't ask, they just told me). The hours are fine. On-call every third weekend, which is also livable. Directors at my last job worked the weekends on a rotating schedule. I wouldn't have to work unless a service were planned or a death occurred and the family didn't want to wait till Monday to come in. I wouldn't have to do removals because they have two students who do them all. Removals are picking up dead folks from the place they died and since it seems that most people choose to die in the middle of the night, not doing removals is a very good thing. Two things could keep them from offering me the job. First is the other person they've been talking with about the position. He flies in from out of state next Monday for his interview. So, he may win. Second is that I don't have a college degree. Sad but true. Without a degree, I can't graduate from intern to funeral director. The state says I have five years to get the degree. Denny says he'll give me two. He also said if I did some online work he'd give me a designated hour each day to do it, so I'll have less homework during the evenings. He also said they'd reimburse my tuition. I had an appt this afternoon at the community college to see what they had to say about a timeline. I missed it but can go in a few minutes during their walk in time.

All this to say I wasn't even sure i wanted to work yet and now I might have a new job AND I'll be going back to school. Guess we'll see what happens.

Monday, January 14, 2008


So, I've got an interview tomorrow and somehow I'm not all that sure how i feel about it. Friday I looked on the state funeral director's website to see what i need to do about my intern license. It expired on my bday in December, but since I'm not working I don't have a director to be signed up as my mentor. Well, I clicked the employment link and a funeral home right here in my city had an opening. I right away grabbed the phone and thought if Kiki answered I'd talk to her, anyone else and I'd just hang up and not worry about it. Well, Kiki answered. She used to have my last job before me and she's the reason I went into the industry, well she's not the reason, but she encouraged me. I've thought before when I've talked to her that she thought I should stay as an office manager and not be a director. So it was a little hard to blurt out, I saw you guys are hiring for a fd, but I did it. She was very excited to hear from me and she right away gave me the cell number for the manager who'd taken a day off. She said their home has switched to central prep, so I wouldn't have to worry about learning to embalm. whew! Central prep is the way a lot of corporate owned funeral homes work. Bodies are taken to a central location where embalming, dressing, and casketing are performed. Then they go back to their own funeral home for services. It was a concern for me, as I've realized I really have no interest in embalming, but then how can you really be a funeral director if you don't deal much with dead folk. Hmm. Anyway, the manager, I'll call him Denny, goes to my church. I've seen him there and also he's come to my old work a couple times before to chat. So I felt only a little uncomfortable to call him at home. I hurried and called before chickening out and he was also very glad to hear from me. He told me he'd have to rethink his whole strategy and would love to talk with me more on Monday when he's back in the office. We chatted a couple minutes and I hung up with my head swimming. When Steve got home from work, I no longer felt so guilty about sleeping till 10am, since I'd gotten such a positive vib from both Kiki and Denny. Crazily, I feel a little like I'm not quite ready to go back to work though. Steve has been amazing in the past couple years and I don't wanna push my luck, but I also kinda like being at home. Let's see, quit a well paying job with tons of benefits and stock options; stay at home and remodel for almost a year; take a low paying job with no benefits in a funeral home of all places; quit again so that I can travel around with him for a couple months; now when it looks like another job may come my way poor Steve has to listen to me whine about "maybe I'm not ready to work again". Yes, I DO know how good I've got it. I'm not saying I think I'm a shoe-in for this job, I wouldn't be that arrogant, but I wasn't prepared for how happy they both were to hear from me. Denny called me this morning and asked me to come in for an interview tomorrow. He said he's heard nothing but great things about my work and he'd love to talk with me more. I figured that Friday he'd be calling directors I worked with to see what they thought of me and it sounds like I was right. So, I guess it's a good thing I bought that new suit Saturday. Gray wool, lined of course. It looks pretty good on me, if I say so myself. I sure hope I can remember the dry clean only part though! Anyway. I'll go in tomorrow and see what they have to say. Wouldn't it be awesome if later in the week they were to offer me a position that's Tuesday thru Thursday? I'd take it for sure! :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Job Hunt

Today the official job hunt begins. Well, I updated my resume and that's about as far as I've gotten. Does that count? I know which funeral home I want to work in next, I just don't know if they want to hire me! Guess maybe next week I'll have to tell them they do, no huge hurry...

I feel as though I don't have much of a purpose lately except to be a "lady of leisure", whatever the heck that is. Two solid months of traveling with Steve have left me fat and happy, but now I need to do something about the fat part! Maybe it's the turning of the new year and maybe it's the beginning of letting go of Corey but today I am ready to start fresh. Well, again, not in a huge hurry...

This year I'd like to get a new job, begin to run again, learn Italian, well conversationally at least, and remodel my kitchen. The kitchen will probably not get done because of Italy in September and that will probably take the budget, well part of it, enough to slow it down. Right now I better finish with my resume. Well, right after i read some blogs...