Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hate: a four-letter word?

I was listening to music with Clem (she's three) and she told me "I don't sing when it's the part with the bad word."  I couldn't think of what bad word the song we were listening to had, so I asked her what word it was that she thought was bad (thinking that maybe she was getting the lyrics wrong, or that I was) and she hesitated, probably thinking that she wasn't sure if it was really okay to say it, and finally said, "hate."  Now, I am sure that my sister (not my favorite one, the other one) told her that hate is a bad word, she's the one that watches Clem while I'm at work, and I'm okay with that, I don't really want my kid running around saying that she hates things, but at the same time, I don't want her thinking hate is a bad word just like fuck or bitch or something.  So, I explained to her that hate isn't a bad word, but that it can be hurtful to people (she said, "mom, if it's hurtful then that's bad," making me explain that, too), and we have to understand that it is rarely necessary to use the word.  I also explained that a lot of times it is used when people don't really mean it, and that they don't even realize they're saying it (which she told me is something I do all the time (kid notices everything apparently).

I'm fairly confident that I did the right thing.  It isn't a bad word, right?

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's like being in an episode of The Twilight Zone

So, this week has been unending.  We had six services today, and new families to meet with.  It was insane.  We had five services yesterday.  I have just about gone mad.

Anyway, there's a visitation tonight, it starts in just a few minutes, and the family was a little late in approving the info we have on the deceased, so Buffy is just finishing up on printing the programs and register book.  He's been super busy all day anyway though, so it's not like it would have been completed a long time ago had the family approved our paperwork sooner.  Anyway, Big Bird (funeral office Nazi) just took a call that apparently was a family member of the visitation-tonight-guy, letting us know that we had an incorrect middle initial for him.  So, she tells Buffy and he just says, "great, now I have to reprint the book and everything." He sounded really sad when he said it, you could hear the I-thought-today-was-over-and-now-I-have-to-stay-late disappointment in his voice, and Big Bird did something I never thought I'd see.  She leaned in to him (he was sitting with his back to her, she was standing behind him) and lightly rubbed his back with the back of her index finger.  It was so loving and mother-like I just about died.  Buffy even looked over at me with this "wtf" expression, and we just kinda stared at each other.  It was the weirdest thing.  So, anyway, that's all I've got for today.

Join me next week for a recap of the decapitation case...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

For Miss Anne

I might end up taking this photo down, as I don't want anyone to recognize me, but I look cute today, and Miss Anne wanted a photo a while back...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The comfort of tradition

I'm at a service. It's a Rosary followed by a Mass, followed by the cremation of the deceased's remains. Usually when we're as busy as we are right now I don't like working services, as I am constantly thinking about what I could be doing at the office, not thinking about being a great funeral director, but today I am glad to be here. It could be partly because I don't have to go to the cemetery after we finish, which is always cold at this hour and this time of year, but mostly it's because I just need a break, and it turns out this Rosary the priest is saying is soothing me. I love the sound of his voice, and the response the crowd gives. The words sound beautiful and melodic, and I just want to hear them over and over, the rest of the day, and let them wash my tiredness and stress away in a river of peacefull lyrics. I can think here. I can relax. I can breathe.

I don't suppose I will ever know why it is that the words of the Rosary are so wonderful to me. I'm not Catholic, although my mom often tells me that I should have been born her (raised Catholic) and she been born me (raised Presbyterian). There's just something about it having always been done this way, the tradition of the prayers, and the holiness of it all. I'm just glad to be here, at this little church, hearing these words.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I don't remember ever being this busy

OMFG.

Number of cases we have in house: 21

Number of cases I want to be working on: 0

I am so busy I can hardly see straight.  Monica was on call this weekend, and she called to let me know we were swamped over the weekend.  We got an auto accident case who is actually Monica's uncle (in-law), and he should be arriving any minute for me to check him out and see how extensive the damage is on his head.  I'm hoping that he's not too bad mostly because of how little time I have to work on him, and also because I don't want Monica to see him like that, even if she is a tough girl.

I also have a case that is going to be shipped in from Oregon.  I love seeing death certificates from other states, so that should be fun.

Anyway, I am really sorry for the lack of posting.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just a small update

It's been a busy week, I had three services yesterday and have four today. I'm out at a cemetery right now, at a service for a young guy that was killed in an accident (motorcycle). His viewing was yesterday, he is such a handsome kid, and the family thought he looked amazing. His bone structure was fine for the most part, the only fractures I found were inside his cranium, where the occipital lobes attach to the rest of the skull, and the flesh was still intact so I wasn't required to do any wiring of the bones. His face was a bit scratched and fairly bruised, but after a while I was able to get him looking perfect. His dad even called my cell last night to tell me how beautiful his son looked and to tell me thanks, which was really nice.

Okay, I'm back in the office now. I have a memorial service starting shortly, and I'm not going to have time to blog later today, as I have a few cases that need my attention after the service, but I am on call this weekend, so there's a chance I will be blogging tomorrow.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Maybe a little late...

So, I'm sorry I haven't updated, here are my excuses: Thanksgiving week = a day off, but not less deaths, so a five day week's worth of work has to get accomplished in 4 (actually more like 3 and a half, we all check out at about noon on the day before Thanksgiving); I've been sick, actually fairly certain it was H1N1, but am now recovering; I haven't felt like internetting much this week for some reason. Anyway, here is a list of my thankful things:

1. I'm thankful for my family. I was sitting with my sister having a beer and I was thinking about how nice it was to have Thanksgiving with a family that I don't dread being around. My mom's side of the family came to town: three aunts, three uncles, a couple of cousins and their kids, my hubby, my daughter, my sister (the one I was having the beer with, the other one was with her in-laws), my parents, and a good friend of mine. We hung around and ate and drank, and it was a blast, actually not too different from any other year, which is probably why I never really thought that Thanksgiving could be a bummer holiday were it spent with family members I don't enjoy. So, there I was, having a beer with my sister sometime on Saturday afternoon, and I was thinking how lucky I am to have a totally fun dysfunctional family, instead of a dreadful yet functional one.

2. I'm thankful for this blog. Another thing I realized while having beer with my sister is that I am so glad I have an outlet for my job. Not that my friends don't want to hear about how work is going, they kinda do, but not in the depth that I would like to share it with them. This blog has been quite the stress reliever, not to mention how it has helped me to feel less like I'm crazy for loving my job, as all of you readers make me feel like there are a handful of folks out there that understand my love for this field, and actually are interested in the goings-on of my day-to-day, instead of being grossed out. It's really pretty awesome to have you guys.

3. I'm thankful that I'm pretty. Yeah, I know it's shallow, and I also know that I might not be pretty to everyone, but I think I'm pretty. Actually, I know I'm pretty, and I'm proud of it. I love my super-short haircut (it's an 8 on the back and sides, a little longer on top, and is usually spiky, or faux-hawked). I love my green eyes. I love my faint freckles. I love my smile. I love my tattoos. I love my style.

4. I'm thankful for books.  I read a bit this Thanksgiving and the following weekend, and I can't tell you enough how much I enjoy a good book. I love to sit in my rocking chair and read, drinking some tea (or beer) and letting the cat sit on my blanketed lap and keep my legs warm.  It's peaceful and exciting at the same tome, which not many things are, and I am blessed to have enough money to spend on books, and a reading family to let me borrow theirs.

5. I'm thankful for my friends.  Really, I'm thankful right now for my friend, J, the girl I blogged about a while back.  She and I haven't been close like we were in the beginning, but she's been amazingly good to me none the less, and has really gone outside her boundaries to be there for me.  She feels like a sister to me, and I am so thankful to have found her. She feels like a soul mate, and I've never had one of those before, and even though typing that sounds asinine even to me, it's true.  I've lucked out really, and am grateful that she's here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Live blogging, Rosary style

I'm at a Catholic service right now, blogging from my phone as I sit in the coach (that's what us funeral home floks call a hearse). I am working with a part-timer, an older guy (prob 67 or so) who works services for us often, and is just the slightest bit of a dirty old man, but its always mixed with just enough southern gentleman to make him bearable. Actually, he's one of the few people at work that allows me to lift caskets without making comments about how men should be the ones doing that stuff, and that I might hurt my baby maker if I keep with all the lifting (yes, they really say baby maker). Anyway, the service is a 9 am Rosary, which is underway now, and a 10 am Mass, followed by a trip to the cemetery. The guy I'm working with suggested that I go sit in the coach once the Rosary started, as it is cold-ish (well, it never gets too cold here, even in the winter it's rare for it to get below freezing overnight), and I'm wearing a skirt, so I decided to be a baby and do just that. So, here I sit, waiting for the Rosary to finish, drinking coffee in a hearse (don't tell the boss), wishing I had a donut.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drinks with my sister, or, In which I get hit on by the waitress

Last night my sister and daughter and I went out for some beers (not for my daughter, she had water). There’s a little town just a little ways away from the city I live in, and they have a pizza place with tons of beers on tap and even more bottled, and my sister and I like to go anytime I am husbandless. We’ve only recently started going to this place, but we love it and even though it’s a bit of a drive (but not too bad, the little town is practically part of the city I live in) I think we are quickly becoming regulars.

So, we sit down in a booth that Clem (my daughter) picked out, and this super-adorable, butch-y server gets us some menus and says, “Back for some more torture?” She had been our waitress once before, about a month ago, and apparently remembered us (two hot chicks and a cute kid, I’d remember us too). She got us some beers that she thought we’d like (she was right) and would stop by the table every so often to flirt and let me charm her socks off, especially once she found out that I’m a mortician. Close to the beginning of the evening she pointed out the way I was dressed (skirt and matching vest; white, high-collared, button-down shirt; pantyhose and four inch heels (hot, right?)), and asked what I do for a living (I said mortician just as she started to ask if I was a paralegal or some shit, LOL). Apparently her sister always tells people that she’s a mortician just for kicks, and through the conversation we had about her sister I learned that my super-cute waitress is 24 years old (and just barely that). We continued the flirty banter throughout the evening, and I finally asked her why she works in the little (more conservative) town when she could get a job working in my (much larger and accepting of the lesbians) town instead. Here’s our convo (or what I remember the conversation going like):

Waitress: I’d get in a lot more trouble working there than I do here.
Me: What kind of trouble?
W: Well, let me just say, I like them married.
Then she WINKED and walked away.

Or something like that

So, yeah, she’s totally warm for my form, right? Maybe I’m not as old looking as I thought I was, or maybe she likes the girls that are almost thirty…

Jewish Services

So, I don't know how many of my reader friends are Jewish, or even have many Jews in their community, but this past month I've had two Jewish funerals, and let me tell you: they are not easy.

So, Jews, Orthodox Jews in particular, have rules about burial, like, not just traditions, but rules.  When one dies, the interment (burial) must be within 24 hours (as long as that's possible), not counting the Sabbath (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) on which it is forbidden to do work pertaining to the funeral arrangements.  This can be a bit hectic, especially when the deceased's doctor isn't Jewish, as they don't always cooperate with the funeral home in how quickly they do the death certificate paperwork (which is necessary for burial to take place).  The evening before burial (the day of the death) the body must be bathed and shrouded, then placed in an Orthodox casket, called an Aron, which is always a wooden casket with no metal or animal-based glues, and usually has holes in the bottom (to aid in decomposition of the remains) and a Star of David on the lid.

So, the bathing ritual takes place in the embalming room, so I have to make sure it's extra clean, and I have to take down the crucifix that I always have hanging above the sink, and get out protective gowns, shoe covers, gloves, etc. for the people to wear that come in to do the bathing.  The ceremony is done by four members of the Synegauge that are of the same sex as the deceased, and I have never watched it, I feel out of place when they start chanting in Hebrew, but I do pop my head in every once in a while to make sure they don't need anything.  It takes about three hours, and when the bathing/praying/shrouding is done we all put the deceased in the Aron.  There are candles that get light when the bathing ceremony is taking place, ones that look a lot like the Catholic ones, but instead of Jesus they are decorated with a Star of David and words in Hebrew.  THe candle is to stay with the remains before they are buried, lit the whole time, and then after the burial they are taken by the surving family members and burned for another 6 days at home.

At the time of the death (if the Rabbi is there) the Rabbi tears the clothing of the family members.  The clothing is then worn for a week to remind the family to grieve.  If family members weren't present at the death their clothing is torn at the graveside.

The attendees at the burial all help shovel the earth into the plot once the Aron is lowered into the ground, and that's it.

It doesn't seem like as much work as it really was, rereading the post, but I promise, it was stressful.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Question-fest

Question from Jenn:
Also, most of us like to think of death as a nice, quiet passing; but there are those that pass quite violently (car accidents, buildings collapse, airplane crashes) how does that differ? Have you ever encountered anything so horrific that you couldn't stand it?

It's strange I suppose, but the horrifying part of dying is usually okay with me.  There have been auto accidents that have been very scary looking when the body reaches me, with the re-building of the skull alone taking a whole day, and the actual face taking a lot longer.  A few suicides have also been quite the projects, shotguns are very damaging.   The worst looking cases (and most likely that I cannot help them) are usually drowning victims that don't get removed from the water quickly.  We call them floaters, and the water makes them decompose very quickly, and they smell awful and look even worse.  But really, I haven't ever had a case that I couldn't work on because it was too gross, I actually like the gross ones, they give me something to do. 

And IT asked:
Do funeral homes charge like a corkage fee if somebody already has casket that they bought from Walmart or Costco?

LoL.  It's actually illegal to charge a casket handling fee, but funeral homes get around it by either offering package pricing when a family buys a casket from them and then itemizing their service fees if the casket is purchased elsewhere, or by raising their service fees and lowering casket prices so that they get the money anyway.  Costco has been selling caskets for a while now, and I have only encountered a family using them twice, so I'm not really sure how well they're doing with the whole thing, and just as a side note: the caskets offered now by Walmart are made by the same company as the Costco ones.

And a last one from RIC Girl:
I have a question about facial reconstruction. Can you explain how you disguise bad cuts, broken bones or areas of the face that are shattered? How about the smells involved with the whole embalming process? Is it something you get used to?

As for facial abrasions, it depends a lot on the type of wound.  No matter what the hole is stitched up, I usually use dental floss (white, mint).  It's very strong, and thick enough not to rip through and tear the skin when pulled tightly enough to close a gaping facial wound, but not heavy like the string I ues to stitch up the embalming incision(s), and it smells nice.  Anyway, if part of the skin is missing i bring the two (or more) sides together as much as possible when I stitch it up without pulling too hard so that the skin looks too tight.  That way there is floss going across the hole, giving the stuff I use to fill the hole up with something to hold on to.  once its all stitched I dry the tissue really well with a chemical, and I can then start rebuilding.  The product I like to use the most for that sort of thing is called "Easy Way" (I know, totally lame name) and is made by a chemical company called Dodge (I think they're out of Massachusetts (wow, I don't think I would have EVER been able to spell that state n my own)).  The Easy Way is a powder and a liquid that I mix together when I'm ready to use it, and I can make it any consistency I need.  I usually make it a little more pliable than modeling wax, and stick it where I need it.  If I'm using it to fill a hole I just sculpt it to fit the surrounding tissue, and smooth it over using a paint brush and a chemical called "Dry Wash II" something a lot like nail polish remover, that allows the brush to glide over the Easy Way and not stick to it.  When the Easy Way looks the way I want it to I cover it with some of the powder in the mixture and let it sit for a bit.  I can add layer after layer to build up features (like a nose or lip, or something like the brow bone or cheekbone if it wasn't able to be rebuilt from the underside) after the underneath layers dry and become hard if I need to.  When Easy Way first came out it was hard to work with, but I kept at it, and now I like it much more than the wax clays we used for eons before the Easy Way came along.  I've been trying to teach Jane to use it as well, but she's old and set in her ways (and she usually hires me to do reconstructions anyway).  Once the features are the way I want them I use make-up over them, and then apply any hair that might need to be there (eyebrows/eyelashes are common things that need to be replaced in accident victims).

As for the smells, yeah, they're gross, and I'll admit, I have gagged a time or two, but they really don't bother me too often.  Don't get me wrong, I dont adore the smell of decomposing flesh, or the smell of viscera on an autopsied case (imagine what rotting feces would smell like), but it's just part of the job.  Same thing for the smells of the chemicals, I just kinda have to bear them, so I do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Children and Babies

So, I've been really thinking about the questions regarding children, and I have a few different answers.  People usually want to know how I work on children and babies, like how I don't just cry and cry when I work on them, but they never really ask about the process and how it differs from that of adults, and I'd like to cover all of that here.

Children and babies have higher fat content in their bodies than normal adults, which makes it harder for the bodies of children to embalm as well as an adult since embalming relies on fixing proteins (muscle).  Fat people are a lot the same, the tissue just doesn't "fix" (get firm) as well as in bodies of someone with less fat.  In order to compensate for the higher fat content we usually use stronger formaldehyde content, but that can lead to tissue becoming dehydrated more quickly than in a "normal" case.  with children I try to use the stronger fluid mixed with humectant chemicals, which, if I try to explain, is like injecting them with lotion so as to moisturize the tissue from the inside.

With babies, especially with fetal deaths that were premature, sometimes it isn't possible to embalm them using the arterial system, as it is not developed enough to do much good, and their skin is so underdeveloped that it tears easily and is hard to stitch up any injection site.  In cases like that we normally "pack" them, which means we wrap the baby in cotton and saturate the cotton with embalming fluid, and let the body sit for a day or two.

So that's the technical aspect.

As to the emotional side of things, that's a lot harder to answer.  It wasn't until recently, in dealing with the homicide of a young child, that I had any emotional issues with the death of children.  I don't mean to sound like I am cold, or unfeeling, but I am fairly good at understanding that people, even children and babies, die.  I don't feel like it's fair, and I don't think that I feel like it has to be fair, and I know that me doing a good job, whether it be meeting with the family of a dead child, or embalming them, that it will help a grieving family, and that helps me tremendously.  Usually when a child dies it is because of an accident, or maybe a long-standing illness, and while families have questions about why their child had to be the one to die, I don't tend toward those thoughts.  But then, with the homicide case a little while ago, I was shaken.  I cried when the case got to the funeral home.  I sobbed, I was uncontrollable.  I didn't understand.  I still don't.  I cried when I met with the family.  I cried at the service.  I cried as I attemped to make the little body look like it hadn't suffered.  I cried to my mom, and my friends, and was just not myself.  I still don't sleep well, waking to thoughts and images of the little body.

So, that's what took me so long to post.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Questions of the day, Jenn edition

So here are Jenn's questions, and my answers. Keep in mind that different morticians do things differently, so my answers might not be true to what your local funeral professional does.

1. Do the bodies ever move or twitch or make noise (groans, etc.)? Yes and no. When someone dies there is no twitching or moving of the limbs and what have you. They might move a little because their muscles have completely relaxed (eyelids open, mouth opens, arms relax, etc.), but there are no other motions made by them. They can, however, make noise, usually because of air trapped in their lungs that releases, especially when we move them from their place of death onto a gurney. The air will kind of just come out, sounding like a heavy sigh. The first time that happened to me I took the guy's pulse to make sure he was dead. He was.

2. Do you really put a plug in the rectum to stop "leakage"? Yes, sometimes. The plug is actually called an A/V plug (anal/vaginal), and looks like this:


It screws into the cavity (after embalming), and first I fill it with absorbent powder (the one in the photo is a bit different than the ones I like to use, the ones I like have a larger area to put powder into). It isn't the best part of the job, but it's better than sewing the anus or vagina shut (very hard to do effectively) and WAY better than having stuff leak out of their body.

3. Do you really sew the eyes closed and/or wire the jaw closed? Kinda. With the eyes I use things called eye caps, which look like contact lenses made out of plastic, with tiny raised spots on them to "hold" the eyelid down, shown here:

The ones I use are clear, and they are placed on the eyeball before embalming.  This keeps the eyes closed during embalming, and after the embalming the tissue is hard enough that the eyelids don't open easily.  Just as an added precaution though I use a dot of glue on the eyelid to make sure that there isn't any chance the lid could open during a viewing (due to the dehydration and shrinking of the eyelid tissue, not because people try to pry eyes open all the time).

As for the mouth, the other embalmers I work with wire the jaw shut using things called injector needles, wires with a little barb on the end that embeds into the gum tissue, one on the top and one on the bottom, and intertwine those two together, closing the mouth.  I don't like the barbs though, they seem mean, even if they are easy, so I sew the jaw shut (my husband thinks it's crazy that I don't have any issues sewing a mouth shut but won't use a needle injector (the instrument used to force the barbs into the gums)).  I might have to work on a diagram to explain how I sew it, I guarantee it isn't the way you are thinking it is done.  Maybe I'll work on that this weekend, or see if I have a book with an illustration of it.

4. Do the muscles relax when you pass and you poo and pee? Yes, but most of the time that is taken care of during embalming.  Not only do a lot of the people that die have on some sort of adult diaper, but they are also on diets that consist of water and IV nutrients, so they don't have much to excrete (gross) anyway. And one of the things I do during (after) embalming is called aspirating, in which i take a trocar (a long "needle" of sorts, about two feet long) and puncture the stomach and suck out anything trapped in the organs (poo, pee, blood, bile, etc)  and drain it, and put in extra strong formaldehyde to embalm those organs well.

So, let me know what else you have...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy girl

I was a busy busy bee today. Tank is out of town so I have been meeting with more families than usual and have had to be the one to approve all the cremations before they leave our facility to be cremated. Jane is also out of town, but I've been to busy with other stuff to do the embalmings today so I called in a part-timer to come do them for us. Actually, I am kinda glad I didn't have to embalm today, it's been getting cooler and I am one of those people that's constantly cold anyway, so I just freeze in the prep room.

J checked on me last night and I told her that I was really hurt and sad, but that I would be here whenever she sorted all her stuff out. It was wonderful to hear the relief in her voice, I think she has been worried that I would hate her, and today she texted to let me know how much better today has been for her compared with this last week. It just might mean progress, folks.

One thing I wondered: Is there anything you want to know about my job? If not that's fine, I'll keep posting the happenings, but if there's something you wonder you can ask and if I know the answer I will tell you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What a way to go

So, Buffy is working on death certificates for people that died over the weekend and got one with diarrhea listed as a cause of death. I was certain that the handwriting must just be difficult to read, as who has ever heard of that killing a person? Turns out that it was not the handwriting that was wrong. Diarrhea really is the cause of death. So, that's something new.

On another note: I had a bummer weekend. I saw J at church on Sunday and felt awkward. She looked great, and we talked a little. I was on my best behavior so as not to let her know how hurt and angry I am, that wouldn't be helpful for her right now. Anyway, that's it for now.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Long day

I am in quite a mood today, and need to let go of a few things that I just don't have anyone to let them go to, so you guys are stuck being my outlet.

This post will not be funeral-related.

I met a girl at church a while back.  Background about my church experience: I have always gone because it's the right thing to do.  I don't have any sort of attachment to the church other than for social reasons for the most part.  Anyway, this girl, J, was introduced to me by a church member that I know, one who has gone to my church for years and who had said I just had to meet J, as she knew we would hit it off.  Well, she was right, and J and I have become close recently.

Background on J: She's a few years younger than I am.  She started going to my church a couple of years back, and had never been a church person before.  Actually, she was kinda heavy into drugs I guess, and drinking, and dated a few (or more) women, as well as men.  She stopped with the drugs and drinking and the sexing of the ladies a short time after starting to attend my church, and has really been quite the Christian. Now, I'm not really sure about all the "relationship with God" stuff, and I don't think I'm big on denying one's sexual preference, but she knows herself better than I do, and she is very happy with the changes that have taken place.  She had a boyfriend up until about a week ago, and things were fine with him (I'll get to that part later), and she's really just generally awesome.

So, she and I had been texting and having a blast, and one night about a month ago I asked her if she wanted to come over and hang out (my hubby was out at a poker game, and my sister was over).  She said that she'd come by after she dropped her boyfriend off that evening.  Anyway, she got to my place just after my sister left, and we hung out for a couple of hours, in which time her boyfriend texted her asking her where she was.  She told him that she was at my place, and he kinda flipped (to his credit though, she hadn't told him she was coming over and then lied when he asked if she had been planning to come by before she had dropped him off for the night).  So, from his perspective I can totally see what he saw: his girl (whom he knows has an affinity for women(I think)) hanging out at another girl's house (one he has only met once, and who is super milf-y) and lying about the situation, obviously because something shady (his own word) was taking place.  So, I think he told her she wasn't to be my friend anymore.

*cue drama*

She and I were both devastated.  She was angry at herself for lying to him in the first place, and couldn't figure out why she had.  There hadn't been anything going on.  It made no sense.  She was mad at the boyfriend (as was I) for making her hurt me (and I was hurt.  Actually, I cried.  Like a baby.  Not a common thing, fyi).  She was confused (aren't you?) and tired.

About a week of not talking to each other went by and then we started chatting again.  She had told her boyfriend that it just wasn't right (or something), that she wanted to be my friend and that she was mad at him for denying her that opportunity.  I was elated.  She and I had a blast.  We got to have lunches together again, and could talk on the phone, and all the stuff that had been missing.  We've been inseparable.

Then, last week her boyfriend dumped her.  I'm still actually confused by that.  You should see her for one thing, she's absolutely adorable, and he really isn't.  Not that looks should be a basis of a good fit for a couple, but I'm just sayin'.  And the whole break-up went well, at least from my perspective, J said that it just wasn't God's will that they be together.  Very peaceful about it even (from the perspective of someone who isn't actually involved).

So, we still hung out, and chatted all the time, and it's been great.  Until yesterday.  Last night she came over and we talked for a long time on the couch.  I complained about work and stuff, and we laughed and were our normal selves, and she said that we are gonna have to cool it for a while.  She said that she wants to be more than friends, and she can't let herself go there, and all of the hanging out and knowing everything about each other and having a blast was awesome, but couldn't continue.  And instead of doing the 'I want whats best for my friend' thing I sat there and cried.  So here she is, being honest with me, and here I am crying and feeling like I have to be able to do something to fix it all, which I couldn't.  I only cried for a minute though (like it matters, right?) and she said goodbye and left.

My phone has never seemed so silent, and I feel broken and hurt and tired and alone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why does it bother me so much?

Manager says to me earlier this week: I wonder how many of the bodies run through here go to Hell. *chuckle*

I can't stop thinking about it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

In which I sound like a crazy person

I forgot what it was like to embalm a warm body.

We are really busy this week, there have been quite a few deaths and I’ve had bodies to get ready left and right. It seems that everyone else is busy too, and because of that Jane wasn’t able to embalm this little old lady that died. Actually, I had been one of the ones to go pick her up from her home when she died, and so when I got back to the funeral home I got started embalming. Now, you would think that getting a warm body in the funeral home would be super common, and it is definitely something that happens, but really not often. Usually people die in hospitals and are refrigerated, or in an accident and the medical examiner refrigerated them til the autopsy is done, or they die at night and are brought to the funeral home right away and refrigerated until morning when we all show up. So, this lady was sorta an exception, and I didn’t realize that I had forgotten the feeling of embalming a warm body until I felt her blood on my (gloved) hands. As I type that I think it sounds creepy, and I assure you I am not (too) creepy, I just was a bit stunned at this feeling I hadn’t felt in so long.

It feels like warm water, but a bit slipperier than water. Like soapy water I guess. And it was really amazing, the way it felt, and to feel it cool down as the embalming fluid pushed its way through her little body and back out again a while later. So, that’s it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mortuary Color Wheel

I got a cool color wheel today for the prep room.  It shows what kind of base color to use on cases that require a lot of cosmetics according to the color they were when one first applies the cosmetics.  The colors are even named with the most common types of reasons they would be that color.  Excited?  Yes, yes I am.


Friday, October 9, 2009

This week in a nutshell

So, a good friend of mine isn’t speaking to me.

Big Bird is making me want to kill a b****. All week she’s been riding my ass about any little nit-picky thing she can come up with. Then, to top it off her dad had a stroke yesterday and she had to leave to go to the hospital with her mom and so I feel bad for hating her. I even called her cell last night to see if I could bring them some dinner (she said no, but thanked me anyway), and I can’t figure out why I did that. I really am not that nice of a person.

Whatever, she’s back at work today, and my friend still isn’t speaking to me, and I’m on call this weekend, so… Here goes it I guess.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm having a shitty week

Check back in a coupla days...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ten little fingers and ten little toes

I embalmed a baby today. It was a full-term stillbirth. That will always be one of the more strange aspects of my job. It doesn’t make me sad per se, but it is a very odd thing, to embalm a little baby. They are so delicate and small, and I am glad when I am the one that gets to be their embalmer. It makes me feel important and motherly.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Music, physicals and pacemakers

I brought in some cds from home today to put on my itunes at work. I like to listen to music quietly when I have paperwork to do, and was in the mood for some oldies, so I grabbed two Grateful Dead compilations, Simon and Garfunkel’s greatest hits, Bob Dylan’s greatest hits, and an Etta James cd. All but the last one were gifts from my dad for Christmas when I was in high school, and I don’t listen to them too often, so it’s a nice break from the usual tunes that I hear.

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday for a physical, and the doc noticed that I’m overdue for a tetanus booster, so my left arm is sore today and will be tomorrow too. Other than that he said I look great, my favorite quote from him being, “I’ll spare you the anal seeing as you’re under 40. You don’t have any rectal bleeding or discomfort, right?”

Work is steady, not anything particularly interesting to write about. I did remove a pacemaker though, but it is a very boring procedure. Just to inform those of you that don’t know: pacemakers are removed before one is cremated, as the battery that operates them will explode when heated.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bones

I have mad love for the show Bones, but I have a little issue.  We tivo-ed last week's episode, and I was watching it this weekend, and this is what I have to say: Eyeballs decompose quickly after death, or, at least, the fluid inside them deminishes quickly, and an unrefrigerated or unembalmed body will have very sunken eyes within a day.  The episode from ladt week had a dead body in the trunk and the face was bacly rotting, but there were these perfectly round eyeballs in it.  There have been a few other issues I have had with the show, but that is to be expected from Hollywood every now and then.  The thing that bothers me about the eyeballs is that it was such an obvious mistake.  I laughed out loud when I saw it even.  Any mortician, or probably even anyone that works in a hospital should be able to point that out.  ANyway, I'm not boycotting the show or anything, but just was a little annoyed.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yay, Friday!!!

Just a quick post to say "happy weekend."  Not much today to report, other than that I saw a guy at a funeral today that had what I can only describe as the anti-Hitler moustache.  The middle was shaved, but the sides were there.  Very odd...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cameras in the bathrooms even

We’re having security cameras installed at the funeral home this week. The technician has been working around our services to get them installed and running. We’ve had one in the chapel for a long time so that we could watch the services going on and know when to cue music and stuff, but the boss wanted to replace it and put a few more around the building. The technician was working in the chapel yesterday and I was there working on a body and he just couldn’t believe that I had no problems working on a body. It’s so funny sometimes the way people think about certain jobs. I mean, do people really think that the line of work they are in is what everyone should be doing?

On another note: I’ve noticed that some people have found this blog because it comes up when they google “funeral poems.” Now, I don’t have any funeral poems listed here, except for the squiggly line one from Family Guy, but I’m thinking about putting a link here to some of the funeral poems that I use in the mortuary, and then that way people that find this site for that reason wont be bummed that my blog has nothing of use to them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting ready to view

Here’s something the general public doesn’t realize: It takes a long time to get someone in the casket properly. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are tons of funeral homes that are lax about their rules on how a decedent should look in the casket, but I’m picky. Monica and I just spent the better part of an hour getting a man ready after he was dressed and in his casket. We positioned him right, he looked to have his chin touching his chest so we put Styrofoam blocks under his shoulder blades to make his head tilt backward a bit more, then we raised up the head end of the bed of the casket (a large number of caskets have the ability to raise and lower the “mattress” that the deceased is laying on) so that his head was a bit higher. His make-up was fine, none needed really except for moisturizing cream (the skin dehydrates fairly quickly so we use cream to avoid the effects that dehydration cause), and his hands were okay, but the pillow, overlay (#6 in image below) and the inside material all took a bit of adjustment so that they go unnoticed when visitation is going on.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to so far this morning.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A little of everything

Big Bird is on vacation for a couple of days, so the atmosphere in the office is much more relaxed. We have a bit of work to do today, I have already met with one family today, as has Monica, and there are two more families to come in later. We also had a service this morning and another this afternoon, but for as busy as we are no one is too stressed about it, with Big Bird not here cracking the whip every five minutes.

My weekend was nice. I worked a bit on Saturday at a service in the chapel for a family I had met with. It was a memorial service and was well-attended, and the service went smoothly. Monica was the director on call and she was in the office meeting with a family, and she was happy to see me when she came out of the arrangement room into the office. She looked adorable, wearing a see-through, high collared cream blouse with one of those big, flouncy bows at the neckline, something that looked like it came from my wardrobe, and when I commented on how cute the top was she said that my vampire-esque wardrobe had inspired her. Pretty funny I thought, and I asked how she knows that vampires wear those Victorian type shirts and she just laughed, saying that she just imagines that they look that way and that I remind her of one when I wear those shirts. I’m not sure why, but I thought it was very funny. Anyhoo, her new family that she had just finished arrangements with was going to want viewing, and Monica didn’t want to wait until Monday to pick the body up at the hospital, but didn’t want to have to pay a service to get the body so that we could embalm it right away, so I told her to grab her purse and we’d go get the body ourselves from the hospital. The morgue tech was pleased to see us, and asked us to come back soon. I just smiled and told him that with faces this pretty the boss doesn’t like us in the morgues, but that he was welcome to stop by the funeral home anytime and we’d be happy to smile for him.

When I got home I fed the hubby and daughter lunch and put Clementine to bed for a nap. The hubby then said that I should go get a mani-pedi (which is sooooo not like me), and gave me fifty bucks to pay for it. Gotta love a gambler when he wins, right?

Saturday night we had dinner at a good friend’s house and Clem played with the toys for the baby they are adopting soon. She says she’s testing them out to make sure they are okay for the baby. Very odd. But it was fun, and Saturday night my mom had Clem spend the night so that hubby and I could go out drinking and then sleep in on Sunday, which we did.

So, that’s really it, Sunday was boring, just chilled at home and did laundry.

Now I’m just sitting in the office listening to Buck tell Buffy how it’s important to allow for windage. “The bullet and the (derogatory term used in the Vietnam War) have to meet up at the same time. If you aren’t going to reach it at the same time then what’s the use.” To which I responded that it sounded more like sexual advice than military advice. He told me to settle down and then reconsidered, “Well, now, Doll, I think you might be right.”

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gypsy update

So, the Gypsies were quite fun. The graveside service was postponed so that more beer could be purchased and more weed could be smoked. The service itself was nice (highlight: a three year old flipped off another child that was annoying her), and afterward wine was shared and the funeral directors were all made honorary Gypsies, and one of the funeral goers taught us all how to pick a pocket. After the casket went into the ground they threw money in on top of the casket, and the coins were loud when they hit the bottom. It really was a nice service, and the Gypsies seemed pleased with everything, which is good because I have a feeling they aren’t the types of folks one wants to make angry…

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gypsy service

Gypsies are funny folks. In mortuary school we are taught about many different groups of people, and Gypsies were one of those groups. I didn’t really pay that much attention to the specifics of their services, mostly because I didn’t think I’d ever do a Gypsy service, and now I’m kicking myself. We have a Gypsy service this week, and I’ll tell you what: those are some different customs. There are tents in the parking lot, and everyone is drinking all the time. There is to be beer at the cemetery, and Lord knows how the casket bearers are going to haul the casket to the gravesite, full of everything you can imagine: money, jewelry, clothes, good liquor, you name it. They don’t want to touch the deceased either. I asked one girl about it, she said the spirit stays here and that they can’t make it mad, to will seek revenge or something on them if they aren’t good to the human remains. They won’t say the name of the deceased either. Anyway, I’ll update if anything happens…

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sweaty girl

My hubby bought me this spa package gift certificate a few months back for me, one of these promotional deals where you get four appointments and choose from a list of services what you want for each. The first one was a haircut, the second was a massage, and last night I had the third one which I chose an infra-red body wrap. I wasn’t too sure what that was, and they told me that it was a weight-loss thing that takes about 45 minutes. So I thought I’d try it and it turns out it is awful. First they had me take my clothes off and put on men’s thermal underwear. They had me lay down on a table, the kind like they use for massage, and they wrapped these things around me, plastic mat type things, all around my boobs (um, I don’t really want to loose weight there), stomach, thighs and arms. They weren’t uncomfortable, just a bit heavy, and they were wired to a machine in the room. Then the gal put a blanket over me, up to my stomach, got me a glass of water, turned on the fan in the room, and turned on the infra-red machine. She said she would come back and check on me every 10 minutes (which made me wonder: why is that necessary?), and told me I was welcome to read the magazines next to my glass of water (which I couldn’t get to as the wraps were quite binding). So, it was getting warmer in the wraps, but wasn’t unbearable, until about the seventh minute. It was so uncomfortably hot I thought I would cook and she would come in and find me barbecued to the table. I was determined though to make it through this thing, which I did (although I wonder now if I’m not a tad slower in the mind because of it), but not before sweating like a fat man in a marathon. It was disgusting how soaked the long underwear were with my sweat. I’m wondering now how all that moisture didn’t ruin the wires connected to the wraps. So, that is what I did last night, and to top it off the Hooter’s was too busy to seat my sister, daughter and me right away, so the fried pickles I wanted (and had worked off enough poundage to cover) had to go uneaten.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Three cheers for my boss

Friday morning as the hubby was dropping me off at work I noticed that the engine was overly hot, so instead of him letting me out and taking off he parked the car and opened the hood to check the coolant and stuff. The owner of my funeral home noticed and came up to the car and talked to my hubby (who was now going to be late to work, which is fine, just a pain in the ass) to see what was wrong. Within about five minutes they had decided that the car would need to go in to a shop, and my boss told my husband where to take it, and then told him that one of my coworkers would follow him to the car place, pick him up to come back to my funeral home, then let my hubby take the company Suburban to work for the day. I should mention that this Suburban is the boss’ baby, with nice chrome wheels and pretty interior, and is seldom used for work (21,000 miles on it and it’s a 2005). Anyway, the hubby says thank you and heads off to work. The owner knew I was on call that weekend, and I assured him that between my parents and sisters that I would have reliable transportation the whole weekend (and I could even drive our ’59, just not with my daughter as there are no seat belts) and he insisted on me taking the Suburban home for weekend use. He gave me a little lecture on mot parking close to other cars and not getting the tires close to curbs, and that was that. The hubby brought a nice bottle of vodka for my boss when he came to pick me up Friday after work, and my boss told me that he didn’t think we should have given him anything, saying “That’s just what you do for family. You could use a hand, and it just so happened that I could lend one.”

So, this is what I learned: My boss is awesome. Volkswagens are expensive to fix. Suburbans are crazy-big.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Make-up and jaundice

Jane embalms at another funeral home as well as embalming for us, and this week she had quite a few cases at the other funeral home. Wednesday she called me at 5 to ask if I could come help her with make-up after I left work. Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “She needed help with make-up? Obviously she isn’t that good at her job.” Well, that isn’t the case. The deceased had been very jaundiced before dying, and the yellow bile in the body doesn’t just wash away with embalming. Actually, the fluid we use to embalm most cases is formaldehyde based, and it turns out that yellow bile, as in jaundice cases, turns a vivid green color when exposed to formaldehyde. Some embalmers will use other fluids (like gluteraldehyde) on jaundiced cases so that it wont turn them green, but the quality of embalming is lessened when that is done, so Jane and I like to turn them green, and make-up the after-color with mortuary cosmetics (quite a bit different than the stuff we buy at Target), which is what she wanted me to do with the case at the other mortuary. She is almost as good as I am at coloring and restorative art, and she would have done the make-up herself, but she wanted to get started embalming a car accident victim, and I was more than happy to do the cosmetics. So, it only took me about an hour (re-drawing in her freckles is what took most of the time) and she looked great. Jane was pleased, and I chatted with her while she worked on the accident girl, and I played with the deceased’s features a bit to see what looked the most natural, and did a bit of work on her hair, attempting to get the bits of twigs and windshield glass out of it.

Anyway, Jane just called me (btw, I downloaded the NFL theme song as my ring tone and the guys at work love it, so I had to Bluetooth it to all of them and they love when we get calls on our cells) to let me know that the family of the jaundiced girl thought she looked amazing and wanted to know if I could come by the mortuary so they could meet me and thank me personally, so that has brightened my day considerably. She told them that I work for a different funeral home so I wouldn’t be able to stop by, but told them that she would pass along the kind words. She also asked if I would be available to do the make-up on the accident girl she had been embalming the night I was doing jaundice’s make-up. So, I told her that wouldn’t be a problem since my hubby and daughter are going to be out of town and I didn’t have anything to do tonight as of yet. And I guess the other funeral home is super-pleased with my work so far, and luckily I have a boss that lets me work for the competition if they need my expertise. Yay!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Last week

I had a suicide family this past week. Parents of a twenty-something that had hung himself came in to make arrangements for his funeral. It's always strange, making those kinds of arrangements, as I always want to ask questions about things that I have no business asking. I never do, but i always want to. His parents were nice, and the arrangements were done quickly. I sent a driver to pick up the body from the medical examiner's office and he came back with personal property as well, a wallet and a coupla pieces of jewelry. Inside the wallet was a fast-food receipt, and according to the death certificate the boy had been to eat shortly before his hour of death. It made me wonder: did he know that was his last meal?

His parents were fairly numb in the funeral home, probably in shock. Did he know what they would go through? Had he even talked to them recently? There are quite a few things that I'm fairly certain will always be strange to me in this line of work, things that I will never quite get used to. I don't really mind the thought of taking your own life, but there is something about a parent having to go through the funeral of their own child that just always makes me... I don't really know, but it just seems like the worst kind of pain possible. And, maybe I'm way off, I've been fairly sheltered at least where pain is concerned (both emotional and physical), but it seems like that would be the worst.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Reuniting

I was grocery shopping last night and ran into a couple that recognized from the funeral home. They are in their late fifties or early sixties, and their son had been found hanged in a tree on the side of a freeway in an apparent suicide. He was decomposed fairly badly when he was found, had probably been dead for a week. His parents recognized me there in the supermarket, I was the director they dealt with, and they came up to me and said hi. They complimented me on my tattoo even (old people are funny) and told me that it was nice to see me. The dad said that his son’s cremated remains were still in his truck (I commented that everyone needs a copilot sometimes and he laughed), because every time they wanted to go scatter them in the wilderness they couldn’t, just wanting to spend a little more time with their son, who had not really been in contact with them at the time of his death. Actually, I’m fairly certain that the son was homeless when he died. So, we chatted for a while, turns out they live near me, and I told them to keep their eye out for me riding my bike with my daughter in the trailer behind, and honk if they ever notice us riding by. Anyway, it was nice. They were really sweet when they were making arrangements, and they are still, and even though I looked frighteningly blah at the store, I’m glad they said hi.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tissue building

I got a case ready this morning, an older lady that had been sick a while. Most of the people that die were sick for a while, deaths don’t tend to be sudden, and so a lot of the cases I get ready are a bit thinner than they were most of their lives, especially in their faces. There is a product I use to fix that called tissue builder, and man, this lady took a lot of it this morning. It is used in the same way I imagine collagen injections are, hypodermically. I have quite a few syringes and needles, all made for mortuary use and re-usable, but have been using medical sterile needles lately, mostly because they are really sharp and I can just throw them out when I’m done instead of having to sterilize them.

Most of these older people that die after loosing some weight need their temples filled a bit (it becomes very sunken) and sometimes need their eye area filled (they eyeball can be directly injected) if their eyes seem unusually sunken. This gal today also needed her nose filled out, the bridge and down the dorsum had become very bony-looking, as well as a bit of filling of her lips and chin. Luckily I had a photo of her before she started loosing weight, sometimes (although not often) people are just bony-faced and the filling out of the tissue wouldn’t look natural, and the end result was nice. Her family will be in today around noon to see if they want tonight’s visitation to be open-casket, and although I don’t want to seem cocky, there’s no way they are closing that casket, she looks great.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mementos

So, I think I have mentioned before (or not) that every now and then a family asks about a deceased person's gold teeth, wanting to have them removed before they are cremated, because they think the gold in them might be of value. We (the funeral home staff) are not in the business of ripping out teeth however, and we tell those families that they would need to find a dentist to come in and take teeth out for them, and at that point the family shuts up about it and the teeth and their gold are cremated. Well, this week we had a family that asked for something else: the deceased's fingernails. Now, none of us had the guts to ask why the hell they wanted fingernail clippings, so we went to the refrigerator and got them and gave them to the family.

What was that about? Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I didn't even remember it myself...

I got to work today a bit earlier than my boss, Tank. I sat down and checked my work email and looked in my box to see if there was anything to work on (the office opens at 6:30am so a lot of times when I get in at 8 there are already things in my in box to do). Anyway, we are pretty slow so there wasn’t anything to do, so I just worked on my photo project for a bit. Tank finally came in and sat a donut and an envelope in front of me, and I looked up at him very confused.

Me: What’s this?
Tank: It’s a donut. And a card. Open it.
Me: *open the card, have even more confused look on my face*
Tank: You’ve been here a year, it’s your anniversary card. *gets nervous* Do you like it? I got the one that plays music. I didn’t know what kind of donut you like, is that one okay?
Me: *stunned* I LOVE IT, TANK!!! You remembered? Thanks *hugs Tank*
Tank: I guess your probation is over *laughs*

So, that was my morning. I have an anniversary card that plays the theme song from Friends when it opens (Clementine loves those). Pretty nice, huh?

Monday, August 24, 2009

What women can't do

So, today I was told three different times by three different men that moving bodies wasn't 'woman's work'. um, wha?? so, I'm a little perturbed, and, at the times they were explaining to me that I was not to be moving bodies, was as well. Now, not one of the three men that told me about whose job it was to move the dead knew about the other men that had been telling me (or were going to tell me later in the day), which makes it even worse. This means that they all three think that body moving is solely a mans job (well, sort of. Two of the three think its okay for me to move a body, with the help of another (man) if all other possible men are not available and the body MUST be moved then). And these aren't big, surly, strong guys, just regular (old) guys. And don't get me wrong, I appreciate that they are worried about my frail, feminine body, but come on. I picked mortician as my profession with the knowledge that it would include body moving, even when the body is heavy, or gross, or whatever. It's what I do. And also, the main embalmer is a woman. I don't see them coming in the prep room at all hours helping her move her bodies. Is it that she's like 48? Or larger than I am? Or doesn't wear dresses, and therefore isn't as feminine? I don't get it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Photo fun

I've started a project with my sister, my dad and my co-worker, Monica. I had this idea to go around my town taking up-close photos of well-known landmarks/buildings/whatever and post them to a site. then on a certain day at a certain time we will allow the public to view the photos and guess what it is of. When it is correctly guessed the post will change with links to sites about that particular place, as well as a larger photo showing where the close-up came from. Our goal is to have 50 places by October. Monica and I have been taking the camera with us on our lunch breaks, and I sent a funeral director with my camera to a funeral at one of the local old churches just now. The local indie mag is in on it too, they'll publish the details of the search game. Doesn't that sound like fun??

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My old car

I've been searching all through my email to find a photo of my old car, as per TCG's request, and can't seem to find one. Here are a coupla photos of the same car, but mine is a 2 door. Mine is also not as shiny as this one, and is dark brown with a light tan top. It really is a cute little number with push-button transmission. Very cool.
photo source

photo source

Monday, August 17, 2009

Update

So, I've been a busy bee. Friday I had a big service for the gun-shot victim, and everything went well. The memorial folders turned out better than I could have ever imagined. I wish I could post in here, but I can't so you'll have to take my word for it. The service started at 10 in a church, and we went to the graveside afterward, and I wasn't back in the office until 1:30, so it was a long day in heels and a suit. Monica and I got some lunch after the service at our favorite Mexican joint, and my dad was there having lunch with a co-worker. We chatted and sat at the table next to them. He laughed that he figured I would be there, as he knows how much I love their food, and how close it is to the funeral home.

Saturday the hubby had to work on the rental house so he was out of town and Clementine and I went to a friend's house to swim and bbq. We had an awesome time, very relaxing and the weather was perfect. Did the same thing Sunday, and now have a nice tan.

We have an old car, a 1959 Plymouth that we bought from some friends when they purchased a house and found this old car in the garage. It runs, and we put a nice sound system in it, keeping it all hidden so as not to disturb the look of the car, and we love it, but I think we are going to have to sell it. It is sorta sad, I really love that car, but it has become tough, not being able to put a kid seat in it for Clem, and keeping up on repairs (which really haven't been that bad), and damnit, I just look awesome in it. We might be able to just keep it in storage for a while and not drive it and get a used car cheap that will work for to and from work and all, but who knows. Sometimes I wish I were made of money.

I went to the local indie coffee shop this morning for some coffee. There's a group of old guys that laways sit outside and read while drinking their morning cup and they love me (and the old Plymouth). Today one of them commented on my suit and said that I was as lovely as ever (thank god, I must not be headed downhill yet), but that if he was chosing my uniform it would ba a tight leather number with a bone saw strapped to my thigh. I laughed, but all day have been thinking about how bad-ass that would be (even though I will probably never use a bone saw in this line of work). Makes me wish I could draw super heroes...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

About me

Hair color: Blonde
Eye Color: Green
Height: 5'7"
Weight: Yeah, right
Favorite music: Rap
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite religion: Catholic
Actual Religion: non-Catholic Christian
Favorite art: Deco
Favorite theme park: Disneyland
Favorite National Park: Yellowstone
Favorite embalming chemical: Triton 28
Favorite embalming instrument: nail file
Favorite embalming stitch: worm
Favorite language: Spanish
Favorite show: Thundercats
Favorite flower: Hair allium
Best sport to play: water polo
Favorite sport to play: Soccer
Favorite sport to watch: Baseball
Best subject in school: Chemistry
Favorite subject in school: Physics
Worst subject in school: Calculus
Favorite beer: Newcastle
Favorite snack: Pepinos con limon y chile
Favorite dinner: Mac n cheese
Bra size: 34 C
Shoe size: 9.5
Rubber glove size: Medium/8
Languages spoken: English, German, Spanish (for the most part), pig Latin

What else do you want to know? Leave it in the comments.

Frack I'm tired

Today was a bitch.

Yesterday was busy, but not bitchy. Mr. GunshotWoundsToTheHeadAndChest looks great. The bullet to the head did little external damage, the hardest part to make look good was the autopsy incision on his head (he has corn rows, and the coroner cut right through them, making it even more crucial that the halves line up properly). the bullets to the arms, however, were a different story. The bullets were small, or at least I assume they were, as the holes in the skin are not large, I can fit my pinky in but not my thumb, so maybe index finger sized, but a couple of the holes were cut into by the ME (medical examiner) to (I assume) retrieve the bullets. The incisions made by the ME are rarely carefully made, and sometimes can cut into a major artery, which makes embalming a bitch, as it did in the right arm of this guy. The brachial artery was severed in this case, so embalming had to be done using an incision at the interior part of the elbow, injecting fluid both toward the hand and toward the body. It worked, and maybe it would have been done that way anyway, the bullet may have done damage like that, but us embalmers like to think that the ME should just be more careful with bodies.

Anyway, back to today. I got a new case. The deceased was in an auto accident, head and body injuries being the COD (cause of death). He looked bad, the skull alone would take a day or so, and after that maybe four hours of restoration (mainly the nose and forehead), but it was do-able, and after speaking with the family I knew that they wanted a viewing, so I was excited. They came in this afternoon and we talked about cremation after the viewing/service, and they were thinking that it would be nice, and then the third sibling came in and he convinced his brother and sister not to view this guy. Total shit, right? Jane came in and saw the deceased and said that he would be too much work anyway (which I doubt she really meant, she was just tired), but I was determined, and it's one of those times that I just wished that I could embalm him without family consent and teach them all a lesson. Argh.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In which I recap yesterday's events

I had a very busy work day yesterday. I had a Mass in the morning (I always love the incense they use, Frankincense, and secretly hope that the smell sticks to my clothing so that I can smell it later in the day) and a graveside following at a cemetery in a little outlying town. It was a nice drive out there, and I had the priest with me so we chatted about the weather and the area and where he was from and what it’s like to not have sex ever (just kidding about that part). On my way back I passed by the school where my dad teaches and stopped in to say hi to his co-workers. School isn’t in session yet but teachers were there decorating their classrooms and preparing for the arrival of the students. I went across the street of the school and picked up lunch at this tiny Mexican food spot, one of those ones that you have to know Spanish in order to get anything. The cook there was very impressed with my ability to speak Spanish and we chatted a while about the funeral home (I had on my name tag). I got back to the office about 1:30 and hand a family to meet at 2, and they came early. I met with them for an hour or so and they liked me enough to tell me about Jesus and how I could spend eternity with Him. She also told me that it is wrong to pray to Mary and the saints. Hmm. The rest of the day I finished up some loose ends from this past weekend (I had been on call and there were a few families I met with).

Today I’m not as busy, but I will be embalming a homicide victim this afternoon. Six bullets to the body and one to the head.

Also, Del Mar is well into it's run this year. I have yet to make any money though. I will discuss more of this later.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I am so tired

The hubby had a gig last night. Two other djs came to town and they played from 9pm to 1am at a local bar. It was fun, I was in charge of taking the money at the door for the first hour or so, then some friends took over so I could shake it on the dance floor. This hot chick came up to me and danced a bit, and after a few minutes she started getting a bit handsy, I was wearing a killer blue dress (imagine Marylin's white dress in navy) and all of a sudden there are hands creeping their way up it. WTF, right? So I turned arround (the chick was dancing on my backside) and asked her what she was doing. Here's the convo:

Hot chick: Oh don't worry, I'm not a lesbian.
Me: What?
HC: I mean, you look hot, but I don't want to date you.
Me: Um, I wans't worried that you were a lesbian, I just dont want my ass hanging out all over the bar, so don't pull up my dress. And I'm married anyway.
HC: Oh, you are? Where is he? He just lets you go to clubs in sexy dresses?
Me (a bit stunned that this hot chick thinks my dress is sexy): Um, he's right over there watching you feel up his wife.
HC: Oh. *waves at my hubby* Will he let you give me your phone number.
Me: Why don't you go ask him?

What just happened there? I'm still confused. Was she hitting on me? I cannot figure it out.

Different topic:
Pete, an olf funeral director here called me up to his office this morning. He told me that his home page was changed and wanted to know why and if I could "fix it back to CNN." So I did that for him and also made a MapQuest bookmark at his request, and I swear to Buddha he thinks I am a computer guru. It's funny, the things that we can do that other generations can't.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

We're all unique

It’s strange how different people are and yet still the same. Every time I’m working on a body I notice things that are a little out-of-the-ordinary. Some of the more common differences are things like third nipples and such, but then there are things like glass eyes or both sex organs that one just doesn’t get to see regularly. Some of the differences are internal, like the size of arteries or the location of them, or like a case I embalmed last week that I had the hardest time getting a drain tube (from the jugular vein to the heart) in, probably because of an abnormal bifurcation or something. I think I find these differences amusing (except when they’re a pain in the ass, like when I can’t find an artery), which is nice since everyone seems to have something about them that’s different, and then I start to wonder what differences I have that I’ve never noticed, or what other people have that I will never know about. Also, now that I know how common some of the things are I wonder who I know that have those same quirks. Very interesting, dontcha think??

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In which I wonder what is going on

Okay, so I love a beer/martini/glass of wine as much as the next guy, but sometimes I wonder what the eff is up with drinking. This week we got a BUNCH of cases, and three of them died of alcoholic liver failure. WTF? Want to know their ages? 37, 44, 56. That's right folks, thirty frikkin seven. Who made the arrangements for his services? His 18 year old son.

So, it makes me wonder... What is it that makes them drink themselves into an edemous ball of death? I mean, I doubt that they were drinking top shelf/microbrew/insanely yummy drinks, they were drowning them selves in store brand/bud light/fetzer crap, and as an AA friend of a friend of mine says, "holding my nose as it goes down til I can feel the buzz." That's total shit. I mean, a buzz? Really? Over life? You have got to be kidding me.

Anyhoo, on a lighter note, my youngest sister knows about this blog, so a big hi there and hello to BJ (yeah Ivan, that one)!!! ILUSB (that means 'I love you so bad' and is what she and I text each other and a few of our friends), and hopefully she can keep it a secret.

Monday, August 3, 2009

In which I am a fix-it gal

We had some work to get done at the house we own in our former town. The new tenants were expecting us, and we had purchased a new ceiling fan, two wall sconces and a new garage door opener to install. My hubby went down on Friday after work because a good friend of his has an internet radio show every Friday night and wanted him as a guest DJ. Apparently he rocked the house (all the way down).

My dad, daughter and I drove down Saturday morning with a trunk full of tools and met the hubby at the rental. My dad and he worked on replacing the ceiling fan while I rewired the light sconces, and I finished early so started putting the garage door opener together. After the boys finished the fan they came out to the garage and I bossed them around, having them do the lifting and the attaching of the opener to the ceiling while I worked on the wiring of the button opener thing and the wiring of the sensors that make sure you don’t close the door on a cat or baby or something. It took all day, but we had a break for lunch and I got sandwiches from my local favorite sandwich shop, along with a pasta salad that puts all other pasta salads to shame. It was a very productive day, and my hubby told me how grateful he is that he married one of those “handy chicks” as he put it. I love the guy, but he is not made for fix-it stuff.

My dad left and the in-laws came by to pick up Clem so that we could meet some friends for pizza and beer at one of the best pizza spots ever. After the pizza comes out of the oven they brush the crust with melted butter/garlic/spices that kicks ass. And they have Amber Bock on tap, which has to be one of the best beers ever (my mom says it reminds her of this one that isn’t (apparently) made any more that she lovedlovedloved back in her pizza-making days, Michelob Dark, and says Amber Bock is one of the few that have come close to how good MD was back in the day), even if it’s cheap. So, dinner was great, and seeing our friends was nice.

Sunday we went back to the rental to do some touch-ups, spackle, paint, etc, and headed home in the afternoon. It was a pretty good weekend, and now I’m at work up to my eyeballs in cases to embalm.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Don't sit under the apple tree

Do you ever have one of those days where you wonder how the hell we’ve been evolving for so many years and yet everyone is still somehow so dumb? Yes, you say? Well, then you know how I feel.

We got two cases yesterday, one is an 85 year old woman that died in a hospital ER, and the other one is a 40-something year old that died as an inpatient. So, when someone dies in the ER the coroner has to be notified and they issue a number to the case and release the body so that the mortuary can pick it up. If they died in the ER of something like a car accident or shooting or something the deceased would obviously go to be autopsied, but a vast majority of the ER deaths are people that are taken in already in the process of dying (like with old people). So, the 85 year old died yesterday, and the idiot coroner won’t let us take her until they have word from her doctor that she was supposed to die. WTF? She’s fracking 85!! She was dying at home and the paramedics tried to resuscitate her while in route to the hospital and couldn’t, so she died. I’m going to be even more pissed when her death certificate comes back reading that she had COPD for years or something.

Then the 40-something year old that had been a resident of the hospital for a couple of weeks is being autopsied by the coroner for who knows what reason. You don’t get to live in a hospital when you’re healthy, obviously there was something wrong with her, and I doubt that the hospital didn’t know what she was sick from and what killed her. She was being treated for Christ’s sake.

Am I asking too much? Sometimes, even though I know I’m not, I just can’t help but wonder…

On a lighter note, my co-worker, Buck and I have been singing Doris Day all afternoon. She's my favorite singer of all time, and the title of the post is one of her awesome songs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good days

Yesterday I drove home with the windows down and the music blaring. It was the best. I think it was about 107 degrees out (I adore the heat), I had burned a new cd at work and had my current favorite song on, and was in a great mood. I picked up Clementine from my sister’s house and we went to the dollar store so that she could pick out five things as a reward for cleaning her whole room without being asked (which is a HUGE feat for a 2.5 year old and warrants positive reinforcement). She went ape shit about getting to choose five things, especially when she saw all the skeletons that were hanging up in the Halloween display (not sure why she is so into skulls and the sort). Anyway, we left there with toys that included a bright pink pair of plastic high heels, which she promptly put on and fell over in.

My bff came over, she gets her hair done in my town even though she lives an hour away (red hair = tons of upkeep), and she finished at about six, so she and I made some kick ass tri-tip tacos and had martinis while watching reruns of Bones. Fun times.

Today is awesome as well, I’ve been meeting with families and looking at my favorite artist’s (sorry, mom) website, wishing I was wealthy enough to get one of his prints. Maybe when I’m older…

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Love, Me

I received an email last week from a gal asking me to participate in a blog post today. After reading the email (and replying just to see if it was some sort of scam) I decided that even though it wasn’t really “my thing” I would do it. She asked me to write a love letter to myself, and the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it, and there are a few other gals doing it as well. See, I tend to be fairly self-confidant, but as I was thinking about it I’m not sure why I am that way. What is it about myself that I love? Why do I love those things? Anyway, here it is, my love letter to myself:

My Dearest Darling,
I have been thinking about you this week, tying to decide what I could possible tell you to let you know how awesome I think you are. It's funny though, I can't seem to find the right words. Since I've actually always liked that I'm good at lists, here is what I've come up with so far:

1. Your compassion. It isn’t always your best quality, but when you show compassion there’s no end to the care that you will give someone.
2. Your artistic abilities. You are always patient and meticulous in your artistic endeavors, whether it’s drawing a picture or rebuilding a face, you always do a good job.
3. Your ability to not be ashamed. Mostly I’m referring to the tramp stamp you got years ago, but you aren’t ashamed of yourself, and even better, you aren’t ashamed of your past self either.
4. Your friendliness. You have never met a stranger. Even when you sit next to someone at a bar that turns out to be super annoying and crazy, you can’t help but make friends.
5. The way you walk in heels. You’re just fracking sexy.
6. Your thoughtfulness. You always think of others, and whether it’s a little gift you pick up for your sister, a note you mail to a friend, or a text message to your favorite uncle, you let people know they were thought of, and it means something to them.
7. And finally, your passion. The things you love, you love to the extreme. Your hobbies aren’t just hobbies, they’re your everything. You are relentless in your desire for what you cherish and love.

You are an awesome girl, Doll Face, and you will continue to be awesome for years to come.

Love,
Me

Here are the others that are participating:

This is Where I Write - http://rantsnotdrugs.blogspot.com/

Ms. Bea's Helpful Hints Blog - http://msbeahaven.com/ms-beas-blog/

Twenty Twenty Hindsight - http://twentytwentyhindsight.com/

Rollertrain - http://rollertrain.tumblr.com/

Cherry Bomb - http://www.cherrybombnyc.com

Monday, July 27, 2009

A little sad

Every year for Christmas my parents have an "open door" policy of sorts. We have always had the immediate family do the Christmas Eve thing, where we open our gifts and hang out, and then Christmas morning is super laid-back (except for my mom who cooks kick-ass Swedish pancakes and bacon and sausage) and we all open stockings. So every year there are random people over for Christmas morning, friends, co-workers, whoever wants to come over, and we always have extra stockings for people that just show up. It seems weird I suppose, that this huge holiday is always spent with people that we might not even know (aunts and uncles will also bring folks over that we have never met), but it really is awesome. It's one of those things that I hope I do when I'm old like my parents, just have an open door to anyone, even if it's Christmas.

Anyway, for the last five or six years our friends that we hang and drink with on weekends with the two daughters have come for Christmas, as their families are agnostic and don't really do Christmas, and it has been fun. The girls make it fun just because they're kids and it's tons of fun to shop for things to stuff their stockings, and their parents make it fun because they always seem to have this I-haven't-had-a-Christmas-this-fun-since-I-was-a-kid look on their faces when we sit down for breakfast. My mom says that her brothers would have a Swedish pancake eating contest every Christmas morning when they were younger, so I started that with the girls, complete with a trophy that gets engraved each year with the winner and their pancake number that whomever wins takes home, and it's just awesome.

So, this family that comes each year, they bring their (the dad's) mentally retarded uncle, Ben, from Oregon or somewhere, and he has a blast with us. He's not easy to understand, and every year we give him a blanket or something like that, not knowing him well enough to get him something truely thoughtful, but it's always nice to have him there, and the girls adore their great uncle, so good times are had by all. Anyway, Ben died today, after falling and breaking his neck last week, and it's just a bit sad. I'm sad for me, because I know that he's gone and it makes me wonder what happens next, I'm sad for the girls because while I believe in honesty with kids it sucks to have to actually be honest with them and tell them that he's just not coming back, I'm sad for my mom who was sad when I told her and I couldn't take that away from her, and I'm sad for the girls' parents who are going to miss him worse than the rest of us. Rest in peace, Ben, you will be missed.

Argh.

I had one of those families today that made me want to shoot someone. The son of the deceased was the only one to come in and make arrangements, and he was really nice, however, he was also very nervous. Now you might be thinking, “Of course he was nervous, Doll, I would be too if I were a sixty-something single man with no social skills and I was sitting across from you in that rockin’ black with white pinstripes skirt suit and your new shoes,” but this was different. He is one of those socially stunted guys that one often feels sorry for but can’t seem to like anyway, that always makes people around him feel strange. Anyhoo, he was making arrangements for his father’s funeral and it was all I could do to not tell him that I will be waiting in the office and to come get me when he could get through a sentence without interrupting himself so that we could get some work done.

And now that I’m writing it I feel bad because he’s no longer here and not annoying the shit out of me, and his dad is dead, and I’m just complaining, but there it is, one little bit of myself that isn’t perfect.

In which I realize I'm too old for drinking games

The hubby, daughter and I went to visit his parents this weekend. We own a house downtown in the town we lived in before and our renters moved out so we needed to go through the house and figure out what repairs needed to be done, as well as find new renters. We had put a sign up the weekend before and had a few people scheduled to come by and look at the place. It’s an adorable house, a Craftsman bungalow built in 1917, and the neighborhood is awesome, so we haven’t had any problems renting it (now if we could only get someone to buy it), and by 2 in the afternoon on Saturday we had it rented to a nice couple with two teenage sons. We are going back this weekend to show them how the pool pump works and to meet a repair guy there to replace a ceiling fan and a few lights. It’s very strange being a landlord.

Anyway, we got to see some of our old neighbors which was nice. Its one of those neighborhoods where everyone knows everyone else, so we’ve been missed, as have they. The weather was perfect, probably about 98 or so on Saturday, so there were quite a few of the old neighbors out walking.

Hubby and I decided that we would go out Saturday night and let his parents hang with Clementine (our daughter). We called up the gal that we had hired as a receptionist at the funeral home that we used to work in and she said she was having a few friends over to play beer pong and hang out. She’s pretty young, about 21 or 22, and all her friends that were there were young also, and this is what I realized:

1. I am not young anymore
2. Beer pong is not my Olympic sport
3. Coors/Miller/Bud are not my friends and make me appreciate my Costco brand microbrew multipack.
4. Our friend throwing the party, she is totally hot, but I forgot how hard it was for her to think. Funny though.

Sunday was nice, Clem stayed with the in-laws and hubby and I went back to the rental to have the new tenants sign the lease forms. The man renting the house is a farmer, he and his brother have vineyards about an hour away, as well as some large vineyards un in Napa, and he brought us a huge flat of the best grapes I’ve ever eaten.

Driving home from the in-laws we stopped in a town about an hour from our home so that I could go see the Harry Potter movie with one of my besties while Clem and daddy chilled at her house. One of her girlfriends came with us and we watched the movie (which was good) and then went out for a cocktail at the restaurant across the street. It was funny, we were sitting at the bar, looking quite a bit like Charlie’s Angels (blonde, brunette, and a red head) and I asked my gals to wink at the older guy across the bar so that our martinis would get paid for. We all laughed, knowing that we’d never do it, and not two minutes later was one of the guys right next to us introducing himself and ordering a martini. He was telling us that it was one of his son’s 21st birthday today and that he had been hanging out at the bar earlier and that we just missed him, then he bought our drinks, flirted relentlessly with us, and invited us over to his house for an ‘after party.’ We declined and thanked him for his generosity (they were top shelf) and told him that we hoped to run into him again. Anyway, that’s about it for my weekend, and I should have a funeral-related post in a bit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New shoes

I had an extra fifteen minutes to kill today at lunch so I went to the Payless Shoe store down the street from the office and bought these bad girls for ten bucks:


Yay for shoes!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A force to be reckoned with

It has been one of those days in which all my office work gets done by noon (which probably has a bit to do with the fact that Big Bird is back so there’s little goofing off) and I don’t have anything to do but get bodies ready and in their caskets. Jane came by and took Monica and me out to lunch (best Mexican food ever) and we came back to work full and lazy. The three of us ladies headed to the back to curl hair, put make-up on, and generally beautify the deceased cases in the dressing room. We soon finished and Monica and I decided to organize the cart that we keep all of our everyday tools/instruments/make-up on and integrate the things we bought at Target the other day. Jane made a comment that we needed to get one of those huge Craftsman tool things on wheels, which I would LOVE, but I told her I didn’t want to ask for Boss to buy it for me. The cart I use now is old, and a bit small, but it works well enough. Anyhoo, Jane left the two of us girls and we started organizing. I cleaned all the brushes (both make-up and hair), instruments, and the cart, and she went through the make-up and tossed out the old stuff and labeled all the plastic drawers we keep the cosmetics in with what is in each drawer (this helps the boys either put things back where they belong or at least leave the stuff out that they used so that we can put them away later). We were unstoppable. If it was in the dressing room it got cleaned, organized, and put away. And to make it even better, Big Bird didn’t come back to bug us once with questions about paperwork we have done the past two days while she’s been out sick. Today = Awesome

Monday, July 20, 2009

And I quote, "Yeah, I puked on my junk"

PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ ABOUT GROSS STUFF

Okay, so at the end of the workday today, Buffy and I were discussing Big Bird being sick and how it's so nice that we got to have a relaxed, yet productive day. So, Tank chimed in and said that she's home with "the shits" and we all started laughing hysterically about it (just imagine a 62 year old, stick-up-my-ass, I-was-raised-by-Amish-folks-but-I'm-totally-not-judging-you-heathens type sitting on a toilet, let alone with "the shits"), as he finishes by telling us that she is also puking all day long, to which I say, "Oh is she? That sounds a lot like what Jane had on Friday (obviously insinuating that Jane (a lesbian and my best girl at work) was making out with Big Bird (a lesbian hater and a pain in my ass)), and we all start laughing even harder (I had tears). So Buffy starts in about the worst sicknesses we have all had, and we're sharing stories about vomit and diarrhea and all that stuff, and Buff shares this story:

"This one day, it was the wifey and my first, maybe second, Christmas as a married couple, and I had the stomach flu something fierce. I am sitting on the toilet with the worst butt-sickness ever, and I'm telling myself to not get that I-have-to-puke feeling, to no avail. So then I am thinking that I know I am gonna puke, and I had moved the trash can earlier to puke in, and I knew I couldn't try to get my ass off the toilet to puke in it, I would just end up making a shit mess on the floor, and so I decide to lean back, aim for the space between my legs, and puke into the toilet."

At this point I have peed on myself I am laughing so hard, and my manager, Tank, is looking at us with a 'what-is-up-with-this-generation-that-they-can-talk-so-candidly-with-the-opposite-sex-about-shit-and-vomit' look on his face, an that's when it just gets heavenly. Buffy says this:

"Yeah, I puked on my junk. All over my junk"

I DIED LAUGHING.

So, this is my question: Is potty humor always going to be that funny to me? My roomate in college was so anti-potty humor that I wondered if I was normal. I mean, two years we lived together and I just can't remember her even saying "poop," and I just wonder: Is something wrong with me??

Monday Monday

Mondays are busy. People wait over the weekend to call in and get prices, and even wait to make arrangements for funeral services if their deceased family member died in a facility with a morgue allowing for the refrigeration of the body, and then Monday morning they all come pouring in at the same time. There were four families here at 10 this morning, and one of them I met with. They were a nice family, two brothers (and one brought his wife) making arrangements for their mother’s cremation. She had pre-arranged years ago, so really they were just listening to me tell them what had been decided and what they would need to do from there. They were very talk-y and one of the brothers asked if I went to school to work in a funeral home and we chatted about the whole schooling process, and then he told me about a show that had aired a few years back about some mortuary science program in one of the schools in California. It really sounded interesting, from what he described cameras followed students around during their day and it showed their reactions to certain things. Anyway, it sounded cool.

Jane, the embalmer, called in sick Friday which is why I had to embalm that day, and she’s back now. She had been puking all weekend, but says she’s fine now, and I think we might go to lunch together in a bit.

Bid Bird, the office manager, is not here today, and everyone is a bit nuts without her. She keeps us all on the straight and narrow, and when she’s not here it’s just one big party. We all get louder and crasser and a lot more fun. Anyway, I think she is sick, she must be, as it’s unlike her to miss work on a Monday, and while I like the office atmosphere better when she’s gone I hate doing her work.

Also, this just in: Big Bird is off tomorrow too!!