Monday, May 17, 2010

You'd think this job would have been strange a while ago

Last week I had a slightly busy schedule, it seemed like all the families I met with wanted to have full services (which is great) and they were all a little odd.  For example, I was meeting with a man whose grandson had died, and we had also done the services for his son 10 years prior. Parts of the arrangement went like this:
Me: (getting info for the death certificate) Sir, what was your grandson's father's name?
Grandpa: Well, you did his services 10 years ago
Me: *blink, blink* Um, okay, sir. *Pause while fighting the urge to say*: I will go down into the Great Underground Vault of All Past Services and pick out a nice case from 10 years back and we'll just use *that* name.
Me: I would be happy to go look up his information, but I would need his name to do that.
G: Well, I can *tell* you his name if that's all you need.
Me: *blink, blink*
*** Later that same arrangement ***
Me: Now, I need to go over some of the members' names of your grandson's family for the register book and the clergy record we provide. You said he has four children, can I get their names?
G: No.
Me: *blink* *long pause of awkward silence* Okay.

So, yeah, it was odd.

His grandson had been in an accident. Now, I know I've sung my own restorative art praises left and right, but I have to admit with this guy: there was NO bringing him back to view-ability. He didn't even look human any longer.  He was in a million pieces, and even though the gross stuff doesn't seem to affect me, this one did. I have dreamt about him a couple of times.  I'm telling you, guys, he didn't even really have a head.  No skull, just a few bones. No skin, no eyes, no mouth (a few teeth though), no ears, hardly any hair, he was destroyed. The Medical Examiner couldn't even find all of his pieces.  There are surely still pieces of him lying around town where the accident was. There has to be.

Anyway, I was glad he wasn't going to be viewed.  I was glad to not have to tell his family that I wasn't going to be able to make him look like himself. I've never had to do that, and I didn't want to start yet.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I tried to make it less wordy with the photos

Mother's Day was a bit different this year.

On Saturday I dropped Clem off at her dad's, they were going to take a trip to see his parents for the night and come back Sunday afternoon so I could have her for Mother's Day dinner at my moms. She arrived at my mom's around 3, and to my surprise her dad had bought a card for her to give me. She had written "mommy" (see photo) and even signed her name inside, getting quite good for a three-year-old, if I do say so myself.

She was excited to be at my parent's house, and told everyone "Happy Mother's Day" when they started arriving. My sister's oldest daughter woke up from her nap shortly after Clem got there, and they played outside while my sisters and I cooked dinner. We had decided to make pasta with three different sauces, and mine turned out really well.  It's a sauce that I invented years and years ago, and just to be nice I'll share it with you here.  Keep in mind that I don't like tomatoes, so when I say you'll like this pasta even if you don't like tomatoes, I am telling the truth. Also, I was making enough for a lot of people, so, you might want to cut the recipe in half.  I made two batches of it, as my sisters thought we might need more, and even with just half of the half I was making at a time, it's enough for a few people. Also, I should mention that it is quite garlic-y.

Start with some olive oil in a frying pan, not much, and it needs to be a bit hot.  Add four gloves of garlic, finely minced, and stir until it gets crispy (but not charred). It will start to stick together.
Turn the heat way down and wait a minute before adding about three-quarters cup of a dry white wine (I use pinot grigio because that's the one I always have) and turn the heat back up to simmer the alcohol out of the wine and get the garlic flavor into the liquid.  Keep stirring.
After that has cooked a while I added a half can of stewed tomatoes, finely chopped, along with the juice in the can.  I know, to tomato people it sounds gross to not use fresh ones (which I'm sure can be substituted here), and to non-tomato people it sounds gross because they're (disgusting) tomatoes, but I promise, they're yummy.  Stir and keep cooking for a while (like 5 minutes) and add salt and pepper to taste.
I know, it kind of looks like vomit, but it really is good.  The last thing to do is add a little bit of butter, like a tablespoon, and stir it up really well.  It's a very runny sauce, and it works very well for dipping breadsticks in, and is, by far, my favorite pasta sauce.
So, dinner was very yummy, and dessert was good too, and it was nice to hang out a bit.  Neither of my sisters or I have been talking much lately, since the whole "leaving the hubby for another woman" thing, but yesterday seemed a bit better than it has. Clem was quite a good girl, and my mom asked me if I thought she would want to stay the night at her house last night.  I feel like she used to stay there a lot, and lately she doesn't get to as much, whether it's because she stays with her dad half the time, or that I just like having her at home with me, or some other reason I haven't even thought of, I don't know, but when I asked Clem if she wanted to she was excited and said yes.  As soon as the middle sister heard what was going on I heard her say to my mom (with her voice full of disgust), "On mothers day???" and I immediately wanted to leave.  I mean, I get it that I'm making the wrong choices in her mind. I get it that she thinks only awful mothers would let their daughter stay the night at their grandparents' house on this holiest day of a mother's year. I get it that she wants mom to know she thinks I'm making the wrong choices. But I wish that she could get a few things from my perspective. I wish she knew how it felt to be a single parent when you're married. Does she understand what that's like? To feel like the only one taking care of an infant? To feel like it's a fight to the death to keep sane and breastfeed and change all the diapers and make dinner and clean the house and get thin and bring the baby to see the family, etc. She can't possibly. She's married to Mr. Mom. He does it all. Laundry, diapers, feedings, work, love, time, all of it.  Does she know what it's like to feel like you aren't a priority? Or that you're in the way? Or that you're an embarrassment? How could she? And really, I sound like a bitch and I don't mean to (completely), because I don't want her to know that. I want her to have it the way she does. But I want her to see that it wasn't that way for me. I want her to see that I didn't leave a perfect and happy home.  I didn't leave so that I could be happy, I left so that I could just not me miserable, and stop feeling like I've failed at getting love.  And it's hard for me. And terrifying. And I know that I sound like I am completely ungrateful of my ex and think he did it all wrong, and that's not entirely the truth. He had a good job, and I didn't have to worry about money. I had all of the "things" I wanted, but he was missing what I needed.  I needed help, and I needed attention, and I needed love, and I needed time.

I was thinking last night at the Mother's Day dinner table how I used to want kids.  I wanted a few of them.  I wanted them right away when I married, but we waited. I wasn't one of those people that loves children, but I knew I would love my own, and I wanted them so badly.  Then I had Clem and it all changed. I was depressed. I was tired. I was sad. Every morning until she was five months old and I finally called my aunt to tell her I just wanted to die and she had me go down right then and get on some meds I would think to myself, "this is the end of my life, I won't make it through this" and I knew, kids aren't for me.  I didn't think I'd even make it to see Clem enter kindergarten, let alone ever want to have another one of these things that just take. so. much. work. I was done. The mother I wanted to be for so long was like a fairy tale. I didn't even mourn her loss.

So, now I sit here at my work computer, and I feel like complete crap about my sister and how judged I feel, and I just think, I gave up wanting more children because of the support I didn't receive from my ex, what am I going to have to give up because of my family? I don't know if I think it's hopeless to believe they will ever accept me being with a woman, and I'm trying to not dwell on that, but I just wish I could tell them how hard it is for me. And sometimes I wonder how I am supposed to get through it without them.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day week

I have a good friend that I met at the church I no longer attend whom I love to bits. She’s a great gal, always smiles and laughter, and we get along well. We haven’t even been those types of hang-out-all-the-time friends, but I consider her one of my best girls. I can tell her anything, which right about now is something I treasure.

My mom invited me over for dinner on Sunday, and she also invited this friend of mine (my mom adores her) and it was great to see her. We chatted a bit and laughed a ton, and she asked how everything is going with J, and it was great.

Monday, while I was getting lunch, she came by the office and gave a bag to Monica with specific instructions to only give me what’s inside when instructed to do so (she knows me well enough to know that I’ll just open all of whatever is in there at once), and after Monica explained that to me she pulled out a package that read “Day 1” on the card. I read the card, and it explained that this is mother’s day week, and that I get a gift each day. The card also had a Bible verse on it and said she loves me and thinks I’m a great mom.

So far:
Day 1: atomic fireballs
Day 2: Mad Libs (with instructions to share with Monica)
Day 3: Reese’s Pieces
Day 4: Lemon Drops (my favorite)

Anyway, isn’t that awesome?!?!?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I will follow you into the dark

I got a call back in February from a pastor in a town not far from the city I live in asking for prices on a cremation, and asking for some details on how the whole process works. She told me that she was calling on behalf of one of the members of her church whose partner was being put on hospice care, dying of cancer. I gave her prices and some information, and asked her if I could be a bit nosy, and she told me yes, so I asked a bit about the “partnership” and what she meant by that. She told me that the women had been together for years (like 30 or more) and that they (obviously) weren’t married, but that they were each other’s legal next-of-kin, and also gave me cute little details about their relationship. So, I explained that I would need a copy of the documentation of that (which is odd, married couples don’t have to bring in their proof of marriage to show that they are, in fact, the legal next-of-kin), and that I could email all the forms to her to sign and fax back to me, and she said that would be great.

The forms were all sent back to me the next day, and we have kept them on file so that when the woman dies we will have everything we need. I didn’t end up talking with the partner making the arrangements ever, just the pastor, who was very kind.

The woman died yesterday. Big Bird gave me the file so that I could call the partner and touch base with her and make sure that the way everything had been set up back in February was the way it should be. She was very soft spoken, and quite calm, and I immediately liked her. I asked her if she had any questions about anything and she didn’t, and we went over some of the information I had in the file, and a couple of times she got a bit choked up, and I could hear the strain in her voice, trying not to cry.

I felt so badly for her, like I was feeling just a small part of the heartache she was feeling. I never feel like I want to hug people I make arrangements for (well, almost never), and I just wanted to hug her. I wanted to tell her that it’s okay to cry, and that I’m so sorry she lost the woman she has loved for most of her life. But I couldn’t, and she isn’t going to ever meet me, as the cremated remains are being shipped to her when the cremation is complete, and I’m disappointed. So, I wrote her a letter:

Dear *lady*
I want to express my condolences on the loss of your love. I know it might seem insincere to receive a letter like this from a funeral home employee, but I am truly sorry for her death, and I wanted to let you know that you have been in my thoughts today. I cannot begin to imagine the hurt that you are feeling, and I hope that you understand that it is okay to feel that way, and it’s also okay to not try to unfeel it.
It was nice to talk with you over the phone, and I hope that if there is anything you need that I can help you with (grief support groups in your area, counselor recommendations, etc.) you will let me know, it would be an honor for me to do that.

I’m a bit nervous to send it though.

It’s funny, here this woman has lost her partner, and I can’t help but think she’s the luckiest woman on earth. How many people die without that kind of love? Far too many, I would guess.

Click here to hear the song this post is titled after.

Monday, May 3, 2010

In which I was having a great day until...

Fuk. I'm not going to rant, I'm not going to rant, I'm not going to rant...

I am making arrangements for the interment of a veteran in one of the national cemeteries.  His remains were cremated and the next-of-kin gave me the DD214 (discharge form) so that I could arrange for the free burial that he is entitled to (did you know that all honorably-discharges veterans are entitled to a free grave and marker?), and I faxed it in to the National Cemetery scheduling office this morning.  I waited a while and called them to make sure they would have had time to receive the fax, and talked to a sweet lady that took the deceased's info and scheduled the graveside service with me in about 5 minutes. She took the date that I requested for the service and asked what time:
Service Lady: What time on that date would you like the service?
Me: is 11 available?
SL: Lemme check *clicky sounds on the computer* Um, the closest I have is 12:30.
Me: *notice that Big Bird is standing over my shoulder holding her desk calendar, and turn to look at her*
Big Bird: *whispering* 11 o'clock today? I have an opening for 11:30, not 11!!! *panicking now, but still whispering*
Me: *to the SL on the phone* Please excuse me, I'm being interrupted. *exasperated, to BB* I am on the phone, and this has nothing to do with an appointment here, nor is it for today.
*BB feels like an idiot and walks back into her office to eavesdrop on the rest of the fucking day, and I feel like shit for having been an ass hole*
*to the SL* Sorry about that, did you say 12:30? That's just fine.

WTF? Why is she so effing anal about the fracking calendar? Why does she think that I am incapable of checking a fucking calendar to see when we have appointments available? Am I really that incompetent? Am I new here? Why am I so angry?

And this is what really sucks: I was in *such* a good mood today! Here are my reasons why (maybe they will help calm me down):
1. I slept well. J and I went to the spa last night before bed, and although it was WAY too hot, I feel quite refreshed.
2. We didn't get too busy at work this weekend, so today has been less hectic than the past few Mondays.
3. I'm not sure why, but my boobs look GREAT today.  Maybe they got perkier overnight, or maybe my vision is failing in my old age, either way, they're adorable.

But, alas, I am sitting here, relaxed and perky, and in a foul effing mood. Somebody, please, cheer me up!

Part of my good day list is two blogs I've been liking, that I am sharing with you:
Is this thing on?
Late Enough