Thursday, September 26, 2013

Question from 8thday

I was wondering - do you know what the percentage is of people using churches vs. funeral homes for their funerals? And has that percentage changed over the years? It seems like the vast majority of services I attend are now done (non-religiously) right in the funeral home. But that might be a product of who I am and where I live.

I really wish I had an answer for you, but it's hard for me to figure out. I mean, I suppose that the families that choose to have services tend toward their own church, but I have seen an increase in the number of chapel services, and I have had families ask for the chapel specifically because they wanted something non-religious. Part of the reason I don't feel like I can accurately answer you though, is that the last job I had was in a fairly large city, and larger cities tend to be less religious, therefore making the church services less popular. Before that I was in a smaller farming community, and they are traditional as anything, so they are more likely to use churches (and also more likely to choose burial instead of cremation, which also means they are more likely to have services of any kind). Does that clear anything up?

Bored yet busy

I'm stuck in the office today. I have been all by myself most of the day, which is nice, but I'd kill to be on a service (well, not literally). I am actually getting things done though, so I'm glad for that. Since the office I'm running is new there are a ton of little organizational things that I need to do, and I did some of those today. The Kid has too many families right now and seems really stressed, so I am helping him as much as I can. At least it gives me something to do, even if it is super-secretarial.

So, I know that isn't much, but at least it's something.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In which I am covered in blood

Okay, so the prep room that I am using belongs to a funeral home that already has a full staff. There are two older embalmers, both almost 70 (one of whom is retiring next month), and both male. They have a problem with women, from what I have gathered, specifically ones in power (their boss) and ones that have a man's job (me). The one that is retiring has been nice to me so far, but the other one, Ralph, seems life somewhat of an asshat. His embalming is pretty poor also. And he doesn't make arrangements with families any longer. He is just generally bothersome (and I don't even have to work with him that often).

There is one redeeming embalmer on staff however, and luckily for me he doesn't have issues with women in his prep room. He is a super-young kid (25), just finished his apprenticeship like, this summer, and has worked for the funeral home for almost two years. Barb really likes him, he does most of the work in that place, and he's been the most helpful to me so far (although, I am comparing him to two men that I doubt will ever be of much use to me).

So, when I first started he was given the task of showing me the embalming room and supplies in it that I would need to use, and I let him know that I wasn't familiar with the type of embalming machine they had, so if he was going to embalm I wanted to be there, to watch him. He said that he would let me know, and last week there was a case to be embalmed, so I went over to help him out. We got everything ready, and began injecting, and I told him that I usually don't open the vein right away to drain the blood. Jane never did, and I got used to doing it that way (is it possible to be superstitious about embalming because I feel like cases turn out better when I do that...). Okay, I go to cut the vein open, and I'm standing at this man's head (the deceased, not my coworker, lol), and as I do so his blood goes everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. There is blood all over my smock, on my shoes, on my legs, on my shirt, all over the floor, everyfuckingwhere. The kid turns off the machine, and I just kind of stand there. I mean, wtf? I. was. covered. (okay, I might be exaggerating, but it really was everywhere) So, I go over to a  table and take off my smock and shirt (keep it glean, guys, I had a tank on underneath), put on a clean smock and wipe off my shoes and legs, and wash my arms. The kid cleans up the floor, and probably walls too, and after a few minutes we continue embalming.

Needless to say, I'm grateful that the old guys weren't in the room.

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Job

I was approached by a colleague a couple of months ago. She manages a funeral home in a town not far from where I was working and she asked me if I would come manage a new funeral home for her that she was planing on opening in another little town near the one she currently works in. Now, I'm not sure how many other people she must have asked to take this job (in my mind I was like, the last pick from ten people that turned her down, but I'll never know because who really wants to know that kind of stuff), but I said yes. Actually, I told her I had to think about it and discuss it with Clem and all, and, from her reaction, she was quite surprised that I had to think about it. Anyway, I ended up saying yes, and put in my two weeks at Former Funeral Home, where it wasn't hard to leave due to staffing changes that have taken place over the past couple of years (and yes, I am sorry to have not posted at all during that time).

So, the new place is great. My boss, Barb, is a kick-ass lady. She's adorable. I think she's 50, and she and her husband, Arthur, are very kind. She has been in this business for years and is an asset to the industry. They have four kids that are all grown, and one of them works in the funeral home that Barb runs. The place that I am in is just a store front. There isn't a chapel or an embalming room or anything. Barb is looking for land to buy so that she can build from the ground up here in this town, so for the time being I will embalm at the other location (it's just a ten minute drive away), and we will use their chapel for viewings and services also, if the family we are handling services for doesn't have a church they want to use. There's a guy that I have in the office working with me, Carlos, and for now he is fairly useless, but, in the future, once he learns what he's doing (he's never worked in this industry before, but knows everyone in this town) he should be helpful. I'm sure I'll end up talking about him more, as he's going to be annoying, for sure, and he already treats e as a glorified secretary.