Monday, May 5, 2008

Better days

Today dawned the same shade of gloomy as my crappy Monday of a week ago. But then, as if the whole thing had been nothing more than an elaborate set up for a cosmic just kidding joke, the day blossomed bright and sunny, with enough warning for me to grab my sunglasses on the way out the door.

Our meeting with the cemetery president on Thursday went surprisingly well. It didn't start out in what you would call the most auspicious manner-- a major accident on the one and only reasonable route JD can take from work to the cemetery stranded him between exits and unable to either seek alternatives or beat a retreat. Both of us bummed, I said it's ok-- I'll go in alone, just as the accident in front of him got cleared and the traffic began to move. He was late, but he made it.

Later he told me that it looked like Mr.Awkward got schooled but good because he was nothing but sweetness with a side of uncomfortably guilty when JD walked in. In the meantime, in my conversation with Mr.President, I probably set up Mr.Awkward for another uncomfortable hot water excursion because I related our encounter in vivid detail complete with the way he made me feel and with contrasts to how I believe a compassionate person in his line of work should have acted. Mr.President apologized multiple times, said that all of the many screw ups of the last 15 months, but particularly, the last month, are unacceptable, that he will have to look into how the lot of them could happen. And then he wanted to know what he could do to make it right now.

Luckily, I had my answer ready. Landscape the section, I said. It should look better. You will not believe what happened next. I certainly wasn't sure I was hearing right. Well, he said, we are coming out of a harsh winter, and many places in the cemetery have bare patches. But you are right-- it needs to look better. And we are already working on it. Turns out they are expanding the section (yeah, they will need it soon enough, unfortunately). They have prepped the previously unused portion of land on the other side of the bushes. So now the bushes are going to come out, and new bushes will enclose the entirety of the newly expanded section. They will add in flowering bushes, benches, and they will try to repair the lawn. A big part of the section is in the shade, and that apparently makes it harder, but he said they have a plan.

We ended up driving out to the section together, and he brought his chief crew guy. Everyone agreed that the marker was placed on the wrong end of the grave after it was filled, and the crew guy said that he wants us to know that everyone who works at the place takes this section personally and doesn't want to mess around with it. His voice caught when he said that he has children himself. That was so genuine I almost wished Mr.Awkward would hang with the crew guys for a bit, you know?

The thing we started this whole process with-- the question about the vase was still open. What I didn't know is that the vases invert into the ground when not used. I assumed you screwed them out and took them home, but in fact you screw them out, flip them upside down, and screw them into the base. Weird. But it also means that whether we could put one there depended on whether there was enough depth to the liner to accommodate the construction (and it explains the cost, too). Today Mr.President called back with the final bit of good news-- there is enough depth, particularly after they put down whatever they need to put down to repair the lawn.

So I am left now with this weird feeling of this shouldn't have happened, but... The but is that I am gratified to know that I was probably dealing with exceptional outliers of the profession and the outfit before, and the ones who truly mater are in the right line of work. And the ones who aren't, are getting their comeuppance.

I also tried to get them to do one other thing-- to repair the temporary markers on the older graves that don't have permanent ones. Mr. President said he can't promise it, but he will see whether they can accomplish it in the scope of the renovations. I figure there are smallish things I can do to increase the likelihood of it happening, so I plan on doing them. The reason they even need repairing is that unlike our funeral home that engraves metal plates for temporary markers, others use paper and sometimes their frames are flimsy and let the elements in. So I am going to go count how many are in need of repair and will call our funeral home to see how much it costs them to engrave one of these. And I will go from there.

And finally, JD is coming home tomorrow, on schedule. Due to an airline foobar, he ended up spending the night in his layover city yesterday, instead of at his destination. The company, which can take it, ended up paying for two hotel rooms. Monkey, though, wasn't sure she could take daddy probably having to stay for an extra day because he was late getting in, especially since he has another one day trip later this week. But he was super efficient, and is in fact flying back tomorrow. Extra cool because he can now take her to school on Wednesday morning and I won't need to be late for work or take her to my sister's to spend the night to ensure that I am not.

Why, all of this is almost enough to make one check the weather for the day outcome forecast. Almost. (Because we won't mention the unfortunate blood glucose readings that have been happening way too often in the last week. After all, proper ladies do not speak of such unpleasantness, do they?)


k@lakly said...

Yay for you! I am so glad the meeting went as well as it did. It sounds like you did indeed find the folks who have heart and are in the business they are in because they do care, well except for you know who...but I suspect he'll hold his tongue next time.
The part about the crew guy, I love that he told you how they care for the babies, how they take it personally. I picture him a shepard tending to his flock and it warms my heart to know someone really is watching over all of those lost little ones even when no one else can.
Safe travels to the other half and I hope the blood stuff settles down, me being not so proper would be happy to know the details but instead know I am keping a good thought for some control over the whole of it!

Lori said...

You are so amazing, Julia. I just don't know that I could have done all of that. And yet, what a wonderful thing you have done. This is probably the beginning of improving that corner of the cemetery which will be a blessing to so many people. And, unfortunately, sometimes it takes a mistake for even good people to step it back up again and remember what it is they are supposed to be doing.

It brought tears to my eyes to think of the crew caring so much for all of those little ones. Blessings to them as well.

niobe said...

I'm very glad that the meeting went well. And even more glad that there are people like you who are willing to fight these kind of battles on behalf of all of us.

Tash said...

I'm so relieved that the meeting went well, they put up no defense, excuses, or resistance. Now the hard part: staying on them to really do something. I'm sorry you had to have this meeting, but I'm in awe of your bravery to do so. Big pat on the back to you.

christina(apronstrings) said...

i am glad that they made amends. though its too bad that you have to go thru all this. on top of everything else. i mean, how freakin' hard would it be for them to get it right.
eeck. high readings. i hopee your doc can help you get that under control. you need a drink!

Magpie said...

Good job on the cemetery.

Stay well.

thrice said...

I hated high readings. I hated pricking my finger 7-10 x a day. I hope that it gets easier for you, but I realize that may night be possible on the blood sugar end.

So what's plan A, B and C???

-c said...

fubar: fucked up beyond all recognition.

snafu: situation normal- all fucked up

And there are a few others that I can't think of at the moment.

Just wanted to pass that tidbit along.

Good job on standing up for what you believe in. That takes some crazy strength (at least in my book).

Mrs. Spit said...

I'm so glad the meeting with the cemetary went well.

Your story reminds me of a British woman I met several years ago. She, and several other women in her church would keep up the part of their cemetary that housed the remains of German fighter pilots shot down in WW2.

About 15 years ago they shamed the community into renovating and rehabbing the area, because they were so insistent that someone should maintain those graves, they belonged to sons and husbands and father's and brothers.

I like that you are watching out for all the graves.

Julia said...

Thank you, everyone, for your very kind words.

Christina, don't I know it! But I will wait.

Thrice, I am only sticking myself 4 or 5 times a day so far. My doc is very relaxed about the amount of information he needs, and I tend to agree. If it gets a lot worse, and I end up with insulin, I know there will be more sticks, but until then it's fasting and 2hrs after each meal. I made an appointment with a nutritionist for right before my next OB appontment, but I don't expect much useful stuff there. She is good, but I have also been at this for so long (PCOS) that she jokes about me being a pro. I guess we'll see. It definitely won't hurt.

C, oh, I know. I was trying to make a bad computer science pun joke. foo and bar are variable names often used in programming examples. Yes, I am a nerd and I freely admit it. :)

Amy said...

I am so glad that it seemed to work out well. The crew guy, now that just makes my heart swell. How nice, that they take it personally, as they should. As should everyone. I hope you find it beautifully landscaped this year.

c. said...

Like the others, I am glad to hear the meeting went well. I am also happy to hear Mr. President was open to your suggestions. Crew guy sounds very sweet, indeed.

Anonymous said...

You are the kind of woman I am proud I have met, because what you are doing is incredible. The parents of the children there will be forever grateful.

kate said...

That is good news. I'm glad the meeting went so well. When you find out about the temporary markers, let us know.