Working Funerals - The Rain

    This storm reminds me of working in the rain.  Surprisingly enough the work is very different when it rains, especially if it rains heavily like this.

    Driving, now that is a main issue in the rain.  Not that it is more dangerous, it really is not too different in terms of safety.  But there is a lot more traffic which means you will need to leave much sooner than you would normally.  I tended to add about half an hour to my estimated drive time when picking up families in heavy rain.  Sometimes it took even longer and I was nearly late a couple of times, not how the family would want to start a funeral.  Once it took 45minutes to get onto the Harbour Bridge.  Generally it takes longer to get on things like freeways, tunnels, bridges and so on.  But once on them they usually move at a decent pace.  Just be patient but confidant, scoot up the side lane then merge back into the traffic.  This could save you a lot of time.

    The funeral is also a very different affair in the rain.  And here is where it is actually quite dangerous for you and others.  Those designing churches rarely think of using the churches.  Something which I hate and illustrates a lack of care for those who attend or use the church, but this is a topic for another discussion.  Due to this lack of thought the church will often have steps, usually marble and with a good height to them.  It does look nice, very pretty actually, but it is not practical at all.  It means you have to carry a heavy coffin and do not often have a chance to wheel it in.  And in the rain these lovely steps are so slippery.  I have great balance, but due to inappropriate shoes (which look good but are not practical) nearly fell over several times on the job.  And many others did not just nearly fall on these sharp stairs.  So watch your and others step at the church, yet think of your stability before trying to save others from falling.  There is little point trying to save someone and going down as well.

    Umbrellas are a must.  As the family get in the car inform them that you have plenty of umbrellas for everyone.  Each family car should carry about six to eight and each hearse should have eight to twelve.  Telling the family about having umbrellas will make them happy and relax them a bit.  Talking of umbrellas keep one next to the drivers seat, out of the way of everyone.  This will mean you can grab it and open it up as you jump out, keeping you dry.  Then you can hand it straight to the family, or use it to keep you dry while you get more umbrellas.

    Working at a crematorium is a great thing in the rain or heat.  Some have covers over the main door but most do not.  However either way they are inside and airconditioned.  However, knowing luck, you will probably work a cemetery on these days.  The cemeteries are muddy in the rain.  Just think about it, they have a lot of dirt, a lot of sloping lawns perfect for funnelling rain and very few trees.  A perfect combination for mud and puddles.  Many, like Rookwood, are built on clay (as the ground is useless for anything else).  The mud/clay at these places (especially Rookwood) is so sticky and difficult to clean off.  I have had mud sit on my shoes for weeks to the point where I used boot polish to basically paint over it.  The best and easiest way to get rid of the mud is not to worry and let it dry.  Then scrape it off and finally finish it off with a damp rag.  You can also use a vacuum to get it off the carpet in the cars.  Many times the families will get in your car and try not to get the mud anywhere.  In doing this they usually get it on the seat as well which is harder to clean.  Tell them not to worry about it, that you are experienced at cleaning it off and it will give you something to do later.  That way they only get it on the carpet which means just one easy spot to clean rather than several.

    Watch the puddles at cemeteries and do not step on fresh graves.  If you step on a fresh grave it may sink by a good foot or so.  You could break or twist an ankle this way, or just embarrass yourself as many have.  It is much the same for large puddles, unless you know how solid the ground beneath is and how deep the water actually is do not walk on it.  The mourners are idiots, most of them will walk over these hazards and hurt or embarrass themselves.  So direct people around the dangers.  This also creates a well trodden path; a nice solid walkway that is safe for you and others to walk on.

    At the end of the day you will probably get wet if it is rainy.  You are working outside, you are moving about and active.  So just resign yourself to your fate and be prepared to get wet.  It is not the end of the world and you will (probably) dry off later.

Some bullet points to remember:
- Traffic is heavier, add 30minutes to travel time, especially if going onto something like the Harbour Bridge or M5.
- Keep plenty of umbrellas and inform the mourners you have them.
- Churches and other places can be slippery, pay special attention to stairs.
- Watch for mud and avoid it where possible.
- Keep away from fresh graves and puddles, they can snik and break or twist an ankle or just hurt ones dignity.
- Be prepared to get wet, you will.


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