Artimrj, not sure if you keep up with internet memes (probably better if you don't). I've seen a lot of memes about how so many celebrities have died this year and 2016 should just end. Is it ironic that a tomb stone artisan says he's had a great year?
I do not follow memes or much else on the Net. I go to my RW sites and Trainz sites and FSX sites and Nexus for Skyrim for mods and my stock trading site. Occasionally I go to Facebook following someone else's link for something that interested me.
It was great year for business, our best one yet in fact. Been cutting stone for 38 years. I am getting ready to retire.
Last September I went down to Florida to visit my Aunts in The Villages. I plan on retiring there and started house hunting. I also decided to cruise around and look for a monument shop where I might pick up some extra money to supplement my pension stuff. 6 hours on the road around the Villages and I found 2 shops. The 1st shop had 2 people working there, the owner and a helper. They literally had no stock in house and had an old sand blaster that you work by hand. The 2nd shop had 4 people. The owner, a secretary and 2 workers. They had a few small markers in stock. They had an auto blaster. Both places just hand a lean to that they worked under, basically out in the open with a roof. I asked the guy at the second place where the crew was. He said they were out setting stones in the cemetery. This was a Friday at 3 pm and he said, "They set 4 stones this week." At Rome Monument we have 2 crews that go out daily setting stones. 2 guys to a truck. We also dig our own footers for each stone and have Bobcats and Tomcats and dump trucks for that.
I showed both places pictures of my work and they were very impressed at my "sculpted roses" and told me they could not sell them as the people really did not care if they were flat or carved, they just want something cheap as possible. In my journey I found 8 Crematory Gardens. So it looks like everyone in that part of Florida does not get buried in ground, but put their ashes in a Columbarium. A 12" x 12" x 12" cubicle.
So I had to change my plans. Instead of working for someone, I am going to get a small pick up truck and get an air compressor and sit on the beach and make people lawn ornaments and plaques while they wait ;) People bring me in bricks, rocks, glass and other stuff to personalize all the time here in PA.
One other thing you may enjoy. When I get road rage at someone locally here, I scream at them "You (explicit word/words) I am going to make your tombstone!!!!)