Coming up with a name for a blog can be a bit tricky. It has to be broad enough to cover whatever you might post in the future and yet specific enough to have meaning. And it can’t have already been taken by someone else. “Flawed But Functioning” was mainly inspired by a minor epiphany I had about a couple weeks ago. The context of this epiphany actually began about six years ago, when I bought the house I grew up in from my father. This was, in large part, an emotion-based decision, which is usually not the best basis for buying a house. But in my case, there wasn’t really any other reasonable option for maintaining my mental health. I had just come through a grueling and devastating period of taking care of my mother until she died of cancer, and then taking care of my father who nearly died himself before moving out of state to live near my oldest brother. I had also overseen the estate sale and watched complete strangers drive off with most of the items I had grown up with–which, when you are a sentimental person like I am, is its own kind of death.
After all of that, I just couldn’t let the house go. I needed some kind of stratum of continuity in the midst of all that change and loss, and so I bought it. This made me very happy on an emotional level, but with each passing year, the hard realities of owning an older house (especially one where the previous owners had put off most major repairs and renovations for years–mainly because they were putting four kids through college) are starting to sink in. With a vengeance. I’ve already tackled a major roof repair, a bathroom renovation, all new paint (interior) and flooring, having a new water heater installed, termite tenting, and numerous other minor repairs along the way; but the list of major repairs and renovations remains a long and expensive one. When I did a rough estimation of what it would cost me to do all the things that this house really needs in the next 5-10 years, it ended up equalling a year’s income.
I’ve become reasonably handy over the years, learning to install blinds in the windows, put up shelves, snake the bathroom sink drain, replace the washers in the faucet, and even–in a moment of boldness that surprises me in retrospect–install a new digital thermostat for the central heating and air-conditioning system. Nevertheless, it feels like something is falling apart around here all the time, like the week recently where my garage roof was leaking buckets and my dishwasher gave up the ghost. On those types of days, I find myself mired in self-pity, wondering why I don’t have a husband who can take care of these things for me and how I can possibly keep up with everything that needs to be done. I realize that many of my married friends wonder the same thing, but never mind that. This is about my own self-pitying moment.
Luckily for me, I have a rather strong streak of pragmatism, which eventually tires of my tragic, hand-wringing side, and in the midst of this lastest slump of defeat, it said, “Calm down. The house might have problems, but it’s still standing. It still functions, and you’re fine.” It didn’t take long for me to realize that this also applies to pretty much every other area of my life. But all of that was too long to put in a blog title, not to mention URL, so it ended up an abbreviated version of that. Plus, I like the alliteration. And that is the story of the name.