Monday, July 10, 2006

PGR turns 100,000

Averaging 400-600 hits a day now, People Get Ready will turn 100,000 sometime today -- oh ... I feel so old.

Our colleague at Your Right Hand Thief is also celebrating this landmark occasion.

In a little over a year, I've passed some other landmarks -- crossing the one-year mark, 1000 posts -- and considered noting their passing.

Now seems like a good time to pause for reflection.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there was an announcement I had to make, but was working up the courage to make it. Actually, I wasn't sure I wanted to venture this far into my personal affairs. I tend to stay away from personal confessions here, unless they're inspirational anecdotes. This is big enough that I can't ignore it, and I'll probably have more to say about it in the future.

Well ... a couple of weeks ago, Mrs. Schroeder and I sold our house. I would have preferred not to do so, but things were such between Mrs. Schroeder and I that we had to part ways.

She is now the former Mrs. Schroeder -- very regrettable from my perspective. I could go on at length about the enormous range of emotions I've gone through in this experience. It's the most difficult thing I've had to live through to date, and also the one that I've learned the most from.

We were having difficulties before Hurricane Katrina, having reached, I suppose, the point when many couples start to really struggle with emotional intimacy issues and compatibility with each other's goals, but I never thought it would come to this. I was struggling with my own demons -- and I would say she was refusing to struggle with her own (but that's a story that probably won't be told here).

When I got the divorce papers -- it happened within a couple of weeks of talking about it, and after I asked Mrs. Schroeder to wait -- I was struck with panic attacks and migraines for days, and stopped posting for about a week.

I thought I might just quit the blog altogether, but I'm an ideas hound. I can't just quit. Thank God for happy pills.

Several days ago, a friend said that she was feeling guilty about not having suffered enough tragedy. Her house wasn't damaged, she still had a job, and life went on pretty much as normal after she was able to return to New Orleans.

I know the feeling.

Mrs. Schroeder and I went through a couple of weeks of agonizing waiting to find out what might have happened to the house, and waiting for Ray Nagin to let us back into the city. We could tell from the NOAA images displayed in Google Maps that the area around the house sustained flooding, but the house being on Freret Street raised to 4.7 feet above the base flood elevation, and knowing that the topography of the city rises as one goes toward the Mississippi River, we were hopeful that water hadn't actually entered the house.

It hadn't -- but it was a very close call.

There was still a HUGE mess to deal with in the yard, and house repairs to do. Waiting for potable water, electricity and gas ... neighbors ... birds ... green. I've told the story before in earlier posts.

I don't want to draw pity to myself, so please don't (and I won't take comments here). I do, however, want to use my own personal story to point out that everyone in New Orleans is struggling with their lives right now. It doesn't matter if they've lost their homes or not. God bless those who have. It's absolutely impossible to fathom what that might be like until you're inside someone's home throwing their personal possessions into a garbage pile in the street. Nevertheless, everyone is struggling, every day, 24 hours a day.

I heard something I will never forget in one of those "how'd you make out" conversations with someone I saw again for the first time after Hurricane Katrina. This acquaintance said she lost her roof, and there was some water damage inside the house, but she made out okay for the most part.

You know -- it's an amazing thing to think that you can lose the roof to your house and still think that other people are worse off than you. And that's the thing, no matter how bad you think your own situation is, someone else is worse off than you. Your own difficulties might seem like the worst thing that's ever happened to you, but there's always somone else bearing a greater burden.

Personally, I would have preferred to lose the house, and keep the marriage, but I can't really blame my failed marriage on Hurricane Katrina -- although I'm pretty sure that the separation of months while I worked and Mrs. Schroeder remained in Pensacola definitely contributed to the growing emotional distance between us.

I want to REALLY thank Lisa for sharing her own reflections on struggling through a similar experience. When I was looking for something to latch onto for comfort, her honesty in describing her own healing process was very inspiring. I'm not there yet. I'm trying gratitude, but lately I'm still finding more satisfaction in "Get Out Of My Life Woman."

It's time to move on now. I have another post I'm working on which will make sense in relation to this one as soon as you see it.

Just one last sentimental reflection before I move on.

I spent some time on the porch swing one evening a couple of weeks ago with a mojito saying goodbye to the house.

This is the crazy cat who lived next door -- a screamer for attention, very affectionate, and beautiful orange eyes!

The porch swing.

The view from the porch swing.

Thanks to everyone who's read People Get Ready. I value the responses, support, and opposing views.

I also want to encourage PGR readers to visit all the other local bloggers who have become an incredible network of mutual support in the months after Hurricane Katrina. If want to add them to your blogroll, here's the raw HTML from my list. It does require some updating, but I'll get around to that some day.

Thanks for putting up with me.

Oh ... one last thing. Even though the house is sold, I'm staying put. I'm not planning on going anywhere yet.