I did it. The number of unread posts in my reader as I start writing this is 0. Down from damn near a thousand only two weeks ago.
I know exactly when my reader exploded. The evening of August 14th I was reading and commenting as I watched my TiVoed Olympic swimming, anticipating following it with my women's all-around Olympic gymnastics. I think I had that reader down to single digits, or teens at the most. And then the Cub was born. And then I got swallowed by the new baby tired craziness. And the reader exploded.
89. I remember 89. I thought it was a lot, and I hoped to get some time over the weekend to read and comment. Then it was 200+. 500+. 800+.
I felt horrid. You all have been there for me. And now there I was, having snagged the biggest lucky break ever, a real live take home baby, there I was not being there for you. I wanted to be. I wanted to read, to witness your every word. Because how could I not? Because how would I have survived to where I was if you, collective you, flowing and changing you, weren't there for me through it all? Not well, that's how.
I made a concerted push in early October, and got down to like 400-some-odd. And then I got swamped again. Work (I am working half time this term, which is a lot harder than it was in my imagination; back to full time in January) and life, and just some overwhelming craziness interfered, and I was back to 800+. So two weeks ago I decided that I can't have this hanging over my head anymore. And so I read, and read, and read. Drinking your words like water, pretty much every word I missed. Which means that I read a lot more than 800 posts, because for some I was catching up starting from that night when I didn't get to see women's all around (and the reader only counts the last calendar month of posts as new). I started at the top of the list in my reader and worked my way down, but making sure to keep reading new posts from those I have caught up on. That was my mistake in October-- allowing the new posts to accumulate again, until it was all a jungle again.
So now I am all caught up on everyone in my reader. And I can finally add the new blogs I have been meaning to add. Yay, hallelujah!
But here's the thing-- I read all your words, I witnessed them all. But in large part I was too late. I wasn't there when you really needed support. I wasn't there when maybe an experience I could've shared might've actually been of use. I understand now that I should've declared bankruptcy at some point, marked all as read, and started over. I would've missed things, sure. But I would've been present from then on, instead of the ghost I was in the last two weeks, catching up. The funny thing is that I realized this somewhere around a half way through the exercise, but felt bad doing an all clear then. It wouldn't have been fair to the bloggers whose digs are listed in the bottom half of my reader. Stupid, I know.
So I did it. But I did it wrong.
An odd request perhaps, after that confession, but please help the girl out. If I am not reading you but I should, or if I left comments some time ago but not in a long while (probably because I didn't add you to the reader right then, and then, you know, see above), please leave me a comment so I can remedy the situation. My blogroll on the right is but a fraction of my reader, so don't go by that. Someday I might get a free second to update the blogroll, but not soon, I think.
I know better now. I will use the mark all as read button if I have to. But when I can, whenever I can, I will be here, reading and commenting in real time. Present, in real time.
P.S. I have a lot of posts that need to come out. On some level I didn't feel entitled to write so much while my reader overflowed, but I was also swamped. I am still swamped, but I also feel the need to write. So, you know... maybe...more posts soon.