Create a new catalog (File->New Catalog) and then try to import your old catalog into it (File->Import From Another Catalog)
".....absolutely ridiculous that adobe won't provide phone support for license users...."
Not really. Unfortunately the reality with all mass market software is that the price is so low that free phone support is out of the question. In short, how could a company pay $100 an hour to help people renting software for $10 a month? Even if they did, where would they find enough skilled people to fill the cubicles!
i tried this, initially with no luck.... tried importing the lightroom catalog.... said it wasn't valid.
then, i tried importing the actual corrupt catalog (was i supposed to do that the whole time?) and it looks like it wants to load, but it's been on the same point in the progress bar for almost an hour. it's definitely a very large catalog, but is that normal?
i bought the subscription to have the phone support. trying one more thing before i call.
i appreciate your unhelpful reminder of my screw-up.