In the midst of all this, my computer died. I unplugged it so we could move the desks, and when I plugged it back in it wouldn't boot. After some testing, it appeared that the motherboard has gone kerplunk.
brooksmoses, in addition to the abovementioned testing and a great deal of handyman-ness on Sunday, went out Monday before I got home from work to get replacement parts. He also came up with an entire brand-new unused copy of Windows XP, which is a serious lifesaver as the CD for my previous installation has gone missing (I have the sleeve, much good that does me) and the older version we had won't work with the new motherboard. Yay, brooksmoses!
After various pokings and fiddlings and adjustings and waving of chickens at the wireless network card, everything is working. Everything I need, anyway. (Will install Sims later, and see if this built-in video card actually works. Also, at some point I should open the case back up and swap the leads for the LEDs on the front, because they're not working and may therefore be backwards.)
The new computer's name is Lord Midnight, after Count Vortala's horse. (The previous one was Beauty, because it is black. It is still black, but I figured a new brain called for a new name.)
This morning, I got the last little bits hooked up, the case back on, and the computer back on the floor where it belongs. As I was finishing up, I told andres_s_p_b "This is very exciting!"
He said "And it won't be all over your desk any more."
"That's where my excitement comes from," I said.
"Really? I wouldn't be excited about that. I mean, it's nice, but..."
"You're not me," I said.
"Heh," he said. "Hello, Bert."
chinders, out in the hall, called "You guys are so cute."
There is a great deal less chaos now, and although not everything is sorted out and stowed away it is all headed in that direction at speed. Whew.