All’s fine and dandy finally in computer land. The hard drive ended up failing while the machine was in the shop – something the tech said he’d never seen before. I had all my data backed up, but still lost a day reinstalling everything.
The lesson here is that it’s not enough to have your data backed up. If you make your living with a computer, you need to have access to a computer at all times. In my case, that means having two backup computers – a mac and a pc. I guess there is a downside to having both OS’s running on one machine: if/when that machine bites it, you effectively lose two computers.