Ha!! I've got to say this post made me laugh out loud.
Congrats on solving the problem, oot. I had a similar experience once when trying to get my network connection going, and maybe if I had simply noticed that, oh, I don't know, if the CAT-5 cable is actually plugged into the NIC, things might work a little better That little incident caused a lot of desk-kicking, that's for sure. -- J.W.