I have finally made my Mac vs. PC decision that I was ruminating about earlier (thanks to all of you who contributed your advice). Drum roll please...
A Mac. I listened to the majority, and ultimately, my brother-in-law's enthusiasm for all things Mac convinced me in the end. I am hopeful that I will make the adjustment smoothly and painlessly. The MacBooks just seem so modern, reliable, and design-friendly. I am ready for the change.
However, as I added things to my shopping cart, it seemed like more and more unexpected costs kept popping up. For example: I was advised to purchase extra GBs of memory for $100. And if I am buying more memory, I might as well just get the faster processor for another $100. And if I don't want my laptop to get scratched, I should buy a cover which runs at 50 bucks. And if I spend that on just the cover, I ought to buy AppleCare to protect the machine itself which amounts to no small sum of $350. Sigh. It's the classic lesson that I learned in elementary school: If you give a mouse a cookie, he will ask for a glass of milk.
And then he'll ask for a straw. And then a napkin. Followed by a mirror, scissors, a broom, and well, you get the point. (You've got to the read the book by Laura Joffe Numeroff. It is a childhood classic). The point is that soon the mouse will be living with you and asking for cookies all the time. There is no end to the chain of requests, events, or costs resulting from a seemingly isolated incident. All things in the known world are attached to strings.
For all I know, my new MacBook could be a marionette. I'll own one of everything the Apple Store sells by next week.