I'd be lying if I said the past couple of weeks were miserable. Besides my router/firewall box dying, having to RMA my main machine's hard drive, and spend money I didn't have on a more powerful battery backup, I've actually had the chance to clean up a lot of my home network infrastructure as well as various files I don't need anymore.
Router/Firewall: Hard drive bit the dust. OpenBSD did a great job of repeatedly telling me in blue that it was timing out reading the ATA device. Forcing a reboot gave Dell's BIOS a turn to chime in with undetectable boot devices. Fantastic. Sad to say, I didn't have any recent backups of the firewall rules, DHCP settings or hosts file to do any quick install. The box was begging to be upgraded, but I never got around to it. After some mental anguish and some serious soul searching, I gave in and settled on a more GUI approach: pfSense. I hate GUI interfaces. Really. However, pfSense isn't as offensive as others have been in the past. Not to mention the ten minute installation to working box was just outstanding. Highly recommended to anyone needing to setup a quick NAT box for their home.
Main machine: Hard drive was making clicks nothing on this earth should be making (reminds me of a Star Trek:NG episode) and it needed to be dealt with. Seagate's RMA system was also outstanding and deserves praise. I received the new drive within two days and was able to backup everything before the drive finally died--I hate close calls like that. Three long drawn-out days of Windows updates and software reinstallation, I'm about 80% back to where I want to be on the computer.
In the meantime, I was able to take the one file server down for good. The box is about nine (!) years old and was still running off the old power supply. I'd expect this from Sun Microsystems, not from a franken-box circa 2000. Although the machine got mocked in it's day for being unreliable and cheap, I have to give it credit for being quite the trooper after years of torture. It also handled a very outdated version of Gentoo quite nicely!
Now that the house is somewhat in order again and my roommate is no longer complaining of the lack of an internet connection, I can get back into my programming experiments. .