Wow, you experience mirrors my own to large degree. Right down to the slackware on floppy. I remember the 24 hour kernel compiles, that would take 36 for me because my GF at the time would trip a breaker with her hair drier, with frightening consitency.
These days I work in IT and have a few servers at home running Debian, but never really seriously thought about running Linux on my desktop. I ran Windows 2000 until there were no more patches, then grudgingly switched to XP.
Christmas 2008 found me back in Canada visiting my family. A very strong Yen combined with a few Walmart Specials meant that I could grab a laptop, for what felt to me like 300 Bucks. It
even came with Vista Home version at that price. It was an AMD64 machine with 3GB of Ram and an ATI GPU. I had bought my wife a Magazine for the flight (she's a computer geek too) that had an Ubuntu install disk with it and figured let's go full 64bit and see how Ubuntu shapes up.
I was incredibly impressed with the install and have been using the computer as my primary workstation ever since. It is meeting my needs 100%. Sure there have been issues, but there are always issues even with Windows.
Anyhow, you may have no incentive to switch now, but at some point you will have to switch to something. As another old fart in here I'd recommend giving Linux a try. Especially if it's free as in beer.