That's what it's been like installing the DSL, but here it is up and running. Of course, I don't know that the next time I turn on my computer it won't decide that I need something else.
In the course of this whole thing, I bought my NIC and brought it home to install. Then learned I needed a Windows98 CD, which HippyChick and BeeDragon were only to happy to lend me. By the time I came back to the apartment to use the thing, my computer had decided it didn't need it (or the other theory we have is that it just wanted the CD in the same house, whatever). Then the DSL wouldn't connect and I realized I had the wrong jack, and it still wouldn't work. Then I turned off the computer and decided to reboot one last time. I prayed to the glow-in-the-dark internet saint sitting on my monitor before booting up, and it worked! Now if only I could remember the name of the saint so I could thank him properly.
Yay for DSL!