I have my laptop back and am content again. Since she was in limbo, the whole situation has been resolved. I received an SMS on the Friday afternoon that repairs were completed – so naturally I hotfooted myself out of the conference I was in to pick her up.
The repair job was done very well. I have a new screen that is wonderful to look at, the PCMCIA door was re-aligned (both covered under warranty.) Additionally I think the tech may have even done a little panel-beating to fix the minor case warping from a drop that the laptop took early on (not covered under warranty but not charged for either – thanks!)
Moral of the story – get a very clear indication of the service centre’s load when you book in. Be clear on how long it will take them to even see your machine. Be patient – most people are trying to help you, even if it doesn’t seem helpful from your point of view. Thanks Mac1.