Please forgive my ignorance, I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous
and at this point after days I am also very very tired...
Could you please explain what you mean "test with the stock system before restoring anything?"
Also you said
"Also, I didn't see in your list -- maybe I missed it -- whether you forced an OS reinstall. If not, sounds like that is what you should do."
I am running 18.104.22.1688 and it seems like all my issues started when I did this latest update, is that a problem? Could you please explain what you meant?