Time to give Xubuntu a try.
apt-get install xubuntu-desktopAs long as I've been using Ubuntu, it never fails to impress me how simple it is to make such a significant change. A few minutes later, and several new packages installed, I logged out and logged back into Xubuntu for the first time in a while.
The first two words that come to mind are "beautiful" and "simple". I really enjoy Xubuntu and right now I can't think of why I haven't been using it all this time. Network manager is used, so I don't expect any odd problems like I saw with KDE and attaching to various wireless networks. A simple change in preferences lets me change the functionality of the bottom panel to show me all open applications and not just the ones for this desktop, and another preference change to give me 4 virtual desktops instead of 2. Although on that last one, I was a bit surprised that I couldn't right click on the desktop switcher and change it in those preferences. Xubuntu papercut anyone? So far, I'm looking forward to this week. :)