Granted, still not going to go back there again to get things repaired - still much faster to just call and do all of the sending myself.
But yeah, It was a hard drive death, although I still don't know exactly what happened. So I ended up combining a week-old backup and data recovered off the drive using an external firewire that I had previously loaded the Mac Recovery Drive onto (Oh, Thank Goddess!), and some data recovery tool that was included on it.
The down side is that the week-old backup only covered my personal files. So those are/should be safe and sane. But everything else, like my absurdly large collection of Non-Apple provided applications were recovered and are now in a questionable state. XJournal (my livejournal client for posting) was broken. (The data recovery tool found a LARGE number of orphaned .nib files, which are typically inside the application 'package') As things are right now, I'm downloading and reinstalling as necessary.
Unfortunately, the backup also did not cover recent bittorrent downloads, so several of those were lost, a few corrupted (and are currently being redownloaded), but most were recovered.