Busy guy! You really got a lot of "guru" advice there. I know the feeling when you are totally stumped with a linux issue.
The kernel update is one you can't dodge. Your's is outdated & I think as time goes on it will cause other stuff to malfunction.
But it is easy to update & in my non-guru experience is painless.
If you do the update & for some reason want to revert to the previous one, you can.
Just open synaptic.
Search for kernel.
You'll see your installed kernel entry checked.
Scroll down to kernel 188.8.131.52 & select to install.
It will select anther file to install. Then install.
Reboot. -- Your new kernel will be automatically selected, and your previous one will be preserved & can be reverted to if necessary.
The reboot will take a while so be patient, let it complete.............this is important.
If you hit escape after the first graphic screen you can watch the kernel configuration in text mode. You also can see that it is working & not hung up.
Try out some of your normal operations, esp the wireless connect.
If you encounter any problems, try another reboot.
Some stuff may not work til after a second reboot. (don't know why)
Hang in there.
I'm sure the real guru's can walk you through the already listed advice if the kernel update doesn't fix it.