The first thing I did last Wednesday after waking up to my computer not booting and doing the same panicky beeping noise it did in October was to call Tekserve. I had a feeling that wouldn't work, because they don't like to give advice over the phone, but I wanted to try calling them because they have the whole history of when this happened to me before. They flat-out refused to help me over the phone, though, and I proceeded to be very angry at them for the rest of the day. (As a whole, this experience has taught me that there's really only one situation where I would recommend going to somewhere like Tekserve instead of going straight to Apple. But I'm getting to that.)
So then I called Apple, who of course was very helpful over the phone and told me I should try reinstalling my RAM. He was going to walk me through it over the phone, but I didn't have a screwdriver. XD So I took it in to the computer lab instead, and they helped me do that, to no avail, but at least now I know how to open up a MacBook?
Having determined that the RAM did indeed need to be replaced, I had to decide when and where. I considered trying to make an appointment at an odd hour at the 24-hour Apple store in the city, or bringing it to the Christiana Mall once I got home and hoping they had the right parts in stock, but in the end I decided that the best chance for having it finished before the end of break was to mail it in. I ordered a box on Wednesday, and it arrived before I got home Friday night so I could pack it up and send it off Saturday morning. They fixed it (free :D) and sent it back, and it actually would have arrived yesterday morning had I not been asleep. Whoops. But I signed the thing they left, so this morning they could deliver it while I was sleeping. And now it's back, and all is well with the world. ^_^
What I've learned from this whole saga:
1. The main reason I started going to Tekserve instead of the Apple store was that I didn't have to make an appointment, and they do have a very good system to make that work. However, I'm now of the opinion that going straight to Apple is probably the better way to go. HOWEVER. I give Tekserve so much credit for cleaning up my January water spill enough that Apple didn't see it and thus did this latest repair for free! So, the gist of this conclusion is that if you do something stupid that qualifies as "accidental damage," definitely subvert the system by getting a third party to fix it for you. Totally worth the money XD
2. Apple mail-in repair service is awesome. Especially if you're pretty sure it's something simple, like a hardware replacement. It was really quick, and I got email updates telling me when they received my computer and when they sent it off again. If I had a problem involving some sort of big decision, or if it was something they couldn't diagnose very certainly over the phone, I probably wouldn't do it again, but if something like this were to happen again (PLEASE NO) I would definitely use the mail-in service again.
3. BUY APPLECARE. Because then if you get a lemon like me, at least it won't cost you any extra money...just a little extra stress every time it breaks down...
4. In hindsight, I think maybe naming my computer after Edward Elric was a bad idea.