I could possibly just keep fixing the tension (the biggest problem), my Singer sewing machine repair guy did show me how to fix the tension on my own - recording the how-to below to assist my memory.
1. Open slide plate/bobbin cover
2. Remove needle plate - just lift up and slide to the right.
3. Slide bobbin case holder off the edge of the bobbin case.
4. Lift out the bobbin case.
5. With a small standard screwdriver, tighten the two tension screws.
I've been told under normal circumstances, the tension should be set between 3-4, somewhere around there. Much more of less and something's wrong. I should see even stitches on either side. If you see the loops popping up on top, the tension is too high, loops popping up below, too loose. I think I've got that right...might be the other way around, I'll have to double-check.
Anyway, off to Apparel City Sewing Machines on Howard Street. Jumping in a Zipcar near work and heading over on my lunch hour one day this week.