I was going to hire someone when i first got on to this site freaking out a bit, now pretty much everything is balanced, other than a >.1/day Ph change i deal with every few days. So i just taught my wife to run the 2 basic tests - Ph and Chlorine. she didn't seem thrilled about it, but i think once she gets into it she may actually enjoy it. its REALLY is easy. as long as i check the big stuff every week to 2 weeks, i think we'll be okay - and if we have a big problem, our good friend is a TFP follower and will probably be happy to help out. Thanks for everything - crossing my fingers for a TFP first summer when it heats up!
BTW, i DID have to crank up my SWG another 5% last week, the weather was in the 90s and pool got up to 76 on its own, so from what i understand, warm water and more sun = more chlorine - so i think we're all good!
thanks for everyone here, so much good advice and patience.