Once we got home, lostsatyr looked up the error message from the laptop and discovered the problem was with the system board. So, it looks like the P2 notebook is toast. *sighs*
However, we did some looking around at refurbished notebooks on the WWW and after some comparative shopping, I decided to get the P3-700 Mhz IBM ThinkPad A21M with 128 MB of RAM, a 10 gigabyte hard drive, DVD reader, 1.44 MB floppy drive and 12.1" display. It comes pre-loaded with Windows 98. Not a bad deal for a bit under $300.00, including shipping.
So, I guess I'm getting myself an early b'day present. :)
ETA: notebook specs