It's crazy how much I'm remembering and putting together after researching dates for dozens of important events and lining them all up.
Props to my mom and Eli and LJ for having so much information available. Hell, I called my mom to ask what I got for presents in Christmas of 1998 and she pulled out her records. "I could tell you what you got in 1989. Wrong file, one sec." Crazy. And sure enough, she confirmed that was the christmas I got the new MS Visual Studio, which fits with my chronology perfectly.
I'm so glad I'm writing this paper... another year or two and it's be impossible to recall all this history.