After reading a few threads and talking to some of my techy nerd friends, I was convinced. I needed a new motherboard. The kicker wasn't that I needed one though. It was that the shop didn't want to be the one to fix it and had every intention of shipping it out. So, I found an even techier, nerdier friend.
The HP laptop had a short in the motherboard, something that apparently happens on about every HP laptop. Sometimes the connections break loose and can be put back together, but the motherboard eventually goes.
Now, riddle me this: why would I take my laptop to a computer repair shop so they could send it to HP? And why can a computer repair shop not fix it? It's too complicated and requires too many tools. (I kind of though the point of having a computer repair shop was because the people who take their stuff to you need a service that it too complicated for them and requires tools that the average user doesn't have.) And if I wanted to send it to HP for another HP motherboard, I can do that without paying someone a fee for it.
Long to the short: my friend fixed it for the cost of the motherboard. His computer room blew my mind and while I was still trying to figure out why he didn't charge me labor, I came to realize that though the shop thought it was a difficult job, to this guy it may as well have been Lego time.
The original quote I got from the shop was that I would be better off to buy a new laptop. I should have known then that I was at the wrong place, but I still wondered if I was making the right choice. When the guy who fixed it for me told me that he's never impressed with people's computers, but was with mine, I knew I had made the right choice.
Just a word of warning if you own a d or dm series HP laptop; expect the motherboard to go out within about a year and a half to two years. Expect the part to cost about $150 and the labor to be more than the part.