I have successfully re-installed Linux Mint with Mate, configured my wireless card, and installed Google Chrome over my wireless internet connection. I'm writing this blog post from my new Linux OS!
I believe what made the difference was installing Linux Mint WHILE hardwired into my internet connection. This gave the Driver Manager what it needed to actually install the drivers it had noticed were missing from my machine. Before it would simply do nothing when I attempted to apply an update, and I thought that meant the drivers needed to be added via the package manager first. That is why I broke my network connect software on the first install. Live and learn.
Installing Chrome is as easy as installing it on OS X or Windows. I did it straight from Google.com and chose the 64bit Debian/Ubuntu version. It downloaded and installed with a simple double-click. It then synced all my bookmarks and plug-ins over. I'm having trouble "pinning tabs" it may not be an option on the Linux version. Time will tell.
So here it is. My first ever blog post from a Linux OS. Mint wins!