Thank you very much for all your guidance.
I'm not lazy on purpose. Forgetful is probably more accurate.
I have not been using LMDE correctly up to this point, but I will from now on if I can manage it.
I did the system upgrade as you instructed, but there were a few more things I had to do before it worked.
I first did > sudo apt-get -f install
then > apt dist-upgrade, which took 2 hours
After that I still had no desktop manager so I installed cinnamon with apt
I restarted my computer and cinnamon ran and crashed. It said something about a driver missing and that cinnamon acceleration could not be used. So from there I tried to install a driver for my radeon graphics card with the Device Driver Manager
but DDM said it found an unknown driver. After some searching I found that the solution there was to install firmware-b43-installer
and then install my the radeon driver through DDM
This solved my issues and things look even slicker than normal.
EDIT: In a way, I have two new issues. I wonder if I should start a new topic for these. Yeah, I think I will if I can't find someone who has already had this problem.
The issues are these:
Under preferences, almost every icon and selection has a duplicate, with an extremely similar, but not identical icon.
EDIT2: Yeah this first problem is covered here. http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=218&t=159040#p822578
The Second issue is the old version of linux is still available for selection in Grub which is something that doesn't hurt me, but I don't care for as well.