One thing I'm doing more of is buying from friends. Tonight I bought a year's supply of hosting from Textdrive. For one thing it costs half what I've been paying the admittedly excellent folk of Hurricane Electric who have hosted this site for much of its life. For another it's the project of my friend-I've-never-met Dean Allen, whose dogs I look at every day.
One thing I unfortunately did not realize is that their interface is as cryptic to me as Hurricane Electric's and I'll have to get a sysadmin friend to help me actually set up mail and migrate my domain. It's a good thing I know geeks and they like home cooked meals…
Several minutes later now I think maybe the domain name server change is automatically going to happen and mail may just start working except that I now need to change my mail program to go to the right place and put up a redirect page to go to the TypePad site and that means I shouldn't have an automatic DNS redirect because all I really need hosting for is mail service and I've bought TextDrive hosting because it's becoming apparent that Six Apart aren't going to get around to it anytime soon and god damn but I hate managing this crap.
No, wait, I'm wrong. The switch doesn't happen until I tell my registrar to look to a different DNS server. Okay. Good. This is less daunting now.
Update July 13, 2009: This turns out to have been a bad choice, unduly influenced by sentiment. They were not set up to support a non-programmer/sysadmin user like me. Furthermore, I did not need their core services (oriented toward those hosting their own complex, dynamic sites).
The life lesson out of this is most definitely not "don't support the people you care about", but rather "figure out what your real, current needs are – not those based on who you used to be – and then whenever possible meet those needs with services from people you care about".
I have burned a lot of emotional energy on this, perhaps more because I had doubts about it at the time which I ignored. It was a chunk of money at once which made it feel like a greater cost & harder to think about walking away from. It was a mistake because I didn't need the services, but that was hard to embrace because it took years to feel okay about no longer being a web designer/developer. That is a role that was last my full-time job in 1999. Ten years and I still get an occasional twinge of guilt over not knowing how to do a particular thing with CSS! Talk about a candidate for Discardia, sheesh.