Well, after much monkeying around and smugly telling my husband that "Yes, fine, we'll go into iTunes and plug in my iPod so you can see for yourself that my fossilized iPod Mini is irreversibly damaged"... we discovered that my iPod is in fact NOT damaged.
No. In fact, it's apparently my brain that is damaged.
I don't know what happened. I don't know what the hell I was thinking.
All indications were that my iPod was not registering my attempts to free up space for new songs, having maxed out my capacity. Despite my efforts to delete entire playlists and probably a hundred songs from the remaining playlists, iTunes insisted that my iPod was still maxed out. I thought it was some electrical problem in my iPod that was preventing iTunes from registering the deletion of those songs and playlists.
Nope. It was some malfunction in my brain that caused me not to realize that I had to actually delete the songs from the "music" file on my iPod in order to truly delete them from my iPod and, thus, restore some "free" space for new songs.
Once Super Man did that, my free space was large and in charge once again. And I stood there with cheeks flaming, like a big idiot. :)
Nonetheless, I adopted a stiff upper lip and told Super Man that this whole incident merely pointed out the obvious: I was obviously beyond the capacity of my old 4GB iPod Mini, since I could no longer have all the songs I wanted to have on my iPod without deleting some to add more. AND my iPod had already survived beyond the 3 year life expectancy, making it the perfect hand-me-down for Super Boy while Mommy upgrades to a new-and-improved iPod, a kickass Nano.
Super Man - miraculously - bought my argument, and sent me on my way to the Apple store at the mall with Super Girl in tow. We looked. We browsed. I picked out my new Nano AND a hard-shell case like the one that has saved my Mini from absolute destruction countless times. And then, because I'm a complete idiot, I called Super Man and asked him if I could go ahead and purchase my new toy right then and there. He said NO (of course) - I had to wait until Christmas.
I immediately threw a tantrum (not really) and he immediately cut me off (not really) to tell me that IF my Mini had indeed been broken, he would've said FINE, just get the new one now. But since the Mini was still functioning, albeit at a lesser capacity than I now need, I had to wait for the new Nano until Christmas.
As annoyed as I was, I had to admit that it made SOME sense. So, now I wait.
Christmas can't come fast enough.