Welcome to the forum krashdragon. I'm also in the Lone Star State
I understand where you're coming from... Your story is somewhat similar to mine.
I bought RH 5 (this was a long time ago) at a local compusa store. Took it home, it did come with one big manual which I did not bother to read... I coudlnt' figure out how to get the dang thing going, so I chunked it
went back to using windows, but around the time MS was putting out their longhorn (vista) betas (this was a couple maybe 3 years ago) I was already dual booting XP/Vector.
Vector has a very user friendly desktop IMO, and I've found that you can most everything right out of the box.
Unless you have VBA applications on your MS Office suite, you can do anything these apps can do using openoffice.org which is available for VectorLinux. I'm not sure how the GIMP measures up to Photoshop, but I've seen people do wonders with it.
The only reason you might need to dual boot is AutoCAD. I have yet to find something that can do what Utocad can. But then again, I dont use that, so I can live without it.
Anyway... enough about me.... welcome to the forum, give VL a try, you wont be disapointed.