My laptop is on the blink and I've tried to figure out if the damage is due to a rodent or yours truly. Actually, it's not my computer that's on the blink. It's the power cord, which was either chewed or melted partway through. Or maybe a combination of chewed and melted. I worked on some projects yesterday while gingerly holding the wires in exactly the right place, so that it could charge while I was working. My fingers got rather warm (the electricity melted through the medical tape I'd attempted to insulate it with), I eventually stopped holding the wires just right, and it stopped charging.
This morning I stopped by a local computer store, hoping they might have a power cord they didn't need and would give me a good deal on it. I explained the situation, and an employee informed me that he has a cord at home--he used to have a laptop identical to mine. And I may have the cord for five dollars. I was thrilled. I have to wait for him to bring the cord to the store, but that price is well worth the wait.
Moral of the story? Get creative--and be patient. :-)
Edit: I have the cord now... but apparently I misunderstood when he told me the price. It was $25 instead of $5. If I'd heard him right the first time, I think I would have tried to bargain. It's more than I would have like to pay, but still a definite savings over the other ones I found.