STOP THE PRESSSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I FIGURED IT OUT!! AFTER I TYPED IN ALL THE PINGING STUFF, I DECIDED TO GOOGLE THIS PROBLEM AND SOMEONE HAD THE EXACT SAME ISSUE (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT)
SO I DID WHAT THEY DID AND IT WORKS! I CAN SEE THE DESKTOP.
it was McAfee firewall, I had to allow incoming from the trusted laptop :)
Ok, it's been almost a month since I set aside the non-connecting issues between the laptop and desktop. I decided to try again today. not good.
Here is what I've found out, with some help from sister's husband:
I am able to ping the laptop from desktop
I cannot ping the desktop from the laptop
I can ping the router from the laptop
In the meantime, I'm still not knitting that other sock or the scarf. I am reading "Inkheart".
Also, son #2 won his hockey tournament this past weekend :)