Memo to Self: do not uninstall stuff you assume is not needed on you Linux PC.
I thought I'd clean out my main menu and uninstalled a bunch of stuff and it seems that some of it was responsible for running the menu bar and some other parts of the GUI. It's not like the computer doesn't work any more, everything is still where I put it, it's just a lot harder to get to it now.
But the wonderful thing about Linux (Mandriva) is that it's usually fairly easy to get it up and running again. Even a full new installation wouldn't be very complicated, the worst thing would be to get Firefox the way I had set up it again. I think I can avoid that, though. On the whole, I'm just amused that I once again managed to get myself in trouble.
a few hours* and one running internet connection later:
Muahaha. I did it. I figured out what I needed to reinstall and I have my beautiful, easy to use GUI back again. Yay.
*the actual repair took about five minutes, I just had to wait until I was home from work.