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And the mechanic says...
On Friday I took my car into the shop for three things:
1. An oil change
2. A check-over to get estimates on stuff which is acting badly: exhaust, brakes, transmission, and the chirping coming from the left front wheel.
3. The car refused to start Friday when I was taking it to the shop, so what's up with that?

They didn't get to it on Friday (which I don't like, since I had made an appointment a week earlier)

I went to talk to them at lunch, and this is what's wrong:

The battery is dead, and it needs to be replaced. It's over a $100 battery (boo!)
The front pads and rotors are worn and need replacing.
The left front wheel bearing is shot.
The rear pads need replacing, as well as one of the rear calipers. The rotors will need work by spring.
The exhaust system has two holes in it, one right below the O2 sensor, one in the muffler
The transmission cooling line has a leak.

The transmission itself is full of gunky dark fluid and is slipping. The mechanics raise the issue that replacing the fluid with new clean fluid could easily dissolve out the grime holding the internal seals together and the cleaned transmission might slip even more.

I'm thinking of doing this in bits: battery today, front brakes and wheel bearing soon, rear brakes in a couple of months, and the exhaust sometime before March.

I expect the transmission to be expensive enough that it would make more sense to save for a new car instead of fix it.

I paid for the battery, and skitten will be picking up the car once that's done, and I'll be picking up estimates for the rest of the work on my way home.