I left the socked foot in for comic relief!
I used Paint Shop Pro 7.0 by JASC. It's kind of a poor-man's Photoshop. It has almost all the same capabilities as PS and can even run most PS plug-ins. Some aspects can still get pretty technical, like in PS, but in general the learning curve isn't as long.
The big advantage is that while PS is around $500, PSP is about $100. They have some other pretty good pieces of software, including something called After Shot. Basically it's a scaled-down version of PSP expressly aimed at the tasks you would do with photos. Their site is www.jasc.com