I decided to try fixing the FD, which would not allow me to shift out of the small ring. After fiddling with the adjustment knob by the shifters, which produced no result, I looked closer at the cage itself.
It turns out it's out of alignment. It will push the chain to the middle ring, but once I let go, it's hitting the chain and that causes the chain to return to the small ring.
So, I tried adjusting it. I found the way to loosen it from the seat tube, and tried moving it up or down, plus side to side. I learned I had to release the cable to do this, so I made several attempts at finding the sweet spot for the cage and then reattaching the cable, but I couldn't make a go of it.
I also learned that the shifter knob that would bring the chain back down from the larger to the smaller ring doesn't do anything. It doesn't seem to produce any tension on the cable whatsoever.
After twenty or so attempts, I packed it in for the day. It's frustrating because I can sense that the LBS could probably fix this in about two minutes.
FWIW, here's a few pictures. I'm not sure how much you can tell from them.
I managed to get the FD back to the same position I started with (which I consider a minor victory -- it's not worse than before). What am I either doing wrong or not understanding?