IT WORKS! IT WORKS!!
After hum-drumming about the email all afternoon, and allowing the news to take the wind out of my sails, I decided that I was just going to go and pay the $30, pick up the camera, meter manually, and run some film through the camera. If it worked it worked, if it leaked light, then well... I was out $64 and a roll of film. If later on I decided I wanted to get the FM overhauled, then I knew what it would cost and I could proceed at that point.
Well, I just picked up the camera about 30 mins ago from the repair shop. I paid the $30 inspection fee, and went on my way. I couldn't wait anymore, so at a red light, I lifted the camera, took off the lens cap, moved the advance lever out the 35 degrees and voila... little red LED lights.
I have no idea what the tech did overnight, I dont know if he simply cleaned the battery contacts, or if he reattached some wires inside... but it works.
I'm going to run some B&W film through it this weekend, or as soon as I can get my hands on a few rolls.