I am an end user too, and not a guru. I would recommend that you get Mandrake and set up a dual boot. Keep using the Evil One's OS as needed while you learn Linux. Get yourself out of the office suite frame of mind and learn to use a good text editor (NEdit) and learn LaTeX for word processing and presentations. It is much like writing raw HTML.
Speadshweets are a bit more difficult, but Gnumeric is pretty good.
Learn the CLI and get into the Unix mind set. Linux is not a Windows clone or replacement; it is a free Unix.
Linux has a great web browser in Mozilla, and any e-mail client beat M$ Lookout in a heartbeat.
Buy a copy of "Running Linux" from O'Reilly and read it cover to cover. Read man pages. Fiddle. Ask questions.
Remember always that Linux is not Windows. Learn Linux by Linux's rules and see if you find it better.
Be prepared to work and be frustrated. Aslo be prepared to one day realize what a bastard Bill is. ;D