You know what they say, right? Third time is the charm? Well, they LIED!
OK - for real, the seedlings were doing MUCH better. The weather was warm so I put the tray outside to harden off and had high hopes. That is, til I came home from work the day after a return from camping with a friend to discover that - will good intentions - he had put the clear plastic cover back on the seed tray and they all DIED while I was at work on Tuesday.
I told my friend and he was very sorry - in fact, he respectfully converted the little seed cup markers to tombstones of varying faiths (cross, star, crescent moon,peace sign, and I think an ankh) before I got home Wednesday. I just found the cute seedling marker modifications tonight when I got home. I love this friend - he has a really endearing cute streak.
Time to move to Plan B: relying on volunteers and seedlings from James.