I got some help on how to get my phone to stock kernal but have root access (I think that is the way to say it but I'll describe where my phone is at in case I'm wrong.
I followed these steps -
1) Use "Odin" method to flash kernel+cwm recovery (.tar file) from your computer to the phone.
2) Use recovery to flash su.zip from the phone itself.
3) Same as 1 but stock kernel+recovery.
Update - I did get it to connect. I've connected my laptop to about 20 wireless networks without issue but I noticed a 5002 in the event viewer so I updated my network drivers and I can connect with my laptop now! I still can't enable security but at least I have tethering for the few times a year I'm stuck at the airport.