Sway8966, thank you for saving my behind more than once.
I will be following your instruction as to rooting the phone and also install custom recovery. However, if you see my first post, it seems I need to first install SS 3.71 to root, then SS 3.72 to upgrade to NB1/NC1? I will take a safe bet that I can't just use SS 3.72 to avoid brick. Also, that GPE version ROM, I had trouble finding the kernel, would there be a place to find it? Or is it in the package? I un-zipped it, but can't find the file that looks like the kernel in it.
You do not need to install SS recovery first to root the phone. Rooting is done by using the adb command to push the super user in the system area.
Since you are in a MK2 firmware/bootloader Safestrap 3.71 is the only one you can use.
Also your bootloader is MK2 so I would not go to install the NB1/NC1 system file on your phone. SS 3.72 is for the NB1/NC1.
To upgrade your phone to 4.4.2 OS you can find the custom rom packages (including the kernel) in here.
Bootloader MK2 and above can not use the custom kernel since there is no exploit for the kernel out so far. So you need to choose the TOUCHWIZ rom with SS version, not AOSP (Android open-source project) rom.
We are not supposed to tell you which rom to choose because people might not have similar taste or expectation in the choice of rom. Read around and choose the rom that you want.
If you'd asked me, I use Golden Eye rom. I am on NC1. You can see that in my signature section.
I will tell you how I installed the Golden eye rom as an example.
I download the package (zip file), my NC1 stock kernel file and superSU file.
Using the safestrap I installed the package zip file. After the installation finished I installed the NC1 kernel file and SuperSU file. Then I reboot my phone. That is. Other roms might have different instructions.