Saving the "best" wiring question for last

No problem. Totally understandable. I think consulting with an electrician is a good next step. Unfortunately, I can’t get my head around your receptacle wiring. There isn’t any logical reason to have two conductors from a 3-wire connected to the hot terminal on a receptacle (as you’ve described), particularly since you say this is the only controlled receptacle, AFAIK. So getting some help in figuring out what you have is a good idea.

I’ll take the 2 out of 3!

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