The following image shows the grid working with template and css on a test forum.
Used a simple grid system. The only squirrely part was matching grid.css with addfooter.css. I'm thinking I could probably dispense with the addfooter.css (instead style it in the grid.css) but I'll play around with that later on. It's good to go and responsive. Though it somewhat irks me when some coding is done with em's for the media queries having been used to pixels and percentages. I put the grid.css in the themes folder.
From here on it's just a matter of styling; margins, maybe an image behind the links, whatever. As for putting the links on all the pages, I think that may be overkill. Maybe I will add a link to one of the dropdowns and of course that means coming back here and finding out how that's done.
Will check into the extension but in the way I've done it I don't have to worry about disabling extensions, extension updates and all that. I just pull the css and template, update, then replace.
Thanks to Robert and HFK and if there are any further suggestions, I'm listening.