For starters, when I try to get to my post on the forum, I get a page with this on it:
The machine cares not
Given commands it dislikes
It spits out errors.
The post is at https://www.joomlacontenteditor.net/support/forum/109921-unable-to-create-modal-window-of-article-with-new-jce
and today only once I was able to open it and read the response.
The response made me feel like a total n00b because of course I had to activate the plugin. I was tired. That's my excuse and I am sticking to it.
So the issue has been resolved, but I wanted to bring up this bizarre behavior of the forum to your attention. I no longer need help and my modal window works just fine now, but I thought you'd be interested in my experience with the post.
FYI, after finally being able to open the post and read the answer (to my shame) I tried again and keep getting that error.
I can open all of the other posts without issue.
Thanks and sorry for asking stupid questions. It has been a while and I totally forgot about activating the plugin.