Thanks for the help so far, all of you. I'm truly grateful.
I'm trying to install SDL right now. I downloaded the latest version (SDL-2.0.0) and tossed the VisualC foldier right into my Visual Studio folder. I opened the SDL_VS2012.sln file as the instructions indicated and let it do it's thing. It built a bunch of solutions and says it placed some files here and there (not sure where.)
The rest of the instructions seem disconnected though. It says to build the .dll and .lib files, but I can't find them. All the folders contain either .vcproj or .vcxproj files. In the compiler I see a ton of files for .h and .c, but attempting to access them throws me an error saying that they don't exist (and indeed they don't.) Not quite sure where to go from here.
Edit: I found a youtube video that helped me out on this problem. I've yet to actually fiddle with SDL, but we'll see where this takes me.