sorry to be so slow.
I hate to say this, and realize how it sounds, but the problem either self-corrected or some one of the feeble steps altered the condition - at any rate it began working right.
which is irritating since I finally landed on a fix after consulting with one of my smarter buds... seems that Exchange 2007 has some transport issues that are aggravated with Outlook 2010 clients networking remotely, in this case vpn. 2010 installs on the client default to non-cached mode. this user has a big, ill-maintained [non-maintained] Outlook db. so pretty easy for snafus to happen when first loading the profile with unpredictable network linkage.
supposedly the fix [for anyone searching this] is twofold:
- rename the .ost file to off it
- reopen outlook and let it rebuild
- when on the local LAN, change to cached mode if you have the disk space for it [we do in this case]
I still plan to do the latter but the client is traveling right now.
thank you Golden