thanks, I'll try to clear it up with the first part of the wallet names.
ok, there's the first problem. you are describing bitcoin addresses. the bitcoin client stores those addresses in a wallet (wallet.dat). for more on these concepts: http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Address
But what happened was I got a transaction that said -147.23 BTC sent, but 0 confirmations after a day and a 0 BTC balance in all three wallets.
not sure why. does the client show "up to date"? (if so, it will have a green checkmark in the bottom-right)
also, don't close your client if you have transactions pending. leave it running so that it will eventually try to re-announce the transaction (if that is why the transaction isn't being seen on the blockchain).
you can try closing the client and then launch it with rescan: http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Running_Bitcoin
> bitcoin-qt -rescan