Well, parenting the object to a locator works (a little). As long as the object and the locator are selected, the scale tool is set to world and will scale accordingly (yippee). But, as soon as I want to adjust the objects vertices, the scale is out of alignment again, so it doesn't change the objects scale orientation.
So, I deleted the history again and froze transformation. And wouldn't you know, my object's orientation reset to world.
So, before parenting, the delete history and freeze transformations didn't work(tried several times). But after parenting today, they worked. Hmmm. Well, I'm glad things are back to normal now. Sounds like it was either just some freak thing that happened to my object or restarting my computer today fixed it. I guess I'll never know.
Don't be satisfied with what you can do but rather strive to do the things you can't do!