I made the switch to Norton AV 2010 and couldn't be happier.
I made a last-ditch effort with McAfee by doing a complete uninstall (even using McAfee's software removal tool) and reinstall. I thought the problem was fixed, but those "verify your subscription" messages started popping up again last week.
I did another complete uninstall and downloaded Norton's AV 2010---simple download and simple set-up; so far, no glitches with my system. I bought a 2-year license that you can also use as three 1-year licenses, so I downloaded Norton's AV 2010 to my laptop.
I have no hope of getting a refund from McAfee, but at this point I really don't care. I'm confident that my computer is fully protected (at least as much as possible) and will remain protected even if I leave my computer unattended. I suggest making the switch to Norton, Symantec seems to have done a really good job of completely updating its old AV program (much less bloat, better UI, etc).