When I create a custom menu to place into the footer, the main menu in the header explodes with text falling over the hero shot. How can I get custom menus to work? The page widget with notes one which pages I want to exclude does not work in my situation.
Basicaly I think your problem is the description text. The second paragraph will help you to edit and/or delete it:
Now before you add any menu items take a look at the top right of your browser window: you will find The “Howdy admin and Logout link” Directly below you can see the “screen options” tab. Click that tab and a panel with additional options will open. Check the checkbox in “Show advanced menu properties” that says “Description”.