I understand completely. I am in the same boat. Gauge often gives me fits. Maybe you could try to choose patterns that are not row dependent but give the length in a measurement instead. Sometimes you can figure out based on the row gauge they give how many rows are in different measurements, like how many rows make 1", 1/2", 1/4" and then adjust the pattern by knitting to the length needed. This works much easier sometimes than other times. I have also found that you can sometimes get a different row gauge with needles of different materials. Like if you get stitch gauge on a metal needle, but the row gauge is off, you may be able to get the same stitch gauge on a bamboo (or other material) needle and the row gauge might be a little different (maybe even better
). I find that some patterns, for whatever reason, are much easier to get gauge on than others. I don't like it when a pattern says to get the gauge over a pattern stitch, I'd rather it gave the gauge over St st and then the patterns just work out from there. Some patterns are written that way. I've had to give up on some patterns that said to get gauge over the pattern stitch, I swatched until I was blue in the face and disheartened and finally decided to save my sanity to choose another pattern.
I hope things work out for you and that this commiseration, if not the hints help some.