Full bars, in and out connectivity, big problems...

So I live in a New York City apartment where there is bound to be plenty of interference. The apartment is fairly big too so there is a decent amount of space to cover. I keep buying more things, assuming they will help, which to a certain degree they do, but nothing has ever been completly solved and I know there has got to be a solution.
Right now we have an airport extreme base station in the living room. My father's powermac g5 is hardwired via ethernet to this. We have a Dr. Bott Extendair Omni attached to the basestation. THEN, we have an airport express to relay the signal in my father's office and yet another airport express about 20 feet away, across the hall, in my room, to relay the signal once again.
For the first time I get consistant full bars in my room. When the door's open I can connect to the internet, but its fairly slow. I close my door and I get no connection, but I still have full bars. On the other side of the house my mom is connecting to the network via her powerbook g4. She also gets consistant full bars and decent speed connection.
All of this gear seems a bit excessive to begin with, but to not even have a perfect, fast running network with it all -in a space not that big - seems rediculous. We do have 2.4 ghz phones, but I did a test one day, unplugged them all, and saw no change. Just to be safe, I removed the 2.4 phones from my room and my father's office.
Finally, I'm not 100% sure that the airport expresses are doing their job relaying the signal. In the airport drop down menu I only see one "home" which is our network. But I installed MacStumbler to check things out in more detail and saw 2 "home" networks - each with a different MAC address. I'm not sure what that's about.
Sorry for the long post, but as you can see this is a fairly large, ongoing, issue that I would really love to resolve.
Powermac G5   Mac OS X (10.4.7)   Airport Extreme Base Station and 2 Airport Express

...in the airport admin utility, under the Internet tab on both AX's it says connect using Airport (WDS), but on my base station it says connect using Ethernet. This is correct, correct?
Correct! That is correct!
Also, I just noticed on the AX's in the airport admin utility under the Airport tab, in the section that says Airport Network - the wireless mode is set to Create a Wireless Network (home router) and not join an existing wireless network (wireless client). Is this the correct setting?
I believe that is correct. WDS directions are in KB 107454, AirPort Extreme and Express: Using WDS to create a network from multiple base stations.
And lastly, I just tried to change the channel, but it comes up saying, "This base station is currently set up in WDS. Changing the channel will disconnect the WDS." Do I want to disconnect the WDS? Will this mess other things up?
It's a warning that you are going to need to change all of the base stations to the same channel for WDS to continue to work.

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