OK I figured it out. In order to keep the table cells as my side buttons, I specified the height of the rows, and made a invisible row at the bottom to fill the rest of the space(otherwise the buttons stretch). I feel a nice sense of accomplishment.
I'm going to switch the side buttons from table cells to actual buttons. Is there a way to edit the layout of my site all in one go? (is that what css is?)
edit: i don't know what im doing. i like the style of tables, but i dont know how to use divs