Well...changed the t-stat yesterday. Easy...sitting right up front just like on my older cars.
Now the temp gauge reads correctly and I have a bunch more heat.
Now the next issues to address...I still get some exterior Anti-Freeze smell after running for a while. Couldn't find any leaks while checking everything yesterday so I still don't have a good handle on that.
Also, had 2 codes. A P1443 code which was listed as an OEM code and a P0401 code as an EGT?? sensor. Cleared both to see if the stuck t-stat had anything to do with this. Drove it this morning in the blizzard and no codes so maybe I'm on to something.