The pale milky color of the guides "sounds" OK, but I throw a set of upper guides in when you do the chain. Now about that one inch of slack - that doesn't sound right at all. There can be a little slack, after it's been sitting all night, but not an inch. I'd be changing the chain and tensioner ASAP, AND I wouldn't try babying it for a few weeks.
With some of the work you've described doing, I am reasonably confident you can do the chain at home.
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72
'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis
2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI...at least its a diesel
Non illegitemae carborundum.