2000 Chevrolet Prizm Questions

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Car is started, running and dash ligthts and tailights come on without turning on ligth switcch for running lights/head-lights. It is raining today so darker outside.
None of my head lights or back lights or gauges in dash works
About 125,000 miles on it. Owned it since 90k roughly. Every once in a while the engine light would blink on, seemingly random (solid 55 straightaways, usually), then on next day startup or so, would be off. This time it turned on about a week after my last oil change (due for another soon), and has been on since. Had the code checked and it's the same one it's always thrown when I go to have it checked. First guy (bout a year ago) told me system too lean- took out the mass air flow sensor and cleaned it out, was just fine after. Now, someone told me Cat converter is clogged- this is just off of reading his code reader and seeing PO420. Dunno how accurate any of that is.
I'm wanting to know the reason and what I should do in steps to figure it out before I go dumping my money into incorrect solutions.
-I don't know a whole lot about cars, or a good mechanic around here as I recently moved.
This this something I can fix myself and what is the problem
What else would cause the fuel pump to stop working properly.
Aome websites have told me in order to change the timing cover gasket I will also have to have a few other gaskets changed as well I need to know if thia is true
I would like to replace the struts the rear struts on a 2000 Chevy Prizm but I cannot figure out where to take the nuts off at
car was running fine. now wont crank, new battery, new fuel pump.
it had 98000 miles on it
But the car will turn on..... and I rather save money then go take it to a shop... what to do?
the code is P0130 for the check engine light
will a 2001 Overdrive transmission bolt into a 2000 car with the non-Overdrive automatic? If so, are any shifter or computer changes needed.

Any special instructions for pulling the engine from the top?

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