Monopod is a good idea, you can use your unpacked tripod by the same way (my way). I have no experience with IS, currently I'm waiting for 50/1.4 IS to feel the feature myself, I guess it will enjoy it very much.
With my 7D and 85/1.8 and cannot hold longer time than 1/200s, I shoot often indoor in low light when I come home from work and it's quite issue for me. Fortunately I can shot with 28/1.8 using 1/60s and faster.
Back to question. I love taking photos, regardless of used equipment and primes are my wins in point of value/price.