I've been amiss in posting (and in keeping up with email) because of a recent life development that's rendered me useless with happiness for large swaths of time this weekend. Transparency fail! To remedy this, see post title.
It's taking every bit of self-control I can muster to not immediately jump in and sign the offer (which was my first impulse, before even reading anything else that came with it), but - this is Important. And I want to make sure I Understand Things. And I want to Do This Properly.
Not actually knowing what "properly" means, I spent the weekend reading books, websites, poring over documents, doing math, and (most of all, and most importantly) on the phone with a wonderfully supportive network of friends and mentors. Thought process: "If I were smart, how would I do this? I do not know, because I am clueless on this topic. But these people are smart about this! I will ask them!"
I had no way of figuring out what questions to ask or what was important to think about or look at, so I asked people to walk me through their thought processes, and listened to them talking with each other (watching two people who Know Stuff talk about a thing is sometimes much more efficient than asking n00b questions right from the start, because you can see the mental model of Knowing Stuff take shape between them as they talk). And slowly, somewhere in the midst of conflicting advice and wildly different perspectives and generally awesome chaos - my own understanding of this started to form.
I've logged close to a dozen hours on the phone for this so far - this is unthinkable, for someone who will (in moments of suboptimality) spend 5 hours online to avoid a 5-minute phone call - so that gives some sort of indication of the Magnitude Of Awesome I attribute to this. And now I think I know what I don't know, which means that now - after I take a moment to pull it all together - I can ask. Yep, I'll be documenting this process as soon as I get through it myself.
Tremendous gratitude to everyone who's gotten me this far. You folks rock.