Thanks to the hard work from the developers, as well as the generous sharing of tips and hard-won knowledge on workable techniques from many good people, a newbie like myself could get past the substantial technical hurdles - as well as the fear of destroying my new device.
The people of this site (and to a lesser extent, a few others) allowed me to move from being completely ignorant about modern mobile phones (and nearly paralyzed from apprehension over the unknown risks) to having enough insight and confidence where I felt comfortable enough to take the risks - including potentially having to purchase a replacement. After reading and re-reading many things that you all have written, I had more than "a clue," and went for it.
And as I rooted my device, I was well prepared for almost everything that happened each step of the way (the only thing that surprised me was the "Android is upgrading, optimizing app" message for each of the 471 apps on my phone (!?!), after each flash of a kernel - though this was probably explained in a section that I didn't read well enough).
I've purchased paid-copies of the related tools and more, I intend to make a donation on geohot's towelroot site, and I'll try to do the same for this site - when I find out how.
But that doesn't affect most of you, so to you please accept my gratitude, and sincere thanks - Thank You!
PS: I was very surprised to find my battery usage had gotten much worse in the hours following this. Starting around 2:40 am and lasting a bit over one hour, the charge went from 87% to 65% - even though the screen was off and I was asleep! Turns out it was mostly due to one app: "Support & Protection" - appears to be another gift from Verizon...
Links I found very helpful:
1. Install Towel Root
2. Download G900V_NCG_Stock_Kernel.tar.md5 from this OP
3. Odin flash NCG Stock Kernel
4. Reboot phone
5. Root with Towel Root
6. Reboot to Download Mode
7. Odin flash (Extract Tar from Zip before you flash) NK2 Kernel
8. Install Superuser from Market if you have not already (You can do this during step 1 as well
9. Open Superuser and It should request to update binary - Choose Normal (DO NOT CHOSE TWRP)
To prevent Verizon from forced-updating my phone with Lollipop (and losing root!), froze SDM with appquarantine. More info here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2112221