So - NO - I'm really not an idiot...but for some reason, I decided to walk through all the steps in this thread again (except for the radio update because it was done already) - and now it all WORKED! The one extra step I took was wiping my SD card (which was a basic card with NO extra partitions and I have used it to flash dozens of other ROM's without an issue) and started from scratch with that too, just in case. Well, it worked!! I just installed the CursorSense 0.8 ROM successfully and it is booting now (nice Nexus boot screen BTW).
So - thanks for letting me vent and ask for help on this thread...it made me double and triple check a few things, and bam! I got through it.
As always - this forum and you guys are ridiculously amazing!