First, thanks for all the thoughtful replies. Its quite obvious to me that there is plenty to master in the subtleties of development and printing. Until I have a real dark room, (we have an upstairs area I am considering commandeering in the next couple years), I am focusing on negative development. Still, every bit of this thread is useful information for me.
That said, until you get a darkroom I'd say sticking to the directions (to normal) is a good idea. It will give you good workable negatives for now and when you get the darkroom.
Many of my pre-darkroom negatives are to put it mildly, a bit tough to print, because I wanted to make the negatives pretty, like slides. This means I need to use very soft printing grades and fight just to make acceptable, let alone good, prints.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin