From a home processing and home post processing perspective, I think any result that gives you an acceptable image is by definition success. One way to check your results is to take your negatives down to the local mini lab (assuming this is 35mm) and ask them to make you a print. If *they* can print it, and the result looks good, I'd say your negs are just fine. Only time will tell if you got the "permanence" part right.
In terms of hybrid post processing, Polyglot's recommendations are fine. There are also software packages that attempt to automate the orange mask removal, with varying levels of quality. That's probably more of a DPUG discussion, but Polyglot's info is very good for doing it yourself.