Hi and welcome!
Im only new here too, but have found everyone very helpful and friendly. And i dont think anyone will giggle at you for drinking lattes and flat whites, theres a whole section on latte art and milk frothing!
Have you seen this topic: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1279089567
personally, if my budget was slightly bigger, then i would definitely get one of these! instead, Im going for a Lelit Combi, as i need to keep it below $1000.
Im sure that talk coffee would be happy to help you with any questions regarding cleaning etc of your machine.
I think in general, if you go with one of the site sponsors here you are not going to be taken for a ride as they seem to be very good at after sale support and general advice.
You definitely seem to be on the right track by doing your research etc. and Im sure your technique will improve with practice. I dont think this (or any) machine needs an expert at the helm, just someone who is willing to learn and take good care of it!
All the best,