Thanks, Steve. I went through that particular learning curve last night prior to posting. It took me about 12 tries to get the housing on without engaging a gear and misaligning the fork control tabs (which prevents quite effectively getting the selector back into place. I never did try doing it with reverse engaged, but that might be a good route.
I noted that on the re-install instructions (your pointer forward to relevant info in the install section not in the disassembly section but necessary anyway was quite useful in for this) that it explicitly said to place the bushing/spring but NOT to tighten it down. I figured there was a reason. I had already tried taking the spring/bushing off, to no avail because I didn't know just which way to twist its tail, but then reinstalled them from lack of progress and fear of the unknown.
I hope the explicit things in this thread will help someone else in tranny housing removal. That should be a 5 minute operation and sucked down about 3 hrs of my precious (to me) hands-on time yesterday, plus a bit more clock time digesting the issues, cleaning up, and then getting down and dirty once more.