Many variables affect how photos look, and they never look quite like what one's eyes see. Your pics look good. But you are a better man for admitting your low, dishonest image manipulations. And really there is no shame in it, it is perfectly natural and healthy, even the nicest people do such things nowadays (discretely, of course).
Yes, I feel... I feel as though a great weight had been lifted from me. No more lying awake at night, staring into the darkness.
Interestingly, we took a couple of the images and had them printed off at the local Target's self-serve Kodak photo kiosk. Whoa! Talk about saturation! Far beyond what I would feel acceptable. Sure looked pretty, though.
I use a D70 and it's frequently good about saturation, especially in good light. I wonder if it's "fujifying" in camera. You might want to assume that it is and therefor your post-camera saturation enhancement is simply correcting a design flaw in your camera. It's not only OK, it's a noble effort on your part to cover up some poor engineer's failure.
But what I don't understand in your post is this — you write "only a faint acquaintance with reality" as if that were a bad thing.
P.S. Did Moira ever have to grab you because you were about to walk some place inappropriate to set up the shot?
There are ways to get the colors on your prints to match the colors you see on the computer screen, if it matters to you.