You're Right About Duplicates
After my post, I did notice that it MERGED the Droid contacts with my Google contacts, so that each person's contact had the information listed twice. It was time consuming to delete the duplicate information one-by-one, but over a course of a few days, I got removed the duplicated data. I just did a few letters of the alphabet each day.
The alternative was to reset my Droid, but like you, I had already customized mine too much. I could have also just left the Droid contacts unsynced and manually backed up the data to the SD card on a periodic basis, but we all know how that would go -- eventually I'd get lazy and the data would never get backed up. And, since Verizon's Backup Assistant does not work with the Droid contact data, I was left with the solution in my original post. All the other solutions seemed too complicated -- downloading conduit programs, cleaning data in another program, etc.
iI'm not sure why you are only receiving sporadic e-mail notifications. All I know is I have my settings to check for my e-mail every 15 minutes, and it seems to work OK.