You state that you are a beginner with digital photography. I think the more important question pertaining to your purchase, is "how experienced are you with a SLR?" There is no question that the D200 has a learning curve. If you have 35mm experience already, it is a big help. I have had the D200 for 16 months, and I LOVE IT!!! I was torn between the D200, and the Canon DSLR. Once the salesman started showing me all the advantages of the D200, the choice became easy. I have two daughters that play sports, so the 5 frames per second was important to me. Actually in good lighting, it is quite a bit faster than that. The D80 or D40 weren't even available when I got the 200, so it became a moot point.
I think what you should do is sit down and take an honest assessment of what you want to do with a DSLR, and what you need the DSLR to do. BTW, I went a less expensive route with the lenses. I purchased the Tamron 18-200 for half the cost of the Nikon. I know, you are going to say that it doesn't have the VR mode. But for less than $70.00, I bought a Manfrotto mono-pod that let's me shoot in near darkness. The VR gives you maybe a couple of f-stops, but it is no stedier than your hands. In fact, I went out this year and bought the Tamron 200-500 lens and with the mono-pod have gotten some great sports shots of my kids.
I will say this about the D200. I did not have a single second of buyer's remorse over spending that much money. The camera is everything they say, and more.