no, i think you're ok - you can keep going.
clean up might not necessarily look like it has any effect. open up the options for clean up and try ticking edges with zero length, edges with zero geometry and lamina faces and the non manifold option. then see if you can still pull out a vertex. you're probably using a newer version of maya than me so merge vertices might not be in the same place. it's under edit polygons for me - do you have edit mesh perhaps?
don't worry about normals for now - but make sure you use f1 if you're not sure what something is.