Hi Rich and welcome to the VSC forums! Glad to have you here. I like your sense of humor... you'll fit right in!
I'm Andre Ming... owner of VSC and this forum. I'll try to help you:
Yes, the Reverser (called a "Johnson Bar" in US nomenclature) WILL affect the performance of a steam engine in the real world AND in MSTS.
Inside the route folder of the Ozark Northern, you will find a folder titled "Documents". Therein I give lots of pointers about running steam locomotives in the real world and the MSTS world. Also, if you have the "North Arkansas" Route (also referred to as the "StLNA"), inside its route folder is more information on running steam engines in MSTS. Give those a read and see if it doesn't answer your question and a whole lot more.
As for the Train Orders and what you're asking: Haven't tried that personally.
I guess you COULD have Notepad opened and minimized in the background, and when needed, use the Alt-Tab command to exit MSTS and then type out the Train Order on Notepad, then print it, then reopen MSTS and continue... but it seems simpler to me to quickly jot down the Train Order using an old fashioned pencil and notepad. After all, MSTS will halt and pause for you when a pop-up displays. Perfect opportunity to jot down your Train Order and continue on your merry way!
Feel free to come back and ask questions, enter discussions, etc. If I don't know the answer to a question you ask... I'll make something up. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif