Hi folks- thanks for all your help. Just to let you know that I resolved this issue by using the 2nd example of Paulie D to rewrite my html including the container divs (ie i no longer use susy to set the width- susy width is at 100% and inner is at 80%). Then I applied the display:table; property suggested by wolfcry911 to iron out the bugs that i was experiencing. Basically I abandoned what i was trying to do with the article i quoted earlier and just made some plain html/css.
So i got it working with susy after all. Yippee!!
Final note: I’ve been reading up on the display:table property and it seems to have pros (setting identical vertical height) and cons (no ie7 and earlier support). What do people on here think about display:table? can you think of any other pros and cons?