I'll take the liberty to answer some of these.
1) Excessive oil usage.
2) It could.
3) It would not be alright for me but yes, you can run it like that.
4) A compression test will provide alot of infomation as far as whether you need to go through the valves or not.
Personally, I would resolve the oil leak issues, especially seeing as how the weather is starting to cool off
and it is getting where it is not so hot that you can't spend Saturdays and Sundays under the hood/car