I want to circle back now that the cake is complete and say THANK YOU to Michele and those that responded to my initial post!
While the cake was a total disaster
the fondant was perfect after a little tweeking last night and this morning. I ended up having to add gobs of glycerin to make it pliable, some Crisco (I read the warning on it thinning out the fondant) and some corn starch (I read about that too LOL) - the result was a perfectly pliable, satin smooth finished fondant on the wreck of a cake we made
Thankfully it was a practice cake that another cake fanatic and I did attempting to understand the topsy turvy method (which we obviously need MUCH more practice at). She used Satin Ice on 1 tier while I used MFF on the other two. Result - Satin Ice cracked and tore, the MFF was beyond perfect.
We also learned that it was the conditions in my home that has been making the fondant tacky despite lowering the humidity to 42% and working in about 70 degree temperature. The Satin Ice became sweaty and tacky like all my fondant experiences which tells me its not something I'm doing wrong, its just the inside conditions.
Sorry to ramble but again, THANK YOU for the time and effort you have put into helping all those like me not throw in the towel and sell off our baking gear. YOU ROCK!
PS... she wants to start using the MFF and pitch the Satin Ice now