"just trying to save you from ripping the car apart to find whats wrong with it..."
I always try that easy stuff first too.
I did check all the fuses, rotated them etc. Like us all, I had been there done that..
The fuse cover diagram does not address my "specific" (stupid me) problem. But to make a long story short, as I was mentally preparing for this possible long journey into the dash board (in the most inappropriate time) , one last thought crossed my mind - the Dimmer in the instrument panel. VICTORY. the damm thing controls all the illumination that I mentioned as missing - both bulbs and fiber optics. It is either corroding,which I know could happen, or someone to whom I've been married too for a long time was messing with it.
So an easy fix in the end. I thank you 85drtysthbenz and gemoore for your input. Great forum