here's where we're...
ah! to your above comment. good to know! to continue.
after deleting all posts i added two. i tried every combination of doing categories first then post, vice versa, blah blah. after talking to a db expert who is worried that changing things back and forth like this is dangerous because down the road when upgrades occur you never know if the relationships are corrupted. since there is so little on the site best practice is... a new db and have created a list of all categories, id #, slugs, etc., because...you never know.
also what was learned in this process... it seems that it is ok to have two categories with the same name ( contrary to what i have found in the codex to date ) as long as the slug is different. it helps if the slug has the name of the parent in it ( in some instances wp is doing that on its own ) though i don't know if that is a technical requirement for the db to function or just for an easy to trouble shoot thingy. thinking it is the latter.