My boards are back up. Here is what I did (not sure what was the actual solution, but here's the steps I took. something worked. :-D)
1) Had my host upgrade Zend
2) Downloaded the upgrade .zip file from SMFMachines.org
3) uploaded all of the files from the /sources/ folder in that new file to the /sources/ folder on my server
4) downloaded repair_settings.php from SMFMachines.org, puloaded it to my forum folder, and used that to put my forum in maintenance mode & changed the recommended paths to all of the default recommended paths recommended by that file.
5) went into the package manager section and ininstalled fusebox, then deleted it.
6) went back into repair_settings.php & put the forum back into normal mode
7) deleted the repair_settings.php.
So... that's my story, and I'm stickin to it. Hopefully that helps someone else. If I put unnecessary steps in there, or did something that didn't need to be/shouldn't have been done, please reply. but the main thing is, my forum is WORKING again :-D