NCCadm, We apologize for your frustration. For other readers that may encounter the same thing, I've posted essentially what it says on Page 122.
All files imported into the master page gallery via SharePoint
Designer are assigned the page layout content type. Since page layouts and
master pages are filtered into different views in SharePoint Designer 2010 based
on their content type, this can make it difficult to find an imported master page.
Look for master pages in the Page Layouts directory if you can't find them after importing or copying and pasting into SharePoint Designer.
Co-Author, Beginning SharePoint Designer 2010