In the end I added a border and well, finished the darn thing. It is over! And, I will probably pull it out for birthdays and think, "well, that wasn't so bad really, and at least it ended well."
But, I can say I'm really happy it is no longer haunting my "to do" basket. So, the lessons learned from this whole emotional upheaval....always square the fabric and use non-directional fabric for the disappearing nine patch AND figure out how to keep the fabric design more distinct. All of this thinking did get me thinking about color and making my color wheel so I guess that is the silver lining.