Oh WOW do I feel stupid! This whole time I just figured out that the reason my changes were not being saved is because the file was a "read only" AND I was not signed in with root access!
I just got it and .htaccess is now working...hooray! Actually this time I could not get the ;x to work but I used ZZ and it saved.
Thanks again for all of your help....now I know to be signed in with root access.
I'll probably be back with more questions soon, this is an excellent place. I'm a newbie at Linux and this is my first time having a virtual dedicated but I'm doing it for the learning experience...right now I'm just a web designer but I want to further my education on this stuff.