I think I figured it out!!
Ingrid, thanks. I understand what you are describing. THANK YOU!
As soon as I posted this I sat back and tried to figure this out logically, not thinking about the pattern. I think the directions are specifically to working short rows- I work 29 stitches, then two stitches less (i.e. 27,then 25,then 23) 6 times.
What makes this so confusing is that the neck shaping for the back was described differently, but it really is the same.
Is it true that all it takes is posting a challenge for everyone to see to solve my problems??