Since the computer is new, it wasn't a big deal for me to refresh it back to the original state, which is what I ended up doing yesterday.
I believe the problem was with IE 10 and Windows 8 because I found I was having issues with that as well. The refresh (which took 6 hours lol) seems to have done the trick. Everything is working perfectly now.
David - thank you for taking the time to help me troubleshoot. FYI- I am running Kaspersky Pure; the plan tab did show me logged in; and when I clicked on websearch, I could see the search thing rotating in the upper right, but it never made it there and the results area remained blank.
I'm just happy the refresh worked and I got my FTM "baby" back. :D Quite frankly, I am not much of a fan of Windows 8 so far!