I have some photos but no chance to upload them right now...anyway here is the update.
The next door plumber was deathly ill with the flu so we called in professional. Actually I tried first and just could not get the damn solder to melt!!! Next time I'll just cut of the damn pipes and go from there.
The new plumber was very good. He replaced the leaky shutoff values and installed the bathroom shower faucet. Nice clean work. The bad news is that the new bathtub valves leak (defective part) so we back to same spot that we were when this all started....
I laughed, I cried, I obviously rolled a 1.