Turns out Dreamhost didn't get my email message. When I sent it through the help desk, they responded and said the hosting will work fine.
I did not know you could update PHP yourself through the domains control panel!
So I installed Skadate and got it working.
The installation went fine with some difficulty, you have to be flexible and figure it out. I had to ask for help from Dreamhost tech support again and they helped out. Dreamhost has been really good at answering my questions so far.
Before you decide on Skadate, please listen to the warnings, because they're valid! It is not necessarily good software! The demo looks nice but so far I'm having a lot of trouble, a whole lot.
And I've found out that once you get a couple hundred members it loads like sludge. I saw a long thread about this on Skadate's support forum where people who know what they're talking about can't make it load at a reasonable speed. The problem is it has far too many and too complicated style sheets, etc.
If I had it to do over again I'd try osDate first, at least it's free or VLD personals, at least it's "only" $100.
There's no refunds, so I'm the proud owner of a Skadate license. I'm going to put a bit more work into it, and hope it works for now, until I can learn more Joomla and use Joomlapolis!
I somehow thought Skadate would be "easier"... oops.