I realized after my last post that I had never reported on the hot water heater replacement so here are two "before and after" pics.
You can see how rusted out the old unit is in the photo below.
It wasn't working so we decided we should go ahead and replace it instead of fighting for hours trying to get the old one working.
Here is what the new one looks like-
You can see a few more "in-between" photos on my blog