After thorough research, I decided to bite the bullet and get myself a Braumeister. No, I'm not rich and I don't take such purchases lightly. In this case, it was partly justified by my upcoming 40th birthday. I call it my Midlife Crisis Kettle.
Other factors in my decision:
1. I needed new equipment anyway. I've been brewing with an electric kettle that became unreliable.
2. My back. Any new setup would have to minimize lifting. The costs are rising.
3. This thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/speidel-braumeister-brewmaster-229225/
I read through the whole dang thing. One reoccurring comment among long-time brewers is, "I wish I would've bought one sooner."
One complaint is often that one is limited to low-ish gravity beers. Those complainers are just not being creative. I could still do a traditional mash with my old gear and use the kettle just for the boil. Or I could do a double mash (mash, remove grains, mash again with wort and new grains). Anyway, I decided that it's not important to me since I've only done one "big" beer in the last 7 years.
I also received some financial aid, which helped. I was generously given a loan which I may be able to pay back in liquid.
So, happy birthday to me!! I'll be brewing my first batch this weekend.