So, after getting the estimate on all of the repairs for the house, I called the plumber who installed the garbage disposal and had him come out to give us an estimate on the water heater. He estimated about $600 less than the contractor, so we went ahead and had him do the work today. He showed up at 9am this morning (appointment was at 10) and I was out running errands. I had left the garage door open so he could get in and by the time I got home, he had the estimate ready to go. After I gave the go ahead, he went off to get the heater and worked from about 10-2 installing the water heater.
We got a new 50 gallon, which was the same size as our old one. It isn't the most energy efficient (I think it is $238 a year and the old one was $158) but hopefully this one will last as long as the old one. The house was build in 1992 and the water heater was installed when the house was built. Not bad for something that gets used every day. I plan to actually drain this one every year like you are supposed to and maybe prolong the life of it. But, who knows, maybe by not draining the old one, it helped it survive for so long. :)
I still have to go scrub the mold form around the base. It didn't rot out the wood so the base didn't need to be replaced, but the mold looks ugly. I got some rubber gloves and some SOS pads and will use bleach on it and hopefully it won't take too much elbow grease to get it looking better. This one has a drain pan underneath, so in another 25 years when it starts to leak, I will notice it before it spills onto the floor.