Great discussion - thanks for all the ideas!
I had never considered using a longer city water hose to help temper the incoming cold water like electroblast suggested - simple, cheap and an easy fix / mod!
Also RamblerGuy, thanks for the suggestion about checking the heat loss through the boiler by checking the temperature of its insulation. As soon as I get the w/h going, its the first thing I'll do.
I was thinking a while ago about installing the hott rod but I found myself wondering if there would be any detrimental effect on my hot water heater by replacing the large sacrificial anode with the hott rod element. Turbs & Fonzie - you have any experience with this?
Again, great suggestions! It's the reason why I joined this forum in the first place!