No, this isn't it. But, seriously, thank you all so much for weighing in with your recommendations, comments and experiences. That was so valuable to me. My gosh, what a wealth of information.
My experience is that I am hard on irons. I have had cheap ones and I have had good German made Rowentas. None of them lasts more than two or three years for me because I treat them badly. I leave them on, I always use as much heat and steam as they can put out, and I have been known to knock them onto the floor. Heaven knows when Ozzie was younger, he put several irons to death by pulling them onto the floor and chewing through their cords. I am not kidding. (Check out this old post from 2007).
The cheap ones last as long for me as do the more expensive Rowentas. But here's the thing. I like using the heavier weight Rowentas with their 400 steam holes more than I like using the lighter weight cheaper brands. When the Rowentas go, they go pretty quickly. They start to spit a bit when you first turn them on and then move on to full fledged peeing all over the ironing board. They leak like nobody's business. A big mess, and a bigger pain in the fanny. I can accept that as long as I know I will get a good two plus years of service out of them before they are reduced to their particular form of geriatric demise.
I am so curious about the new Rowenta steam stations, but I just can't bring myself to pay the $225 for one. I need to wait and see if they actually last longer than two or three years before I spring for one of them.
Of all the comments, I liked Robyn's suggestion (as it suits my modus operandi) and think I will follow what she did. She bought her German made Rowenta Focus at Kohl's when she had a 30% off coupon and a couple of $10 Kohl's Cash coupons. So, for now I will use my cheap iron and wait for a good sale at Kohl's.
Thanks again for all the comments. I hope you all enjoyed reading them as much as I did!