Thus I wasn't able to "do it my way" in S, so I made like a rat and abandoned ship.
Andre "Fleeing Rat" Ming
Don't be so hard on yourself, Andre. Your feelings about S are nothing I haven't heard in some form or another over the past 30 some-odd years. With what the likes of Athearn, Scale Trains, Rapido, Walthers and others are putting out in HO, it's a siren song that is almost impossible to resist. In fact, some of Rapido's announcements have made me weak in the knees.
I was fortunate by getting into S back in 1985 as the scale grew in the same direction I was interested in. That doesn't mean I don't recognize it's shortcomings. I was always uncomfortable telling folks when displaying with my modular group at train shows that you really can't find this stuff in most hobby shops (even though the local Des Plaines Hobbies is pretty well stocked) and they would either have to special order or scour the internet for S.
It takes a certain fortitude to be in S, even during the "glory years" of mid-1990's-early 2000's.