Monday, July 17, 2006


The extended deadline for our offer on the aforementioned house has come and gone. O! To be retired and mortgage-free! (I envy them) So the owners are requiring "more time to evaluate our offer", which to us sounds like "we are waiting for a better offer, and can wait indefinitely...but don't go yet, we might use you to start a bidding war". I still remain blindly optimistic while R takes the pragmatic approach, so we keep the meantime. This is good, as the more we look, the more refined our tastes become. This isn't such a qualitative statement of our "posh" standards [insert laugh] as is it an observation that we more quickly rule out/in the houses that we run across. Drivebys, indeed.


At July 23, 2006 9:53 AM, Anonymous Joel Waldman said...


Surfing while waiting to be discovered by "This Old House."

Came across your BLOG.

Here is a copy of what I sent 'em.


Ain't got time to fix the windows

Ain't got time to fix the doors

Like the old man in the song.

My magnificent cliff-top home over the Pacific and the sea lion rookery from which I have learned to understand the meaning of their barks is become too much for me to maintain. I must pass my home on to a younger person for the sake of the house which I have come to love.

The community of Elk, California, once known as Greenwood, after the family of mountain men who settled here once they rescued what was left of the Donner party, has passed through generations of transformation. Most recently, the phone company and the electric company recognized our little town as a highly scenic and artistic community. To enhance our village, our utility poles were removed and all the utilities were under-grounded. I tell visitors we have a $3,000,000.00 view!

This home has changed with the times. While it is old enough and significant enough to the town, it's historic character has not been treated with the sacrosanct attitude required by the National Register. We replaced the pipe from which sewage was dumped into the ocean with a county approved septic system. The redwood runners were pulled out after we jacked the place up and a perimeter foundation was installed. Milgard windows, all around. Insulation.

Basically, the house retains the character given to it by the former owner, William "Slim" Crane. Slim was the town constable, Genova, his wife, was the postmaster. They made the place into a Fifty's modern home: all-electric and wood paneled, dropped ceilings and wall-to-wall carpeting.

The Cranes moved here after a series of interesting careers. Slim had been a gold miner in the Sierras and then a bail bondsman in the gut-bucket of San Diego. He and Genova came to raise a family in the serenity and quiet of a community in flux.

The town once boomed with the industrialization of the redwood forests. To provide lumber to rebuild the earthquake ravaged City of San Francisco, dark, satanic mills dotted the north coast belching smoke and flames visible for miles at sea. By the 50's the industry was ailing as were the woods. The mill stumbled through a series of bankruptcies until finally it closed for good. Elk became a ghost town and Slim bought most of the coastal homes for pennies on the dollar.

The old man had a soft spot in his heart for the young people who started to show up here in the early 60's. The Hippies who fled the increasing weirdness of the cities of that time found a sympathetic friend in Slim Crane.

By the time I showed up here in 1980 as a commercial salmon fisherman, Slim had passed on leaving his legend behind. Genova, in her eighties, could no longer abide the widow's life on the fog-bound and storm-tossed ocean front. While I only corresponded with Mrs. Crane, one of the messages she left for me was, "No one can appreciate the sacrifices it takes to live here without actually living here."

Now I am at an age where I understand what she meant.

When I moved in I had lots of professional carpentry restoration experience. I was an architect's hands-on assistant for Interactive Resources Inc. of Richmond, California. I was engaged in the initial design process for the creation of the Brothers' Lighthouse conversion in San Francisco Bay. I knew what I was doing when I bought this old house on the coast. I could see where the hands of the craftsman who remodeled the home began to lose their edge. It was sad.

Now it's my turn.

I want to pass this building on to a new generation of builders who will respect its legacy and strength and history.

I'm stuck for an idea.

If anyone can suggest my next move, I suspect you might know of someone who can.

What do you think? Is there a story here?


What do YOU think?

Is there a deal here?

At July 23, 2006 10:19 AM, Anonymous Joel Waldman said...

Dear Folks,

If you want to write me, try

I failed to give any contact info in my earlier comments.


At July 24, 2006 9:45 AM, Blogger Oblio70 said...

What a thing to be a part in! Though I've not been to Elk myself, I know the area and it is breathtaking. I'd love to hear/see more about your home and what you've done with it. What kind of issues has the coast presented in your house? I have to admit that it sounds terribly (I hate to use this word) romantic, and seems to embue that struggle and reward of "ownership" I spoke of earlier.

Unfortuantely for our little family, a home such as this located far from San Francisco is just not practical. I may not have mentioned this, but our 2-yr old daughter has a serious heart defect that keeps us fairly-well tethered to her doctors at UCSF (~1 hour max). You can see her here:

At July 25, 2006 11:59 AM, Anonymous Joel Waldman said...

Thanks for the reply.

May your sweetie be returned to perfect health and quickly.

Sir, this is my first experience with a blog. I do not like it. It is too complicated for my taste and continued interest. I dislike the name and the there is something creepy about it.

Can you explain the advantage of communicating this way as opposed to e-mail?

I am using Microsoft's Entourage through a local (Mendocino) ISP and it is something with which I am familiar and check every day. I gave you my e-mail address.

As far as being a part of this project, at this point you are as much involved as I am. It's all fantasy!

As to what you mean by coastal issues, I am unclear.

You are right. This is not a practical place to live. The "romance" is hardscrabble. I have lived and worked around the world and I'm still looking for a better place to live. I've had no luck for the past twenty years. I'm stuck here and I'm trying to force the issue to start travelling again.

As soon as I hear from "This Old House," I'll contact you here again.

Other than that, feel free to e-mail me.

Best wishes!


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