THE SECOND STORY | January 21st, 2010

Fill ‘er up!

Post/Title story: I love my rain gauge. I emptied out 4″ of water on Monday night. As of this afternoon it had 6″ more! Emptied again, it’s now filling up again! I’m grateful to say we have not sprung any leaks, thus far, in and around the building.

But I have been tending to leaks springing forth with abundance in a short sale property my clients are attempting to purchase – two windows and one door have no sense of their intended purposes. Like bandages on a body, towels and plastic are being changed daily.

Then add to that a front porch nearly the width of the house with southern exposure (wind and weather direction). Due to a questionable design, the porch slopes to a corner and there is no exit for the water anywhere along the porch. Then it creeps up towards the front door. The good news is that the long porch is concrete and thus won’t rot. The bad news is that it doesn’t drain – at all. I feel like the entertainer whose act is to keep plates spinning on sticks before they drop to the floor. I’m attempting to shove the water uphill faster than it can stream back to the corner. Now it’s just a game to see if I can beat my personal best of how few strokes of the broom I need to get rid of the trapped water.

We’ve had our share of leaks over the years at this 112 year old house. One of the more notable was during an El Nino year in 1989. That may have been the first time I’d ever heard of El Nino. We had finished replacing the foundation and added two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a utility/laundry room downstairs. It was a big project and took 9 months. It really was like giving birth, now that I think about it.

When they were digging out 6″ in the sub area so we could have legal ceiling heights in the hallway (7’6″) and in the rest of the rooms (8′), the workers hit water. One day it was dry, and that night it was squish squish.

We discovered we sit on an aquifer, something that would have been nice to know but who knew? As a result , we have an extensive drainage system around and under the house. We pump out fresh water to the street pretty much 24/7/365. In heavy water restriction times the water police come around hoping to fine us for excessive water usage since they see the curb moist with the solid evidence of H2O.

The first rainy season the build-out was completed, the downpours began. Our back neighbor’s yard became a lake and their lake drained into our yard. Our yard became the river to the street along the west side of the house, covering the width of the walkway. And as water will do, it found a void in the new foundation. Apparently the concrete along a portion of the side of the house didn’t get a big shaking/vibration required that compacts it into the forms. Something to do with snap ties if I recall. Thus some small gaps. But small doesn’t seem small in those situations.

One night, Sutter heard water dripping. Well, it wasn’t dripping. We pulled out stuff we were storing under the interior stairway. And there we had a lovely wall fountain shooting an arched stream of water onto the carpet, next to her bedroom. As we tried to figure out what to do, Evan became the Alameda version of the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke stopping the leak!

Carl went out to the carriage house/shop, and midst the organized chaos that only he could comprehend, found some corks that he had saved from a boat we used to race together. He jammed them into the leak. Evan’s duty was complete. We immediately called (believe I screamed at) the contractor, mopped up, and tried to sleep. The next morning the contractor figured out what had happened and filled the concrete. He also beefed up and re-worked the drainage along that side of the house.

Moral of the story? Marilyn needs to choose her battles. Don’t complain about the ‘junk’ in the carriage house. It may provide just the right solution to a problem. And Carl had no problem reminding me that if he had cleared that ‘junk’ out at my insistence, that simple solution would have been far more challenging. And he was right.


Hey Evan, the Little Dutch Boy in 1989! Happy Special Day!
love, your mom.

Jawing over the fence (items that might be of interest)
FHA loan will cost you more but it’s the only leveraged game around…
8K tax credit for home buyers closing after 11-6-09 is a mess…
-Sellers….don’t you fudge!

Alameda real estate this week….

Yes, many of you are frustrated due to the lack of inventory. But I can assure you, based on the calls I am getting, people are going to be selling and they won’t be short sales or foreclosures. Remember, folks get job transfers, downsize out of the area to less expensive locations, upsize out of the area to less expensive locations, they divorce, they pass on and estates are sold….there are all kinds of reasons folks sell, regardless of market conditions. Be patient, be smart, be aware that there are and may be multiple offer situations (not crazy over the list like before – they won’t appraise if they aren’t all cash), but offer strong terms with clean financing.

Active listings this week 94, 96 last report
Pending listings this week 75, 70 last report

Highest priced new listing (was on the market last year for a while)
Lowest priced new listing

Tuesday Tour (3)

New 6

Price changes

BOM (back on market) 0

Pending 12

Sold 5

Expired 1


Alameda real estate awards this week…

Get me a facelift it’s tidy with lots of 1970-80’s wall paper.

I can confirm that the ‘Get me to rehab’ winner last week, was just that.

That’s a wrap! Carry on!

I’m going to get announcements out via snail mail but if you are a client, personal friend, neighbor and/or any combination of the three, the 4th Annual Shredding Party is set for Feb. 13, 9-noon. If you need info sooner than the mailing, give a call.

Hey, what’s being filmed over on Bay Street? I drove by about 5:30pm and the street south of Encinal is packed with trailers/trucks/equiment, the police are protecting the street, and no parking signs are all around Bay and San Antonio!

Bored? Check out Alameda’s newest lakes at the golf complex. I’ve never seen anything like it, nor has a friend who has been a golfer here a long time. It is totally amazing. I need to get some photos….

Best! marilyn

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I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!