Have You Seen One Of The Drobots Today?

WHO can afford . . .?

Before the news broke recently about Pat and Michael Drobot's $17 million asking price for their 15,000-square-foot French manor house on 1.23 acres, Medina bustled with talk of the "California mentality," allusions to real-estate prices that would be high even for Beverly Hills.

Compared to prices here, the asking price for the pad with the English slate, Amazon granite, Italian marble and tile, is astounding.

Especially, if you consider that $8 million was the February 1990 sales price of the David E. (Ned) Skinner estate - consisting of 300 feet of Medina waterfront, 3.2 acres and a (albeit comparably tiny) 5,580-square-foot home. That home was sold to the Appleton Partnership.

In fact, $5.54 million bought the Smith Tower six years ago.

So who are the people who can afford a $17 million home?

Since the home of the publicity-shy family made the front page a week and a half ago, there have been numerous Drobot sightings: Someone met Michael at a cocktail party, at a city council meeting; another played tennis at their home; others saw them at the King County Boys and Girls Club auctions the last two years where they bought a table at the usual rate, $250 per guest; a real-estate agent showed a condo in the $200,000 range to their son, University of Washington student, Mike Drobot.

Other than that, they're low-profile people with a penchant for privacy. As Pat Drobot says, the recent "notoriety is appalling."

They do own two hospitals - Ingleside Hospital, a psychiatric hospital near Anaheim, Calif., and Healthcare Medical Center, Tustin, Calif., a 203-bed acute-care facility.

Drobot was administrator of the former Tustin Community Hospital from 1980 until 1984 when it was sold to a Texas-based firm. Last July he purchased it for between $30 and $40 million. In December, he announced plans to build the Pacific Coast Comprehensive Cancer Center on the Tustin hospital campus. The center will include state-of-the art cancer treatment with a decreased emphasis on hospitalization.

All the operations he manages are through the Kirkland-based Concept Health Care.

QUEEN FOR THE DAY: Ed Nellis is a diehard romantic. For his wife Judy's 52nd birthday Tuesday he planned to make her "Queen for a Day." He commissioned a cake showing a queen walking down a red carpet to a waiting limousine. The cake would have been inscribed with "Your chariot awaits, My Lady." The cake, he said, was to be delivered by the chauffeur of a rented limo.

Media was to be there to capture Judy in her finest hour, receiving a crown and robe and being chauffeured with friends from the Total Living Concept bingo hall in Kent, where she works, to the Keg Restaurant for lunch.

But something went wrong.

After all the months of planning, someone told Judy and Judy decided being royalty for the day was not worth the pain of publicity.

So Tuesday, Ed's Queen for the Day will reign over their Renton home and have her cake only with her adoring subjects: two children and three grandchildren.

"I really wanted to do something different," sighed Ed, who is a vice president at Lange Manufacturing. Of course, there is always their 35th wedding anniversary next month.

CONSTANCE ON TOUR: Dr. Constance Rice is the first foreign woman to address the Japanese Keidranen, a group of Japanese executives similar to the Washington Roundtable.

Rice, whose topics were Japan's second-class citizens - Koreans born there and women, in general - was a guest of the Japanese government. Despite the controversial topics, Japanese press reaction was favorable.

She's been taking private lessons in Japanese.

By the way, Rice will receive the Dorothy Bullitt Achievement Award from the Women's Funding Alliance at 6 p.m. May 3 at the Dome Room of the Arctic Building. Tickets 467-6733.

SALLY IS STILL WAITING . . .: Carolyn and Bob, Sally is probably wondering when you'll send that thank-you note for that lovely wedding gift she mailed several months ago, addressed only to "University of Washington, 98195."

Toni Randall, assistant director of Campus Mailing, is wondering when you'll get around to picking up the package, which they opened hoping for a clue to which Carolyn and Bob, among the thousands of students, faculty and support staff, you are.

The package contained a "very nice gift" and a card addressed only to "Carolyn and Bob, fondest wishes for a lifetime of happiness, Sally."

If you're the real Carolyn and Bob - by now the real Sally is probably really miffed at you - call Randall, 543-8757.

OLD DJs NEVER . . .: What happens to old DJs? They pop up now and then to work with the incarcerated and raise funds for the terminally ill. Snohomish County Corrections public-information officer Tom Lewis, who was a KWYZ Radio DJ in the late '70s in Everett, will resume his old role, playing records for the Corrections Employees/Everett Parks and Recreation Department Jailhouse Rock: 9 p.m. Friday at Forest Park's Floral Hall. The evening of pedal pushers and blue-suede shoes costs $6, 355-8855. About Town by Nancy Bartley appears Sunday and Monday in the Scene section of The Times.