Oh, give me a home where I don’t need to mow

Teetering on creaky 54-year-old bones, I looked at our rugged, never landscaped Mill Creek back yard and bemoaned my existence.

Who invented yard work and why do I have to embrace the concept?

I’ve never enjoyed planting bulbs. We recently bought a private camping spot near Concrete, and hoped to spend some weekends and vacation time under the moon.

Dan Bates / The Herald

This first-floor model at the Newberry Square apartments in Lynnwood is tempting for someone looking for a simpler place to live.

With a fun weekend place to visit, maybe it was time to sell our 1,800-square-foot house. I’m not retiring, far from it, boss, but life would be a little easier with no lawn chores.

We explored options.

Under the cover of night, my husband, Chuck, and I slowly drove through a mobile home park for residents 55 and older. Several units are for sale. Chuck didn’t want to be seen there in the daylight.

He has an extreme aversion to living in a mobile home, but I’ve lived in them before and find them just dandy. The only problem I saw was that after we bought a $20,000 or $30,000 used model, we still would have to pay rent at the park. And there was no guarantee the ground wouldn’t be sold and you’d be stuck with an old doublewide and no place to put it.

We cruised through a recreational vehicle park off Highway 99 in north Lynnwood. RVs about 10 feet apart surrounded a lake. Maybe we could live in an RV, drive to the camping spot on weekends, no muss, no fuss.

RVs were kind of cute and cuddly, but I couldn’t see my cats there, and I don’t want to be blasted out of the thing by Chuck’s loud TV. His hearing is going and he is known to crank up the volume in our rec room to create his own theater-quality surround sound.

I wondered if the neighbors might enjoy “JAG.”

No, we couldn’t live in an RV.

I checked a nice new senior living apartment complex in south Everett because Chuck is 55 and qualified to live there. I am his younger bride.

It was a gorgeous place, but I swallowed hard to learn the rent topped $2,500 per month. I assumed that included the electricity. I’ll leave senior assisted living to much richer seniors. So far, I don’t need a nurse down the hall dispensing my medications.

Where I turned off the freeway every night after work, Newberry Square was perched on my right. If we moved to an apartment, we would like a new one. This location felt like old home week as my two youngest kids attended Oak Heights Elementary School right down the road.

It wouldn’t hurt to take a peek.

Chuck and I would be cozy as clams in the $675 per month studio, which is spacious, darling and had a barbecue-ready balcony, but babysitting our new granddaughter takes playpen and walker space.

It was hard not to fall for beautiful display units decorated by someone with excellent taste. Pretty little lamps were turned on in big-enough second and third bedrooms that rent for $1,075 up to $1,440 per unit.

Comforter-clad beds were ready to climb aboard. Each apartment had a washer and dryer and one parking spot in a covered garage.

Darling, but the latter rents would be more than my mortgage. And I would also have pay to stash my extra precious stuff in a rented storage unit because I am not ready to do that much downsizing. I still need my high school annuals, kids pictures they drew in the second grade and sleds.

Parking was a down point. For a second car, you take your luck in the outer parking lot. As we’ve written before, Newberry Square is an urban village concept, with office space leasing on one side of the property, and a major park and ride lot across the street on I-5.

The idea was you locked your apartment door, grabbed a cup of coffee at a cafe, kissed Johnny and Susie goodbye at a day care center just steps away, then zipped across the street to catch an express bus to your Seattle office.

But would a 50-something want to live there?

Not me. Not yet. They only allowed one mature cat and I have two big feline boys, Bennie and Tony, at the present time. I was glad, however, that seeing innards of a new complex revealed doable future living ideas if life takes us in that direction.

For now, we like our back yard patio for poker parties, extra bedroom space for Friday night babysitting and a driveway that holds four cars.

We’ll talk later, when we decide to sell. Wherever we go, there will be more than one cat.

Columnist Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451 or oharran@heraldnet.com.

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