Even the blooming crabapple and pear trees did not prevent my noticing there were no car garages at the retirement community we were circling for the first time. At our house, I had never taken our garage for granted. I loved the multiple shelves for garden supplies. I loved that it was only steps outside the kitchen for ease of carrying in groceries. I loved that it protected and warmed my car, now 19 years old. I wanted a garage; I needed a garage.
We had seen a variety of parking arrangements as we searched retirement communities. The parking was expensive and unsatisfactory. Some places had no covered parking. Some, like this place, had carports for multiple cars. Some communities had underground garages. And one place had a row of individual garages, but they were dark, damp, and dirty. All parking arrangements would require walking a bit of distance to a cold (or hot) car.
We opted for this carport place and were assigned parking spaces as close as possible to our apartment. It is possibly more inconvenient than I had imagined. Even a few bags of basic groceries (Diet Coke) are heavy enough that we bought a folding cart with wheels to transport things from the parking space to our apartment. My few remaining flower pots are stacked at the bottom of a tall plant stand in the apartment, not in a garage. A bag of potting soil is double-wrapped in plastic and shoved behind my closet door. And one day when I accidentally left my purse in the car, Tom insisted he was the one to put his coat back on, trudge down and out into the cold, to retrieve it for me.
Many things are different about life in a retirement community. And many things go into the decision to make the move and which community to choose. Still, we’re happy with our choice, and happy we didn’t let the parking become the driving force in our decision.
There are those crabapple trees, after all.