It might sound a little silly, but a feature of our Seattle home-to-be that I'm most excited about is a double garage, with internal access. I haven't really done suburban-style living as an adult, but am pretty much over the nightmare of transferring weekly grocery shopping from the car into the home.
This was never really an issue when we lived in London, Brighton or Melbourne - we were only shopping for two, so groceries tended to be bought on the way home from work, at one of various conveniently located supermarkets near the local tube, bus or tram stop. We had no car, but rarely felt the need for one.
Back in Sydney, the status quo changed from two to three of us, and we bought a small new car. Each of the houses we lived in were in densely populated suburbs, close to the city. Our only option for parking was on the street - and depending what time of day it was - it was often urban warfare. At one point, there was a local serial car-scratcher. Over a period of about six months, many cars on our block fell victim to large key scratches along the entire length of the paintwork - including ours and our lovely next door neighbour's. Charming, yes? The culprit turned out to be a resident of a nearby apartment block, who used to cross the street in front of us, on his drunken staggers home from the local pub. There were witnesses, several times, but the police were unwilling to do much. This fucker eventually moved, and the scratching stopped.
Here we are, now in Los Angeles. Although we're still a one-car family, we have two car spaces in a secure underground car park. In terms of security, it's a step up from street parking, but where convenience is concerned, it's a pain in the arse. Firstly, we cannot store anything in our allotted car spaces - not even bikes or kids wagons. Building policy.
Mostly, though, it's the matter of getting the weekly grocery shops from the car to the apartment.
I have to take a lift (or stairs) up to the ground floor. The lift opens to a passage way between buildings (outdoors), and I have to walk the length of, and around, one building, then through another passage way. The landscaping at this point is split level, so to reach my building I need to then go down a down a dozen steps (or use the ramps). That takes me to the front of my building, and I need to then go up an external flight of stairs to my front door, as it's on the first floor.
Not exactly straightforward, huh?
I can only carry so many bags at a time, and never the entire amount, so multiple trips are required... or I just prioritise and take up the cold things and anything else needed urgently, leaving the rest to be brought up after future car trips over the next day or two.
Sometimes I have the stroller with me, and I can load it up with a few more bags, but this presents its own problem. Miss Pie - who rarely wants to be in the stroller these days - usually decides that this is the time she has to be in it, and throws a tantrum either in the car park, or along the way to the apartment. Good times.
Alternatively, if I'm lucky, I can grab a spot on the street near the heavy gate that's closest to our building (it's very close). When I do this, I can make multiple trips to get all the shopping in, fairly easily. Get the first lot in, switch the TV on for Miss Pie, then run downstairs. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. The downside to this is that the car is then sitting in the stinking hot LA sun all day until I need to get the Faery from school. It's only really a good option during winter.
And on rainy days? They do happen here, making this grocery transfer suck even harder.
Having a double garage with internal access is going to be so, so sweet. Somewhere to store our bikes and zero hassles getting the shopping inside.
Bring Seattle on, I say.