One of my cow orkers, B, invited the whole damn company over to a housewarming party at her houseboat on the western shore of Lake Union. I accepted, natch, because
a land of many contrasts attractive to me and plenty of other people in some ways, but there are some things I'd have to give up and put up with.
- I couldn't remember the last time I'd been on a houseboat. In fact, I may never have been before last night.
- Shoot, I'd never even been on that part of the lakeshore, just the north end (Gas Works Park) and the south end (MOHAI & nearby restaurants).
- I was intensely curious. At least historically, houseboats were a cheap housing option, something I'm sure many Seattleites recall wistfully. I wanted to find out if that was still true and why it ever was.
- Party on a boat! Lots of wine; what is it with alcohol & boats? Unexpected burgers.
- Houseboats are indeed still, on average, on the cheap side of the rental market. Yes, one sees bigger, newer, more expensive boats from the freeways now, but they haven't dominated the market to the degree that their terrestrial counterparts have. The low cost is especially attractive when you consider that several marinas, including B's, are within easy commute range of major employment centers like downtown and the University of Washington. And oh by the way, stunning views and, surprisingly to me, quiet.
- I guess the biggest catch for most people, though, is that houseboats are small. Everyone around here knows that, and I'm happy living in a small space already.
- The biggest catch for me, though, is that boats for rent tend to be old & janky, especially with respect to toilets & showers, and Seattle tenant law doesn't apply to houseboats.
- Also, B's boat has single-paned windows and thin walls. Yes, the lake should moderate the temperature, but I have to wonder what that's like in the winter.
- You can forget about parking. M'boy lucked into the perfect after-hours space, but every space I saw for blocks was metered.