Don't sweat taking off the lower cowl. It's really not hard. The most difficult part is getting the airbox cover bolt off, but one of my fairings is cracked up there, so it makes things a bit easier. Just take your time and you'll figure it out. For oil changes, getting the filter wrench is a decent 15 dollar investment.
Oh, and I like to put the cowls in my car as to not scratch them anymore. But then again, I drive a Corolla, so if the inside gets dirty... I don't really care
. Good luck!