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Go cart

Our first couple days in Brussels were quite literally a daze. Aside from the jetlag, we were placed in a temporary apartment in the middle of central Brussels, never having set foot in this city before. We barely knew which way was up.

On one of our first days here, we tried to find a grocery store, but the closest thing to us was a little Asian market. I went in there one afternoon — in search of soy sauce — and noticed this scantily-clad woman staring me up and down.

As I walked down the aisles, I saw her following me. I took a few turns and sped up my pace, trying to shake her, but she was persistent. Just when I thought I was home free, I rounded a corner, and there she was standing, staring at me with a creepy smile.

She approached me, said “ça va” (translates to “what’s up”), and then — catching me unawares — she reached toward an area that’s off-limits to all but one woman on this earth. I slapped her hand out of the way and got out of the store as quickly as I could.

But that’s not the point of the story (I just figured the blog needed a little spice). And not to worry, I’ve purchased soy sauce several times since then without incident.

Back when we were living in that first apartment, aside from the Asian market that I was forced to blacklist, the closest grocery store was more than a half-mile away. A long walk for sure, but a man’s gotta eat (as does his wife), so Jenna and I walked to the store, bought quite a bit of food and other necessary items, then made the long walk home.

By the time we got back to our apartment, my arms had very little feeling left in them. I knew something would have to change — I wouldn’t have regular access to a car, so I’d have to figure out a way to get groceries home, or else I was limited to how much I could purchase on each trip to the store.

The granny cart: Don't leave home (for the grocery store) without it.

Enter the granny cart.

I’m not exactly a confident male walking down the street with this thing in tow, but it does the trick. Purchased — like 90 percent of items in Europe — at Ikea, my granny cart has revolutionized my shopping experience. I simply place my granny cart on the bottom rack of a grocery cart while I do all my shopping. After checking out at the register, I load my granny cart with the groceries and wheel it home.

Yesterday I literally packed about 45 pounds worth of food and cleaning products into my granny cart.

So, when I return to the states and you notice my skinny arms have gotten even skinnier, you’ll know why. All the exercise I used to get from holding pounds and pounds of grocery bags has gone to waste, thanks to my granny cart. The tradeoff was worth it.

Oh, as for the origins of the name “granny cart” (as if it weren’t obvious) … One of the first times I used it, I arrived at a grocery store just before it opened. Waiting outside were me — and 7-8 elderly (to put it kindly) ladies waiting for access to the grocery store.

But before you make any jokes at my expense, believe me, I’ve heard them all from friends here. But like most things, don’t knock the granny cart till you’ve tried it.

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