Husband or Shopping Cart?

November 13, 2002

When the hubby and I go out shopping on the week-end I often take a couple of handmade bags and leave my utility cart (sometimes known as “the old lady buggy”) in the hall closet. My regular column readers will know that we don’t own a vehicle and we are often out on foot together:well Larry’s “on wheels”, but you know what I mean! Since I know we’re going to be stared at anyway because Larry’s in a wheelchair, they might as well stare at the guy being used as a shopping cart too!

Now first, let’s discuss this utility cart. I’m a proud owner of this cheap gizmo and I’m not going to tell anyone anything else. When my shoulders ache from carrying to many groceries or doing too many chores it’s wonderful to stick tote-able items in this sucker and pull it along behind me. I only have one real beef; I wish I could find a way to walk at my usual stride without clipping myself in the heel. Ouch! And it looks stupid to stumble on nothing. (Use comic David Brenner’s solution”?go back and look thoughtfully at something on the ground, maybe warn someone as they go by “it”).

This buggy has had almost as many comments from people going by as my hand-made jackets did. One jacket was a complicated European pattern with gull wing sleeves all knit on one needle. I got so many comments and compliments! The other is my winter jacket and I took the time to put my company name on it at an embroidery store. Since my main focus at the time was video, I added a film thread and camera! For five years since I’ve had people on C-Trains and line-ups noticing that simple addition.

The cart gets comments of “where did you get that!? I’ve been trying to find one.” Well in my case it was in the house wares section of Wal-Mart. I’m now using the material section to pick some sturdy plastic to make a better liner. That crappy one I sent away for is made of material and has been chewed up in the wheels because the material slides around. I’m turning into a regular Martha Stewart here! (Hmmm:if she winds up in jail do you think I should take over her show? Nah! The husband jokes that Canadian catch phrase would be “It’s an Okay thing:”)

Now the discussion of the husband’s lap side of this: I am delighted to say that my husband is always game to help if he can. So few women have said that to me! Anyway, he comes shopping with me in good weather. Now that the winter temperatures and snow are approaching it becomes more difficult to haul him through the snow so it’s just easier to get a bit at a time or tackle the buggy.

Using Larry as a buggy is kind of odd and it wasn’t my idea. He originally offered when we were dating. He explained that the girls in his class at NAIT used his lap as a handy purse holder in between classes! (Incidentally, if you know of a wheelchair-confined person this isn’t a standard among those in chairs, so ask first please and thank you.) Anyway, it soon became a handy carrying area and I now plunk the grocery store basket on his lap and place items in as we roll round the aisles. I have to remember that he can’t tell when things aren’t going to stay or it all plops on the ground and I scurry chasing apples! He usually winds one arm around the push handle of his chair for his own balance and therefore can’t insure the basket’s balance issues.

I’ve handled luggage at the airport, groceries and moving twice with this husband’s handy dandy lap and I think it’s a lovely addition to my life. I have to confide that Larry and I have a little lovey-dovey thing where I constantly say, “I shall have to thank you for the use of your lap.” Well, you get the idea what the thank you is! After all he doesn’t have to offer his lap.

So it’s nice of him to come with me and help my poor little shoulders and it’s a romantic lead in.

Perhaps you can think of a way to get your (presumably able-bodied man) a little more involved:just a little “thank you” (ahem:wink) does help–after all we are “polite Canadians” aren’t we?

Laura Seymour first published herself, at age 8. She has since gone on to publish a cookbook for the medical condition of Candida. She is working toward her B.A. (Psyc).

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