Hug Your Rhinovirus

On February 21, 2007 by Eden M. Kennedy

A company recently sent me a sample of their product, a set of different fruit-flavored liquids sealed in small plastic vials that you can add to children’s medicines to make them palatable to those who prefer jelly beans to beaujolais. I believe most children’s medicines are already fruit flavored? The over-the-counter stuff is, but maybe there are pediatric conditions that still require the prescription of syrups that taste like old tires and turpentine. My point, however, is that it’s very nice to be sent free stuff, but just in case you’re tempted to mail me anything edible, keep in mind that I did and will continue to decline to put into my or my guinea pig’s child’s mouth any tempting but mysterious fluids that arrive unsolicited in my P.O. box. Sorry, flavor-making company.

BUT, as an added bonus to the flavor stuff (and from a different, non-link-soliciting manufacturer*) came a brilliant blue plush blob with two black plastic eyes that immediately won Jackson’s heart. I looked at the label sewn into the seam of what appeared to be the blob’s butt; it said, “Common Cold.”

*So now I’m going to link them, oh, the irony.

“Look, honey,” I said, “someone sent you a stuffed rhinovirus.”*

*That’s not the link, by the way.

Naturally, Jackson lost interest in his stuffed microbe ten minutes later and, thus abandoned, it rolled off the couch and into Cookie’s waiting mouth, where it was pretty much chewed into blue plush rhinovirus paste. When I found it under the bed a day later and showed it to Jackson he shed some tears about the willful destruction of what had become his “very favorite toy in the whole world!” (??) So, like the doting mom I am, I promised a replacement microbe, and I went to the plush rhinovirus’s web site and OMFG! GIANT MICROBES!*

*THAT’s the link.

On a somewhat related shopping note, I also just wanted to mention my very important recent discovery of the T.J. Maxx store in Oxnard. Despite its somewhat embarrassing ye-olde-seventies-marketing-department name, its middle-class values suit me perfectly: the store is stuffed with half-price brand name goods; its no-frills linoleum-and-fluorescent interior is reassuringly thrifty; the employees are more cheerful and engaged than you’d expect for the wage they’re probably making; and there’s an In-N-Out right across the parking lot! Score.

I’m telling you this because I was down to one pair of acceptable jeans, and since my current uniform is jeans and a turtleneck (winter) or jeans and a t-shirt (summer), having more than one pair of a recent vintage is somewhat crucial, if only to keep me out of those pink velour sweatpants I bought at the Gap five years ago.

So I found the portion of a rack that held jeans in my size and grabbed eight different pairs to try on. Ten minutes later I burst out of the dressing room triumphantly wielding a pair of Lee boot cuts and some Lucky Brand regular fit dungarees. The woman running the changing area popped open a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and we danced on top of the half-price Valentine’s day knicknacks table while the stock room boys threw irregular training bras at our feet.

The Lee’s are cute on me; the Lucky jeans are more of what some catalogues would call a “boyfriend” cut — a little looser, I guess, for the boxer short crowd? Although I have to say, as many beds as I’ve dropped my boots next to for the night, I don’t think I ever borrowed so much as a muscle shirt from a boy. I don’t know if I should hold it as a point of pride or anything, but I always left wearing my own pants.



61 Responses to “Hug Your Rhinovirus”

  • I buy my jeans in Spain, which sounds and is excessive from a carbon-footprint point of view, but it’s the only nearby country that acknowledges women with thighs.

    I last went a couple of Christmases ago, and found Mango jeans that looked and felt perfect. I did the celebratory bra-throwing champagne dance you speak of and bought three pairs, all of which have now been worn to death.

    I am wearing trailer-trash sweatpants as I type.

  • I prefer to do all my shopping at Target. Five-dollar t-shirts and $20 jeans? That’ll work.

  • I am wearing pajama bottoms, which is a frequent uniform since the weather and ennui prevents me from leaving the house much. and i also always left with my own pants, but my sweater was almost always inside out. my mother would be so proud.

  • The other difficult thing about British jeans? They have some “pre-worn” shit going on so that they look like you wet yourself while having your trousers worried by a dog. I can’t wait for that look to be over and out of the shops. Sigh.

  • At 5’9, 120 pounds in college (tall and relatively trim), I never had a boyfriend whose jeans I could fit into. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to take their clothes anyway–you ever see/smell the laundry of 18-24 year olds? It was bad enough getting into their beds.

  • no pictures of the cute jeans?

  • We have about 8 of those GiantMicrobes at work…of course I am a med tech and work in a lab, so it allllll makes sense.

  • As much as the pursuit of the perfect jeans is really a pet topic for me, I just cannot get past this new knowledge that the common cold 1) evolved from Jigglypuff 2) at Stanford. I learn something new every time I come here.

  • I never borrowed boyfriends’ jeans, (doesn’t happen often when you date people a foot taller than you) do cop to occasionally ‘borrowing’ a t-shirt or sweater, just for the fresh-washed boy smell.

    My husband occasionally will fondly reminisce about the good old days when girls used to ‘steal’ his jeans.

    Ironically, my legs are longer than his, so borrowing his jeans is simply not an option. Do you ever go down to Nordstrom rack? They have *NEW* jeans that start at $30.

  • You only had to try on 8 pairs, which yielded 2? You sure are Lucky!

    Get it?

    No really, get it?

  • “Look, honey,” I said, “someone sent you a stuffed rhinovirus.”

    This is funny. No, this is Funny. You crack me up.

    I am no longer welcome at TJ Maxx, after two-year-old Ben, stuck in the changing room while I tried on those same jeans, I swear, yelled, first and not unpleasantly, “Truck,” followed by a good ten minutes of something that rhymes with ‘truck’ but is not nearly as pleasant.

  • I love the microbes! We got the flu, salmonella(!), and mad cow disease for Christmas… and have you seen the flesh-eating bacteria, with its cute little knife and fork? hee hee! We love them (but that probably means we’re incurable geeks).

  • There’s something poetic about a stuffed rhinovirus. Wife and little ones have been stuffed with rhinoviri for the past week; kinda makes me wonder what our buddy Rhiny there is stuffed with.

  • Giant Microbes is my favorite site. My favorite would have to be Syphillis.
    At home, we play “catch the cold/flu!”

  • I hate the say this but I wish I had the Common Cold. Ahhhhhh!

  • I have Salmonella! On the shelf with my canned goods!

  • I just found those microbe-things the other day through somebody else’s blog, but I can’t remember who… my son and I spent a while perusing them but we couldn’t figure out which one we liked best so we didn’t order any.

    I have to admit that I probably stole an article of clothing from everyone whose bed I dropped my boots next to. I like T-shirts that belong to guys. Actually, that belong to anyone who isn’t me. It’s a weird quirk of mine.

  • We have the stuffed rhinovirus sitting on the TV in the living room. It belongs to my husband. As a baby gift, he sent a friend the plush flesh-eating virus. Interestingly enough and unbeknownst to us, her office had recently had troubles with that particular virus. She was more appreciative of the fuzzy kind.

  • We have the little pink stuffed bedbug – which for the longest time my child called her “pink fider” (rhymes with spider).

    And I think I need to go to Spain for jeans – jeans for people with thighs! Who knew?

  • Through my teenage years I outweighed my boyfriends by usually 100lbs, by my twenties nothing hung on my hip bones right…where was “Intervention” back then HUH?

    So when I saw jeans two years ago labeled ‘BOYFRIEND’ at Old Navy…I bought six flippin pair. Yes!

    “I got my boyfriends jeans on y’all!”

    Maybe not, sorry.

  • I have some sort of magic ass that has enabled me to wear almost anyone’s pants — from my 5’6,” tight rocker-jean wearing ex-boyfriend (I’m 5’9″ and have, as they say, “back”) to my current beau, who has obscenely long legs and hips like narrow brackets (as opposed to my parenthetically shaped bottom). All pants become equal when I put them on.

    Unless, of course, I am trying them on in a dressing room, in which case they shrink four sizes and attempt to asphyxiate my thighs. Freakin’ pants. To Spain I go!

  • Must. Get. Microbes. Now.

    Husband is a scientist and daughter is a proto-scientist.

  • A friend of mine has a couple of the stuffed venereal disease ones. They’re so fun!

  • I can laugh my ass off about Mad Cow, Rhinovirus, and Lyme Disease, but shit! Salmonella hits too close to home. Three of the worst weeks of my life. But, the Syphilis looks like its worth sharing with friends.

  • I still have several shirts that I stole from boyfriends. But I wouldn’t touch their pants with a very long pole.

  • I do not think microbes should made to be cute. Should they?

  • It’s best to say that the way I “dropped my boots next to someone’s bed” really just ended up with me taking my panties home in my purse. I’m not sure which is worse.

    But I always left with my panties.

  • No Giant Microbes here, we’ve had enough of the regular sized ones to last a lifetime.

    I got such a laugh out of generally leaving with your own jeans. Then I wound up here, and I can truly say that I always left with my jeans and my panties.

    Go me!

  • I bought my mother the common cold microbe once. She loved it. Some of the other ones are a bit creepy, though.

  • Love the giant microbes. My son has the dust mite. He’s called Derek. The dust mite, not my son.

  • My old roommate got me the ebola virus for christmas two years ago. it’s not nearly as cute as rhinovirus. it kind of looks like stuffed poop.

  • T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s and Target, oh my! I had a fantastic shopping experience at those stores this weekend too. Love ‘em.

    My husband is a chem prof. and one of his colleague’s father works at the CDC and she has a sweet collection of stuffed microbes.

    And yes, I will be booking a ticket to Spain in search of the Holy Grail, jeans that fit women with *GASP* thighs.

  • i am a little scared to post this in my first comment to you, but, er, i HAVE THE PLUSH EBOLA VIRUS!!

    but what’s even better, i have a lovely photo of my jack’s batman overtaking ebola, and now i must dig it out and send it your way. the yogabeans might take a lesson here.

  • I saw the Giant Microbes before Christmas and managed to buy HIV for my partner (She is the HIV Coordinator for the MN Dept. of Health). I wanted to get all of the sexually transmitted diseases for her but, you know, we were going to her mother’s for Christmas.

  • Okay, I would call that a perfect post.

    I found those microbes while doing a “reference question of the day” on whether we should feed a cold and starve a fever.

    We should always feed, says the article I used.

    I wish jeans could be my uniform.

  • ‘we make soft toys that look like tiny micro-organisms’. i wish i’d been a fly on the wall when they went to tell the bank manager about that idea

  • I think I have those pink velour Gap pants, too. Grey and white waist band? I lived in those that year, sadly enough.

    The local Ross Dress For Less, that a lot of s’ss, is a freakin’ madhouse. It’s the only discount retailer in Hawaii (other than a far away outlet mall) and you can barely get a spot in the parking lot most days. But the Bionicles are really cheap.

  • We gave the heartworm microbe to the dog as a dog toy; it’s been remarkably durable and best of all, the eyes are embroidered on, so she can’t chew them off and choke on them.

    We also have Lyme Disease, Ebola, the common cold, and the bookworm. Lyme Disease is my favorite.

  • What I wouldn’t do to beam back to my boot-dropping days and place a plush little gonorrhea virus on my bed pillow. Oh what fun that would have been.

    In my version of heaven there is a Ross (where I have always been luckier than TJM) and an In-n-out on every corner. I trust you know how bloody lucky you are.

  • We have the stomach virus! Plush microbes are much nicer than the real thing.

    And a word of warning to those of you hoping to find curve-fitting pants in Spain: don’t bother. I lived there last year, and unless you are coming from the UK (Antonia) those pants are NOT made for ladies with thighs. Not American thighs anyway… A US size 10-12 is considered a “plus” size in Spain. Even my Spanish friends complained about this.

    Also, Mango and Zara — the two big Spanish clothing chains — are both in New York now, or so I hear. I’m stuck in Southern California, so I wouldn’t know…

  • Thank you, Mrs. Kennedy, for having the perfect post, and the perfect comments. I loved the vicarious thrill of shopping with you. Target, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx are faves, and I have recently discovered our local consignment store, Spanky’s. It’s way too much fun.

    I love all the comments, too. Nora will forever be “Magic Ass” to me now.

  • I confess to stealing and wearing boyfriend jeans several times, as well as inheriting jeans from my friend’s gay hairdresser’s older brother.

    And I just donated an old pair of my boots (damn pregnancy foot growth) and found a pair of panties in one of the toes. Good times.

  • Oh, Giant Microbes is great. I sent Rabies and Mange to my dog back home.

    Shopping and trying on clothes is such a horrible thing that I just buy the same things over and over. I even had my mom send me a new package of bras from Price Club (9 bucks for three bras! It doesn’t get much more low-maintenance than that!) because I couldn’t handle the thought of bra-shopping in France.

  • Oh dear, I am a germ phobe, didn’t even click the link. I am still shaking from my daughter taking a teaspoon to our lab’s backside as if it were a grapefruit.
    But on the bargain front, have you ever heard of Unclaimed Baggage? Even for the consummate bargain hunter, it’s crossing a line.
    Love hearing happy jean endings!

  • But if you don’t ever wind up with one of his shirts, what do you return bitterly at the end of the relationship?

  • I got mystery fowers on Valentines Day. …had me thinking back but I never quite put it like this……” as many beds as I’ve dropped my boots next to for the night,” OMG you are hilarious!

  • The Giant Microbes? I believe I must have each and every one, save that fly and mosquito combo…ewww.

  • “The woman running the changing area popped open a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and we danced on top of the half-price Valentine’s day knicknacks table while the stock room boys threw irregular training bras at our feet.”

    This happens to me ALL the time. I love TJ’s as we call it here in Boston.

  • Oh, I am totally getting my husband The Clap for his birthday.

  • We gave everyone Giant Microbes for Christmas this year. It was a huge hit for almost everyone. My mom got offended at the dust mite, though.

    I carry Lyme disease on my scooter (medical kind, not cool kid kind), and gave one to my doctor, who loved it.

  • My little girl got the mononucleosus (sp?) one on a trip to the natural history museum with her science-minded dad.

    And TJ Maxx? You’re right, it’s a little 70s minded in name, but the clothes usually rock.

    (Except pants? I am surprised you don’t need a Long, which I have yet to find at the Maxx.)

  • Thanks for the MicroPhobe link! We always play some stupid gift exchange game at my husband’s work Christmas party and they always bring boring gifts…like a candle. I always try to find the most ridiculous things. This will definitely be bookmarked for next season.

  • I have seen those little stuff critters and love them. I would like the pimple and bookworm. I am geeky that way.

    I can’t buy jeans at TJs, I gotta shop at the “big lady store” – Lane Bryant. I love my Venzia jeans.

    This is one of the best posts ever!

  • Why can I not picture you in pink velour sweatpants at all?

  • My friend gave my kids both ebola AND syphilis one Christmas. They seemed really cute, until my daughter took her sypihilis to Kindergarten for Show and Tell. Needless to say, we did a LOT of prep-work beforehand, saying over and over again, “it’s like a germ, like the measles,like chicken pox. Just a germ Hahaha!” and also gave the teacher a head’s up.

    It went over well, but it seemed like an awful lot of work for a stuffed germ!

  • A giant virus?!? Fantastic. Could be a mascot for our whole household in winter.

    Oh, and I hate the pre-worn look in jeans too. My last pair of Diesels are falling to pieces and replacing them is getting tricky. Shows how long since I last bought a pair. (Hey, guys have jeans issues too!)

  • We have a stuffed yeast blob, thanks to Mayberry Mom’s husband. It was intended to be a beer-making talisman, but since moving out here where good beer is so readily available. No need to brew!

    And after the charming sales-teenagers at Nordstrom, I’m ready to try TJ Maxx for jeans. Thanks for the tip.

  • Giant microbes!!!! So funny!!!

    I’m dying for my own stuffed Mange, though the Mad Cow is pretty cute, too, and surprisingly cow-colored. And who could resist a little Black Death?

    Hilarious. Thank you.

    I always find great things at T.J. Maxx (which is owned by TJM, which owns Marshalls and Home Goods, BTW, which is why they all carry kind of overlapping inventory), but I never even try to buy jeans anywhere but L. L. Bean. Bean’s jeans are largely fashion-proof, which is an attribute I came to treasure most as belly-and-butt-crack-baring styles began to infest and overwhelm all clothing design trends right at the same time I veered into the middle of middle age (and everything that comes with it, including a big fat middle). They are always pretty much the same price (around $30 a pair, I think), they pretty much always fit, they make my butt look as good as it’s going to, and they come with a lifetime guarantee. I cannot say enough good things about them.

  • In the allergists office today, not one but two stuffed beings that made disgusting phlegm clearing sounds. What is with the desire to make stuffed things that sound…stuffed?

    Congrats on the jean experience!

  • When I have kids, I’m giving the ulcer one to their teachers every year.

  • Wow, stuffed viruses and jeans shopping in the same entry…I was ready to go to Spain, but alas.

    No short people complaining here, but I’ve found that I’m so short that low rise petite jeans still come up to my belly button. Anybody else with this issue?? Just looking for something that doesn’t hug my armpits. Have one pair of Lees that come close but the waist still sticks out all the way around my actual “hips”. Help! I need a new brand!