Hug Your Rhinovirus

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.