Thursday Bag o’ Updates

IMG_6752Donna’s at her annual sewing guild retreat, partying with friends, free from the demands of kitchen, hearth, husband, and dogs. She might get some projects finished, but it’s more likely she’ll come home with ideas for new ones.

Monday afternoon we drove separate cars to the northwest Tucson resort where the retreat’s being held. One of the other attendees, Donna’s friend Millie, was driving down from upstate with a couple of dozen eggs from the Queen Creek ranch where she lives. I was there to collect said eggs, saving Donna an extra trip across town … which is why I happened to be there to take this photo of the bellhop helping Donna unload equipment from her car. The retreat wraps up tomorrow, Friday, and Donna will be home again.

Anyway, they always have a big dinner Thursday evening, prepared by whatever resort they’re at that year, with spouses and guests invited. Our friend Mary Anne and I are driving there together, as we’ve done in past years. I’m actually looking forward to it, especially since Mary Anne has an early flight Friday morning and doesn’t want to stay late. I never want to stay late, but hate being the first to say it’s time to go home.

In an Air-Minded post a couple of days back, I wrote about a new-to-me (and every other current and former F-15 pilot) shoulder patch associated with the F-15EX Eagle II project. It’s a redesign of the “Eagle Driver” patch familiar to anyone involved with F-15s, but says “Phoenix Driver” instead. In an early version of my post, one that didn’t make the final cut, I wondered if Phoenix is an in-house factory name for the Eagle’s replacement. A commenter who sounds like he knows what he’s talking about tells me that indeed, Boeing’s internal name for the F-15EX project is “Rapid Phoenix.” Given that the U.S. Air Force has already given the F-15EX an official name, the Eagle II, I don’t see Phoenix ever being much more than an in-house Boeing label.

I talked Donna into letting me order a larger display case for my watch collection, one with 12 slots for watches and a drawer for extra bands and straps. It came yesterday, but Donna says I must wait for Fathers’ Day to open the package. I also got a replica branded buckle for the strap I use on my old Breitling. As you can see, I’m not waiting for Fathers’ Day for that one.

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Most bands and straps now come with quick-release springbars, so you don’t have to use watchmaker tools to take them off or put them on, but that’s not true of buckles. For those you need a springbar tool, and buckles being rather small, concentration and patience in large doses. I’m getting better at replacing and swapping buckles, clumsy hands and all, and it’s been a few weeks since a tiny springbar has launched itself across the room, never to be found again.

Did I mention the new box holds 12 watches? I have 11. I’ve narrowed my hunt for a 12th (and final yeah right) watch down to 6 candidates, 3 automatic and 3 quartz, all around $200, and hoping I can make it happen for my birthday in October. First, though, I have to have The Talk with Donna. Which I dread. Then again, she may come home from the retreat with the hots for a new machine or piece of equipment, so this weekend may be a good time to broach the subject.

Lulu and Fritzi still take daily doses of fluconazole for valley fever, but we’re hoping they’ve kicked it and we can quit spending money on their prescriptions. We took them in for blood titer tests last Saturday and should get the results this weekend. Here they are with Donna at the animal hospital.


We don’t take our dogs to the dog park any more. That’s where they all got valley fever in the first place, and we don’t want to relive that experience, which was hell on all of us but especially them.

Speaking of prescriptions, as Donna and I get older we take more and more pills. Twenty years ago, we got our prescriptions at the satellite pharmacy on base. We had to queue up with other grey-haired retirees to get them, but hey, they were free. Then we learned about Tricare Express Scripts, which would mail your prescriptions to you at no cost, and switched over. Then Express Scripts added a small surcharge for “shipping and handling,” $4 per prescription at first, then $12 (and for one of my AFIB medications $35 for 90 days’ worth), and we found it cheaper to start getting meds at Walgreens and Costco with Medicare. But now, as I mentioned, we’re at the age where between us we have a lot of prescriptions, and the co-pays add up to serious money. So we’re back to the base, where retirees still get prescriptions and refills for free, one of the great things about a military career, and would you believe they’ve automated the process and the long lines are gone? True, we have to drive to the base and back to get our pills, a co-pay in itself, but since we still buy most of our groceries at the commissary on base should be able to combine prescription and grocery runs.

I don’t know. My friends tell me they like these domestic posts better than the ones where I rant and rave, but I have to say something to the tourists who put a baby elk in their car at Yellowstone National Park last week. To wit: what the fuck is wrong with you?

Okay, that’s it. Stay fresh, cheese bags!

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