Burning Desire For FIRE

Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #58.

What’s top of my mind: I’m getting tired.

People sling off at teachers, especially about the long holidays we have. But I’m telling you – we need them.

Teaching isn’t a job where you can coast… if you try it, you’ll rue the day because the kids will simply start walking all over you. Every day you have to be switched on. High energy and with your game face on. It’s fun, but it certainly takes it out of you. There’s a reason why teachers find that we tend to get sick as soon as holidays come; we’re running on empty by that stage.

I’ve reached the point in the term where there are less than 3 weeks to go. I’ve noticed that it’s far more tempting to get takeaway. The dinners I’m now making are far more likely to be frozen schnitzels or fish fillets with some veggies all thrown in the oven, rather than the salads I was making earlier in the year, which are lovely but require a lot more prep time.

Coincidentally, this morning as I was leaving for work, I opened the gates and my neighbour, who is a Drama and English teacher at another school, was just about to get into her car. We had a quick chat, and she asked, “Are you trired?” When I nodded, she said, “I’m absolutely knackered!” So it isn’t just me.

I’m looking forward to getting the more sedate retirement pace back.

Where I’ve been: dress shopping.

Yes, the shop that Mum mentioned turned out to be a winner.

I walked into Southland, turned where the escalator is and strode straight to it. There was an outfit in the window that looked great. I went in, looked at the different colour options, tried one on and BAM! It was done.

I was in and out in less than 10 minutes.

(I may need to buy shoes and possibly a bag, but that’s Future Frogdancer’s problem.)

Where I’m going: to David29 and Izzy’s first home!

Can you believe that these two people, who are getting married in 4 weeks, have never lived in a house that hasn’t been run by parents?

I’m over the moon that they’ve finally been able to find a place to call their own. I was getting worried that they’d come back from their honeymoon and go home to Izzy’s parents’ place. The rental market in Melbourne is impossibly tight – it was only that one of Izzy’s cousins was finding that affording the mortgage on the apartment he bought was too hard. He’s moving back home and David29 and Izzy are moving in.

It’s a win/win – he gets to keep up the mortgage payments, while the kids will get to have a reference for their next place.

It’s not what you know, but who you know!

What I’m reading: Our Missing Hearts – Celeste Ng.

What a lovely writer Celeste Ng is. This is her third novel and I’m a third of the way in. I’m loving it.

It’s reading books like this that make me so glad that each English lesson at my school starts with 10 minutes of silent reading. 5 X 10 minutes X 2 classes = 100 minutes of reading that I’m getting paid for!!!!

What I’m watching: The school’s General Assembly.

One very good thing that’s come out of all the lockdowns we went through is that the General Assemblies are now live-streamed, so if you’re not a form teacher, you can watch from anywhere.

I’m at my desk, listening through headphones and switching to the visual if something is interesting enough.

What I’m eating: easy stuff.

See above.

What I’m planning: What to do with the veggie garden for winter.

I really need to get out there and start putting more beds to sleep for the winter. Many beds have plants at the end of their runs that need to be chopped and dropped, then snuggled up with fertiliser, mushroom compost, autumn leaves and pea straw.

I still haven’t dragged out the mini greenhouse from the shed and so I still haven’t started any seeds for winter crops. I need to get my arse into gear.

Who needs a good slap: my next-door neighbours.

Would it kill them to train their staffy to shut up?

What has made me smile: Mum and Dad’s shopping trip.

Yesterday I went to see Mum and Dad after work, but no one was home. Later, we were talking on the phone and it seems that they were out shopping for a brand-new lounge suite.

They’re going to have all the bells and whistles. Electric reclining armchairs, all leather… they won’t know themselves.

I said to her, “Considering all the time you’re spending at home now, you might as well get it all set up the way you want.”

“Yes, this will see us out in the last 10 years of our lives,” Mum said. “It’ll certainly get more use than any other lounge suite we’ve ever had!”

This couple has been frugal all their lives. It’s good to see them replace the ugly fake leather lounge that they got from Marketplace a couple of years ago. This new lounge sounds like they’ll absolutely enjoy it – especially the recliners for those pesky afternoon naps that just seem to sneak up on you.

Dad joke of the day:

My grief counselor died.

He was so good I didn’t even care.

Wednesday W’s #57.

What’s top of my mind: Getting all my correction done.

This is so much ‘top of mind’ that it wasn’t until I was getting into bed last night that I realised what day it was and that I’d forgotten to put out a Wednesday W’s post on time. Poppy woke me at 5:30 AM so I’m tapping away on my laptop now. Better late than never!

Where I’ve been: Mooroopna.

After 7 weeks, my little doggie visitors are back with their Mum. I drove them down on Saturday – a round trip that takes 7 hours – and they were all so happy to be together again. Silver danced through the house like a puppy.

Where I’m going: to look for a wedding dress.

I ordered a lovely silk dress online at the beginning of January to wear to David29 and Izzy’s wedding. Unfortunately, it’s in China and all the covid lockdowns have clearly affected the company, because 10 weeks later, I still don’t have the dress.

Mum said she saw some dresses at a shop in Southland that she said “looked like me”, so I’m going to go after work one day soon to have a look for myself. The wedding is only 4 weeks away.

What I’m reading:The Family Inheritance’ by Stringer

I’m listening to this as an audiobook and it’s quite good. Interesting enough that it makes the commute seem to go faster, to the point where I look forward to hearing the next installment as I approach my car.

In another note, DON’T read the latest John Irving novel, The Last Chairlift. Dear God in heaven, it was dull. It’s a 900 page book that should have been edited down to about 600 pages. It has interesting moments, but it was an incredibly hard slog to finish. Be warned!

What I’m watching: The latest season of ‘Outlander.’

I was so happy when season 6 unexpectedly dropped on Netflix. I adore the books – apparently there’s one more to come – but they’ve also done a good job with the tv show. I love some Jamie and Claire!

What I’m listening to: Jeffrey snoring.

The dogs have all gone back to sleep.

What I’m eating: Not beans.

I was watering the veggie garden on the weekend and I got to the bean vines on the wicking bed at the back. I was idly looking at it, looking to see how many beans were left, when I saw a tiny whiskery face at eye level with me within the tangle of vines.

I yelped and threw the cucumber I was holding at it. It disappeared.

Now I know who ate all my apples in the backyard. Still, as you can see from the photo above, my pumpkins all survived in the front yard. 🙂

What I’m planning: the rodent’s demise.

Deep Green Permaculture has a couple of really good posts about trapping and baiting rodents.

“Rather than risk pets and wildlife, a better option is to bait rats and mice using an environmentally safe, home-made bait that uses bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). This exploits a unique feature of rat and mouse biology, their inability to burp or vomit, to create an effective rodent control.”

This might be the go, as I don’t want the dogs to get hold of a poisoned rodent.

Who needs a good slap: Me, for being an English teacher.

Remember all of that marking I mentioned earlier? Half of my classes are English; half History. Guess which set of marking is FAR quicker?

What has made me smile: Payday.

I’ve now earned the money for my 2-week tour of Ireland. Next payday will be taking care of accommodation in the last week and some spending money. Yay!

Today is day 35/50 of the term. I’m on the downhill slide now!

Dad joke of the day:

Pretty boozy at last night’s Middle Earth masquerade.

I wasn’t the only one who was Legolas.

Wednesday W’s #56.

What’s top of my mind: My doggie visitors.

The photo above shows Jeffrey sleeping on the couch next to his Mum, with Silver at the back.

Where I’ve been: On yard duty.

I have yard duty twice a week. Wednesday’s is in a section of the school called ‘South’, a thin strip of concrete totally in shadow all the time from the 4-story building that is the actual school. It’s cold and a breeze is usually blowing through it, though the garden along the back boundary cheers it up a bit.

Last year it wasn’t a very popular place for the kids to go – only the loners and weird kids would hang there, which actually made it quite a good place to do the slow-paced ‘yard duty walk’ up and down. These sorts of kids are the quirky and interesting ones. This year it’s far more popular.

Where I’m going: Phillip Island.

My friend Blogless Helen, who I went to North Korea with back in 2018, reads my blogs. When I said that I was planning nothing last week, she was outraged. So a few of us are going down to her holiday house on Phillip Island at the end of April.

When I was a kid, we used to go to Inverloch, a little further up the road, every school holidays to visit my grandparents, who retired up there. So it’s a little like revisiting the past.


What I’m reading: ‘Die With Zero’ by Bill Perkins

Last year, I was driving to work, listening to Aussie Firebugs pod with the author of ‘Die With Zero. I’d vaguely heard of the book before, but never really taken much notice. However, I really enjoyed the interview and it was very lucky for Tom30 that I listened to it – Perkins advocates giving $$ to adult kids when they need it; not simply leaving it all to them when you die. Tom30 was in the throes of house-hunting and I ended up giving him 15K towards his deposit. (5K of that was the amount I’ve earmarked towards helping each boy with a wedding, while 10K was my emergency fund at the time. Of course, I’ll be doing this for the other kids too.)

I finally got around to ordering this book from the library after it came up in conversations with Charlie from Antarctica and another guy from work.

I’m about a third of the way in and I’m thinking that there’s nothing new here – I got it all from the podcast. Still, I’m pushing on. There may be a pearl of wisdom or two still to be discovered.

What I’m watching: OUTLANDER season 6!!!!!!!!!!

It’s finally on Netflix. I’m so happy.

What I’m listening to: ‘The Party Crasher’ by Sophie Kinsella.

I’m listening to this on 1.5 speed just to get through it.

The protagonist is the most immature 26-year-old I’ve ever read and she’s very annoying. It’s a chick-lit ‘madcap’ light read, but just when I start getting sucked in to what’s going on, something unbelievable is done or said and I’m annoyed again.

What I’m eating: Hard-boiled eggs and a salad for lunch.

Quickly thrown together this morning. I prefer a light lunch, especially with my home-grown cucumber and tomatoes.

What I’m planning: Nothing.

Haha! That was just for Blogless Helen’s benefit.

Who needs a good slap: Kids who are away during a Learning Task.

Argh! So annoying!

Yesterday I gave a history learning task (a piece of work that is marked and goes on the kids’ reports) to my year 9 class. SIX of them were absent. That’s a lot of kids to chase up. I really want to have all of these marked before Friday, when my other 3 classes submit their first learning tasks. The correcting has begun in earnest.

What has made me smile: The Mother/Son song at the wedding.

David29 popped in on Sunday and stayed for over an hour, so we had a lovely chat up and chinwag. He brought up the topic of an appropriate song for a mother/son dancer at the wedding.

I said, “What about The Angels, “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?” and he instantly replied with, “No way, get fucked, fuck off!!” and we both laughed.

“Imagine Izzy’s family’s faces if we did?” I said.

(For overseas readers, this is a fantastic song, but it’s an Aussie tradition to yell the “get fucked’ thing every time the question is asked in the song. It’s asked a lot, so it’s kind of fun.)

This morning I woke up with the PERFECT song in my head. Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like a Rock.” I used to use this as a lullaby for the boys when they were babies.

Dad joke of the day:

What do you call a man who gets botox in his face?


When does the annoyance outweigh the money?

It’s an interesting thought exercise for someone like me who has taken on some work after retirement – when is it time to pull the pin on doing this?

Today is the halfway point of my full-time teaching gig for term 1 at my old school. I have a teaching load divided evenly between English and History and all of the classes are were lovely. I know the English course very well and could almost teach it blindfolded, while the year 8 History class is covering Medieval Europe – I love this.

Then there’s the year 9 History class. They’re doing Australian history, not my favourite thing, but the class was nice and there was only one slightly feral kid in there. He was pretty much on his own though, so it wasn’t a big thing.

And then they introduced a new kid into the class…

It’s amazing how in a group of 28 kids, introducing one new kid can change the dynamic of the whole class. Every teacher reading this will know exactly what I mean.

A week ago, there was a strange boy sitting in the middle of the room.

“Hello Miss, I’m new,” he said.

Then he proceeded to try and talk about Adolf Hitler at the top of his lungs. I gently pointed out that Hitler wasn’t alive when the First Fleet was landing, and after a bit more back and forth he decided to pipe down. It wasn’t the most auspicious beginning. Each day, he was getting a little louder and a bit harder to shut down, while the original naughty kid was delighted to discover that he had a kindred spirit.

Yesterday, I had year 9 History straight after lunch. The class was loud, talkative, and unwilling to settle to work, while the two naughty boys were feeding off each other and performing for their audience.

I looked at them when they were waving their hands around, being utterly convinced that they were hilarious, and thought, “You know, I think I might be getting over having to deal with immature year 9 boys. After all, I don’t HAVE to be here…”

Of course, life being how it is, I’m typing this post while I’m sitting in front of the same class. They’re doing a practice learning task and so the room is deathly quiet. The new kid is writing, while the other one is probably drawing, once I took his laptop away from him. The rest of the class is diligently working – the kids might enjoy the new floor show that arrived last week but they still want to do well on their assessment tasks.

I had a nice interaction with the new kid as he handed his work in – he has a really lovely smile. There’s a good kid inside that annoying “I’m a new kid and I want to make my mark” guy.

Next week I know I’ll be wresting back my hold on the class, which can take a lot of energy. Ugh! Meanwhile, on the plus side I have my other classes who are all absolutely lovely. This situation with the two year-9 boys is in no way a deal-breaker. I know I’ll almost certainly still take CRT days (after a long break after finishing this stint!)

But I still think it’s an interesting question… when does something at work become too much to want to deal with, even when the pay is extremely generous and the work I do is in demand?

And how good is it to have financial independence? When I decide that enough is enough, I have the freedom to simply walk away and close this chapter of my life.

Dad joke of the day:

Which days are the strongest?

Saturday and Sunday.

All the rest are weak days.

Wednesday W’s #55.

What’s top of my mind: It’s day 24 today.

One more day to go before I’m officially at the halfway mark of workdays!!!!

I’m at the point in this contract where I’m at the boring middle point, where getting up and going to work has stopped being a novelty and has begun to be a chore.

I just have to push through… the last week is only 4 days long and two of those are parent/teacher interviews. Too easy!

Where I’ve been: Nowhere.

Remember how I was going for a drive in the country to return my friend’s dogs to her? That didn’t end up happening. I came home from work Friday, bathed all the dogs, then called her to check that it was still all good to take them back.

Turns out that as I was leaving a voicemail on her phone, she was listening to it as she was crawling along the floor to get to the front door to let the emergency services people in. She’d fallen in the kitchen and couldn’t get herself back up.

There are a couple of good things to this story.

The first is that she had the brains to have her emergency alarm actually on her person. How often do you hear of elderly people living on their own who don’t bother?

The second one is that she’s clearly not ready to have the dogs back yet. Imagine how awful it’d be if I drove up, left the dogs with her and then she tripped over them and ruined her knee? All three of them want to be back together again, but as the bard said, “Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.”

At least they’ve learned to sleep through the night.

Where I’m going: Nowhere.

Nothing planned for the foreseeable future.

What I’m reading: Strong Money Australia by Dave Gow.

I’m really enjoying this book. It’s written by the guy who writes the blog with the same name, When I first started becoming aware of how much I needed to learn about investing, I learned a lot from US blogs. However, at the time, Dave’s blog was one of the few Aussie blogs out there. It was so helpful to get the duck’s guts about how to move within OUR financial system – there are a lot of similarities with the US system but there are also some very important differences.

It’s rare to have a numbers guy who has the gift of being able to explain things so that even someone scared of numerals (that’s me) can understand. Anyway, I highly recommend this book.

What I’m watching: The Physical 100 on Netflix.

Because I’m working at the moment, I’m concentrating on Australian Survivor – George is playing the best game I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched every episode of both Australian and US Survivor – so I’m watching reality shows that require no mental bandwidth. This particular show is made in Korea and has some of the toughest challenges I think I’ve ever seen.

It’s perfect for pouring a glass of wine, settling on the couch with the dogs and mindlessly watching at the end of a long week.

What I’m listening to: a crazy French teacher talking with a not-so-crazy one.

Ahhh, staff room conversations! Later on in the term when the marking starts to flood in, these conversations slow right down. I can hear them from two desk rows away.

Time to pop on some headphones.

What I’m eating: a frozen apple pie from Aldi.

I don’t usually eat dessert, but last night while watching Survivor, I had the urge for a snack. I remembered that I bought a packet of 4 apple pies a few weeks ago and they were somewhere in the back freezer.

A few minutes in the air fryer and YUM. Hit the spot. I can go ages without using the air fryer but every once in a while, it’s the perfect appliance to use.

What I’m planning: nothing.

Nothing to see here…. move right along…

Who needs a good slap: the people who sold me my ‘mother of the groom’ dress.

It still hasn’t arrived. I’m not exactly panicking yet, but in another few weeks, I’ll have to swing into action and get a backup dress.

What has made me smile: Jeffrey.

Poppy and Scout are definitely the smartest dogs, particularly Scout. They run rings around Jeff. But Jeffrey is my ever-faithful, loving doofus. All he wants is to be next to me, or at the very least to have me in his line of sight.

This, and two meals a day is pretty much all he wants. He’s a beautiful boy.

Dad joke of the day:

So many people these days are too judgemental.

I can tell just by looking at them.

Wednesday W’s #54.

What’s top of my mind: The things we do for those we love.

Look what I brought home a few days ago! This ramp is for Scout. We have 2 couches in the lounge room and one already has a little footstool in front of it so she can get up and down without putting strain on her long dachshund back.

The other couch was left ‘as is’. I think that she must’ve tried to jump up on it one day and pulled the quilt down with her and had a fall, because suddenly she was filled with anxiety every time she wanted to jump up to sit in her spot by the window in the sun.

Clearly something had to be done. So now we have the ramp adding a practical air to the decor.

Look at this little face. How could I not do everything I can to make her happy?

Mournful Scout.

Where I’ve been: at a tarot reading.

Guess what everyone?

Love is in the air! (Apparently.)

There was a tarot reader at Izzy’s kitchen tea and she didn’t get around to giving readings to most of the guests. She offered to give 15-minute readings via zoom to anyone who missed out, and you all know how much I love a bargain.

As expected, once she heard that I was single, she kept pulling cards full of bare-chested romantic guys out from the packs left, right and centre, no matter how many times she shuffled them.

According to her, there’s a man who is looking to come into my life…

Poor guy. One can only feel pity for him.

Where I’m going: To Mum and Dad’s place after work.

It’s handy working where I am, as it’s close to where my parents live. I can drop in after work and have a quick chat before heading home.

What I’m reading: The Foundling by Stacey Halls.

I’ve just started this one and I’m quite liking it so far. I’ve brought it to work to read during the 10 minutes wide reading time we have at the beginning of each English class. It’s an easy read.

What I’m watching: Australian Survivor.

This season is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The gameplay is shi**ing all over the American version – the tribal councils have been amazing. Well worth watching.

What I’m listening to: The House by the Cerulean Sea.

Hmmm. I’m listening to this on audiobook. It’s very popular with many readers, but I have to admit that I’m a third of the way through and I really want to punch the protagonist. He’s so BORING.

If I was reading it I’d probably be at the end by now, so the boring beginning would have slipped by quickly. Listening to every word of Linus Baker’s wafflings and self-doubt and general wishy-washiness is becoming excruciating.

By all accounts it gets better, so I’ll keep on listening as I drive. With the long drive on Saturday to drop off the dogs, I should be done by the end of the week.

What I’m eating: Tuna mornay.

Someone from the Simple Savings forum posted this recipe. I looks as if it would hit the spot, so I’m making it tonight. Sometimes it’s the simple things that give you what you need…

What I’m planning: a road trip.

On Saturday I’ll be loading Silver and Elizabeth into the car and I’ll be driving to Mooroopna to drop them back with their Mum. They’ll have been with us for 5 and a half weeks by then. I know all three of them will be ecstatic to see each other again.

Who needs a good slap: Whoever moved the new kid into my quiet year 9 history class.

The dynamic has totally changed. Ugh.

What has made me smile: David29 and Izzy have found an apartment to rent!

Boy, it’s tough out there if you want to move out of home. David29 and Izzy have been looking for a place to move into for months and they keep on missing out. Until her cousin needed to move out of his apartment in a fabulous location in Chadstone. The great thing is that when he decides to move back in, he’ll be able to give them a reference and they’ll have a rental history.

It’s well past time for them to move out from her parents’ place and become independent. They can’t wait!

Dad joke of the day:

Little Adventures #17 – Feb 2023: Eastland.

I’ve lived in Melbourne my whole life and I’ve never been to Eastland. I’d heard of it, of course… a mythical shopping centre nestled somewhere far, far away. Then David29 fell in love with a girl who lives near it and it became his default shopping centre. So yesterday, all of his groomsmen and his Mum made the trek over there to buy the suits for the wedding.

I’ve had a break from the Little Adventures***, so this is a way of dipping my toe back in the water. First I was working, and then I was travelling. Now I’m working again – but only for 23 more workdays. Then the Little Adventures will be back, baby!!!

This post is not so much about going to a new place. This is a post about celebrating an event that’s new to me. It’s not every day that a Mum gets invited to their son’s wedding-suit-shopping day.

And here’s the son. This was a big job that has finally been ticked off his list. He discovered pretty quickly that trying to get people together for one simple shopping trip is pretty much like trying to herd cats. His best mate Dan was travelling in South-East Asia and only arrived back 2 days ago, while Evan26 is leaving tomorrow for Adelaide, where he’ll be performing his new show for the Fringe Festival there.

Sunday HAD to be the day.

This is Dan and his girlfriend. He and David29 have been mates since year 8 at school. These two are staying with me for a few days until their Air B&B is ready in Melbourne. It’s been so lovely catching up with Dan. He went to live in the US for a few years so now that he’s studying in Melbourne, it’s lovely to see him again.

Evan26 and Ryan28. It’s not often that I get to have the whole ‘set’ of sons with me in the one place, but Sunday was one of those times.

Tom31 and Evan26 (again.) These were all taken in the food court after the shopping was done. The boys looked dapper in their black suits and I think they’re all going to scrub up well on the day.

The night before, David29 and Izzy came over for dinner to meet Alena, Dan’s girlfriend.

We all ate together, then I retreated to the couch to play games on my laptop while they sat around the table playing a silly board game. It made me so happy to hear the laughter and talking that was going on between the four of them.

The words on David29’s hoodie say it all, I think. This is a friendship that has (and will) pass the test of time.

***I began Little Adventures when I retired. The idea is that I go somewhere new or do something new to me every month. After all, when I’m not working I definitely have the time!

Dad joke of the day:

My friend’s bike keeps running me over.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Wednesday W’s #53

What’s top of my mind: It’s day 13.

I’m writing this on my 13th workday. This is the time when coming to work every day begins to seem less of a novelty and more like a chore. I’m not at the stage when I’m dragging myself to work – give it another week LOL – but I’m groaning at the sound of the 6:30 alarm and starting to get back into the habit of doing the ironing on Sundays and thinking about which easy meal to make at the end of the week so I don’t just get takeaway because I’m tired.

The pictures on my desk are turning into a really good spirit lifter. I’m pretty sure that when I’m in the middle weeks they mightn’t work as well, but for now they’re a happy reminder of why I’m doing this.

My classes are still lovely and are making me laugh. I’m enjoying teaching medieval history to the year 8s – the class I have is 8T… imagine how many kids we have here? – and although they’re right at the end of the letters, they’re a beautiful group of kids. Traditionally, that’s not the case.

Where I’ve been: In an endless round of home to work to home to work to home…

Et cetera.

Where I’m going: In an endless round of home to work to home to work to home…

Et cetera.

But I got paid last week. It was a little more than I was expecting. That was good – my flights to Heathrow and Dublin are all earned!

What I’m reading: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings- Angelou

I’ve seen Maya Angelou on Oprah, way back in the day when I was at home with 4 small boys, so I know who she is. I know she’s way famous in America, but she’s not so much of a thing here. It occurred to me that I should maybe read her memoirs about her life, because why not?

On the link I just posted on her book, I see that she has 7 memoirs. Yikes…

What I’m watching: The beautiful summer day through my classroom window.

It looks nice out there.

What I’m listening to: Last week’s audiobook.

I’m still ploughing through the audiobook I mentioned last week. I’m not loving it, but I’ve only got 3.5 hours left, so I’ll get it done. It’ll contribute to my “Earn your rates back by reading” total.

What I’m eating: The last of the plums from my tree.

I was taking them to work, 3 at a time, to eat at recess, but they were starting to get too ripe. On Sunday I stewed them and now they’re part of my breakfasts instead.

I’m not wasting them – mainly because my tree went to all the trouble of producing them, but also because they were my Gran’s favourite fruit, so I think of her every time I eat them.

What I’m planning: what to do if my wedding dress doesn’t get here.

No, I’m not getting married! I mean my outfit for David29 and Izzy’s wedding in April. It’s been 5 weeks since I ordered a silk dress from China. I’m getting slightly restive about how long it’s taking…

Who needs a good slap: The Australia Post delivery driver in my area.

I ordered some heart medication for Silver, Jenny’s dog, from an online company because it works out cheaper than getting it from the vet. While we were waiting for it to get here, I simply gave him some of Jeff’s heart pills, as they’re on the same one and the same dosage.

On Friday, we got a leaflet in the letterbox saying that it would be dropped off at the post office on Monday because no one was home.

Except Ryan28 WAS home. None of the dogs barked, which meant that the person didn’t even try to deliver it. So annoying. The last thing I want to do when I get home is to go to the post office.

What has made me smile: Watching Izzy watch David29’s video.

We had Izzy’s kitchen tea last Sunday. I’ve never been to one of these – I didn’t even know that they were still a thing – and it was a pleasant surprise. We ate, drank and played some games. One of the things they did was to give David29 a list of questions about their relationship and he had to answer them on a video. Any time Izzy got an answer wrong, she had to take a drink.

They were expecting a simple question and answer, but David29 went above and beyond. He drove out to locations and filmed his answers. he had costume changes and props. It was very funny.

Even with the lamest of jokes, Izzy was sitting on the floor in front of the screen laughing herself silly. They’re definitely on the same wavelength.

Dad joke of the day:

Wednesday W’s #52

What’s top of my mind: How much money I spent last year.

For some reason, I didn’t keep up with my annual expenses chart last year. The end of August was the last time I’d looked at it, and then of course, once I realised this, I couldn’t face the arduous task of totting up months of figures.

Until I had a couple of periods off at work. I had no marking and I’d prepared all my classes, so I grabbed my iPad, pulled up the calculator app, and got to work.

In the end, it only took a little over an hour. My ‘no-spend’ chart made short work of it – everything was there. I already knew it’d be a spendy total… Antarctica, even with the absolute bargain I got with the cruise, isn’t a cheap destination, while giving 15K away to help a son get into the housing market is always going to hurt the bottom line.

So yeah, I was prepared for the total. Let’s hope that no other children want to buy a house this year! I’ve already paid for much of my England/Ireland trip, but all of that will be covered by the work I’m doing now, so with a bit of luck, my number crunching in January 2024 will leave me with a smile on my face.

We can only hope…

Where I’ve been: to my pumpkin vines.

I had no success for years at the old house when I tried to grow pumpkins. It was infuriating because everyone who grows veggies crow about how easy they are to grow. However, once I started putting pumpkin seedlings underneath the fruit trees in my front yard orchard, it was a game-changer.

This year I’ve planted Bunnings butternut pumpkin seedlings and they’ve taken off. I can’t see beneath the leaves on the seedlings that are towards the back, but I’ve spied 5 or 6 plump pumpkins happily growing.

I love pumpkins. I’m looking forward to the harvest.

Where I’m going: a kitchen tea.

Izzy is having a kitchen tea before the wedding. I’ll be picking up Mum and driving to Izzy’s place on Sunday, presumably to drink tea and eat dainty foodstuffs like a lady.

What I’m reading: A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor.

Normally I search for books from the library and put them on hold, but this was one I selected when I was quickly browsing the shelves. She’s described as “Britain’s Stephen King’ so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like. So far, I’ve just read the introduction.

What I’m watching: Anh’s Brush with Fame.

I’ve caught the odd episode of this over the years, but when I was looking for a feel-good show to watch, I saw this on Stan and decided to give it a go. I’m absolutely loving it.

My Mum is an artist and I have inherited none of her talent. To see the way Anh is able to produce such incredibly lifelike portraits in such a small amount of time, while he interviews his subjects is incredible.

Stan has series 2 and 3. Imagine my joy when I pulled up this link for you when I saw that ABC iView has 6 series of it! Writing this blog just keeps on giving.

What I’m listening to: The Familiars by Stacey Halls.

I finished the audiobook I was listening to last week, ‘Mrs England’, and thought I’d listen to another novel by the same author. This one is about the Lancashire witch trials. I know nothing about them, so I thought I’d give it a go.

What I’m eating: Plums from my tree.

I’m still bringing satsuma/blood plums into work to eat at morning recess. 3/day. Yum!

What I’m planning: Nothing.

There’s nothing much on the horizon at the moment. That’s ok.

Who needs a good slap: Netflix.

Ever since I moved to The Best House in Melbourne, I’ve been paying the top tier for Netflix subscriptions. It’s now $23/month for 5 screens. This allows myself and my 4 sons to all have access to it.

Now that Netflix is rumoured to be cutting off memberships who don’t log into their account from their home screen address once a month, this may change.

There’s no way the boys will pay for Netflix memberships of their own. And there’s no way, if this comes in, that I’ll continue to keep paying for screens I won’t use. I think Netflix will find out that they’ll lose a great deal of money with this decision. I’m sure there are many families and groups of friends just like us.

What has made me smile: The kids’ reactions to today’s Dad joke.

They love it. See below:

Dad joke of the day:

If I have twin girls, I’m going to call the first one Kate.

I’ll call the other one DupliKate.

Wednesday W’s #51.

What’s top of my mind: How UNretired people don’t have a clue.

I was sitting at my desk today and a couple of people were talking about a colleague who is apparently going to retire soon and is very unhappy about it. She said to one of my friends that “I don’t know what I’ll do all day.”

They were nodding away, saying, “Yes, what will she do all day? She’ll have no clue.”

And, “I don’t want to retire. In my scenarios of when I win Tattslotto, I always think of my husband retiring but not me.”

“Well, exactlly. What would I do all day? I know how she feels.”

Ugh. I was all, “I know I’m here now, and some people might say that I’ve obviously got bored and come back to work, (which is BS), but honestly, retirement is GREAT! There’s so much to do… the days are always filled and you have total freedom to be yourself and do whatever you want to do. Tell her she’s going to love it.”

Where I’ve been: Chopping up pictures for my desk.

I’m a woman of my word. I said I’d cover my desk with pictures of where I’m going to be going and so I have. In the interests of accuracy, I stuck a piece of paper over the ‘Britain’ part of the title, because I’m only going to England and Ireland. Scotland and Wales will have to wait for another trip.

It’s already working. Some people have come up with a smirk, saying, “Thought you retired?” I walk them around to my desk, point at it and say, “Yeah, I retired. But you know me… I can’t ignore the lure of a “free” trip overseas! Five weeks in England and Ireland in September.”

That shuts them up.

Where I’m going: Costco.

We’re running out of the raw meat patties that I feed the dogs, so it’s to Costco I’ll go! I’ll also grab a slab of eggs while I’m there. They may be slightly more expensive than Aldi but it’s more convenient to have a tonne of eggs in the fridge.

There used to be years when I’d ignore the convenience factor and I’d go for what was cheapest. Nowadays, I usually still go the frugal route, but I’m loosening up the rules a tad.

What I’m reading: The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Ness.

I’m really enjoying this one. You know how when there’s a plucky band of teenagers fighting the forces of evil – think ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, for example – and they go to school and mingle with all of the ordinary kids? This novel explores the situation from the point of view of the normal kids – the ones who aren’t in the thick of the action but who still live where all of the drama takes place.

Each chapter begins with a paragraph summarising what’s happening from the core of the plucky kids’ experiences, sort of like a plot summary of a tv show. Then the rest of the chapter follows what the ordinary kids are doing.

It’s great. I have 2 English classes tomorrow, so 2 x 10 minutes wide reading will just about finish it off.

What I’m watching: Australian Survivor.

They really have to be careful about the level of danger in the challenges they get the contestants to do. In the first episode two people were injured… one with a broken collar bone. She had to leave the game.

Unfortunately, the person that had only minor injuries was a contestant I hate with a pure volcanic passion – he’s such an absolute wanker – so he’ll be coming back into the game. The producers were probably lucky that no one snapped their neck. The Australian version is a lot more gritty than the US one.

I love Survivor.

What I’m listening to: Mrs England.

I’m about halfway through this Edwardian gothic audiobook and I’m loving it. If I have to have a commute, this is a very pleasant way of dealing with it.

What I’m eating: Carmen’s Protein bars from Aldi.

I bought a packet of these to keep in my desk in case I needed something to eat at recess.

They’re awful. So SWEET.

This will motivate me to eat a hearty breakfast each morning so I don’t have to eat one.

What I’m planning: I can’t say this week.

Tom31 told my ex-husband about this blog a while ago. Apparently, A is interested in FI/RE as well. I have no idea if he pulls up this blog to read.

But just in case he IS reading… A…Don’t freak out, because no one who reads this blog has a clue as to who you are IRL. I’d like to say to you: please let the boys’ half-sister come to David30’s wedding. She was so looking forward to it and so were the boys. If she comes, it’s something they’ll all remember with gratitude and love.

Who needs a good slap: Whoever put the class lists together at the campus I’m at.

A small part of me was hoping that the classes I’ll be teaching this term would be awful, so that I’d never do this again. However, I’ve met three out of the four classes I’ll have. They all seem really nice.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. This is good news. But it’s not making my obvious need to learn to say “no” to the school any easier!!

What has made me smile: The elderly dogs I’m looking after.

It’s now been a week and a half, and after a very traumatised few days at the start, Silver and Elizabeth have slowly settled in. Silver follows me around all the time, whereas Elizabeth will keep her distace but settle at my feet whenever I sit down.

Yes, I’m glad I have hardwood floors. You can imagine why…

Yes, I wish that they didn’t bark so much. (They’re learning to chill though, which the neighbours would be pleased about.)

But all in all, for two old dogs who have never been away from their Mum in their lives, they’re doing extremely well.

Dad joke of the day:

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