Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Lockdown at Frogdancer’s place.

Scout was very sick for a couple of days, but now she’s back to normal.

So it’s been a week since schools shut down when the school holidays were brought forward by 4 days and we’re now in official ‘school holiday’ time. Lockdown was officially brought in on Saturday night (I think), so what has been going on here while the country grinds slowly to a halt?

David26 packing his bags to move over to his girlfriend’s place. She lives at home with her parents…

We had the uncomfortable chat with adult kids that a lot of families are having, especially since the new laws came in forbidding meetings of more than 2 people. David26 was over at Izzy’s place when all of this came into effect. For newer readers, Izzy is immunocompromised as she’s fighting leukaemia. After checking with Izzy’s family, David26 has elected to stay there for the duration.

He came back, masked and gloved, to pack some clothes, food and musical equipment. He’s spending his days helping Izzy’s Dad with major renovations on their house, (aka learning some manly skillz) and writing lots of music with Izzy. He’s happy.

Evan23, facetiming from Ballarat. Strike a pose!

Evan23 is up in Ballarat with the other people from his acting course. This photo was what he sent after I said that his hair looked lustrous. It made me laugh! Apple doesn’t fall far, as they say. He’s moved into the share house that his girlfriend lives in, along with one of the other podcast guys. Lots of board games, lots of drinking, lots of painting. He bought canvases and paint as part of his panic buying before the lockdown.

Tom28 is an accountant and so far he’s been able to hang onto his job. We have long phone calls nearly every day.

Fortunately, I’m sharing lockdown with the quietest and most introverted son. Our house is blissfully quiet. The only sounds I hear, apart from his lectures from his uni course, are music or ‘Animal Crossing’ drifting from his room. We have little chats, then part to do our own things, then we meet up again to share things we’ve seen online etc. It’s chilled.

I posted this shot below, after a wonderful moment on Saturday night.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been back since, because on Sunday little Scout came down with a tummy bug and was really quite sick for a couple of days. Then, just as she was getting better, Jeffrey came down with it.

Jeff this morning.

Jeffrey was VERY sick. So sick that I took him to the vet at 8 AM yesterday. She couldn’t find anything wrong with him, so directed me to feed him boiled chicken and rice. This morning he ate some, the first food he’s had for over 2 days. He then wagged his tail. I’d say he’s turning the corner. Phew!

Correction still goes on…

I had to bring home some correction and I was getting kids who had self-isolated earlier to send me work via email, so I was still keeping busy in the last few weeks of term. One poor little boy, who only scored 4/30 on his grammar test, sent me what sounded like a chirpy little email after I released his mark to him.

Something along the lines of “Hi Ms Jones! Could you please send me my grammar test so my Mum and tutor can go over it with me? I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!”

Poor kid. That’s the LAST thing anyone would want. His Mum was almost certainly standing by his shoulder, dictating what to type. I’d already given him 15 extra minutes to complete the test, as I knew he struggles with English. Fortunately – or UNfortunately, depending on whether you’re the student or his Mum – his was a test I’d brought home. So I photo-ed the pages and emailed them across.

Another chirpy email thanked me. Poor kid…

Our fence – naked.

One of the projects I want to get done is to paint the front fence. Over the fullness of time, the lawn will be mostly replaced by garden beds. It’ll be an oasis. The following photo is the colour scheme I’ve chosen.


My parents have been gallivanting around, so I had a stern talking-to with them. They’re over 80, for God’s sake. Anyway, after this, they’ll either heed what I say or they just won’t tell me. After all we’ve been through with them, health-wise, over the past year, you’d think they’d be more sensible.

My first pumpkin.

It was the end of the month yesterday, so I did my usual monthly net worth check. I estimated that it would’ve gone down around 150K due to the wild ride that the share market has been delivering. Imagine my relief when I was ‘only’ down 107K!! Feels like a bargain! Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again!

But look at this fine pumpkin. I’ve never been able to grow them before, but the compost materials I’ve been bringing home from work, coupled with the wicking beds, have brought forth a bonanza of pumpkins. I’m so happy. This one was so heavy it fell off the vine, so Ryan25 brought it in. It’s sitting next to the tromboncino zucchini seeds I’m drying for next year.

Ryan25 just came in to tell me that it looks like Australia is starting to flatten out the curve, which is good news. Meanwhile in the US, this is happening:

It beggars belief, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I hope that you and yours are safe and well. It’s a time to quietly enjoy our nearest and dearests and live life at a slower pace. It’s Wednesday morning at 10:30 and I’m still sitting on the couch in my pjs. On a normal Wednesday I would have taught 2 classes by now! Jeff is snoring beside me, Ryan25 is playing some 80’s music and the sun is shining. I’ll have brunch and get out into the garden today, I think.

Stay safe! Stay home!


  1. Girt

    Great update FDJ. For those of us lucky enough to have jobs, homes and healthy loved ones at the moment, there is a certain peace to be had right now. In fact I have realised that my natural lifestyle actually does seem to resemble Stage 3 Covid restrictions … ie only go out for 4 possible reasons.

    Hopefully there are very few people who would now be thoughtless enough to endanger others but it’s pretty appalling that someone would publicly act so selfishly.

    • FrogdancerJones

      People are hoping that she’ll lose her sponsors – apparently ‘influencers’ don’t have to work like the rest of us because companies just give them them stuff so they can blog about it – who knew?? It’s all so irresponsible of her.

  2. Karen

    Hey there from New York, we’re hanging at home, teaching orchestra long distance is a unique and absorbing activity for my daytime. Insomnia is my only struggle right now so color me grateful. I often remind myself This isn’t forever, cherish every moment, take it one step at a time and laugh, dance, sing, love.

    • FrogdancerJones

      You’re teaching music – I’ll be teaching Drama online.
      Not quite what we signed up for, hey?

      • Karen

        Yet as creative people-who better to figure out this puzzle? I am as tired as a first year teacher (learning the tech piece) but as elementary kids are most easy to please, just having the kids see my face is a win and a welcome distraction. Peace and good health to you and yours. Karen

  3. Ed

    An entertaining update. It worked out well for you all to just go on holiday early! We’re still closed in the last few months of our school year. I expect we’ll get a full closure soon, but that’s a lot of learning lost.

    I felt the parent thing the most. My in-laws are both over 80 and have had major health scares but won’t stop going out. Dad-in-law listens to questionable sources.
    We’ve done the lecturing and now let it go, but it’s really scary for my wife. We hope we’ve at least slowed them down some, but as you point out they likely won’t tell us.

    • FrogdancerJones

      All those memes about the tables turning and children lecturing parents about going out are sadly really accurate.

  4. Maureen

    What I would give to have my daughter with me instead of 3000 miles away in a metro area! You are blessed. I have elected to lock down with my soon to be 90 yr old mom who lives alone. Not exactly how I envisioned my retirement, but I’m grateful to spend time with her because, well, 90. I also started pursuing FIRE later in the game, but I think I’m there cause I retired at 59 and will be fine despite the wild market ride we’re on.
    I so enjoy your posts.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I’d say you nailed the FIRE thing – good on you.
      Also yes. 90 is a fine age so you know you’ll be treasuring every moment.

  5. Caroline at Costa Rica FIRE

    We’re a divided family with three of us in Florida, and our oldest daughter and my mom in New York. Still, we keep in touch with phone and video, and the three of us are enjoying the Florida weather — we are in a condo complex with several empty streets to walk around. Can’t complain. Our work was remote anyway, and while I feel bad for my daughter who loved being in college for her first year, at least she’s able to continue with distance learning. Safety first!

  6. Paul Dunbar

    HI Ms Jones,

    I have just finished reading a lot of your Blog (some sections I skipped). I stumbled upon you from Millionaires unveiled podcast. Thanks for spending the time to do this. My dad 71 Keeps sneaking out at night to go fishing. The fishing wasn’t the bad part, more the visit to the tackle shop. I had a stern word with him also. On the up though I have arranged for the tackle shop to drop him off bait instead of him going to the shop to get it. At least he can fish now and be safe from COVID.

    I have only managed to lose $11k off my super as of today. Gotta be happy about that, I was expecting a shock and needing a stiff drink.

    Keep up the great work

    • FrogdancerJones

      Hi Paul,

      I’m glad you found a way to keep your Dad safe.
      My parents have finally got the message, though when I ring them each night they sound so bored.. Dad says things like, “Ooo it was a busy day. I walked out to the letterbox and back!!”

  7. Dar

    Sounds like my house – “Link27” is home for the duration and I hear a lot of Animal Crossing and Grand Blue. We meet for meals and walks and otherwise do our own thing. Much the same as with my spouse but now there are three of us dancing lightly about. Yep, had the talks with my parents…my dad is accustomed to going out and popping into the shops daily. Over the last few weeks he has calmed down a bit and will now “go for a drive” instead. But who knows what I am not being told.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Your last sentence rings true.
      I comfort myself by saying that at least they’ve been told VERY forthrightly what they should be doing and if they choose to be silly… well… they’re adults.

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