Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #27.

What’s top of my mind: Making Ryan27 get his driving licence.

He hates driving. Can you imagine?

But he has a job offer that requires him to be mobile. Operation “Get Your Damned Licence, You Elderly Guy” is on!

Where I’m going: As soon as I press ‘publish, we’ll be out to the car.

Driving lessons wait for no man.

What I’m watching: Poppy sleeping in the sun.

It’s a hard life.

What I’m reading: Stephen King short stories.

I’m midway through The Bazaar of Bad Dreams and I’m loving it. In the foreword, King writes about the differences between crafting long and short fiction, which I found really interesting. (Even more interesting than learning about the periodic table guy!) He also introduces each story with an account of what sparked it.

Love that stuff.

What I’m listening to: My podcasts before I borrow another audiobook.

Most of the audiobooks I listen to are around 16 hours long. As you can imagine, it takes a while to chip away at one of these, so while I’m doing that, my podcast episodes bank up. Then, I take a while to knock those over and get back to a clean slate.

Then the cycle starts over again. The only poddie that I make an exception for is my son’s one, naturally! All I have left on my list is a Casefile and a “The Other Half.” Then I’ll have to grab another audiobook.

It’s the cycle of life.

What I’m eating: Mushroom Stroganoff.

This is turning into an expensive year, what with the wedding, Tom30’s property purchase and Antarctica, so I’ve been making more vegetarian meals to stretch out the meat in the freezer. For those with a thermomix, Thermobexta is my go-to for vego and vegan recipes. I have all but one of her books and they certainly came in handy when Evan25 decided he wasn’t a meat-eater.

I write in my books when I try a recipe. This recipe had a notation, “Really nice,” so I bought lots of mushrooms and we’re partaking tonight.

What I’m planning: My Antarctica wardrobe.

Aldi had some clothing specials on Saturday. Some of them were merino t-shirts and leggings, as well as some gloves that enable the wearer to use a mobile phone. Just what I was looking for!

That’s ticked a few items off the list!

Who needs a good slap: My ex-husband.

You know, if I had 4 kids from my first marriage and two of them have decided to have no contact anymore with me, while another one has only minimal contact, I’m pretty sure I’d make an effort with the only kid who actively pursues a relationship with me. But clearly that’s not the way my ex-husband sees things…

Tom30 put in an offer on a unit last week. The bank came back and said they wanted a 10% deposit, not a 5% deposit as was originally asked for, due to a gift of 15K that I gave him. I’m sure you can imagine the maths and budgeting that went on for him to work out how to gather an extra 24K by October! He’s selling everything that isn’t nailed down and squeezing his spending to the max. However, there was still going to be a small shortfall. He didn’t want to ask me for any more money – “You’ve done more than enough, Mum.”

With a bit of trepidation, he asked his father for a loan of 5K. His father (who apparently earns into the 6 figures, as does his wife) refused, which he has every right to do, but served it with a side-order of “You’re not working hard enough. At your age you should be earning 150K/year. When I got MY first house I had to struggle. You should too. Why don’t you ask your mother or your grandfather? They’re rich.”

What an absolute arsehole. I’m so glad I’m not still married to him. (By the way, these remarks weren’t said exactly like this. They were sprinkled into the conversation like nasty little land mines for Tom30 to be hurt by.)

There are a few things to unpack from those nuggets of bile.

When my ex-husband was 30 he was a small businessman earning nowhere near 150K. Not sure why he expects Tom30 to be doing much better at the same age. When I told friends at work this statement they laughed and laughed. The consensus was, “Yeah, we should ALL be earning 150K!!! I’m nearly 60 and I don’t earn that much!”

I think my ex-husband forgets that when we bought our first (and only) house together, I was the one that made it happen. We’d saved 40K and he wanted to pour it all into buying new fridges for his small business of cutting up fruit salads for supermarkets from our garage. Yes, a business that was obviously going to go nowhere.

I saw which way the wind was blowing, put my foot down and instead, we put the money into buying a house in an excellent secondary school zone. Over the years that decision has served the boys well. So he thinks he ‘struggled’ to get that house? Imagine the struggle we would’ve had if he’d bought those fridges instead?

Finally – who tells his own son to go and ask an elderly couple for money, when all the guy is asking for is a 5K loan? Refuse the money if you wish – it’s your money – but telling him to put the hard word on a frail couple in their 80’s is unconscionable.

Fortunately, this has a happy ending. A family friend who’s known Tom30 all his life, was so disgusted when they heard this story that they’ve agreed to lend him the money he needs at settlement. Tom30’s now obsessed with ensuring that he borrows as little as possible from them. He’s so grateful and relieved.

I just had a text from him 10 minutes ago – the bank has approved the loan and so the property is his!

What has made me smile: Meeting next door’s puppy.

We’ve been hearing Hero for a while, but now we’ve finally met. He’s a blue staffy and is a lovely little guy. The guy next door suggested that we take the dogs and meet at the beach, but Hero is far too full-on for my little woofs. He’d scare them without even knowing he was doing it.

But as far as people go – he’s terrific!

Dad joke of the day:


  1. Debbie

    Congrats to Tom30 on buying his first home! It’s probably a good thing his dad didn’t lend him the $5K… can you imagine the years he’d be carrying on about how he “bought” Tom30 his first home and what thanks does he get…
    Tom30 dodged a bullet there!

    • FrogdancerJones

      Haha! I’ll have to show him this comment!

  2. FIRE for One

    That’s wonderful news for Tom30 about the house – it’s so exciting! And nerve-racking when you think about the debt! What a shame about his dad – I reckon Debbie above is right about how that would’ve played out.

    It always surprises me when people don’t learn to drive within a short time after they’re legally able. I couldn’t wait to be able to get my licence. I felt really ripped off because I had to wait until I was 17 here – if we’d stayed in New Zealand I could’ve gotten it at 15.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Really? 15??? I teach 15 year olds and that’s too young. I know what they think like!

  3. FIRE for One

    Ha ha – yes, it’s a scary thought! But then, that was in the late 70s / early 80s. And NZ is much less populous than Australia, so there wouldn’t have been the kind of traffic there is now.

  4. Steveark

    I know things are different over there but in the US if you don’t have a driver’s license then you don’t have a photo ID which means you can’t get a passport or a bank account or get medical attention. How can Ryan identify himself without a photo ID in order to verify who he is? There is no national ID card in the US, and I’m assuming that is true for all Western countries? There is a non-driving ID thing in the US for that purpose but it is exceedingly rare, I’ve never seen one.

    • FrogdancerJones

      He has a learner’s permit, which is a photo ID. It’s valid for 10 years. He’s the only person I’ve ever heard of who didn’t et his licence before it lapsed and had to get it renewed!

    • FIRE for One

      In Queensland, our Dept of Transport also issues an “18+” Adult Proof of Age card which acts as photo ID for people who don’t have a driver’s licence. I don’t know if other states have anything similar.

  5. Kathy Aylward

    Congratulations on Tom getting his first place that’s so exciting. Seems funny he didn’t want to get his license when he was 17. My 16 year old talked about getting her learners every day when she was 15. In saying that my niece who is 21 doesn’t drive and doesn’t have the desire to drive so each to their own however having Melbourne transport is so great but I know you live outside of Melbourne. It’s all part of growing up. It doesn’t surprize me with your ex-husband’s attitude but I know you still think “surely you can’t be like that” but they are. As commented above I think he did dodge a bullet because he would have held that $5K loan over his head forever. The main thing is that the kids can see who he really is and sadly for Tom, he’s now seen it for himself the kind of person he is. I was in shock when living in our marital home and my ex was living with his mistress he closed all the bank accounts that we had and I was a Mum at home and had no money and had mortgage, electricity, food, rates etc for our house I was shaking when I realized. Yes you are a “fjdflasjfsdjfs” but seriously, you want your kids to have no running water and electricity!!!! I so admire all that you have achieved on your own and raised those boys with good wholesome values. In the long run him saying no was a blessing. How’s your pizza oven going any good recipes?

    • FrogdancerJones

      So much to unpack in this comment!
      I’m actually in a Melbourne suburb; not outside Melbourne. I live 4 minutes from a train station – very handy, especially for Ryan27, who is the one who doesn’t (yet) drive.
      I’m hoping that Tom30 has the scales dropped from his eyes about his father now. One of his best qualities/achilles heel is his loyalty towards people he cares about. This isn’t the first time his father has behaved badly towards him.
      No recipes from the pizza oven – Ryan27 is the designated chef!

  6. sandyg61

    I can add to the non driving mix. My son will be 29 in October, has a partner (who drives) and a toddler and still doesn’t drive. Yes his learner’s expired as well and he had to get a second one. They are in the applying for home loan stage as well to buy the townhouse they rent from us. Crossing fingers every day.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Not being able to drive would cause a huge extra layer of difficulty in life. I don’t get how they don’t see that. I’d hate to rely on public transport or people’s goodwill.
      I hope the loan comes through. That’s a lovely thing you’ve done for them.

  7. Maureen

    Those exes are exes for a reason, and mine periodically reassures me that I made the right decision in extricating myself from him by acting the fool. It’s just hurtful when the offspring are exposed to that again and again. As I tell my daughter, “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”
    Luckily your kids have you to show them how things should be done,

  8. Teacher Joyce in AU

    thanks for the post, your post is written with a warm vibe!!!

    • FrogdancerJones

      Well… maybe not when I’m telling you all about what my ex did!!

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