Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #39.

What’s top of my mind: Only 2 more sleeps until Tom30 moves into his first place!

Here’s a little snap of the Man Cave, with all of Tom30’s packing in it. Melbourne had a 4 day weekend recently and he spent that time putting all his belongings into boxes. He’s been here since the end of February and it’ll seem weird to finally get the Man Cave back to the way it was.

When it started, his 90-day settlement seemed so far into the future. Now, it’s here. He gets the keys tomorrow and he’s taking the day off on Friday to move. He’s hired a truck to get all of the big things moved, as well as picking up a fridge a friend has promised him. I’ll be ferrying lots of little boxes over in my car.

Naturally, the weather forecast is for rain all day.

Where I’ve been: meeting my cousin for the third time ever.

Ahhh love! Who can tell where it strikes? Five decades ago, my aunt fell in love with a guy from Indiana and moved over there. A couple of decades later, she moved back. This means I have a couple of cousins in the states – one in LA and one in Brooklyn.

My aunt and her family came out to Australia and stayed with us once when we were kids. Since then, my younger cousin has come out twice to see his Mum.

He’s a really nice guy. It’s a shame that we live so far apart.

Where I’m going: Underwire.

Jenna and Evan26 are performing in this cabaret show that Jenna has written, all about her experiences growing up with enormous jugs from a very young age. They’ve both worked really hard on it and I can’t wait to see it. Tom30, David29 and Izzy went to see it on opening night and they came back raving about it.


I’m going on Friday and Saturday. I’m SO looking forward to it. Jenna is a talented woman. (Evan26 isn’t so bad either.)

What I’m reading: ‘Coronado’ by Dennis Lehane.

Freddy Smidlap recommended this collection of short stories (and a play script) in a comment a week or two ago. I jumped onto my local library and reserved it. So far, I’ve read all the short stories and I’m hoping to finish the play script before the end of today.

These stories are really good, but kind of sad. Life is hard for these characters and the unvarnished writing clearly depicts their situations with absolutely no sentimentality. I’m enjoying this collection.

What I’m watching: The Block.

For those who aren’t from here, The Block is a renovation show where 4 or 5 couples completely renovate properties in 12 weeks. I love it.

Every year the task gets bigger and bigger. I remember the first season was just getting couples to gently renovate 4 tiny apartments in Bondi. Now, 18 seasons later, they’re renovating and landscaping 500 square metre houses on 10 acres of land.

Every season, you wonder if they’re asking too much of the contestants and this year is no exception. THE MUD!!!! That alone would be enough to do my head in.

What I’m listening to: Shandee’s Legacy.

This is season 2 of the podcast ‘Shandee;s Story.’ This season they’re picking apart the court case that has the only forensic lab in Queensland being investigated for massive incompetence and possible corruption.

It’s incredible how badly this lab has performed over at least the last ten years. How many criminals have walked free because the lab didn’t detect their DNA? Also, there are possibly innocent people in jail because of similar DNA bungles. It’s horrifying.

What I’m eating: Roast lamb for dinner.

I promised Tom30 that I’d make a roast dinner for his last dinner home.

What I’m planning: My luggage to Antarctica.

I’m seriously thinking about only taking carry-on luggage to Antarctica. My American cousin showed me the carry-on bag that he’s been using for years and I think that with some super strategic packing (and wearing bulky fleece clothes on the plane) I might be able to do it.

‘Might’ is the operative word. I have essential ‘cold weather’ things that might make it impossible. Mum and Dad have a hand-held lugguge weighing thing that I’ll be borrowing, just to see if it’s possible.

I was at the travel agents yesterday to sort out my visa to Chile and we checked the weight requirements for carry-on. It seems that 10kg is what most airlines have as their limit. The actual bag I’d buy retails for around $600. This is why I’m typing this in front of a year 9 English class. Yes, two days of CRT work and I’ll have paid for it.

Ah well. It’s supposed to rain this afternoon so I may as well be in a classroom.

Who needs a good slap: Me, for buying a petrol lawn mower.

When we moved here to The Best House in Melbourne over 6 years ago, I wanted to buy an electric lawn mower. I’d had one before at the old place and it was so easy to use. But I stupidly had Ryan21 (as he was then) with me at the time and his testosterone made a petrol lawn mower an imperative. He was the one who was going to use it, so I capitulated and bought one.

Now, when Tom30 moves away, I’ll be alone in the house. Being Spring, the lawn is practically leaping out of the ground. The petrol lawn mower is a bugger to start and a PIA to keep supplied with petrol.

I’ve decided to give my mower to Tom30 – he has a big nature strip out the front of his house to mow and he has absolutely no spare money to buy a mower for himself – and I’ll zip off to Bunnings and buy the mower that I should have bought in the first place.

What has made me smile: Seeing Tom30 accomplish his goal.

Sometimes people wonder how second-generation FIRE kids grow up to handle their money. When Tom30 unexpectedly moved back home in February, his goal was to have enough saved for a deposit on a 2 BR unit/townhouse/apartment by the end of next year.

When he realised the opportunity he had to save by living with the delightful Frogdancer Jones, Ryan27 and the little woofs, he knuckled down and got the job done in 10 months.

Along the way, he discussed all his plans with me and we talked over possible strategies and ways to swing things to get to the amount of money he needed. Being an accountant who works with a lot of mortgage brokers, he was very good at the high-end financial stuff. I, on the other hand, am very good at the day-to-day strategies to make money stretch further.

I prefer to believe that the reason he achieved his goal so quickly was by being motivated by the chance to live rent-free and stack his money away, rather than being motivated by wanting to get the hell away from living with his Mum. As I said in the paragraph above…

I’m delightful…

Dad joke of the day:

I swallowed a book about synonyms.

It gave me thesaurus throat I’ve ever had.


  1. Flirby

    Interesting read, as usual.

    If you take checked in luggage, you may want to consider putting an apple air tag in the bag. This proved invaluable for both my daughter on her recent Europe trip and my nephew on his recent North America trip recently.

    • FrogdancerJones

      The travel agent suggested this as well.
      I’ll definitely do it. I hate the idea of my poor suitcase being just one bag of many left languishing in an airport.

  2. Tania

    Would love to know the brand of carryon luggage you have your eye on. I have travelled overseas successfully with Kathmandu Shuttle 40L Convertible Backpack and IT Luggage World’s Lightest on another trip. We have purchased Kathmandu LightHaul Pack 38L for our son. Carryon is the way to go with the option to bring checked baggage home!
    Really enjoy your posts, thank you.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Travelpro Platinum Elite.
      It has wheels and a good sized capacity.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Just popped back to say that the Travelpro weighs 3.5KGs. Maybe not so great when it comes to a 7 – 10kg weight limit…

  3. Josie

    I laughed at your opening line! When the girls were young and excited for an upcoming event, they would say “2 more night-nights!” You seem as excited at they were!
    And a great idea to give to your son, even better than selling it.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Apparently it’s hard to sell lawn mowers… Gumtree is full of them.

  4. sandyg61

    I can feel your excitement for Tom and understand it after seeing our son, his partner and their 2 year old take on their own home a few months ago.

    • FrogdancerJones

      You did a wonderful thing for them.

  5. Maria

    As a fellow well endowed lass, I wish I could go see the show! Also, what a cracking review- well done them!

  6. Susanne

    We got a new lawnmower last year and might I suggest you consider one like it, as we absolutely LOVE it. It’s battery operated!!! (Unless your lawn is absolutely huge, which might make it not a good idea.)

    We checked reviews and ended up with a 40V (I think?) battery operated mower for around $200 and it works absolutely amazing and doesn’t even need to be recharged very often because we have quite a small yard.

    FYI we’re in the states, so I’m obviously not sure what’s available where you are. Nevertheless, I think it would be good to take it under consideration. 😀 Best of luck.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I’ve never heard of a battery-operated lawn mower!
      I only have a small front lawn and a normal-sized nature strip (verge) out the front, so this might be a thought.

  7. Loretta

    Can you search Ebay for a bag, or borrow one? I managed 3 weeks solo in the UK with just a 5kg carryon backpack. It can be done!
    And tell Jenna to take her show up to Ballarat so my daughter and I can see it 🙂
    You are such a great mum to your boys. I hope they all appreciate you as much as they should!!

    • FrogdancerJones

      She’s taking her show to the Adelaide fringe festival, if that helps…?

      • Loretta

        Rats, actually just had a lovely holiday in SA!!

  8. FIRE Foreigner

    Long time reader here, and congratulations to Tom. I am so glad for second-generation FIRE kids doing well in life, since personally I have the privilege of living in a relatively financially aware family. I can see FIRE movement as something that will inspire our future generations.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I went to drop off some washing to him yesterday and he showed me around, now that he’s unpacked and found a home for everything. He’s so very house-proud!

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