Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #63.

What’s top of my mind: Helping Evan26.

Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again – the school who’d offered me a month’s work actually found a permanent replacement, which was great for the kids AND great for me. I might end up doing CRT work every day for the next 4 weeks anyway, but it’ll be for more money and in a school where I’m familiar with everything.

So yes, here I am again at work – on Monday I got a text from the Daily Organiser at 6:10 AM asking if i could work that day. Oof. Woke me up. This morning? It was a text sent at 12:45 AM. I’m not sure that that woman ever sleeps.

Anyway, I’m glad for the work as it means I can start salting away the money Evan26 will need for his course in clowning that he’ll be doing in France in July. I figure that 20 days’ work will be enough to cover what he’ll need.

People have asked why I’m prepared to go back to work to pay for Clown College. There are a few reasons:

  1. He’s already paid for his accommodation, passport and airfares. I’m frugal – I can’t stand the thought that all of that money could go to waste.
  2. Any money I shoot his way will be a loan – it wouldn’t be fair to the other boys if I threw thousands of dollars at him without duplicating it another 3 ways. I’m not prepared to do that – the last couple of years have been very exxy, what with weddings and helping towards house deposits and paying for holidays to see penguins and Henry VIII’s grave.
  3. The work I do isn’t difficult and it pays very well. Obviously, I’d prefer to be at home, enjoying my perfect freedom, but if the kids need some help, this isn’t exactly an arduous way to help them.
  4. The most important reason – he’s trying to build a career in one of the hardest industries in the world. If he was lolling around, never doing any work but was always “gonna” do it, then he’d be missing out on that course. Instead, he’s writing his own shows, going to auditions and acting on stage and making a podcast every week with his best friend. If he’s putting the work in – and I judge it to be good – then I’m happy to help.

Where I’ve been: Bunnings.

I’ve ripped out the pale yellow petunias in the hanging baskets in the front yard and I’ve swapped them for violas. In a scientific experiment, I put the half-dead petunias in the ground underneath a Japanese maple.

Who knows? I may get a few more months from them.

I also bought a tester pot of paint to see how my lounge room will look with a totally different colour.

Where I’m going: Phillip Island.

Blogless Helen and her husband have a holiday house there, so a couple of us are driving up after work on Friday to spend the weekend there. The last time I was on Phillip Island, I was selling someone a thermomix. That was YEARS ago!

What I’m reading: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.

This is the next novel he’s written after ‘The Martian.’ I’m enjoying it, though I have to admit that I skim over the scientific explanations for things. Some people might want to have the science explained all the time – I just need to know that these events happened and that the story moves along convincingly. I’m a little more than halfway along.

Every Version of You by Grace Chan.

I finished this a few days ago. It’s also speculative fiction, but it’s written in a very different vein to Project Hail Mary. It’s set in Melbourne, 50 years from now, which I really liked as when place names were mentioned, I actually know where they are. (People in the UK and US are probably used to this, but I’m not.)

It’s an interesting premise. Would you permanently upload yourself into a perfect digital world if the real world was dying?

What I’m watching: Beef on Netflix.

I heard some good things about this show on Twitter so I decided to give it a go. At first, I wasn’t sure. Everyone was so awful! But then, it grabbed me. The ending is amazing.

What I’m listening to: The Frankston Murders.

I’m old enough to remember in 1993 when women were disappearing from the streets of Frankston and ending up dead. It scared the whole of Melbourne. I was a new Mum and living on the other side of town but everyone was still locking their doors and being careful.

The guy responsible was caught after a couple of months and he’s been in jail ever since. This year he’s up for parole and there’s a concerted effort to make sure that he isn’t released back into the community. He’s a particularly nasty piece of work.

What I’m eating: A bread roll.

I should’ve had something more interesting to have for lunch, but then again, when I went to bed I didn’t know I’d be working. I had some home-made bread rolls in the freezer, so guess what I’ll be eating for lunch? A peanut butter bread roll.


What I’m planning: What I need to take to Phillip Island.

Well… I should be planning it. But it’ll be a last-minute “throw random stuff into an overnight bag” kind of thing.

You think I’d learn.

Who needs a good slap: Me, for not learning.

I just haven’t been in the zone for packing.

What has made me smile: a pomegranate.

I planted that tree three or four years ago. I have my first pomegranate growing on it.

Gardening’s so rewarding sometimes!

Dad joke of the day:


  1. Maureen

    I very much enjoyed Project Hail Mary, especially the main character being a science teacher, like myself. Gardening season is off to a very chilly start here, and I’m a bit jealous of you being able to garden all year. I’m in the wrong climate zone.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Well, there’s always houses for sale with gardens around them here in Melbourne. Just saying…

  2. FIRE for One

    A weekend away sounds lovely! Re the packing – I now have a list that I keep in Microsoft OneNote of everything I need to take on trips. I put a sign next to things on the list once I’ve packed them (e.g., an asterisk), so I know what’s left to pack. It’s helpful for also making sure I don’t leave anything behind when travelling back, too!

    • Bethh

      I do this too, but I keep it as a note on my phone. There’s a feature that lets me use check-able bullets so I can I mark everything and start fresh the next time I pack. I have a separate set of packing lists for camping, hiking, and warm-weather travel! It’s soothing when something is coming up (and may or may not allow me to procrastinate on packing!).

      • FrogdancerJones

        Ahh, I know the feature you mean. I use it when I need to Get Things Done.
        Packing definitely falls into that category.

    • FrogdancerJones

      That’s genius!
      I tend to forget one thing. The worst one was when I realised in Beijing that I didn’t have formal dress shoes to visit the tomb of the Great Leaders in North Korea. Urgent shoe shopping!

  3. Ced

    Ah, we are both avoiding packing then! I’m off to Copenhagen shortly and really cannot get started on putting stuff into a bag. Ugh.
    Hope you enjoy your break!

    • FrogdancerJones

      I haven’t been to Copenhagen. I’ve heard it’s beautiful.

  4. KY Math

    Good dad joke! I am going to remember that one for my next substitute gig.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I have a very long list of them. 🙂

  5. Josie

    I totally get the wanting to help the kids that are bootstrapping themselves while also remaining fairly equitable. Such a balancing act! For short car trips, I also tend to just through stuff in a bag because it is so easy. As long as I have my charger, phone, glasses and a warm jacket, the rest doesn’t matter. Not like those long overseas adventures where every item has to earn space in the one luggage! Thanks for the book recommendations!

    • FrogdancerJones

      Reading these comments has made me realise that I’m going TOMORROW. After work today, I’d better get onto it.

  6. Helen in W

    I, too, enjoyed “Project Hail Mary”. I’m such a nerd, so it’s right up my alley!
    I just finished “Cat on the edge” by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, which I thought I would drop in the first chapter because it has a cat as the main protagonist. I usually find books with animals as protagonists too cutsey and awful, so I was surprised that I read this one to the end.
    I will not be able to plant out any plants until June, that’s when we will be safe from frost (probably). But I probably won’t do much this year, except seed a lot of clover to replace the lawn grass.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I just checked. My library doesn’t have that book. Surprising – they seem to have everything.

      • Helen in W

        “Cat on the edge” is an older book — it was published in 1996. I bought a used copy at a local mystery bookstore. Since it was so cheap, I didn’t mind trying it. (Of course, the library is better for trying books I’m unsure of, but my library didn’t have it either.) There are 21 books in Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s “Joe Grey the Cat” series, but I’m not sure I’ll read them all.

  7. Onevikinggirl

    I don’t get the part of going back to work (definition of retired to be re-checked) but I do get the part of working hard for adventures. That it isn’t you personal one is irrelevant really. It’s all about getting the “I wanna” and “I’m gonna” experiences into the head and the body.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I think I must have had intensely dour Protestant ancestors – the idea of working to pay for fun appeals to me.
      But then again, I suppose I’ve already worked hard to pay for fun, because I retired in the first place.
      Anyway, in the end, if I work a little now to pay for extravagant adventures, it will all keep Old Lady Frogdancer safe from money worries in the future.

  8. Amy

    How exciting about your first pomegranate! Can you tell us about the type of conditions you planted it in? Apparently they can tolerate some shade, but I don’t quite believe it. Did you care for it in a particular way to get it to fruit? I have one in a pot that I’m ready to plant out but haven’t quite decided on where.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I just threw it in the ground next to my Ballerina apples in a sunny corner. It’s probably going to be too big for the spot, but for the moment it’s all looking ok.

  9. Kay

    I felt the same way about Beef.

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