Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #79.

What’s top of my mind: Will I keep teaching when I come back from my trip?

People sometimes ask me what would it take for me to stop doing CRT (Casual Relief Teaching). I’ve always replied that sometime, something will happen. A kid will say or do something, another teacher or parent will say or do something and I’ll throw up myhands and declare, “I don’t need this in my life! I’ve got enough money! I’m done with all this!”

The thing is, I always thought the defining moment would happen directly to me…

However, three separate things have happened to other people in the last few weeks and it’s got me thinking in ways that our beleagured Daily Organiser would definitely not want me to go.

One thing that happened was an accident in the scool gym. A teacher was hit on the head with a basketball and fell to the floor, smacking her head. She was unconscious for several minutes before she revived. I was actually there beside her, talking to her and helping her to reorient herself, before briefing the school nurse. An ambulance wasn’t called until the end of the day. I can almost guarantee the story would’ve been different if it had been a kid that was knocked unconscious… (She’s still off work after a couple of weeks.)

The second one involved a class who turned on a CRT very loudly and made her feel unsafe.

The third incident involved a very experienced teacher who gave a boy an afterschool detention. His mother rang and berated my friend unrelentingly until my friend had no option but to end the call with the mother still in full flight.

All three of these incidents have been really stressful for the people concerned. I’m standing on the sidelines, looking at all of this and thinking, “Do I really want to hang around, waiting until the axe falls? By the law of averages, sooner or later something is bound to happen to me. Do I keep taking CRT days at a lesser rate than I have been, or should I bow out now, by finishing up this 3 days/week contract with 3 beautiful classes which are all a joy to teach?”

All I know at this stage is that I’ve worked A LOT over the last 18 months. I haven’t wasted a dollar of the money I’ve earned – over 60K in my pocket. Every dollar has gone towards a project – the big ones being Tom31’s mortgage; David29’s wedding; Evan26’s Clown College; Ryan28’s medical expenses and finally – my trip to the UK.

I’ve helped the school in the midst of a huge teacher shortage and incidentally, avoided raiding my share portfolios to help the kids at a time when the stock market was down. (Thus avoiding Sequence of Returns Risk.)

Working was a sensible decision 18 months ago, but how is it serving me now? I’ll be doing some serious thinking when I come back.

Where I’ve been: At the chicken shop.

Before I fly off to London, I need to buy and freeze enough chicken necks – in groups of 3 – to last for the little woofs’ breakfasts for 5 weeks. I’m doing them in batches; it’s not a pleasant job.

Where I’m going: The UK in under two weeks.

I’ve had Whatsapp conversations during the week with James from Ireland and Corinna from London about what we’re going to be doing while I’m over there. Chatting with them has really brought home how close this holiday is getting. I’m so lucky to have 4 really fantastic people (Scott and Deana as well) who are giving up their time and in some cases, their couches, to show me around.

What I’m reading: Mortal Engines – Philip Reeve.

I haven’t read a lot of Steampunk fiction, so after seeing the movie on Netflix I thought I’d give the novel a try. Turns out there are 4 in the series, so I might be plunging into this futuristic world where cities move around for a while longer.

What I’m watching: THE BLACKLIST!

I was sure The Blacklist had finally stuttered to a close after season 9, but like the crazy optimist I am, I left it on my Netflix list. Imagine my happiness when out of nowhere, season 10 popped up. I’ve only watched 3 or 4 episodes so far, but I really like the direction the writers are taking. The character of Raymond Reddington is oddly charming and even though the show is very silly, I still really enjoy it.

Of course, The Block takes precedence over everything else. Just as it should!

What I’m listening to: a podcast interview with Stephen King.

Stephen King posted a link to this interview on Twitter, saying that he enjoyed the chat very much. Intrigued, I made sure that I listened to it.

I’ve read a lot of his novels, some were not that great, most were entertaining reading and a few are books that I will never ever forget. When he’s good, he’s the best.

His book ‘On Writing‘ is one of the best books on this topic that I’ve ever read. It’s one of the books that has survived cull after cull from my bookshelves, along with ‘The Stand.’ I threw out ‘The Tommyknockers’ a week ago. I hung onto this bloated novel for a couple of decades. The first hundred pages or so are BORING and should’ve been ruthlessly edited, but after that, the plot really takes off and the ending literally made me cry.

The Bachman books include The Running Man (and to no one’s surprise, the story is much better than the movie) and one of the most haunting stories I’ve ever read – The Long Walk. I will never let these stories go.

The podcast is about the horror genre and the guy hosting is a massive King geek. The conversation they had was really interesting and ranged all over the place. I can highly recommend.

What I’m eating: Anything from the freezers.

I’m trying to eat as much as we can from the freezers before I leave. After all, I bought it so I should get the benefit from it! I know Ryan28 is planning to forage for food from the pantry and freezers as much as he can when I’m gone, so I don’t want to make life TOO easy for him!

What I’m planning: What to do on my free days in London.

I have 3 free days on my calendar. So many choices! So much to do!

I have to say, it’s a lovely problem to have.

Who needs a fist bump: James from Dublin.

I was expecting to have to get off the plane mid-afternoon and trundle around Dublin in the afternoon on my own, seeing the sights, before jumping on a train and heading up to James’ place.

But no! He’s chucking a sickie for a couple of days and is picking me up at the airport! How lovely is that? I’m so excited – we’re going to have so much fun.

What has made me smile: Ryan28.

I was Home Alone over the weekend as Ryan28 was in town at some Melee tournaments. He plays Peach. On Monday night I was sitting on the couch and he came into the kitchen. I mentioned that I was feeling a bit cold and I’d get my dressing gown when Jeffrey decided to move off my lap.

Without a word, he slipped into my room and grabbed the dressing gown, handing it to me as we were still on the couch. Jeff didn’t have to move and I was warm.

He’s a great housemate to have.

Dad joke of the day:


  1. Girt

    What an interesting life you have FDJ! You are still inspiring me after so many years. Yes please organise yourself so you don’t get berated by children, their parents or be rendered unconscious by any of the aforementioned.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Funny. I just pulled up your comment as a kid working on her laptop turned up her music. I started doing rap moves and grooving along.
      She had no idea that her headphones weren’t working, and she looked bewildered as other kids around her started joining in.
      It’s not all bad…
      But yes. I see your point.

  2. Debbie

    I love this “He’s chucking a sickie”. As an Australian living in Canada for the past 30 years – no one here would have a clue what that means – but I getcha. That James is a top bloke! 😉
    Enjoy your trip to the UK, looking forward to the updates.

    • FrogdancerJones

      He really is an excellent human. I love that Canadians wouldn’t know that phrase… it seems so obvious!

  3. sandyg61

    Such great friends you have made through your travels.
    Knowing when to fully stop working is a tough one. Life events around me made that decision for me, mostly medical to loved ones. I’m not sad to no longer work but sometimes my brain would like it.

  4. Josie

    The most surprising part to me was not calling an ambulance immediately for the teacher! Hopefully she is ok. And this American loved “chucking a sickie”! It’s so descriptive lol! Enjoy a wonderful trip with friends along the way!

    • FrogdancerJones

      YEs, the ambulance thing was a huge thing. I wish I had’ve had my phone on me.

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