Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I have to break my chronological recounting in order to make an announcement: The first member of Generation Three was born today!

Lauren Whitfill, daughter of Jihoon Whitfill and Francine Whitfill (nee Riedmayer) arrived a little after midnight on Saturday of Week 4 in Prosperity Plains, which was a little after 3:30 in the afternoon on Leap Day in Ohio. She has fair skin, brown hair, and blue eyes. Mama and baby are doing fine.

By the way: Francine is the youngest member of Generation One, having arrived in Prosperity Plains as a toddler. However, since Jihoon is Generation Two, all of their children are Generation Three. I am loving the fact that the youngest member of Generation One gave birth to the oldest member of Generation Three.

Week Two Part Two: Dejackome Place

Thanks to a generous gift from her friend Elwood Riedmayer, Rivka had a little extra money around. As soon as the check cleared the bank she was on the phone with the adoption service. Not long after she received an adoptive placement of four siblings--two sets of fraternal twins!

The older pair were named Gretchen and Jeannie. Gretchen had red hair and green eyes.

Jeannie had brown hair and green eyes. Rivka couldn't help but think Jeannie looked a little bit like herself as a child, except Rivka's eyes were brown.

The second pair were Gavin and Theresa. Gavin had red hair and green eyes like Gretchen.

Theresa shared red hair with two of her older siblings, but was unique in having brown eyes.

Rivka soon realized that, getting on in years as she was, she might not be around long enough to see her children safely to adulthood. So she invited over her good friend Melanie Tse and asked if she would like to move in. Shockingly, Melanie agreed. (Later, Rivka would learn that Melanie herself had been raised in the foster system and thus felt for children without families.) Melanie brought a little money with her and they were able to lay the foundations for a new house to replace the flimsy shelter Rivka had erected. Melanie got a job as a record store clerk to help pay the bills; Rivka quit her dead-end job to stay home with the children.

Rivka's predictions about her longevity proved sadly correct. She passed on while all of her children were still in elementary school--just collapsed in the yard one day while birdwatching. Melanie organized a simple funeral and did the best she could to console the children.

Melanie became the children's legal guardian but never actually adopted them herself. She also never encouraged them to call her "Mom," emphasizing that Rivka was their mother. So they called her "Auntie Melanie."

Despite this, Melanie essentially was a mother to the Dejackome children in the ensuing months and years. She helped them with homework...

...and she made them pancakes for breakfast sometimes.

Of course, the children did have to work through some trauma, considering they had barely left the orphanage when their kindly adoptive mother died. However, they were soon acting like happy, well-adjusted kids.

Melanie did occasionally let them get away with stuff she might not have otherwise, figuring that if they were happy it was okay to wear out the box springs a little bit.

Rivka had carried a fairly large insurance policy, so Melanie was able to pay for some improvements around the property. Of course, the first thing she did was put a protective fence around Rivka's grave and plant some flowers to pretty it up a bit.

Melanie was also able to improve the look of the interior of the house--three bedrooms, one bathroom, a well-appointed kitchen and dining room, and a living room with plenty of space for guests. (The Dejackome house is a rough model of a house in one of the novels I'm working on, so it's not necessarily well laid-out for Sim life. It works okay for the Dejackomes, though.)

Outside, Melanie planted some flowering shrubs to make the little gray house look more cheerful.

Altogether, it was a pretty good week for the Dejackomes. Much better than Week One. Though the pictures don't reflect it, Rivka was actually very close to all her children despite the short time she got to spend with them. The reason she died in platinum was that as each child was adopted she rolled a want to be friends with that child, so I made sure she became friends. Then she'd roll a want to be best friends and I'd try to fulfill that too. (In case you didn't figure it out, I made up the stuff about the kids all being siblings, just like I did with the Whitfill kids. They looked so much alike it was an easy imaginative leap.)

A nice side effect of this was that the kids got quite a lot of life insurance money when she died. Combined with Melanie's income, that money enabled them to live pretty comfortably.

Melanie will probably die a spinster. She's a knowledge Sim (with a lifetime want to reach the top of the Gaming career), so she probably won't mind.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week Two Part One: Kules Korner

As they worked their way through high school, Darius Kules and Elise Kalson started spending more and more time together--some of it at Darius' house, some of it at clubs.

Brittanie didn't really care what her son did after school, as long as he pulled passing grades. His more frequent late nights out enabled her to make a few conquests of her own, such as bartender Ryan Cho. (At this point I think Brittanie was working as a convenience store clerk, hence the dual apron wearing.)

Brittanie was rather upset to discover that her dalliance with Ryan had some unexpected consequences. Darius was delighted at the prospect of being a big brother, but Brittanie preferred to ignore this new development as much as possible.

She avoided Ryan for the duration of her pregnancy, knowing he would ask uncomfortable questions. Instead, she had a fling with Abjiheet Depiesse, whose views on commitment were more in line with her own. (He's a Romance Sim too.)

Finally the baby was born and Brittanie could shed those awful, frumpy maternity clothes. The baby was a boy; she named him Jaden, bought him a cheap crib, and then promptly forgot that he existed.

Fortunately for Jaden, Darius picked up the slack in terms of baby care.

At the end of the week, the Kules family had two bedrooms (one for Brittanie and her lovers, one for Darius and Jaden). The common area and bathroom remain largely unchanged.

I love babies, both real and Sim, so I couldn't resist giving Brittanie a little surprise. Let's justify it on the grounds that it can't hurt to have a second Sim capable of carrying on the Kules family name. (Since Jaden is illegitimate, the game gave him his mother's last name.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Week One Part Five: Riedmayer-Landgraab Estate

Immediately after their marriage, Beata and Malcolm moved to their own place. They bought a pre-built, partially furnished house rather than going to the trouble of building one themselves.

Just to the right of the entryway was a living room. Beata thought the cheap-looking futon and loveseat didn't fit very well with the ornate fireplace, but there would be plenty of time to upgrade later.

Behind the living room was the kitchen, which had basic appliances and a folding table with two chairs. Knowing how expensive kitchen remodels were, Beata figured she should get used to those cabinets.

The back door led from the kitchen to a porch, which was unfurnished...for the time being.

On the left side of the hallway was a good-sized bedroom, unfurnished, and two small, empty rooms which seemed like they were supposed to be bathrooms.

Beata and Malcolm immediately purchased a queen-sized bed and a crib for the soon-to-arrive baby. They also added fixtures to the master bathroom.

The upstairs was conveniently already furnished. At the end of the hall was a full bath; to the right was a room decorated princess-style that would be perfect for Francine; to the left was a Goth-looking room that would suit the twins. The room held a double bed; Beata offered to buy two single beds instead but the twins said they thought the bed was awesome and they could totally share it.

The first night in their new house, they did just that.

The family's daily routine remained largely unchanged; the twins went to school together and played Red Hands together when they got home.

One day Beata found herself having an afternoon snack with an unfamiliar teenage boy. He introduced himself as Greg Pons and said he'd come home on the bus with Joan and Edith.

Of course, the girls couldn't spend too much time socializing. The twins only had a few years left before they would be too old to attend college, so they worked very hard to get their grades up. Francine wasn't struggling too badly with school, but she liked studying alongside her older sisters.

Soon, it was time for the baby to be born! She was a girl and Malcolm chose the name Mildred, after his great-grandmother. (Malcolm's family tree actually doesn't go that far back; I made that part up. Also, does anyone find the Hobby people trooping into one's house at all hours unbearably weird?)

In what seemed like no time at all (though it was actually three years), Beata and Malcolm were welcoming a second child. This time the baby was a boy, and naturally he was named Malcolm Landgraab V. They usually called him Little Malcolm or Mal.

Edith had been asking to go to private school for years, but Beata told her there was no point since she'd be going to college soon. Joan didn't care one way or the other, but not long after Francine turned 13 she began adding her voice to the protest against public school. Finally Beata relented and invited over the headmaster. Francine took charge of the visit, giving the headmaster a tour and otherwise being as nice to him as possible.

The next semester, all three donned their private school uniforms and boarded the bus. Edith was the first one out the door, so eager was she to soak up a little exclusive private school ambiance before heading off to college.

Francine was next; she had heard that the academics at the private school were much more challenging than at the public school.

Joan was last. She was happy to go to private school too; the advantages would help her provide for her future family. She just wasn't quite as eager as her siblings. (I feel compelled to note that Joan was *not* working on her own homework as the bus pulled up; she was working on Francine's. Francine was too tired after schmoozing the headmaster half the night.)

Soon Millie outgrew her crib in Malcolm and Beata's room and they bought a new bed for the princess room. Francine didn't mind sharing her room, though she was glad she didn't have to share a bed like Joan and Edith.

Francine decided early in her teenage years that she wanted to be a world-class ballerina when she was older. So that she could look the part, Francine started wearing her pretty blond hair in a low bun.

Francine Riedmayer, CAS toddler,
daughter of Beata Riedmayer-Landgraab
Blond hair, brown eyes, S2 skin
Aspiration: Knowledge
Lifetime want: Become World-Class Ballet Dancer
Astrological sign: Virgo

This is what the downstairs of the Riedmayer-Landgraab house looked like at the end of the week. I kept the second crib because I was planning on them having a third child in fairly short order.

At some point the folding table and chairs were replaced by this cute little set. It's not big enough to fit a large family, but this family rarely sits down to eat all together anyway.

They also got new living room furniture that matched the fireplace better--a sofa, a loveseat, and a bookcase.

This is what the upstairs looked like. Not much changed; I think the addition of Millie's bed was the only thing. You can see Joan talking on the phone to, I think, Greg Pons. But more on that later.

There are two things I would have done differently with this family had I known then what I know now. First, I would have waited to move them out until the very beginning of Week Two at Riedmayer Cove, rather than the very end of Week One. As is, they're out of sync with the other families. Oh well. The other thing is that I would have moved them to an empty lot and built them a house. Not because I don't like this house, but because unbeknownst to me I broke the prosperity challenge rules. See, the updated Apartment Life rules state that Sims can only move to a new lot ONCE in their adult lives, and Beata and Malcolm moved twice. (Also, Joan and Edith moved twice as teens. It doesn't say anything about children, so I guess Francine is safe.) See, when Malcolm first moved in with the Riedmayers he brought a lot of money, so I bought some statues and stuck them in his inventory so he could keep that money. Then I moved them all out to a small empty lot and sold the statues so they'd have enough cash to buy the pre-built house. I'm figuring this is okay (you haven't noticed me forfeiting the challenge, have you?) because this family didn't actually gain any net worth by the move, but I feel terribly guilty about it. (After the moves their net worth was about 50,000 Simoleons; if they had sold the statues and stayed on the empty lot, their net worth still would have been 50,000 Simoloeons.) The only reason I did it the way I did was because I was sick of building houses from scratch. Master architect I am not.


On a lighter note: Millie Landgraab is arguably the first member of Generation Two. See, she was conceived before Blake Whitfill was adopted, but born after. So it kind of depends on whether conception qualifies a Sim as a member of the neighborhood.

This installment wraps up Week One in Prosperity Plains. Stay tuned next week for lots of babies, a few platinum tombstones, and the first batch of Sim State University students.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week One Part Four: Whitfill Ranch

When Larita Whitfill went on an outing with her neighbor Rivka Dejackome, she never figured that she'd get a big ugly statue as a present from Elwood Riedmayer. But she did. It was worth 3000 Simoleons, just enough of a nest egg to impress a social worker, which suited Larita just fine.

The very first thing Larita did after she sold the statue was get on the phone with Sim City Social Services. Before too long she was all set to get an adoptive placement.

Larita used her own money to build an outhouse with a shower and buy an art easel. She figured that since she was going to adopt children it'd be better to have a stay-at-home career. She started on her first painting while she waited for the kids to come up from Sim City.

Blake was the oldest. He had dark skin, brown eyes, and red hair. Larita thought that was a funny combination, but she kept her opinion to herself. The boy was only nine, but he was already a little odd; insisted on going about all the time in an orange dragon suit and blue nightcap. Larita soon managed to convince him to wear clothes that were a little more normal.

Next oldest was Donte. He had brown hair, light brown skin, and the brightest blue eyes you ever saw. He was eight, and had already started wearing odd clothes like Blake. Fortunately in his case it was only the nightcap, and it was easy to tell him he ought to only wear that at night.

Jihoon was next. He was seven, with brown hair, light skin, and blue eyes, and seemed to not have the same weird dressing habits as the older boys. Larita would never admit it, but she took a particular liking to Jihoon the minute he stepped out of that van. He looked like a little farm boy in his flannel shirt and blue jeans. He did have a mighty unusual name, but Larita figured they'd all get used to it quick.

The twins were five. They were sisters to Blake; all three had been dumped at an orphanage when the twins were just babies. Veronica, who had gray eyes, said she was the older twin.

Rishell, the other twin, had brown eyes, which made it a little bit easier to tell them apart. It still wasn't easy; they moved fast and you couldn't see a kid's eyes when she was all the way on the other side of the yard.

Things were a little rough at first. Larita didn't have enough beds put together for everybody, so she became nocturnal--she'd sleep while the kids were at school, and then they'd take turns sleeping.

Although Larita didn't have the means to send her kids to private school, she made sure they got the best education she could give them. She was determined to put as many of them through college as possible. (Larita's lifetime want was "Graduate 3 Children From College.")

Eventually, Larita spent her nest egg making a very rough shelter for herself and the kids. From the front it looked pretty normal, but from the back it looked downright odd. None of them minded, though.

There was an enclosed bedroom and bathroom; then in the alcove they had two more beds, a mini-fridge, and a bookcase. When the weather got colder, they took turns sleeping in the enclosed bedroom so nobody got frostbite.

The Whitfills were (and are) one of my favorite families. Everything went even better than I could have expected with the adoptions. Going in, I was thinking I might have Larita adopt 7 children (the most she could have adopted, since you can only have 8 Sims on the lot), but after 5 it was just too exhausting to keep things going on the tiny bit of money she had, so I spent the nest egg. It felt like Larita was "done," anyway. Three boys were plenty to carry on the family name, and then the two girls had each other as playmates. (They did later become red hand buddies. Blake and Donte were each other's buddies, and Larita was Jihoon's.)

By the way, I made that stuff up about the kids all arriving at the same time and some of them being biologically related, because it suited the story. I adopted all 5 of them one day apart like one normally does in the Sims.

That's all for now. I'm actually about halfway through Week Four in gameplay, so look for more updates soon.

EDITED TO ADD: I felt I should note, just for statistics' sake, that Blake Whitfill is arguably the first member of Generation Two in Prosperity Plains. (The other contender is Millie Landgraab, whose birth will feature in my next blog post.)