Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Week Four Part One: Kules Korner

After graduation, Darius Kules moved back to his mother's house, bringing along his fiancee, Elise Kalson.

They soon got jobs, Darius as a supporting actor and Elise as a ballroom dancer. Elise still dreamed of being an athelete but she figured dancing would help her stay fit while she waited for an opening on the Sim City Llamas. Meanwhile, they were trying to integrate into life at Kules Korner. Darius soon found himself helping take care of baby Alexis, just as he had helped care for baby Jaden back before college.

The picture on the right reminds me of this one from a week and a half prior.

Elise, who never had siblings of her own, soon found herself growing close to Darius' half-siblings. She ended up feeling more like Alexis' mother than her sister-in-law--it was Elise who made sure Alexis at least got cake on her birthday, even if she didn't get a party. It was Elise who potty-trained Alexis. It was Elise who did all sorts of things, while Ryan was busy with the increasing demands of his job and Brittanie was busy with the increasing demands of her social life.

Meanwhile, Darius made sure Jaden didn't get totally lost in the shuffle, connecting with his much-younger brother over videogames. It didn't hurt Darius' relationship with Ryan either.

Although Jaden certainly enjoyed these games, he also enjoyed reading quietly in his room.

Brittanie took advantage of the free babysitting to hit the bars. She was just getting somewhere with this redheaded dude (she couldn't remember his name) when that blond dude she'd slept with a while back came running up and went ballistic. Brittanie tried to smooth things over, but that got redheaded dude angry, and soon Brittanie was getting yelled at and slapped from both sides. She managed to shoo them both away and call for a taxi before things got totally out of hand. While she waited, she chatted with a handsome young stranger who introduced himself as Corbin Todd and said he was a newcomer to Prosperity Plains.

Since Elise and Darius were living in the already-crowded lower level of the house while their own living quarters were under construction at the top level, they tried to help out as much as possible with home repairs, cooking, and the like.



Some of their attempts at helpfulness were less successful than others.

Elise and Darius managed to finish planning their wedding, finally. On the appointed day, a massive thunderstorm blew in. Fortunately, Darius and Elise had been doing well in their new careers and managed to pay for a pavilion at the last minute. The wedding was fairly small, with just close friends and family invited. Francine Whitfill (nee Riedmayer) was matron of honor, Jihoon Whitfill was best man, Jaden was ringbearer, and Alexis was flower girl.

(The next update will have additional pictures from the Kalson-Kules wedding.)

Elise and Darius both focused on their careers, but after a while it occured to them that they weren't getting any younger and it would be nice to have a little Kules around the house. Their efforts were soon successful.

Darius was very pleased at the thought of having a little one of his own.

Another blast from the past: This picture. Apparently I like taking pictures of Darius rubbing bellies.

Elise was pleased as well, but didn't entirely forget her career ambitions. Her doctor told her that moderate exercise was actually good for her, so exercise she did.

About four and a half years after the wedding Elise gave birth to a baby boy, whom they named Silas. Silas seemed to have his mother's dark hair, in striking contrast to the fair skin he inherited from his father. Elise went back to work right after Silas was born. Since she worked evenings, she asked Jaden to look after Silas. Jaden was a teen by that time, and Elise had a feeling he was already a lot more responsible than Brittanie.

As he studied his way through high school, it became apparent that Jaden would be following in his father's footsteps and seeking knowledge, rather than taking after his mother and her romancing ways. Ryan began to think about trying to send both Jaden and Alexis to private school.

Spoiler: They get in. I didn't have any good pictures of teenage Jaden from Week Four, so I used this one from Week Five. I think he's cute.
Jaden Kules, son of Brittanie Kules and Ryan Cho. Aspiration: Knowledge Lifetime want: Become Space Pirate Astrological sign: Scorpio

Brittanie tried to ignore both the existence of her grandson and the fact that her children were getting older. After all, SHE was never going to be old.

Brittanie really looks grumpy at getting old, doesn't she?

This is what the first floor looked like at the end of the week. The main difference is that Alexis had become a child at this point, so all the nursery stuff had been handed down to Silas and she got a real bed.

This is what the second floor looked like. I didn't want to compromise the look of the original house but needed desperately to add on, so I turned it into a duplex. Darius and Elise didn't have a lot of furniture and stuff, but their half of the house was pretty comfortable nonetheless by the end of the week.

And this is what the exterior looked like. The blue sedan is nominally Darius'; the red convertible is nominally Brittanie's.

During this round, I learned that Sim children really don't like it when one parent is unfaithful to the other. Since Brittanie and Ryan aren't married or even engaged, she doesn't get a "had an affair" memory from her various indiscretions. Alexis doesn't either, but I noticed her randomly crying about her mother one day and then checked and realized their daily relationship is at -63. Brittanie's new policy of inviting her friends over to the house while Ryan is at work is effective at curbing jealousy between lovers, but it's not doing Brittanie's relationship with her daughter any favors. (Meanwhile, Alexis and Elise are best friends.)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Week Three Part Eight Point Five: Zeta Zeta Epsilon Greek House

Life in the Greek House was good. The young people all studied hard, of course, but they still managed to find time for other things. For example:

Spaghetti dinners around the giant kitchen table...

From left: Darius Kules, Corbin Todd, Donte Whitfill,
Francine Riedmayer, Elise Kalson, Blake Whitfill.
I don't know where Jihoon was at the time.


Jihoon and Francine at the end of their first dream date.
(His LTW is 50 Dream Dates. Oy.)

More dates...

 Elise Kalson and Darius Kules, 
high school sweethearts turned college sweethearts.

Painting (which in some circles qualified as a date)...

Jihoon Whitfill and Francine Riedmayer.
I set them up as a couple pretty much 
solely so I could get shots like this.

Still more dates...

Blond cheerleader girl and Corbin Todd. 
Please note that this is NOT Corbin's fiancee.

Jam sessions...

Blake Whitfill on electric guitar and Elise Kalson on bass.

And endless chess tournaments, which some people found utterly riveting.

From left: Darius Kules, Timothy Seifert, Donte Whitfill.
This picture was actually taken much later,
after Tim had pledged to the Greek House,
but it didn't fit into the narrative anywhere else.  

In the fall of the younger students' sophomore year, introverted Fran shocked everyone by being the first to get inducted into the secret society. (She didn't tell, but everybody noticed her wearing the black blazer.) Blake managed to hang on to his outgoing reputation by getting inducted second. Meanwhile, Corbin managed to get the Big Man on Campus award.

In the spring of their sophomore year, Jihoon, Donte, and Darius managed to get into the Secret Society. Elise would have gotten in as well, but the Secret Society was only allowed to induct 3 members per semester. (I wondered what the game would think of me having 4 Sims become eligible at the same time, but it responded quite well by inducting them 1 per night in seemingly random order.)

 Near the end of the semester, the Whitfill boys got the news that their mother, Larita, had died. Jihoon reacted to this news by proposing to Fran; he figured that life was short and he didn't want to spend any more of it than necessary apart from her. Donte simply buried himself in his studies. But Blake was the most profoundly affected. He had spent most of the time since his adoption chafing at one thing or another--at his responsibility as the "man of the family", as the eldest of five children. At the expectation that he would go to a certain college, join a certain Greek House, court and marry a girl from a certain town. At the fact that both the pretty girls in his Greek house were already involved, one with his best friend and one with his little brother. His mother's death made him realize that his "freedom" wasn't as important as he thought it was. Rather, family was important. Friends were important. Looking out for and supporting each other was important. (Blake was a Romance Sim with the LTW to have 20 loves. He rerolled and became a Popularity Sim with the LTW to become a celebrity chef.)

 Though they couldn't quite put their fingers on it, everyone in ZZE noticed the change in Blake after they got back from summer vacation. However, they were soon too busy to pester him about it. Elise predictably got into the Secret Society at the beginning of the semester. Fran once again surprised everyone by earning the Big Woman on Campus Award. Blake earned the Big Man on Campus award, which didn't really surprise anyone. They were also not very surprised when Darius finally got around to proposing to Elise, given that the two had been dating exclusively since they were 14.

The following semester, Elise managed to get the Big Woman on Campus award. Since Corbin was graduating, ZZE held a toga party in his honor. Corbin graduated Summa Cum Laude and left to go live with Edith back in Prosperity Plains.

The next semester was difficult, not because of Corbin's absence (Blake stepped into the role of House Leader, given that he was the more outgoing by far of the two students who weren't preoccupied by fiance(e)s.) However, Fran and Elise got bad cases of the flu shortly after returning to campus and were sick for quite a while; later Blake and then Darius caught it.

Once he recovered, Blake asked Timothy Siefert to pledge. Tim accepted and filled Corbin's spot in the house, at least physically speaking. In all other ways he was unlike Corbin; shy and bookish with blond hair falling in his face. (Timothy is a Knowledge Sim and a Virgo with the lifetime aspiration to become a prestidigitator; I made him a Literature major because we already had two Drama majors in the house.)

Later that semester Donte made Big Man on Campus. The next semester, both Jihoon and Darius earned that distinction. In honor of the fact that they were almost graduated, the members of ZZE threw another toga party.

The same semester, the students used some extra funds to build a pool on the back of their Greek house. The seniors were able to enjoy it during the lull between finals and commencement, but Timothy had gotten the flu himself and had to stay in bed.

All six of the older students graduated Summa Cum Laude. Over the next few weeks they packed up their things and went back to Prosperity Plains to seek their fortunes. Timothy recovered in time to see them off.

It would have been boring to post six pictures of people getting into taxis, 
so I elected to post the one with Donte. 
He was a good boy and spent his college years studying quietly, 
so there are almost no other pictures of him.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Week Three Part Eight: Sim State Dormitory

One sweltering day in August a bus traveled from Prosperity Plains to Sim State University, carrying Darius Kules, his girlfriend Elise Kalson, Francine Riedmayer (who decided to start introducing herself as Fran), and Blake, Donte, and Jihoon Whitfill. Most of the young Sims had only a passing acquaintanceship with each other, but they were bound together by the idea that they were all from Prosperity Plains, the place where people look out for each other. They all agreed to do that when they got to the university.

As soon as they got settled in their new rooms (girls on the first floor, boys on the second), the new students headed down to the computer lab to declare their majors. Darius chose economics, of course. Elise and Fran both chose Drama, though Elise wanted to be an athlete and and Fran wanted to be a dancer. Blake chose philosophy because he heard it's an easy major and he wanted to have time to socialize. Donte chose psychology because he wanted to be an educator after he's done being a student. Jihoon chose art because he loved the subject (not because he heard art was an easy major).

Jihoon found himself staring at Fran while they sat at their respective computers registering for classes. He had admired her from the first day they met, and in their last few years at home they had struck up a friendship centered around their mutual love of painting, but things never progressed beyond that. After all, Jihoon was seven years her junior. He was pretty sure that since he'd turned 16 it would be legal for her to date him, but surely she wouldn't be interested. She'd find some college boy. Perhaps she'd even go for Blake, who was so outgoing and self-confident. Or she'd fall for Donte, who had such an agreeable disposition and who loved knowledge as much as she did.

Jihoon wasn't sure how it happened, but somehow he struck up a conversation with Fran. Then he shyly told her she was pretty.

She smiled at him, so he gathered up all his courage and kissed her lightly on the lips.

Shockingly, Fran kissed him back! It would have been way too juvenile to ask her to go steady, but Jihoon felt confident that this was the beginning of something amazing.

Shortly thereafter, before things got too busy, everybody decided it was necessary to shop for some new clothes. Fran really couldn't stand the pink pants she'd found at the secondhand store a few days before she left for college, and a lot of the others had similar complaints. Blake also changed his hairstyle--since he was 18 and out of the house, he didn't have to keep it in the neat buzz cut his mother preferred.

Soon, the students got busy attending classes and writing term papers and making new friends. Outgoing Blake was the first one to make contact with Corbin Todd, head member (and currently only member) of the Zeta Zeta Epsilon Greek House. One day Blake invited Corbin over to the dorm and all seven young people lounged about chatting from about 11 p.m. to a little after 7 a.m., at which point a few of the freshmen had to go shower and eat breakfast before their morning classes.

Clockwise from left:
Donte Whitfill, Elise Kalson, Blake Whitfill (notice the dreadlocks),
Darius Kules, Jihoon Whitfill, Francine Riedmayer, Corbin Todd

Predictably, Blake joined Zeta Zeta Epsilon at the beginning of the spring semester. Around spring break, Fran and then Elise joined as well. Darius, Donte, and Jihoon joined near the end of the semester, with Jihoon just managing to squeak in before the deadline. All six freshmen applied to move out of the dorm and into the Greek house. Their applications were accepted and in the midst of studying for finals they moved their things across the road.

Over the summer, Corbin supervised the building of a new wing to the Greek house. The ground floor addition became a massive eat-in kitchen, with state of the art appliances and seating for twelve. The old galley kitchen became a new bathroom and the old hall bath was knocked out entirely in order to open up the living room area.

Upstairs, the new addition became two more bedrooms and another bathroom. The section that had formerly been open to below was made a small study area. Corbin got rid of most of the things that had been in the office, moved the treadmill to the attic, and moved the black-and-red double bed down to the second floor.

The attic was opened up to make a large T-shaped study area, equipped with half a dozen computers and various other things. When the six new students returned the following August, they agreed with Corbin's assessment: It was the best Greek house ever.

Of course, I did not get any good pictures of the renovated Greek House. Those will have to wait until the next college update. (I have played another round of college since this one.) I do think the repairman truck in the road is a nice touch.

For reasons of length, the next three years of college life will be published in a separate installment.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week Three Part Seven: Riedmayer-Todd Estate

After graduation, Edith bought a property which she named Riedmayer-Todd Estate, in imitation of her mother and stepfather. Joan thought it was bad luck to name a property in honor of a marriage that had not yet taken place, but Edith didn't see why it was such a big deal, given that she and Corbin had been together for three years and engaged for two and a half. The wedding would certainly take place, even if it would have to wait until Corbin finished graduate school. Besides, Corbin took the bus from Sim State University almost every weekend.

At times it almost seemed that he lived with Edith.

Edith got a job working as a...government clerk (read: working for the Intelligence department) and quickly earned a promotion. She was on track for yet another promotion when she discovered that Corbin's weekend visits had been more fruitful than they'd anticipated.

Corbin was present for the birth of his daughter, Ingrid Riedmayer. Everyone agreed that she looked just like him, and even Joan was satisfied with his willingness to help take care of the baby during his visits.
Edith went back to work as soon as possible after Ingrid's birth. It wasn't that she didn't like spending time with her daughter; it was just that with a child in the picture financial stability was even more important than it had been. She quickly got that second promotion she'd been angling for, despite the time off, and immediately began working towards another. It was almost time for Corbin to graduate, and weddings weren't cheap...

This is what Edith's house looked like at about 8:12 on Monday. (She was sleeping and I forgot to watch the clock.) It's pretty simple but it has everything she needs for the time being and once Corbin moves in she'll be able to do a lot more with it. Edith of course struggled financially more than Joan and Greg did, but I was surprised by how easy it was for her to juggle a long-distance relationship and a career and a baby. Corbin is a Romance Sim, so I'm not at all sure how things will work out between him and Edith. (His lifetime want is to reach the top of the Slacker career track, so I might just get him in permanent platinum as quickly as possible and then he won't care if I make him get married.) When I played him at college I checked his memory panel and he actually has a positive memory of Ingrid's birth, so maybe he's a little more family-oriented than your average Romance Sim. Still, things will get interesting if he rolls a fear of marrying Edith after he graduates.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Week Three Part Six: Bridgeview

Immediately after graduation, Greg Pons and Joan Riedmayer began planning their wedding. They were married on a beautiful fall evening about a year and a half later. Joan was escorted up the aisle by both Beata Riedmayer-Landgraab, mother of the bride, and Malcolm Landgraab IV, stepfather of the bride. Edith Riedmayer, sister of the bride, was the Maid of Honor; Corbin Todd, college friend of the couple (and fiance of the Maid of Honor), was the Best Man. Bridesmaids were Francine Riedmayer and Mildred Landgraab, sisters of the bride. Groomsmen were Timothy Siefert, college friend of the couple, and Malcolm Landgraab V, brother of the bride. Flower girls were Marion Landgraab and Margaret Landgraab, sisters of the bride.

The reception went late into the night, with friends of the couple toasting to their health and happiness.

Greg dreamed of joining the military, but was unable to do so. In order to keep them afloat financially, he got a job as a studio musician. Joan had no particular career ambitions; she wanted to start a family right away. However, money was tight, so she found a job with an art museum making reproductions of famous artwork for the gift shop. (The actual job title is "art forger," but I like to think Joan is staying on the straight and narrow.)

Soon, Joan got her wish and had to take a break from inhaling paint fumes in order to gestate her first child. (You will notice that Joan cut and colored her hair yet again.)

Six months later, Joan gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She and Greg chose the name Sarah. Joan thought the baby looked just like Greg, but Greg pointed out that she had Joan's sparkling gray eyes.

Since Greg was working long hours in the studio, Beata came over to help with the baby.

She very much enjoyed holding her new grandchild.

Although Joan still held her job with the art museum, the market for reproductions had tanked and she wasn't able to get a lot of work. She convinced Greg that they needed a second child so she could keep busy until work picked back up. Greg agreed, and Joan was soon expecting again.

(Joan had a three-day weekend. It would have been boring to have her puttering around taking care of one toddler for that long. So, I gave her something to do that takes 3 days of hard work.)

This is what the Pons house looked like Monday at 8:01 a.m. A great room, a master bedroom and bath, a nursery and "nursery bath" with a potty chair and changing table. Right after the wedding Joan and Greg could only afford a "studio apartment" type house, but they're both at level 7 or 8 of their careers so they accumulate money pretty rapidly. (Also, they bought a car and a lot of new clothes.)

Here's the outside of their house. You can see their car over on the left. I really like this family. Greg is a popularity Sim, which means he's as bad as a stereotypical teenage girl when it comes to being on the phone all the time. He's a nice guy, though. He doesn't whine when I direct him to change diapers. I think I'll wait for him to max out the Music career track (thus gaining me a point in the challenge) before switching him over to Military so he can then work on accomplishing his lifetime want. Meanwhile, Joan is a family Sim, which is my favorite kind of Sim to play because I'm good at it. Her lifetime want is to marry off six children. She won't be getting that for a long time, but I figure she's at least well on the way to having six children.