Friday, December 28, 2007

Aha Part 3 - Death and Taxes

Some things, so they say, are unavoidable. So it is with Sims as well sometimes. Mestral has a rough life after thanking his stars for the luck he's had before his wife died.

"Daddy, I'm so hot!"

"Sweetheart, you're burning up. I heard you sneezing. I told you when you're sick you have to rest. Were you in your room resting?"

"I was jumping on my bed. Resting is boring."

"Darling, Perth, lets get you a cold drink and a cool shower. Come on."

But alas, Perth was not getting better, yet insisted on going to school. Her teacher informed the guidance counselor, who - being awful at her job - panicked and phoned the social worker who had the children removed from the home for neglect.
"Daddy, I don't want to go with that woman. Who is that?"

Mestral held back the flood of tears behind his eyes. It felt as if his whole head were full of tears just bursting to be let loose. Not his girls. Not his baby girls.
"Sir, you have to give me the baby."

"Aaron is mine. Sydney and Perth and Gunther and Aaron are mine. You'll not take them from me."

"Look, Mr. Aha, I'm just doing my job. We have to investigate every case and for now, your children will be placed in protective care until the investigation is finished. If nothing turns up, you'll have them back in a few weeks."

Mestral sighed, knowing you can't fight the government and you can't run with your children, so he handed Aaron to the social worker and somehow didn't fall to his knees directly afterward as all the strength left his body as his children left his house, shuttled into a big blue van.
He barely heard the social worker tsk as she picked up Gunther "Eating cat food, disgraceful." Mestral felt all hope was lost.
"We'll be in touch."
Mestral was a wreck. "My children. My last reminders of my wife. Oh Amy. I need you and you've left me. And I've botched things up so badly that our kids are gone." And then he cried with all the wailing his sorrow held.
Mestral spent the next several weeks waiting for the social worker to phone, say everything was cleared up and he could have his kids back, just come get them. But that call did not come. In the mean time, he cleaned the high chair, and
sat in the nursery staring at the fingerpaints on the walls for hours. Eventually, the social worker did call. She stated he would not be getting his children back as the investigation had shown neglect. He raged to the telephone, but she merely hung up. Devastated and desperate, Mestral devised a plan.
"Gretchen, its Mestral. Listen...something terrible has happened. I need you to come stay with me."

"Mestral, I can't. Things would be too awkward between us."

"Gretchen, its the kids. They've been taken away from me. I need you to move in, get them back. I need my family, Gretchen. They're all I have."

"The kids? Amy's kids? My grandbabies? What happened?"

"A false report led to an investigation and they said I neglected them. You know I would never, Gretchen. You know I'm a good father."

Silence for a moment. "I know, Mestral. I can be there in 2 days time. I need to settle some things with the estate." And in two days, as promised, Gretchen moved in.Immediately, she placed the paperwork to adopt a child. She requested Sydney, the eldest. She knew this had to be hardest on the oldest children and figured she'd start there and get all 4 back as quickly as possible.
"Mrs. Johnson, I know you found some loophole in the system and that you are this child's grandmother. You also know that Mr. Aha is not to have babysitting or alone duties with this child. I am releasing her to your care."

"Yes, ma'am. I will make sure she is properly cared for."

"See to it that you do. We'll be keeping a close eye on you."
Mestral was overjoyed to have Sydney back. The house didn't feel like home yet, but it was definitely a start. By now, months had passed and Sydney was nearly teenaged. It was hard to see her so grown up. Mestral felt he'd missed so much and somethings were different between him and his not-so-little girl.
After the mandatory waiting period, Gretchen called to adopt Perth.
Perth was getting so big too. She wasn't the happy 8 year old she was when she left but a morose little 11 year old.
"Mrs. Johnson, we should tell you, we only let you have Perth because she is what we call 'unadoptable', a special needs case. Perth has become mute. Perhaps she will warm back up at home. We have tried everything: counseling, speech therapists, playmates her age and nothing. She has changed."
"She'll be fine now that she's home. What do you mean you weren't going to let me have her? What about Gunther and Aaron? What about getting the boys back? How long do I have to wait?"

"Mrs. Johnson, they've already been adopted. We have to adopt children out as young as possible. No one wants a teenager, but babies go - well, babies go like puppies in a store window. Haha. That's a little expression we have at the center. Ahem, yes, well. Anyhow, I'm sorry but that's all. Good luck with Perth."

Gretchen took the news poorly. Good thing the social worker didn't see.
Mestral mused, half to himself, "Ah, Amy, we have the girls back. It feels more like home, but they're so big now and this house, everything reminds me of you. Their bedroom with 4 beds, feels so hollow. I miss you Amy."
The girls grew up into fine young women. Just a week after Perth returned home, Sydney had her 15th birthday.
It felt like soon after, although it was a year, Perth turned 14. It had been so long since Amy had measured their height on that little bee decoration. Perth still never spoke. She looked at you so you knew she could hear okay, but she never responded, not even to shake or nod her head.
As if life hadn't been hard enough on the girls, Gretchen's time had come.
I had her buried next to my Amy.
When he went to visit their graves at the local cemetery, driving home during a sudden flurry of snow, the icy roads caused Mestral to have difficulty breaking and he wrecked the car...and died.
We turn our attention now to Sydney and Perth. Since Perth will not, Sydney will narrate.

Sometimes I tried to engage Perth (that's what the counselor called it "engage her in activities and conversations"), but she'd just stand there, blank and mouth agape. Even when I'd whomp her with a pillow. She just looked sad or blank.

I think I know why, but when I start to ask her about it, I get no response, so I can't tell. I used to protect her, at the foster homes. Sometimes we'd get nice families, but mostly we got placed in families that were awful where we were watched to change our clothes and bathe or forced to eat horrible things. I used to take beatings so Perth was spared. But when I got back home, Perth was all alone. I don't know what happened to her. Maybe she was molested. I can't know for sure. But she certainly seems distant. I know she CAN talk because I hear her cry and whimper in her sleep. Sometimes she repeats "no" and flails like she's trying to ward something off. I hope someday she'll come around enough to get past whatever happened. I feel bad that I didn't stay with her. I didn't have a choice, but I could have refused to come home without her.Its kind of annoying, but ever since Dad died, and its just us two in the house, Perth can't sleep unless I'm in bed too. She has to have me laying there, even if I just read. And when I get up, she wakes up too. I do it for her, but I don't know how we're going to ever lead a normal life. At least we have money enough to live for awhile. I'm having to learn how to pay bills and clean and cook - and I'm only 16! Its frustrating. I feel like my life's been taken from me like my mother's was and my grandmother's and my father's - and in some ways my sister's too.

Cassada Play 12 - Ryder & Alessandro

Ryder and Alessandro, now graduated, moved into a swanky new house they share. They got Haiku House for a steal as it is rumored to be haunted. So far, they haven't seen any evidence of the haunting except that Ryder had a hard time getting out of the pool since a decorative plant blocked the clearance for the ladder. Ryder shouted for Alessandro, who grabbed a shovel and moved the plant. Ryder just hung onto the edge for a few minutes then he was free to move about. since that was the first time the pool was used, there is no evidence stating any haunting moved that plant or the pool ladder. So far so good regarding hauntings.
The only drawback is the single bedroom. Of course, since Ryder and Alessandro work different shifts, it is no problem.

Ryder is working in the adventurer field and is frequently away traveling looking for relics and exploring ruins. It is leading to some fascinating art in the house.

Alessandro is practicing his street luge and has a special board built to his body shape and weight for smoothest racing and fastest time. So far, he is in the junior amateur leagues, but one has to start somewhere.

Quick tour. Top story: Bedroom with seating area, bathroom.
2nd story: kitchen and dining room
and living area.
1st tory: Entertaining area including pool table flown in from an estate sale Ryder attended in Brunswick.
Also a tiny study that rarely gets used by these tenants.This is the first sheet of Washi hung by Ryder and Alessandro. Now its everywhere. Special pieces (like above the desk in the study) are here and there for visual effect.
Outdoor area has 2 fountains (more washi), loads of plants, a hot tub, and a little pool that has the option to provide resistance for powerful swimming. Alessandro uses this feature to strengthen his upper body.
The first guests to visit included the very bored Robin (brother Leo's wife) who is on maternity leave and extremely pregnant. She very cutely waddled all over the house for a tour. Her potential to burst water at any moment made Ryder uncomfortable and he decided to chat with her outside by the pool for awhile. At least they could mop up outside. His Persian rug was handmade in Persia, after all.
Alessandro sat outside with Robin and her friend from lamaze classes, a woman named Andrea. Ryder pulled Alessandro aside for a moment.

"Alessandro, doesn't she look exactly like those photos of dad's friend Amy Aha?"

"You worry too much, Ryder. Amy died giving birth. Don't you remember dad telling us that on one of his visits to the school? I think it was our sophomore year."

"Yeah, but...I don't know. Something isn't right."

"Ryder, all this pregnancy makes you nervous. Go have a soak in the tub."
And so Ryder did go have a soak in the tub but something just didn't seem right to him. Also, Andrea had no memory of the past several years. She remembered nothing beyond high school. She was quite a bit older than Alessandro, but no matter. Still, that was a long time to have a memory blank. What had happened?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Cassada Play 11 - College for 3 part 2

Gordon, Ryder, and Alessandro finish college. (Continuation from part 7)

Let's see...the dorm room that Ryder occupied was haunted by a mysterious bump in the covers.
Gordon proposed to Cass, who accepted. Are you surprised? They dated Gordon's freshman through Junior years. Cass graduated a year ahead of Gordon, and he proposed after her Senior finals (good boy for not stressing her out or distracting her before finals) and before her graduation ceremony.
Alessandro developed an obsession with flowers. We're all surprised. He moved his desk into his parents' house to make room for the flower bench. He's getting along okay, I think, but he only makes daisy bouquets. I suppose its what's readily available.
And our two boys with noses to speak of became best friends (Ryder on the left and Alessandro on the right).
Honestly, you didn't miss much. I only took 4 pictures. That's how little went on in college. /yawn

Since you didn't miss much, let's see them grow up.

Alessandro doesn't care who makes fun, he's going to be a professional street luge racer.
Ryder figures there are a lot of people vying for that crazy adventuring job and he'll need to face the world prepared in a sharp suit. Cass, oh my, that'll never do. You don't need to be your children's friends.
Gordon, an appropriate military look. Maybe he'll get the haircut of a grown up soon.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cassada Play 10 - Moora

Moora and Adam moved out from Laci's place since Adam and Laci just couldn't get along. They got a really nice Chicago Bungalo. Adam loves his old mascot uniform but the school's been calling to have him return it.They brought their pet bird, Sandy, with them from Laci's place. This is half of the living room.
This is the other half of the living room. There are 2 seating areas, one in front of the TV, and the other next to the birdcage. On the other side of the bird cage is a little reading area. Moora loves green.
Their bedroom is also green. They later had a jute carpet installed in a neutral tan color.
You can see the carpet here as they prepare for their first child. They wasted no time in trying since Adam wants to have 6 grandkids and live long enough to enjoy them. Moora, a simpler person, simply wants to celebrate her golden anniversary with Adam.
The kitchen has plenty of room to be eat-in and they've already bought a high chair.
There was a spare room, so Adam decided it would be fun to have a dance sphere like they had in college and a chess table. They were also given a piano by Adam's parents who moved to a condo and didn't have room for it any longer. They stated they want their grandkids playing piano and don't want it going to waste. Adam was delighted to have room for the piano in his place.
The whole reason for buying this house was the amazing yard room and the downstairs being a full pool. Adam may want his kids playing piano, but Moora wants waterbabies. Unfortunately, the zoning department made them fill in the area as it wasn't structurally safe to have that much water in the house. Moora was very disappointed. [The pool wasn't accessible. Don't know why.]
The only piece of furniture Adam brought was his desk and computer. Moora absolutely hates it because its so heavy and black and goes with nothing in the house which is all brown and green and pale. She relegated his desk to the entryway room which is the smallest space in the house.
Here's a brief layout. Large living room, entryway room to the right. Following down the right is the leisure room and kitchen. First room on the left is the master bedroom, two bathrooms and a hallway, and the large empty room is for the children, as yet unborn.
The only significant note was the master bathroom being redone to include a bathtub. I wasn't thinking that toddlers need baths. If anyone has a good object for bathing toddlers without a tub, let me know. I do have an outdoor tub from MTS2 for the dog, but it is not available for anyone else.
They even added a little greenhouse and some fruit trees in the rear of the property.
Both Moora and Adam had a want to adopt a pet. Although they had a bird, they also wanted more to look after. I advised against it, but they don't listen. They took in this little puppy, Sunny.
Pretty soon, Moora was showing.
Before she delivered, Sunny grew up into...this...strange animal.
The dog may look weird, but Moora's no prize herself.
Baby Michael keeps them busy. Adam, finally realizing he needs to grow up, ditches the mascot attire.
Michael gets all his needs met easily with two family sims as parents.
I decorated part of the kids' room in the back of the house. I sectioned off a toddler area.
Moora! What are you eating? Don't you know what will happen if you eat that? Moora! No! Who left that in the fridge? Dang it, Adam.With Moora being laden with a baby in utero and caring for a toddler and Adam working his regular teaching job plus supervising the after school program, Sandy the bird died of neglect. I felt horrible about it.
They say music soothes the savage beast, but only a bubble bath soothes the pregnant beast.
Madelyn drops by. They used to be enemies and when Moora first moved in, Madelyn used to steal her newspaper and repeatedly kick over the trash - despite puppy Sunny barking at her. I mean, really, her own sister? Now they're pals again.

"Gosh, Moora, you're big as a cow! Mooooo! Hehehehe."
"Madelyn, when are you going to grow up? You're still living with mom and dad and you barely have a job. Throwing parties is not a real job."

"I'll leave the growing up to you, thank you very much. I'm having a ball! Oh, and I'm throwing a ball next weekend. I'd invite you, but its strictly formal and I can't imagine how you'd hide that belly. Plus you'd be a total bore since you don't drink."Moora influenced Madelyn to do some gardening while she took a nap. Madelyn, while watering the flowers [let me repeat that...while watering the flowers] somehow set the flowerbed on fire. Huh?!? Adam was pruning the fruit trees and put the fire out. Sheesh, that girl.
Michael grew up and was excited to have...uh...hands...I guess. I added some beds to the kids' room in the back of the house. I'm thinking of how to redecorate the basement once all that water is removed.
Even pregnant, mom's work is never done.
Moora has twin girls, Andrea and Samantha.
Samantha has dark skin, Andrea is lighter.With all the commotion of collicky babies in the house, especially Andrea, everyone looks for an escape when there's a free moment.
Hey, Michael, who's your friend? "Cousin Lakshimi. She's Uncle Leo's adopted daughter." Right.
And who's this? Another cousin? "Pffhh, no! Just cause mom has 9 sibs doesn't mean the whole town's related. This is Perth Aha."Michael tries to escape the noise of the babies. Like the new pond?
"Can't wait until you're toddling and not fussing all the time."
But fuss they do. Sunny is irritated by all the noise.
He unwinds in his own way by eating up a shoe. [Its CC]
Having planned a mountain vacation [Adam's want] before Moora was pregnant, they take their trip for two.
Look at those rates! Ridiculous. :p
Nanny Allison - who I am convinced drinks Elixir of Life brand senior citizen enhancing juices - comes to watch the kids.
We now bounce to their long weekend of vacation - just 3 days. Since they never had a proper honeymoon, this is it for them. Upon checking in to the free campsites, they, ahem, get the tent a workout. And, um, are now expecting again. Pregnancy works strangely on vacation. Your needs still flag low, but the time doesn't count. She never showed. But she sure acted pregnant. I recommend not trying this at home unless you want to spend most of your time in the bathrooms and having to rush back to sleep. Of course, sleeping on the floor isn't the most comfortable either. The found a map and followed it, but both had a fear of seeing bigfoot so I snapped a photo and tucked it away. They left that lot immediately.
After a tour, "Adam, I can't believe you brought that old moth-eaten mascot uniform. What's with that?" "If its any consolation, its really itchy."
"No, I'm itchy too. I think that may have been poison ivy we were sitting in." [For some reason, every time we changed lots, Adam reverted to his mascot uniform from college.]
Michael joined a fishing tournament, but that little kid beat him squarely.
Each of them had and learned a massage.
And had a steam in the sauna.
Here's something you don't see often, Moora looking sexy in her bathing suit, sans baby belly.
They log rolled and Moora lost.
Then there was this weird dance they learned. Fun but strange.By the last day, all Moora wanted was to go home and interact with her kids. You'd think 3 days isn't long, but it is to a family sim. Upon their return, the shuttle van caught fire. I have no idea why this happened. The temperatures of the sims were normal, but the van was aflame.
Adam was pretty sure they shouldn't have drank the water because the house across the street was melting. He figured he'd go inside and take a shower, settle his mind. Moora tried to extinguish the van, which drove away, somehow fine, leaving fire in its wake.
Then Moora was engulfed in the flames, just like that. Adam begged for her life and bested the Grim Reaper at a game of chance. Moora was returned to him. However, she knew she'd been pregnant and hadn't mentioned it yet. She didn't want Adam being overprotective and not allowing her to log roll and such. It seemed to take months before her pregnancy resumed. During that time, she thought she'd lost the baby when death nearly stole her, but all of her needs still flagged like she was pregnant.
Andrea grows to a toddler. Daddy's nose and eyes with mommy's red hair. Why can't they get the Fanboy eyes?
Samantha grows to a toddler. Daddy's eyes and nose and brown hair.
Who is wrapped around whose finger? The toddler room gets a little shuffle.
Sunny gets a job assisting the handicapped. He spends afternoons at a neighborhood man's house who has trouble walking and he jumps to turn lights on and off, fetch drinks, that sort of thing, and just be good company. Michael teaches him things to help him and the man work together.The day Moora planned to tell Adam that she had been pregnant before she died and came back, but isn't anymore and she'd like to try again, she shows. All at once, and in a big way. By now she's gained rather a lot of weight also.She feels bad about letting her health go and gaining so much weight so she works on that part of the problem, resting enough and not straining herself too much.
Meanwhile Michael practice piano - and actually likes it. Thanks Adam's parents!
I try to convince Moora that its not a good idea to be on the electro-dance sphere (electro is right in the name!) big as she is, but she says when you've cheated death as she has, you have to go for things in life and enjoy.
[sings] On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: two toddlers toddling and Miss Allison Nan~ny.
Moora feels those familiar stirrings and calls her doula over to check her out. Her doula agrees that the baby will be coming soon. Moora says "Babies, plural, right? I'm big as a house!" "No, just one, that's all I hear." Moora wonders if there was a twin that is no longer alive and how that will effect the other. Surely she can't just be this big, now that she's a normal weight again.The next night while working her her garden [silver badge], Moora yells for Michael to call the doula. He does and she arrives quickly to help Moora deliver, clean up, and fix a nice meal for the family so Moora can rest. Moora had just one baby, as her doula stated, a boy named Roger. There had been no twin, she was just unusually large this time. Moora believes this will be her last child, the circumstances around this one being so strange with her dying and coming back and the suspended pregnancy. Besides, 4 children is a plenty big family.
Sidenote: Cass and I came up with the idea of coding a doula who you would call as a service, like the nanny, only she could only "come over now" and the doula would be there for the delivery, raising some of the needs, taking care of the child for the next 12 hours or so while the mother rested, and fixing a meal for the family, maybe doing some cleaning like nannys do. If I knew a thing about coding, I'd do it, but I don't. If you do and make this, please give Fairiefire823 and Cassblonde credit for the idea and let me know where to find it for download. :)