The Sims of Silvery Bay

Silvery Bay is the neighborhood I created using The Sims 2. This is my log of the Prosperity Challenge.

Friday, January 20, 2006

McMaster: It's a Hard 'Nuff Life

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Title: It's a Hard 'Nuff Life

Lot: McMaster, Beau
30 Silver Vein Rd.

First Visit

Well, see this picture? This is how my family was supposed to be. See, there's Dad, Mom and me and then Grampa would come to visit and bring me presents a couple times of year. (Grampa Beau is Dad's dad.) It was pretty fun when grampa came to visit. He's the only old guy I know and he smells like cherry tobacco because he likes to smoke a pipe, sometimes. He'd come over and pretend like I was his girlfriend. He'd always say, "So, how's my favorite little girlfriend?" I'd just totally crack up. Then, he'd go, "What? Not tall enough, yet to come home with me?" He was pretty silly. Ok, so I might have left something out there. See, he's actually my step-Grampa, but Mom always says tht the only steps in our house, were the ones that led up to my bedroom, so I didn't call him step-. Anyway, it was always a big deal when Grampa Beau came to visit. My mom would clean like crazy and Dad would hide the checkbook and unplug the computer, so that Grampa wouldn't know how much simoleans we had in the bank. We had to play this trick on Gramps and say the computer was broken if he asked about it, but I don't really know why.

Last time Gramps came to visit he brought me to this club. It was dark and smokey and everyone was smoking and playing cards. Gramps played too and I felt really grown up, because he told the other sims I was his new girlfriend. And, I'd get to hold his scotch while he was playing. There were really pretty women, there, too. Some of them were just hanging around with their bf's, like me with Grampa, and a couple were playing cards. One of them took me to the bathroom when I had to go really bad and she put some of her cherry red lipstick on me. Then, I felt really grown up. But, I"m not supposed to tell anyone about our "date", Gramps said. It's our special secret.

After our date, Gramps took me to get some icecream. He said I'm his good luck charm and I guess I really was, because he pulled out a huge wad of simoleans when he was paying for our icecreams. Then, he told me to stay put and eat my icecream, because he'd forgotten something back at the club. Next thing I know, Gramps shows up with a tall, red-head on his arm. After that, things went really fast. I just remember that we rushed home, where Gramps dropped me off and then he took off with the red-head. Guess he had to drive her home or something. So, see, why I like it when Gramps comes? He's the only one who ever treats me like a grown-up around here. I wish he could hang out all the time, but he must be really busy with his work. He teaches classes on how to get a girlfriend or something like that. Guess some guys don't know how to get a date and that's who Gramps helps. It sounds important.

But, my life didn't exactly turn out like that picture. One day, Dad thought it would be really cool to go sky diving with his buddies. Dad was kind of an adrenaline junkie and he loved to be dared into crazy stunts. The good thing is that Dad was really brave and he did go skydiving. The bad thing is that he forgot to check the backpack before he jumped and only realized that the parachute wasn't properly working after he'd pulled the string. So, Dad died, leaving me and mom alone in the world. Mom didn't think it was a good idea for me to be without a male role model in my life, and even though she wasn't quite sure how good of a role model he would be, he was family, so we decided to join Grampa Beau when he moved to this island.

At first, I was pretty excited about it. Living in Paradise, sipping drinks with little umbrellas in them and wearing my bathingsuit all the time, sounded pretty good. Then, Mom informed me that I'd still have to wear clothes and go to school. I wasn't real thrilled about that, but I knew it would be pointless to argue. Living with Grampa Beau would, in itself be pretty exciting. He's what Dad calls a Skirt-chaser and Mom called him a Lady-killer once. That was kind of scary., but I'm pretty sure that Grampa Beau wouldn't really kill ladies, because from what I could see, he really just liked to kiss on them a whole lot.

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When we got to the island, I could tell that Mom wasn't feeling so well. I started to get scared. Mom never got sick, but she was really sick now. She was throwing up and coughing and holding her stomach. Grampa was really worried, too. I could tell, because he kept trying to get her to go lay down in bed next to him. She didn't though. It was like she couldn't even move. I started begging her to lay down or call the hospital or the doctor, but she just told me that everything would be fine. The next thing you knew, the cold, long arm of the Grim Reaper had reached out to Mom and commanded her to come with him, so she had to go.

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I was really upset and later, I was just plain mad that Mom would leave me alone, here. By this time it was pretty obvious that Grampa's reasons for moving here had nothing to do with me. I know he likes to visit us and all, but I really don't think he thought he'd be raising a little girl and I'm just going to "cramp his style". It's true. I over heard him talking to the mail-carrier about it. She felt sorry for him, that he was stuck with a kid who wasn't even his blood relative. Then, she suggested that he call social services and they'd find a nice home for me with other kids my age to play with. Gramp Beau just thanked her for the information. I hope that doesn't mean he thought it was a good idea. I'd really rather stay here with him. At least, I know him. I just really wish Mom was still here. I miss her alot.

So, now, here we are, Grampa Beau and me, stuck on this island, together. I don't know how things are going to turn out, but I'm real nervous. What if none of the kids like me at my new school? What if I don't like them? What if Grampa dies, too? Who will take care of me if that happens? What if he forgets to pick me up from school or make me dinner? What'll I do then?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Garand: The Last Hurrah!

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Title: The Last Hurrah!

Lot: Garand, Emmanuel
25 Silver Vein Rd.

First Visit

When he'd applied to participate in the Prosperity Experiment, along with six other families, Manny had been thinking of how it would be his last hurrah. He'd lived a full life, had been married for 25 years to his first wife and had had a succession of romances since then with appropriate intervals of singlehood between each. He'd raised a wonderful son, Tom, with his wife and had seen him married off to a wonderful, beautiful woman, and soon after his wife had passed. Yes, he'd lived a life alot of folks would envy and some folks might consider "normal" or "average".

Now that he's in his golden years, Manny realized that he wanted one last adventure in life. Something to sort of commemorate his golden years. Of course, saying goodbye to his old golfing buddies and his son and daughter-in-law was hard, but it's not like he'd never had to say goodbye to Tom before. Saying goodbye to his grandson, Max, though was something completely different. After all, he was just getting interesting. Max was a very curious and active five year old boy who loved all the typical five year old boyish type things: catching frogs, learning to spit, playing with dogs, eating candy and watching firetrucks. He would have loved to stick around and see how this little guy turned out, but how could he resist a once in a lifetime opportunity like this? And who knew how much longer he had left, anyway? If he stayed here, he'd just end up being a burden to his son in his old age, once he was too feeble to take care of himself and wind up in a home. That wasn't Manny's idea of having a good time. And, Manny was the kind of guy who loved to have a good time. He enjoyed parties, get togethers, barbeques, and having his friends around all the time.

When he got his letter of acceptance into the sociological experiment, he thought to himself, It would be my last plane flight anywhere. Funny, he could remember all the times when it was the "first" time he'd done this or that. It was such a strange feeling now whenever he stopped to think, "This will be the LAST time I do...."

"That's when you know yer gittin' old, Bruthuh," he told himself. Just then the phone rang, interrupting his reverie.

"Hello," he answered cheerfully. What he heard next, shook him to the depths of his soul. He could hardly believe his ears. Was he sleeping? He pinched himself and realized, sadly, no, he was wide awake. His family had just been in a horrible car wreck and his son had been fatally injured. He felt a sob choke him as he asked about his daughter-in-law and grandson.

"Oh, God, please, please, let Max be alright. Please, don't take Phoebe from him. Oh, God, please," he whispered over and over as the nurse continued on in her professional drone. Thank God, they were alive. The nurse asked him to come down to the hospital to pick up Max, but they had to keep Phoebe for some tests.

"What kinds of tests?" Manny asked. The nurse politely explained that she couldn't say, since she could not breach doctor-patient confidentiality, but he would be able to talk to Phoebe when he picked up Max.

Manny jumped in the car, right away, and sped off toward the hospital. He was only barely aware of his driving. All he could think of was his beautiful son, Tom, barely 30, broken and bleeding to death on the highway. Tears blurred his vision as the shock of it all began to envelope him. They had to have the wrong guy. When he got to the hospital, he'd straighten it all out. His son was a very good driver. H'ed never even had a speeding ticket. Of course, it wasn't him. It was just a case of mistaken identity. What did they think they were doing? Didn't they know that he was an old man and news like this could kill a body? Fools. They probably didn't even check his ID. Things like that happened all the time.

By the time, Manny parked in the hospital car lot he was feeling much better, except for the butterflies fluttering around in his gut, and the sob stuck in his throat. He'd convinced himself that everyone was fine and he'd just have to politely inform the staff that they were simply wrong about his son. It was 2pm after all. Tom worked until 5pm every evening and it took an hour for him to get home from work, with all the traffic. He was an architect at a prestigious firm downtown. And, as a matter of fact, he was going to be made partner in another month.

"I'm Emmanuel Garand," he announced to the harried looking nurse behind the tall desk in the emergency room.

"You folks called me about my family, Tom, Phoebe and Max Garand,"he began to explain quickly," but I'm sure there must be some mistake. You see-"

"There's no mistake, Mr. Garand," the nurse firmly interrupted him. She gave Manny a pitiful look.

Manny didn't want to hear that, so he tried to explain, "No, but you see, my son works for Peters and Law, they're an architectural firm downtown and I'm sure if you call down there..." The nurse had gently grabbed him by the arm and was leading him down the hallway as he talked. He hadn't been paying any attention, until just now. Lying there on a stretcher in the triage room was his son's body. It was cleaned up, now, and there was no mistaking that the young man laying there was his bright, intelligent, enthusiastic son.

"What?! No!!" Manny protested, but the nurse just stood there, facing him.

"I'll give you a moment alone with your son, before I take you to your grandson. Take your time, Mr. Garand, because Max is in good hands," she said, softly.

Manny stood over his son's body for a moment, before he began to sob. It was as if a damn had burst. He couldn't breathe, like he'd been socked hard in the chest. That was his baby boy laying there. He couldn't comprehend how his son had ended up in here. How could this happen to his boy? He was a good boy. He'd always tried to do the right thing. Oh, of course there were the usual teen rebellions, a little drinking, a little pot and he got a D+ in math that one year. And of course, there were those times when he'd come home past curfew from a party, causing his mother to have a coniption imagining him in all kinds of trouble. But, didn't everyone go through those pangs while growing up? He'd never done anything to deserve this. Manny held his boy close to him, sobbing and rocking his lifeless body in his arms.

At long last he laid Tom down on the table and went to find a bathroom to clean himself up. He couldn't let Max see him like this. Suddenly he wondered how much Max understood of what was going on? They'd just celebrated his fifth birthday at the park a couple weeks ago.

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"Phoebe," he said aloud to himself. She was going to be devastated. Tom and Max were her whole life. Manny had never known a woman more loving and nurturing of her family than Phoebe. He wondered how she was taking it. He didn't have to wonder long. The nurse brought him in to see Phoebe, next.

Phoebe was tall, long legged, thin, and drop-dead gorgeous. She was often mistaken for a model or actress. Sims were often shocked to find out that she was "just" a wife and mother. But, she'd always set them straight, proudly. She'd always wanted to be a wife and mother, ever since she was a child. Her whole life had been centered around that dream. The week before her wedding, Phoebe had quit a lucrative position with her law firm. Her bosses were horrified. She'd been the brightest civil trial attorney they'd hired in a very long time. She definately had the potential for greatness and felt that she was throwing her life away. Phoebe didn't share their opinion. She felt that she was getting the life of her dreams. She was the type of woman who threw herself wholeheartedly into whatever she was doing. And, as a wife and mother she was the best there was at it. Her house was immaculate, she always had a wonderful dinner on the table, Max was well-cared for and had her attention one-hundred percent of the time. She knew what she wanted and she didn't take her life for granted.

Phoebe lay there, bruised, eyes red and skin blotchy from crying. Manny's heart broke all over again when he saw her. He fought hard to control the tears that wanted to escape down his cheeks.

"Hello, Beautiful Girl," he greeted her in his usual way, with a kiss on the cheek.

"Hi, Pop," she replied, choking back her own tears. "Did you...have you..."

"I saw him,"Manny replied. "I'm so sorry, Phoebe." He hugged her, gently, and could feel her wince with pain.

"What's wrong?" he asked her.

"I'm ok. I'm just really bruised. But, when they were running the tests, they found a mass at the base of my spine, so they want to run more tests-"

"A mass?" Manny asked. What did that mean? A mass. Sims usually say that kind of thing when there's cancer. Harry McPherson had a mass and he had to go through chemo for a year and a half. Bev Ackleson had had a mass in her breast and they had to chop the whole, beautiful set right off. It was a shame too. Beautiful hadn't done any good. Even with the chemo, she was gone within two years. Masses were what all his friends, the guys and women his age, were finding. What is one of them doing in a young, vibrant sim, like Phoebe and what did that have to do with a car wreck?

"I have cancer, Pop. We didn't know. Remember a couple months ago when I thought I wrenched my back, helping Tom put up the swingset? Then, last week I thought I had the flu, but I still have the flu. I haven't had it this long before, so I thought maybe I was pregnant..." her voice trailed off. Manny could see she was exhausted from the shock and trauma.

"Don't worry about it, Kiddo. I'm going to take Max home with me tonight and I'll talk to the doctors. I'm sure they just want to make sure you're ok. We'll get this all straightened out, ok? You just take it easy and rest, now. I'll call you later on after they're done with their tests and check on you, ok? You don't worry about a thing, just concentrate on feeling better, for Max, ok? You know these doctors, they just like to scare you with alot of nonsense. You'll see. They'll do their tests and realize that it's nothing, Beautiful, ok?" Manny tried to reassure her. He didn't know what to say to her. He was in shock, too.

The nurse came in just then to shoo him out of the room. The Patient needed her rest, she had said. Manny wanted to snap at her, "The Patient has a name!" but instead he just asked where Max was and about his condition. Aside from a small cut above his eyebrow, Max was perfectly fine, licking a lollipop at the nurses' station. Finally, a spot of good news. Manny asked to speak to the doctor in charge.

After waiting what seemed like hours, but what was actually only about 15 minutes, the doctor came to speak with Manny. Manny was starting to feel like a punching bag, by now. It was blow after blow of bad news. During the course of running diagnostic tests, looking for the reason for Phoebe's severe back pain and fatigue, they'd found a large mass wrapped around her spinal column.

"You sure she's not just pregnant, Doctor?" Manny asked. As soon as he said it, he knew he sounded like an idiot. He just so wanted it to be something, anything...else. The doctor reassured him that Phoebe wasn't pregnant and continued on about the numerous tests they still wanted to run.

A mass of what?, Manny wondered, only half-able to listen to what the doctor was outlining to him. It was a tumor, and it wasn't the only one in her body, the doctor was saying. They'd found similar tumors in some of her organs. The cancer was wide spread. They wanted to keep her to find out how bad the cancer had spread. Once they found that out, they'd know better what they were dealing with. The doctor's voice seemed to fade away as Manny tried to listen to him. But, shock had taken over his whole mind and he just couldn't take in another horrifying word.

"How could things be worse than that?" He thought to himself, holding Max tightly. The tears threatened to spill over again. "Get ahold of yourself, Garand. You're the only lifeguard this kid's got right now."

"Hey, Sport. You hungry?" he asked Max. Max nodded, so Manny took him out to the car. "We'll go to Shermies for dinner, ok?"

"Yay!" Max yelled. Obviously, he hadn't registered that daddy wasn't coming too, yet. It'll hit him later, Manny thought, and then it'll hit hard, because Max was definately Daddy's Li'l Man....

Manny shifted in his seat, trying to adjust the seatbelt. They were getting ready to land the plane.

"You ready, Sport?" he asked his grandson, who was fidgeting in the seat next to him. Manny leaned over to tighten Max's seatbelt, too, but Max tightened it first. He was very independent and wanted to do everything for himself.

"Papa, I can't see!" Max complained, straining his neck to look , over his mother's sleeping body, out the window.

He glanced over at Phoebe who had just woke up, and smiled. She smiled back, checked her seat belt and fell back to sleep. Manny quickly suppressed a tear. He had to do that alot these days. They'd be at the new house in about an hour. Manny knew that Phoebe never would have been able to make this trip without the bagful of powerful narcotics in the doctor's bag he carried with him everywhere he went these days. Most Cancer patients didn't feel much, if any, pain, but because her cancer was on her spine, she was in constant, incredible pain from the pressure on her nerves. The drugs made life bearable, but also made her very drowsey. Manny smoothed back a lock of her braided hair. She sure was a tough chick. Tom had made the right choice in picking this girl for his wife, Manny told himself for the millionth time.

"Papa, how high are we right now? Will we feel it when we land? How big are the wheels?" Max's curiosity was insatiable. Before Manny could answer one question, two more were spilling out of his mouth. Manny stifled a chuckle. He knew that his grandson was very proud of being "big", now. Half the time it was all he could do to keep from completely cracking up at Max's attempts to be grown up. He took himself so seriously and wanted to know everything...right now!

"Don't kick," Manny scolded Max, gently, when Max's fidgety legs had flown off on their own volition and kicked his mother's knee. Max straightened out his legs until they were as stiff as boards and pretended that he was a robot for the rest of the flight.

Half an hour later, they were standing in the airport terminal, waiting for a lift in the shuttle to their rental car. Manny was anxious to get to their new house and settle Phoebe comfortably into bed. The sociologists had been really understanding about Manny bringing two extra sims with him. He didn't really care for the term they used to identify Phoebe, though. They called her a "Placeholder", since her condition was terminal. She didn't have much time left, so they didn't even bother to put her name on the registry of participants. This bothered Manny to no end.

At first, when Phoebe had insisted that Manny continue his plans to move to the island, Manny protested. It hadn't even entered his mind that he would still go, after the accident. The accident, in his mind, had changed everything. But, Phoebe had insisted that he go and bring Max with him. It would be a good experience for Max. And, Manny just couldn't miss out on such a unique opportunity. This kind of challenge didn't come along just every day, you know, she'd retorted, when he argued with her. With Phoebe it was always what was best for Max? What will stimulate Max? What would Max like? She didn't think enough about herself, Manny silently grumbled to himself.

"But, what about you?!" he'd asked her, incredulously. "If you think that I could just take off with your son and leave you to die alone, you're crazy, Woman! Those drugs have turned your brain to mush!"

"I'll come, too," she replied, stubbornly. She explained that she wanted Max to know that his Mommy was watching over him wherever he was and she planned to die on the island, so she could always be close to her son. Tom would agree with me, she had said, trying to sway Manny into going along with her crazy scheme.

"I must be nuts," Manny said out loud, looking over at Phoebe. She was white as a sheet. Her usual dark pigment was gone and if you didn't know her, you might think that she was going for that young goth look that so many of the kids were going for these days. He rolled his eyes.

Phoebe just smiled back at him. "Nah, you're just a sucker for a pretty face," she replied, cheekily, and smiled back at him.

"Ha!" Manny laughed, "Isn't that the truth!" They shared a chuckle and Phoebe flinched. She had a tumor behind her ribs, too, and it hurt every time she breathed, let alone laughed. She didn't have long, now. She could feel it. Once she knew that her son was settled in, she would let go. She just wanted to hear about his first day of school on the island. If only she could hold on long enough to have that one last memory. Then, he'd have that memory stashed away in his subconscious and have something to remember her for. She really didn't want his last memories of her to be of her sleeping. How boring would that be?

"Manny, make sure that he knows me," she pleaded.

"He knows you, Beautiful Girl. There's no question, he knows you. And I won't let him ever forget you," Manny promised, holding her hand.

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As soon as they pulled up to the curb in front of the house, Manny walked around the car to help Phoebe into the house. He sent Max ahead to turn on the heating pad, while he helped Phoebe out of the car. As soon as he laid her down in bed, she fell asleep. Poor girl, Manny thought. She was so tough and brave, but he could see how much pain she was in. Even with him carrying her into the house, it was like she could feel every jostle and bump of his footsteps over the cobbled brick walk and tears escaped through her tightly shut eyelids. She probably would've passed out if it hadn't been for the powerful drugs in her system, but maybe that would've been preferable to the pain?

"It's ok, Beautiful. We're here now. Just relax, sleep. You can let go whenever you want to," Manny whispered to her, as he pulled the covers up around her shoulders.

A few hours later, Manny brought Max into the bedroom to check on Phoebe. She loved being awakened with kisses from her little boy's soft, moist lips. But, she didn't wake up this time. Max looked up at Manny with wide, questioning eyes. Manny held her wrist lightly in his wrinkled fingers. He didn't feel her pulse.

"Your Mommy went to be with the angels, Max," Manny whispered. Max wrapped his little arms around Manny's neck and hugged him close. He didn't cry, out loud. He knew that this was going to happen. Mommy had told him lots of times about flying away with the angels.

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"Papa, how will she see where she's going?" he asked Manny.

"When you're an angel, you don't need your eyes to see, because you see everything with your heart," Manny replied.

"Where did Mommy go?"

"She didn't go very far. She told me that she was going to watch over you all the time, so I bet she's still right in this room with us. And, when you go in your room, she'll be ther with you. And she'll be wherever you are, every day, all the time, because she's in here, " Manny pointed to the little boy's chest, "and in here," he pointed to Maxes head. Tiny tears streamed down Max's face forming dirty little riverbeds on his cheeks.

"Is Mommy an angel, now?" asked Max.

Manny choked on the tears that threatened, mercilessly, to surface," Your mommy was already an angel. The angels were just letting us borrow her for awhile."

"I don't wnat her to fly away, yet. Why did she go so soon?"

"You know how you have to go to school when the bus comes to get you in the morning?" Max nodded, "Yes."

"Well, I think that's how it is when the angels come to get you. It's just time to go. I know that she would have stayed for you if she could, Sport." Max nodded again. Then, he went over to his mother's lifeless body and held her hand as he looked out the window.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Welden: A New Beginning

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Title: A New Beginning

Lot: Welden, Josh
Tammie, Ryan, Nyasia, Brent, Francis
10 Silver Vein Rd.

First Visit

"Hon, I'm home!" Josh yelled as he walked in the door. He was excited. His boss had just recommended him for a major project and he wanted to tell Carrie right away. Where was she? Josh shook his head in mock annoyance as he thought about his pretty, petite, accomplished wife shopping for a new dress downtown with her girlfriends.

"That's right. I'll bring home the bacon and you go spend it,"he muttered to himself. He loved Carrie deeply, but her latest obsession with designer fashions and materialistic longings had been burning a hole in their pockets. But, if it made her happy, he guessed that with his new promotion, they could indulge her whims within reason for a little while, just so long as she didn't go overboard.

He went upstairs to his bedroom to change into shorts and a tee-shirt. He might as well take the opportunity of free time to workout before all the kids came home from school. Daydreaming about taking his wife for a nice, romantic dinner, Josh accidently bumped into one of Carrie's shoeboxes in the closet. It fell on his head and the contents spilled out.

"Ow!" Josh griped, rubbing his head as he bent down to pick up the box. Surprisingly enough, there wasn't a pair of Amalfi pumps in the box, instead there was a stack, or rather stacks, of small, blue envelopes. What's this?, Josh wondered as he flipped open one of the little cards. What he read next made his blood boil and his heart stop. They were love letters to his wife from someone he didn't even know, and, according to the dates, they were recent. His wife has been having an affair? The question and answer hit him, suddenly, like a ton of bricks. He started reviewing the past months in his mind and things started falling into place.

Carrie had dyed her hair, started buying new clothes, went out with a new group of friends...It all made sense now, but not the kind of sense that makes you feel secure, just the opposite. Josh just couldn't believe that Carrie, his Carrie, his high school sweetheart and the mother of his five children would do something as tawdry as that.

Suddenly, Josh started opening her dresser drawers. Everything was gone, as was her suitcase. He looked at the clothes hanging in the closet. They were all her old clothes, none of the fancy, pretty clothes she'd recently bought. The truth sank in slowly at first and then with a thud. His wife had left him. He had to find her. If he found her he could talk her into coming back.

The days following his wife's dessertion were now a blur in Josh's mind. She'd not only left him with two teens, a child and twin toddlers, but she'd cleaned out all their accounts and the kid's college funds as well. How did he miss the signs? How in the world, didn't he figure this out before she left his life in a shambles? There were times when he was angrier with himself, than he was with her. The last he'd heard, she was living high on the hog with her lover in a villa somewhere in Europe. The worst thing about it was that he still missed her, not this new Carrie, but the old Carrie, the woman he met in high school and the woman he'd built a life with and around. The woman she'd become is someone he detested and he hadn't even been able to even speak her name since she'd left. He'd never trust another woman again, with his heart, his home, his life.

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The past year had been very difficult for the Welden family and Josh didn't know how he would've gotten through it without his eldest daughter, Tammie. Tammie was just 13 months older than her brother, Ryan. She had made alot of sacrifices. Josh felt horrible about that. It wasn't fair that she'd had to take on so much of the responsibilities of caring for the babies at her young age. This was a time when she should've been out having fun with her friends at parties and dances, instead of coming home to help potty train the tots, Brent and Frannie. Josh didn't have alot of time for regrets and feeling sorry for himself, but that was the one regret that he did allow himself to indulge in from time to time.

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Now, as he looked at each of his children, he couldn't help but wonder how this past year was going to affect them for the rest of their lives. Things had gone from bad to worse after Carrie left. Josh had lost a large account, because of all the chaos at home and trying to raise five kids and hold down a complex sales job as well had just been more than anyone could handle. Now, Josh was thoroughly depressed. He couldn't even afford a hotel room for his brood and they ended up living in an alleyway, until he received a notice in the mail. The Weldens, it seemed, had been accepted as one of the deserving families to participate in a sociological experiment. Josh was ecstatic. It couldn't have come at a better time, with winter right around the corner. Even if they had to live outside on the island, at least it would be warm and more of an adventure than living in an alleyway.

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As the cab pulled up and dropped them off on their new lot, on the island, Josh looked around. He'd spent alot of simoleans to buy this lot, and he had only enough let over to purchase furnishings. It seemed odd to buy furniture for a house that didn't yet exist, but it was almost as if he were buying with the faith that the house would be built, eventually. Until then, it was a beautiful grassy lot with plenty of space for the kids to play and they'd simply set up camp to live here until he could afford to build a house. The neighbors were kind enough to let them run a long extension chord to an outlet on their lot, so they'd have some electricity. There was running water and an outhouse set up on the lot already, so all the basics were covered.

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Josh took a deep breath of relief. Today would be the beginning of the fresh start that they all needed so desperately. Whatever the future held, couldn't be as bad as what they'd been through over the past year. He didn't know what was around the corner, but he knew what he had today when he looked at the five young faces looking up to him for guidance. He had his family. Not Carrie nor any other disaster, natural or unnatural, could take that away from him. And, when a man has his family around him, he has no need for anything more.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Springer: The Great Escape

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Title: The Great Escape

Lot: Springer, George and Quinn
Concepcion, Griffen, Moonbay, Clive
1501 Shimmer Ln.

First Visit

George and Quinn glanced at each other across the breakfast table, wondering if this was the right time to tell the kids about the new plan. Months ago they'd sent in an application to join an sociological experiment that included moving their family to an island off the coast. Silvery Bay. It had a very nice ring to it. NOw that they'd received the confirmation that they were booked on the first flight out to the island, it had an even nicer ring. Sometimes, George wondered what the other five families' reasons were for moving to the island. George and Quinn's reasons for moving had nothing to do with the promoting science in any respect. He and his wife had celebrated their newfound freedom last night by burning the three enormous boxes full of bills which had accumulated over the past few years. Between them they had only high school diplomas and menial jobs that didn't earn much, so raising four children when they were bordering on the poverty line, just hadn't been easy and their debts had mounted. If this whole Sociology thing hadn't panned out right when it did, they'd be running for their lives into Mexico or some other third world country without an extradition policy. They just hadn't been cut out to live such respectable, responsible lives and deep down they both knew it. Now, they had a way to escape all their problems. Thank goodness! Of course, there was just one small problem that they'd overlooked and now, must deal with. They still had to tell the children that they were moving, but, how to do it?

As Quinn looked at her oldest children, the twins, Concepcion and Griffen, she wondered how they'd take the news? Connie was quite popular this year at school and Griffen had just joined band. It was going to be difficult, pulling them out in the middle of the year like this, but it had to be done. The alternatives were just too dire. And then there was her youngest daughter, Moonbay. She might actually look forward to this as an adventure, unlike her older siblings, since she was just in elementary school. She was at the perfect age for trying new things, but it would be really hard to separate her from Juliette, the little blonde girl from next door. They'd been inseperable ever since Quinn and George had moved the family here, seven years ago. And, of course, there was Clive. Clive would be game for anything as long as it was noisy and involved planes, trains, automobiles or explosions. Toddlers are always on the go and it's not like he's had alot of time to set down roots in the neighborhood, yet. As long as he had his binky, baba and his Wobbley Wabbit Head, he was a happy camper.

She looked up at George again, raising an eyebrow, as if to say, "Well, do we rip it off fast like a bandaid or work through it slowly like a sunburn?" George cleared his throat, nervously.

"Ugh, kids, your mom and I have sort of a little announcement to make," he began. Connie's head whipped around and her big, curious blue eyes stared at him, pleadingly, as if to say, "Please, don't do anything to ruin my life or embarrass me, Dad?"

At the same time, Quinn was being stared down by her defiant teenage son, Griffen. His blue eyes could bore holes through steel when he got excited about something. "Please, Mom," his eyes were begging her, "Please don't do anything to mess up my game." Quinn felt horrible already.

"Well, your Mom and I found out about this really amazing opportunity to be involved in a sort of science experiment,, I mean, a sociology experiment really. It's called the Prosperity Challenge. We applied to be one of the six families involved in this experiment and well, we've been chosen to be one of the first six families to participate. This is a monumental, potentially history-making kind, uh, thing, that we get to do," he floundered along. Judging from the gaping mouths and horrified looks on the faces of the twins, he realized he wasn't breaking the news very well. He looked pleadingly at Quinn to take over.

"!! We're going to be an experiment? Is everyone going to see this, Dad?!" Connie cried out.

"What are they going to do to us, Dad?!" Griffen blurted.

"What's a so-see, a so-see-logging-cul spearmint, Mommy?" asked Moonbay.

"Now, kids, just hold on a minute and hear us out. Your dad didn't really explain it all the way. Moonbay, it's a so-see-uh-logical ex-per-i-ment. IT's actually going to be very exciting. We're going to move to this beautiful island with six other families. Of course we'll have our own homes. And, basically, we get to live and work there," Quinn stated, brightly.

"We're moving?!" cried Connie, "But, Mom, Dad, I don't want to move! I don't want to leave my friends. Omygosh! What about Ted? He just asked me to the winter formal. You can't do this to us. It's so not fair!"

"What kind of island?" asked Griffen. This might not be as bad as it sounded, and he had a report card coming pretty soon with, he was 90% sure, a D in science from Mr. Milbrooks. Mr. M was his least favorite teacher and he was sure that he was Mr. M's least favorite pupil. Of course, it would be a drag to miss band, but he was only in band because Julie Conway was in band and it was the only way he could get within ten feet of a girl like her.

Concepcion shot her brother an icy look. "Traitor," she snarled under her breath. How could he be so interested? It was just another in a long list of crazy plans cooked up by their parents. Two years ago they came up with a plan to raise and sell iguanas. yeah, that went over really well with the landlord during a surprise visit to the basement to inspect the old water heater. Mom just couldn't stand the thought of those "poor little things" being caged up, so she'd let them roam free in the basement. The iguanas took their chance to make a run, or waddle, to freedom when the landlord ran screaming from the house, leaving the door to the basement wide open. Last year, Dad joined some kind of pyramid club, believing that he was one of the top "legs", only to find out that he was at the bottom, when the company was busted for racketeering and they lost their shirts, again. NOw, it's this stupid experiment? Why can't their parents just be like everyone else's parents? Why can't they just be normal?! Geez, she could do a better job of raising herself.

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"Look, Connie, it's all settled, so you might as well just try to enjoy it like your brother and Moonbay. I promise, Connie, you're going to love it there. This is going to be good for us. I promise," George promised as he got up and walked around the table to wear his eldest daughter sat. She looked more like her mom every day, beautiful, gracious, smart, yet practical.

As her dad gave her a hug, Connie sighed, resignedly, "So, when do we have to go?" You gotta love him, she thought. Dad just hadn't been cut from parenting-type cloth. It wasn't his fault, or mom's. It was obvious that they tried their hardest.

"That's my girl," George smiled. "Actually, we leave in two days."

Connie, Griffen and Moonbay moaned. Two days? Their parents really were crazy!

Griffen gave his sister a light punch on the shoulder. "Hawaii," he mouthed to her. Connie smiled and rolled her eyes. Well, there's at least one good thing she could say about her family. They certainly weren't dull. She began to wonder what an island lifestyle would be like.

"Just tell me that our new house will have running water and electricity?" She asked.

"I didn't think to ask," replied her dad. She hoped he was teasing about that.

Two days later, the Springers were in the air, along with one bag of clothing each, on their way to Silvery Bay and a new chapter in their lives. Mom and Dad held hands, giggled and whispered about the future, just like the teenagers they thought they still were. Griffen watched action movies with his headset on. Moonbay played with her dolls. And, Concepcion, sat and stared out the window, holding Clive in her lap while he dozed drowsily with his bottle. Up above the clouds, Connie wondered what was next to come in their own flightplan. How would she like her new school? Would the kids like her? Did they have a basketball or football team? What would the boys be like? Would there be any boys? That's silly, of course there would be boys. lol It was the scariest moment of her life, not knowing what would happen once the plane touched the ground.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Eismann: A New Adventure

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Title: A New Adventure for A New Life

Lot: Eismann, Monika
15 Silver Vein Rd.

First Visit

As Monika waited patiently at the airport, she allowed her mind to wander back over the past two years' experiences. Never in a million years would she have thought that this is where she would have ended up. Two years ago seemed more like a lifetime ago and, actually, that's just what it had been.

That afternoon, Monika had arrived home from her grocery trip and had put her key in the front door, as usual. But, it didn't work. She twisted it and then pushed on the door. Finally she'd started banging on the door. Worried that she'd lost her mind, she'd gone down the steps to the mailbox to check the address. Yep, 6517 Warbler Dr., this was the place. "What's going on?" she wondered, pulling out her cellphone to call Monty, her faithful husband of the past 38 years. What she heard next stunned her to the depths of her soul.

To sum it all up, Monty had met a 20-something named Tiffany-someone and had decided that his life with Monika had become too hum-drum to bother with even spending another moment of his time. So, he'd asked Tiffany-someone to move in and had changed the locks on the doors. Since the house was in his name, she needen't bother trying to break in or he'd be happy to notify his pals on the force that an intruder was breaking into his house.

An intruder!!! Monika's blue eyes flashed angrily, even now, as she remembered those words. Intruder indeed. Caretaker is more like it. For 38 years she'd cooked, cleaned, paid the bills, done the laundry, ironed his shirts for the man. She'd typed all of his papers when they were in college. She'd given up her own career in business to help Monty make a name for himself as he moved up through the ranks of the police force until he'd gotten his law degree. Then, she'd thrown all the formal paries, made sure that his schedule was organized and basically did everything and anything he'd needed so that he could move up in his law firm until he'd run for district attorney. All she'd ever asked for was his fidelity. And, now, this!

Monika's life had spiraled down into a dark depression where for months she ate her pain away, until one day when her friend pointed out that she may have lost a husband, but that was nothing compared to losing herself. She'd lost a great deal of dead weight, Monty, but had gained enough to make up for two of him in his place. What was she doing to herself? Why was she still letting Monty waste her time. That very day, Monika stopped mourning and started living.

Later that very afternoon, she went to the grocery store to pick up some diet foods and a whole lot of salad stuff. At the counter, as the clerk rang up her purchases, she spotted an entrance application for Ms. Senior Sim Nation contest. It was a beauty contest and, *gasp!*, they even wanted these golden gals to model off swim suits. "Well, if those old gals could do it, so could she," Monika thought stubbornly. She filled out the application right then and there and mailed it on her way out of the store. She was going to use that as her motivation to lose weight.

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Over the next several months, Monika lost all the weight she'd gained and then some. But, even better, she worked out and her body looked fantastic. She had to admit, even to herself, that compared to the other women in the competition, she stood out. All that hard work paid off the moment a sparkling tiara was placed on her crown and the purple victor's sash draped over her shoulder and she glided down the runway, waving to the cameras and the audience. "Take that, Monty!" she thought. And then, she thought to herself, "No, YOU take that, Monika and you take all of that applause and all of those rewards that are coming your way and you give yourself a new life, because today, you're free."

From that moment on, she never gave her old life a second thought. Everything in her new life, was strictly what she'd made of it. She'd gotten nothing in her divorce from Monty. He was, after all, a very powerful judge, so he couldn't take credit for one bit of her new life. It felt really good to be free to be herself. But, that's the trouble, isn't it? Who is Monika Eismann? Since that time, Monika had been on an adventure of self-discovery and reinvention to learn the answer to that question. And, now, today, she was starting another leg of that journey.

She watched as the cab pulled up to the sidewalk to take her to her new home. One of the "rewards" from being Ms. Senior Sim Nation, was a new house. Of course, there was a slight catch, (isn't there always?): the new house was located on Silver Shores Island. It's a cute little island in the pacific ocean, previously undiscovered. This island was being used as a sociological experiment, now, and they wanted a Senior with a title and a mission to represent the elder population. Ms. Senior Sim Nation was the perfect candidate. It sounded very exciting, so of course, Monika couldn't very well say no to an adventure. She'd done that enough in life. This part of her life was goign to be all about saying yes to adventure, yes to new things and most of all, yes to her own desires.

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After getting into the taxi, Monika wondered where this road would lead her? There were some rules involved in this sociological experiment: She couldn't bring anything with her. That meant, no furnishings, no clothes other than the clothes on her back, her pj's, underwear, a formal, and a sweatsuit. That was it. They said that she'd have everything she needed supplied to her in the house and a little spending cash to tide her over until she found a part time job. Yes, they expected her, and every able bodied sim on the island, to get a job and be productive. The last rule was the hardest of all, though. She'd had to say goodbye to everyone she knew. She had never had any children, because Monty hadn't wanted kids, so that wasn't a problem, but she had to say goodbye to all of her friends and that was ever so hard. A small tear welled up in her eyes and she brushed it away with her well-manicured fingers, just thinking about them. She could have no traces of her future life with her when she started this new adventure. And, based on what she saw at the immigration center just a little while ago, everyone else had had to do the same. She wondered how long it would be until she could meet some of the others. She knew that the island was already populated to a small extent, but her neighborhood would be primarily made up of the six families, including herself, who were chosen to participate in the experiment. It was called The Prosperity Project and had all the markings of a history-making event. But, would making history be worth all the sacrifices each family was making to be here? Monika had butterflies in her toned stomach just thinking about all the possibilities.

How many times do sims ask themselves, "If only I could do it all over again?" What would you change or do if you had the chance to start a brand new life, one that only you create for yourself? What would you fill your life with? What kind of sim would you be? How would you design your present and future if you could start all over again from today? These are the questions that each of them were asking themselves, she was sure, and these are the questions that this experiment hoped to discover the answers to. Only time would tell how much of life is fate and how much is really in a sims' control?