AiP 45

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Hello, and welcome to the very first Already in Progress chapter of 2012, hot off the presses! I suppose the cover is a little spoilery. Please accept my apologies. This chapter is longer than usual. Please accept my apologies for that as well. And with that said, let’s rejoin our story… Already in Progress …


As a Grilled Cheese Sim, Oakapple is pretty much made of fail. With a Want panel full of Eat Grilled Cheese, Serve Grilled Cheese, Talk About Grilled Cheese, Have Somebody Else Eat Grilled Cheese, and Gain A Cooking Point So I Can Make Gourmet Grilled Cheese, what does he make for lunch? Hamburgers.


He’s an affectionate husband, though. OLIVER: Okay, now the bed’s made, I’m going to take a ba -- mmmmph! OAKAPPLE: Are you wearing… that new… lip balm? OLIVER: The cheese-flavored stuff? Yeah, but I’m not sure I like it. OAKAPPLE: I… do. Sorry about… the bed.


They maintain close ties with Oliver’s family. Partly because they live right across the street, partly because Sally is particularly friendly, and partly because both Saigon and Fantine have the Want to Be Friends With Lucy. Lucy, having become cantankerous in her old age, has decided that she doesn’t want to be friends with nobody nohow. This makes achieving that Want exceptionally difficult. They aren’t as close to Oakapple’s family, but he stays in touch.


At night, the girls keep busy with skill building in the room with the plant lights. Well, the room s plural, really, since I put in floor dividers to keep the tub separate from the rest of the room. The tub is behind the screen for reasons of Privacy. The table with the pots is a pre-Free Time ceramics bench by Nadira from Mod The Sims. It builds Mechanical and Creativity, and you get a very good return on your investment: the raw materials cost you $35, but you can sell a finished vase for up to $200. I try not to take advantage of that too often, but plant lights are expensive .


Daytime is spent on more useful endeavors. The snow is only just melted and could come back at any time, so you might think it’s too early to be planting. But when all four Sims in the house have a Gold Gardening badge, it’s not at all difficult to get all those plants to Thriving status.


I suppose I should have them try the Garden Club again. There are still two Sims in the household who aren’t members, so we get two more shots at it. This time it was Saigon who made the call.


Now that’s the result I’m used to seeing when a Plantsim requests admittance to the Garden Club! I suppose it’s just a matter of having enough plants in the garden when you make that call. I don’t know what I’m going to actually do with the Well -- they’re okay on money, the Pop Sim is content thus far, and I don’t actually want anyone else in this household to get married. I’m already having population control problems as it is. Meh, I’ll figure something out.


Hi, Sally! It looks like things are going well! SALLY: You’d think so, wouldn’t you? …They aren’t? SALLY: It’s been rough lately.


SALLY (V.O.): First it was Uncle Cillian. In the bathroom, of course. First? What did he do first? SALLY: …Died. …Oh.


Cillian (Sanders) Littledragon, 74 years old. Cillian was a quiet and mostly unassuming Family Sim. He would have loved to have fifteen or even twenty children, but he was (for the most part) quite understanding about not getting them. He spent a lot of time caring for his niece and nephew. Cillian was originally supposed to be the spouse for the founder of my Officially Wacky Boolprop Challenge, but her old flame had other ideas. Rest in peace, Cillian.


Gosh, I’m sorry, Sally. SALLY (V.O.): Not as sorry as we were. I mean, we loved him. A lot. That goes without saying. But he was so good with kids! SIMON: What’s wrong, sugarplum? Do you need a bottle? A lullaby? A cuddle? A tickle? SALLY: Dad, you raised two children. How do you not know what to do? SIMON: Your uncle wouldn’t let anyone else near you or Oliver until you were out of diapers. -- Diapers! That’s it ! She needs a new diaper! ( rushes off, excited, to change Tamara’s diaper )


SALLY (V.O.): Not that Dad got much chance to figure things out. SIMON: Oooooh, is that my lifetimer? GRIM REAPER: .e.. SIMON: Can I touch it? GRIM REAPER: .o.


SALLY (V.O.): And Auntie Anne didn’t even get a proper send-off! She just left when Dad did. ANNE ( fading off into the nevernever ): Wait for me, Simon! Don’t think that you can just leave me behind when Cillian is there probably wondering what’s taking me so long


Simon Couderc, 75 years old. Simon was originally named after a military leader in several books by Andre Norton, but I quickly dropped that character model when it became obvious that our Simon was a scholar, not a fighter. He was also attracted to alpha females, one of whom married him. He had to give up his career for her, but he liked assertive and ambitious women, so presumably he was okay with that. Simon was not supposed to be abducted, but the game had other ideas. I’m glad it did, as Sally is a delight to play. Rest in peace, Simon.


Anne Littledragon, 73 years old. Anne talked non-stop almost all the time, a fact that didn’t seem to bother her husband Cillian one whit. He was largely okay with her infertility as well; since Anne was apparently born without a biological clock, this was a good thing. Anne spent most of her time either happily interfering in other people’s lives or talking to people about what was going on in the lives of everyone she knew, heard of, or thought about. Goodbye, Anne.


SALLY (V.O.): We didn’t think that Mom was going to make it. She was so broken up over Auntie Anne! Over Anne? Not Simon? Your father? SALLY (V.O.): I know what Dad’s name was. No, she was upset over Anne. I don’t think she ever really forgave Dad for me. I -- SALLY (V.O.): Oh, she was great to me ! But I think she always thought that Dad should have come back when she told him to. Or at least not filled out the warranty card.


SALLY (V.O.): I suppose that, all things considered, it’s a good thing that she wasn’t too far behind the both of them. LUCY: For me? GRIM REAPER: .othi.. .u. th. be.. .o. .ou, M... Cou…c. LUCY: Darn tootin’! Now gimme. ( snatches drink )


Lucy (Littledragon) Couderc, 74 years old. Lucy was a the daughter of a criminal mastermind, and she went into the family business, albeit in different branch: She became a highly successful lawyer. (By the time she died, Lucy had a collection of several hundred lawyer jokes.) Lucy loved both of her children -- and after the rebuild, Sally was as much her child as Oliver -- but she really did mourn Anne more deeply and longer than she mourned Simon. I supposed there’s nothing like the bond between twins. Rest in peace, Lucy.


Wow… That’s tough. I’m so sorry. SALLY (V.O.): I just thank Esme I have Troy! He’s been my rock: always there for me and Tamara, always ready to do anything, anytime. And he’s such a loving father! Just watching him with Tamara is enough to make me get all choked up. Of course, just about anything will get me choked up right now… I’m glad you have him, then. SALLY (V.O.): Oh, me too!


SALLY: Now, if you’ll excuse me, we have a little girl to spend some time with. Of course. I’m sorry for everything. SALLY: Not your fault. ( to Tamara ) Well, aren’t you just adorable? TAMARA: ( giggles ) Ay yi yi! It can’t be this bad everywhere. Let’s find somewhere happier to check in with.


Maybe that would be the Descartes and Abbey Tsvirkunov home, where Tim has gone Permaplat. Okay, so I couldn’t get the plumbbob in this shot, but he really did become Permaplat by finishing that final Charisma point at the mirror. It would have been a shoo-in for gain if he’d drunk some eggplant juice, but that if you gain the last skill point via juice it doesn’t count towards a LTW. (I may have mentioned this last time, but I can’t remember. Besides which, I’m lazy. And there was extra space on the page.)


And where Descartes looks Very Good Indeed while getting that last Body point needed for promotion. He was off all three days of this rotation, but he made good use of his time and I expect to have good news for you next time around.


It’s better to save the eggplant juice for other people in the house anyway. Rebecca is far too busy with one disastrous date after another. ABHIJEET McCLELLAN: Gee, I could use another manicure… REBECCA: Are you paying more attention to your nails than to me ? I paid $5,000 for this date -- the least you can do is look at me when I’m talking to you! ABHIJEET McCLELLAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Anastasia dragged her sister down to the arcade to try and get her mind off failed dates. Unfortunately, she assumed that the mere presence of distractions would work. So while Anastasia started up a nice game of chess with another patron, Rebecca scoped the room for cute boys. She found one right away: Cecil Shankel, her second cousin.


Rebecca lost no time in rushing over to Flirt with him. In less time than it takes to tell, there were flying hearts and swoopy sound effects. This made two set of parents very unhappy, even though Descartes and Buttercup were not all that close growing up. (That’s where the blood relation comes in; Tim’s younger brother was Buttercup’s father.) It made me unhappy, too, since they have poor chemistry and Rebecca keeps rolling numbered Wants.


I suppose we none of us should have worried, since Cecil decided to surprise Rebecca and drop by unannounced one evening. It was a surprise, all right: Rebecca was on a (failed) date with vacation townie Juan Harris. A slapfest ensued. That would have been bad enough on its own, but things only got worse.


Now, you have to understand that Anastasia has always been friends with Cecil, and their friendship hasn’t changed just because he had a short-lived “thing” with her sister. They talk on the phone, and go bowling on a regular basis. Cecil comes over to hang out with Anastasia sometimes, and does so without too many attempts to Poke or Slap Rebecca.


The problem is that Cecil and Anastasia have two bolts. (He had one with Rebecca.) This means that saying goodbye leads to an automatic kiss, albeit one with no swoopy flying hearts. And even if they try to be discreet about what is really an uncontrollable biological function, it just doesn’t work. REBECCA: Hey, guys, could you move? I really have to pe-- Hey! Hey ! Jerk of an ex-boyfriend alert! How can you kiss my ex-boyfriend? Especially when he’s such a jerk? HEY! Are you even listening to me? It’s safe to say that relations are somewhat strained right now.


And that’s not all. GRIM REAPER: I .av. a ..nun.rum .or .ou, M.. .ittl.dr..on. TIMOTHY: Okay… GRIM REAPER: ..en is a wa.. no. . ..ll? TIMOTHY: When it’s ajar -- oh wait. That’s a door. I give up: When is a wall not a wall?


GRIM REAPER: ..en i.’. a .ort.. t. ..e a.ter.i..! TIMOTHY: That’s not very funny. GRIM REAPER: .eah, I do.’. ge. a lo. .f pra….e. .av. a dri.. .o ma.. u. .or i.? TIMOTHY: Sure!


Timothy “Tim” (Miller) Littledragon, 84 years old. Tim had a crush on his wife Sarah Jane when they were kids, and was initially jealous of their mutual friend Bertram McClellan. He needn’t have worried: Bertie read the interpersonal dynamics better than Tim, and placed both of them in his unofficial “friends zone” well before college. Sarah Jane was the one to make the first move: as Teens, in college, and when it came to proposing. Tim was smart enough to recognize a good thing when he saw one, though, and enjoyed fifty years of wedded bliss. He also wrote six books of philosophy and was a loving father and grandfather. He will be much missed. Goodbye, Tim.


And speaking of Anastasia, Frederic has become a Teen. Because I couldn’t figure out the best aspiration for him during his childhood, Frederic became a Pleasure Sim and now wants to be a Celebrity Chef. His parents are very proud, although Celeste misses her little boy. The transition doesn’t make sense? Give me a minute.


Frederic is still willing to play red hands with Mom, or to spend time in conversation with his father. He’s also probably the only Teen I’ve got who would rather read a book than play computer games. In short, he acts like a very nice boy, which makes no sense at all when you look at his stats: one genetic Nice point, plus one that his ten-Nice-points father has managed to drum into his head by dint of much Encouragement.


Come to think of it, this is the only family I’ve got where the computer is routinely ignored in favor of books.


Frederic had his first driving lesson with his mother. He loved it. She called the driving school and booked him into a course as soon as she got home, and then went to have a nice lie down in a dark room for a while. But you want to know about that transition that didn’t make any sense.


The reason I mentioned Anastasia is that as soon a Frederic became a Teen, she started coming over every day after school, letting herself in, and hanging out with him. For the most part, this involves jokes, kicky bag, and chats. ANASTASIA: I’m really looking forward to college! I’m going to ISI, of course. That’s where my parents met. Have you thought about where you’re going yet? FREDERIC: No, not really. ANASTASIA: You should go to ISI too! You could probably get into your dad’s frat pretty easy.


…And apparently they have chemistry, because this is how they say goodbye. I have Other Plans for you two, you know! Neither one has made any successful autonomous romantic moves on the other, since goodbye kisses don’t count. For all I know, neither has even attempted such -- I don’t always look at the actions in the queue that are going to time out. Despite my Other Plans, I will of course let my Sims be happy with whomever they choose. I just hope this doesn’t get messy.


Frederic is still friends with Dmitri, of course. DMITRI: I’m glad you still come over to play with me, Frederic. I was afraid you wouldn’t like me anymore, coz I’m still little. FREDERIC: Of course I still like you, dude! Don’t be ridiculous. DMITIRI: Oh, good. ( awkwardly ) You know, we’re good enough friends that you can call me “Dmitri Leonidovich.” If you want to. FREDERIC: “Dmitri Leonidovich, huh? So what does that make me? DMITRI: “Frederic Edgarovich,” I think.


FREDERIC: How about just “Freddy”? DMITRI: But it’s supposed to be a special name that only your really good friends are allowed to call you. FREDERIC: It is. I don’t let just anybody call me Freddy. Not with my dad being “Eddie.” DMITRI: Then we really are best friends! ( hugs Frederic ) FREDERIC ( in a wheeze ): Dmitri Leonidovich, please stop strangling me!


The sharp-eyed reader may have noticed that the yard didn’t look right for Dmitri’s house, and the sharp-eyed reader would be correct: the family has moved into the house previously owned by the Mifune Sanders family. (More about them later.) This house has three definite bedrooms and two rooms that can be used as such, so it’s much better for a family of six.


And not a moment too soon, since Ariadene has become a lovely young lady who really needs her own room. For her birthday, she got a parrot named Skeen. If you can figure out the origin of the name, I will give you a cookie. Both the birdcage and the parrot were necessary to raise Ariadene’s aspiration because she that very day received a D+ report card and was None Too Happy. Academics are not Ariadene’s strong suit, and I am considering not sending her to college. She’s Romance, with a LTW of 20 Simultaneous Lovers, so it’s not strictly necessary.


Leonid and Eika the cat (inset) have both had birthdays also. I decided it was about time Leionid caught up with his wife; I always knew he wasn’t really thirty years younger than Trixie, but I never quite figured out the age difference. Apparently, it’s twelve years.


On a side note, Trixie’s flower shop is doing so-so. It’s stocked, and she’s hired one employee to keep it that way, but for some reason she only is offered the option to hire playables who already have jobs. The business tends to break even, but thus far customers have only earned negative stars. I suppose this is the point where you start recruiting family members…


Speaking of business, all was not well at QND. The restocker, Pong Dennis, decided that he wasn’t getting enough money and quit. Alternatively, he may have objected to the frequency of his breaks, or to the tight pants and choker that were part of his uniform, or to something else entirely. I kind of missed that part. At any rate, he left.


Although the business is not a complete failure: it is finally beginning to accomplish its purpose! You probably don’t recognize this Sim, and there’s no reason for you to do so. She is a dormie, and (like all my dormies) there used to be two of her -- different names, but otherwise identical. Although there are still technically two Sims out there with identical personalities and genetics, they no longer look alike ! I am unreasonably pleased about this. This one is named Catalina, and now I think she looks like a Catalina.


Later that same day, Eileen met the Reaper. This is the last time this chapter, I promise.


Eileen (Tang) Sanders, age… neveryoumind. Eileen was preemie, but turned out just fine. She ended up marrying her good friend Mifune, and she even stuck by him when he became a devotee of all things GilsCarbo. Not many women would have done that... Eileen hated a Certain Eighties Song with a white-hot fiery passion, but was otherwise fairly laid back. Rest in peace, Eileen.


Following her mother-in-law’s death, Charlie had a breakdown. CHARLOTTE: Pretty… LOUISE: What’s pretty? CHARLOTTE: That shiny spinny green thing. It’s kind of like a diamond, or that thing that you hang off a string to make sure that the wall is level… LOUISE: What shiny spinny green diamond thing? CHARLOTTE: The one over my head. Can’t you see it? LOUISE: No. ( concerned ) Do you have a fever?


Fortunately, the family has comprehensive health insurance, and they were able to enlist professional help right away. CHARLOTTE: Thank you so much, Dr. Shrink! I feel so much better! In fact, I don’t think I’ve felt this good in years! THE SHRINK: Meine Vergn ügen, gnädige Frau.


Finally Louise and Charlie did what they probably should have done a long time ago: they sold the house and moved to a smaller place on the other side of town, which they decorated to their taste, not that of Mifune or Colin and Lee. (Does anyone even remember them anymore?) The old house, of course, was sold to Trixie and Tirtha. Hopefully, both families will be happy in their new places. And speaking of families that have moved recently…


Buttercup’s family is all settled in nicely. JOSEPHINE: Ow! Cecil! Moo-oom, make him stop! CECIL: Ha ha! She didn’t make you stop -- why should she make me stop? JOSEPHINE: But I’m a girl ! Mooo-ooom…! BUTTERCUP ( temporarily interrupting her phone call ): Equality between the sexes means equal treatment, Jo, not preferential to either. Get back at him or don’t. Not my problem. ( to the phone ) I’m sorry, what was that about the bank vault?


Josephine is more often at odds with her mother nowadays. BUTTERCUP: Jo, put down the book please, and eat with us. JOSEPHINE: Yeah, okay. ( turns the page ) BUTTERCUP: I said “Put it down,” Jo. That means you put the book down. JOSEPHINE: But Moo-oom! It’s at the good part! BUTTERCUP: Then it’s not appropriate for reading in public. And anyway, those books will rot your brain. You’ll act like a complete idiot just because it’s in a book. JOSEPHINE: This isn’t about Aunt Myrna again, is it?* *See special college chapters Myrna, or, Oakapple’s Own for more details.


Cecil’s romantic complications having already been detailed, I see no reason to go over them again. Currently he is friends with several girls, including Rosemarie Jitkamasoul (which I may have spelled incorrectly). He finds them quite baffling, and on the whole prefers cats. In terms of company, you understand. Not romantically. But speaking of romance…


CECIL: Are you sure she’s okay? She never takes a nap in the middle of the day. JOSEPHINE: I think she’s okay. I think she’s just pregnant. I heard her and Dad discussing the tax code at length the other day. CECIL: Ick! Isn’t she too old to get pregnant? ( as a horrible thought hits him ) Ew! Isn’t she too old to discuss the tax code? And anyway, she hasn’t thrown up at all. I thought you had to throw up when you got pregnant. BUTTERCUP ( still with her eyes closed ): I am not too old to “discuss the tax code.” I am not too old to get pregnant. And I am not too old to slap you both silly if you don’t go away and let me sleep.


And indeed Buttercup is not quite too old for any of that. She actually did throw up, but just once, and it was while Jo and Cecil were at school. Jo and Cecil will be heading off to college next rotation. Can somebody please remind me why I thought this was a good idea? Just because my Sims both roll the Want for a baby at the same time doesn’t mean I have to fulfill it…


Anna Karenina said “Happy families are all alike,” or at least supposedly she did -- I’ve never read the book. While that may not be strictly true, it is true that I find perfectly happy families difficult to write about. There’s no opportunity for clever dialog. CATHRYNNE: Hi, Daddy! Welcome home! DANTE: Hello, sugarplum! Did you have a good day? CATHRYNNE: Uh-huh. I made a new friend at school. And I got an A+. And I got all my homework done already. DANTE: Wow! Sounds like a successful day!


And while happy families make for cute pictures, I can never think of anything to say about them. CATHRYNNE: What are you making? ( munches cookie ) SAMANTHA: Spaghetti. CATHRYNNE: Can I have some? ( munches cookie ) SAMANTHA: You’re already having cookies. CATHRYNNE: Just one bite. ( munches cookie ) SAMANTHA: Okay, but just one .


I mean, do you really need me to tell you what three-bolt couples are like if you leave them alone?


Or even two bolt couples? SAMANTHA ( sings ): “Sing us a song, you’re the piano man! Sing us a song tonight!” …Come on, Dante, join in! SAMANTA and DANTE ( sing ): “Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody, And you’ve got us feelin’ all right!”* *“Piano Man” by Billy Joel.


And I’m sure you’ve all seen children make friends. CATHRYNNE: Okay, so I think that I can move the horse even if I haven’t moved one of the little ones. DMITRI: Are you sure? I thought you had to move one of the little ones before you could do anything else. What are they called, anyway? CATHRYNNE: Prawns, I think. So that proves it. Nothing to see here -- we should go check on Amy.


Over at Casa Double A, Adam changed his look. He’s not overly thrilled with it, but Amy likes glasses, and I like that now he doesn’t have the same hairstyle as Amy’s father.


Jess McMillan, who is apparently still mad at Adam for somehow cheating on him (despite a 0/0 relationship and no romantic markers at all) come around every day to steal the paper. Meh, it saves having to clean them up, I guess. As long as he doesn’t start targeting the trash can, I’m okay with it.


On the last day of the rotation, Adam put a TV dinner in the oven and then went to clean the cat box. This was probably not the world’s most brilliant idea.


On the other hand, it did get his thoughts moving in the right direction. I’m not getting these two engaged or married until such time as they roll up a Want for it. You’d think with a Family Sim like Adam it would be easy, but although he’s rolled the Want for a baby several times already, he doesn’t seem interested in engagement. A glitch? Or merely interesting coding, like Amy’s? Stay tuned to find out! Until next time, Happy Simming -- and Happy New Year!


Anne said “Wait for me, Simon! Don’t think that you can just leave me behind when Cillian is there probably wondering what’s taking me so long…” The Shrink said “My pleasure, madam.” Or at least, he was supposed to. Translation was provided by AltaVista’s BabelFish; I do not speak German, so I wouldn’t be able to tell if it’s wrong.


The Grim Reaper’s lines, in order: Yes. No. Nothing but the best for you, Mrs. Couderc. I have a conundrum for you, Mr. Littledragon. When is a wall not a wall? When it’s a portal to the afterlife! Yeah, I don’t get a lot of practice. Have a drink to make up for it?

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