Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Awesomeness Part 10

It seems it's been a while since my last Sim update. There's good reason for that. Not a lot of noteworthy things have happened. Levelling up skills and going to work. For the most part. Jaime did join the music career, working her way towards rock legend. On a day where both her and Theta were off they decided it was time to make some big changes in their simly lives. So they bought a house together. The outside was nice, but the inside needed a lot of work. They spent a whole day replacing the furniture and appliances. Not all of them, but most. The upstairs was nice enough for a child. It had been a while since Theta had heard the pitter-patter of little feet and almost missed it. But these two career-centered individuals didn't have time for all the fuss of raising a baby. So they adopted a child. A little girl. Her name is Simone.

She's a friendly girl who's first want was to be best friends with her mom. Which would be Theta since she's the one who made the call. Her and Jaime don't "technically" have a relation since Theta and Jaime aren't married, but they're still a family. Little Simone loves fishing so it's lucky they moved into a house close to the hatchery. I'm not sure if it's her rising stardom, or the extra responsibility of another child to care for, but Theta decided it was time to hire herself a butler. I debated for a while over whether I wanted to allow her this luxury since they cost 1200simoleons a week. Finally I relented and here he is:

He required his own bed (and with Simone claiming the upstairs this meant building him his own addition) and since Theta and Jaime are neat-freaks there's really not a lot for him to do, but it's nice having him around. He does add a touch of class to the joint.

It wasn't long before Simone became curious about her family. I mean, she wasn't a baby so she knew she was adopted. She finally found out that she also has a brother! An OLD brother. Was he adopted? No, Simone, he was not. Well, Simone just had to meet this man. One quick phone call informed her he works at the local consignment store and so she hopped on her bike and sped away. They get along quite well, and the stories he has to tell her are truly unbelieveable! "Mommy was fat?! No way!!"

Just like her brother Simone does very well in school. It helps to have a kind butler around to help with her homework when Mommy T and Mommy J are busy. For some reason Theta was given 5 days off of work to "take care of the child" so she spend her time re-growing a nice garden and maxing out her fitness skill. No room for flab in this army, soldier!! Jaime has worked her way up from "fan" to "stage tech" and wants to look the part. Interesting note, this picture is from her second trip to the tattoo parlor. She was far braver the first time around . . .

Theta is still in the army for the moment. In fact, she's on an expedition in Egypt trying to collect mummitomium for the army to research for their new stealth planes. Of course, she's also got plenty of time to relic hunt and tomb explore. All on the army's simoleon. (not really, but it should be and it sounds good) She's still getting calls from her agent for celeb type stuff and accepting every opportunity that comes her way. Can't wait for her to finish up in the army and set her upon a new path. It's gonna be wild . . . ;-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Day Up North

Not way up north, but north from us. Today was the day to take my dad back to Dallas. Sort of bitter-sweet. I love having him here, but I also like being able to make that drive. All of his stuff fit into the trunk so there was plenty of room for Aaron to come with. The trip up was fairly uneventful. I was aching to drive fast, though, so every time some idjit pulled in front of me I sorta felt like my head was going to explode. We made it, though. Aaron didn't want to go straight home so our next stop was a McDonald's we passed on the way up. Right off the highway, easy to get to. Wasn't too many people in there and my Big Mac was really well prepared.

During lunch we decided to get ahold of Barker and let her know we were (more or less) in the area. With her expert text-directions she got us from McDonald's to Shed's house easy as pie. Well . . . once we headed the right way. It took her a long while to get back after I told her to send the directions to Aaron's phone so I headed East towards Dallas and the "exit" I tried to take to turn around when she got back to us ended up being a mini-cloverleaf headed straight into downtown Dallas. Was easy enough to turn back around from that, though. The hard part ended up being getting through the gate so she came down and walked us up.

We sat around chatting for a bit and watching some Travel Channel. After a bit of debate over whether W is sometimes a vowel and "What are we going to do?" we decided to drive around and find a beach. Did I mention Travel Channel was showing beaches? It was. So we set out to find one. We did! Sort of. Sand around a lake is still a beach, right? Close enough. After locating the beach we turned around to locate beer and snacks then back to the beach! After another bit of driving around the lake area we managed to find a parking space close to the beach part of the lake. I forget what it's called, but here it is!

It's in Grand Prarie, by the way. Was really nice. A few families with kids, but not in a terribly annoying kind of way. I made sure to get pics of everybody! The wind was to my back and I forgot to put my hair back up . . . .

Aaron dashing as always

And Shed. I forget what he was doing to be making this face.

And a super cute pic of Barker with her hair blowing in the wind. I want a wig of her hair.

We sat chatting for a bit. Aaron and Shed drinking some beer. Barker and I sipping our Dews and eating cheese poofs. They were good! Got stale really really quickly, though. :-( Then Barker decided she wanted to feel the sand on her feets.

Now, Sarah (Barker) has one trait that reminds me of Brak. The ability to derive joy from the simple things. So when she had the idea that we should build a sandcastle I just could not pass it up. When was the last time I built a sandcasle?! (Germany, roughly 1989) When is the next time I'll get to build a sandcastle?! She found an empty cup, filled it in the lake and we began our building of the sandcastle. She started mounding up the bathroom and I got to work on the defense wall and drawbridge. We worked around and around. Our "people" were attacked once by a soccer ball (a wide miss, but an attack nontheless) and their currency is sand dollars. In this first picture you can see the drawbridge which spans the faux moat (the illusion of a moat is, in itself, a deterrent), the bathroom is the large mound on the left, the guard tower is the skinny one in the middle, and the kitchen is the mound to the right. If you look closely on the left you can see my rudimentary wall with decorations and on the right side of the wall is where Barker started evening it out. There is a shelf-walkway with the rocks on it. More time and it would've ended up looking really nice all around. And, yes, the door has a doorknob. She found it and I set it aside special. Doorknob!

In this next picture (taken from the castle's left side for those of you who are spacially adept) in front of the bathroom is the rock garden, behind the bathroom is a mound which was going to be another tower but then wasn't and behind the kitchen is the treasury. You know, to house all the sand dollars. If you're actually reading this you may be interested to know that before we left the castle was populated with stale cheese puffs to represent the people. There were ducks. Ducks like cheese puffs. End of story.

We stood around the castle chatting for a bit. Eventually, as it has a tendancy to do, the sun went down. Very pretty sunset out there.

And before we left Shed gazed over at the mass of cell phone towers he helped work on. Cuz that's his job. Something to do with designing the towers. There were probably 15 or so over there, but the lights didn't blink at the same time so I only caught a couple.

So then we headed back. Fun day at the beach. We said our goodbyes with hugs and handshakes all around and Aaron and I made the long trek back home. With help from Sara's expertly drawn map on the back of a deposit slip I had in my wallet. We didn't run into any really terrible traffic the whole day. And going from here to Dallas to Eulis (by Ft. Worth) and back we still have a quarter tank of gas. I *heart* my Carolla. Thanks guys for hooking up with us and making today something way better than SSDD.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Awesomeness Part 9

  When Theta left for Shang Simla, China she fully expected to squeeze her military-required martial arts training in between tomb exploration.  So after arriving she made sure her very first stop was to the local Martial Arts Academy.

  She not only learned her minimum skill, but excelled and quickly earned her first belt.  Swinging by her temporary lodging she spied a notice on the Adventure Board.  A local Sim wanted to meet with her.  Her!  Personally!  Well, she is a celebrity after all so it wasn't too shocking.  Lots of sims want to meet her.  It seemed an easy way to earn some traveller points so she hopped on her bike and went to meet this sim.  She quickly learned that this reaching out had nothing to do with her celebrity status and everything to do with her recently acquired martial arts skill.  "Go, spar with Maya Lin and return to me."  Wow, her very own sensei!  Of course Theta rushed off to meet this Maya and, hopefully, kick her ass!

  I'd like to point out it was not Theta's idea to spar indoors.  The challenged picks the location, not the challenger.  Anyway, after two rounds of sparring they were left at a draw.  Not too shabby against an opponent who, judgeing purely by belt color, was far more advanced than herself.  So Theta returned to her sensei with the news and was rewarded with her traveller points and a handful of simoleons.  But this was not the end of master's instructions.  Now Theta must meditate for two hours before returning.  Meditate?  "But master, I can not yet meditate." "Then learn!"  Oh my . . . So Theta moved herself into the Absolute Fist Retreat and spent every possible second (taking into account eating, sleeping, bathing and fatigue) training.

  It wasn't easy.  Her muscles were sore, she broke her hand once and the paparazzi would not leave her to train in peace!  She was dedicated, though.  Determined not to let down her randomly appearing mystery sensei.  In spite of her determination, or perhaps because of it, during those few hours a day where she just had to regain her energy she was ever mindful of her fans.  "Fans of what?" she sometimes wondered. "I haven't done anything . . ."  But sims will be sims and they don't always make sense so she let them take her picture and even signed a few autographs between strenuous training sessions.

  Finally, one day before her trip's end she reached a skill level high enough to be able to meditate.  Being a true martial artist, even meditation raises her skill.  After two hours of calm contemplation she finds the ability to "zenport".  So without any further hesitation she zenports back to her sensei to reveal the great news!  "This is all I can teach you.  Go now and continue to hone your skills."  A little disheartened Theta makes her way back to Shang Simla's lodging.  It's almost time to go home, after all.  Even with the loss of her sensei Theta is proud of her new-found branch towards awesomeness.  The military, it seems, really is all about opportunity and being the best you can be.  At least in Sim World.  She's trained hard, broken a few boards, found her Sim-center and is now ready to take on any enemy she may face while serving in the greatest army in my computer.

  Back home things continued to go well.  Since travel happens outside of time Theta returns exactly where she left off Friday evening.  A full weekend ahead!  The first thing she wants to do Saturday morning is see Jaime, her sort-of girlfriend.  A quick invite and 30 minutes later the two are reunited.  This time the option to ask her to move in is there!  "Please, stay with me?"  Once again Theta is a household of two.  And not a moment too soon!  Poor Jaime was a mere two days away from aging up to Elder!  Well, Theta just could not have this.  No, she has so many plans, so much she wants to do with Jaime.  "Here, take some of my Life Fruits.  I'll run out right away and harvest more!"

  Their first day together wasn't terribly eventful.  Theta gathered more Life Fruits then continued on to a local dance club at which she had made a previous engagement.  Jaime stayed home and worked out so she could move up from "Latrine Cleaner".  By nightfall they were both exhausted and just went to bed.

  Being the gourmet that she is Theta wanted to impress Jaime by cooking her favorite dish.  Which just happened to be pancakes.  Perfect!  Still shaking off her jet-lag and dance-fever Theta woke up 2 hours early to make sure she had time to complete this task before Jaime woke up.

  She made it!  Though barely.  Which is okay because after their first night together they got to eat breakfast together.  An event which is not likely to be repeated.  (Why?  Because these things are hard to coordinate, that's why)

  After breakfast Theta busied herself upgrading some of her new appliances and Jaime discovered something about herself she hadn't noticed before.  She didn't want to be in the army; she wants to be a Master of the Arts!  Mastering painting and guitar skills.  So she spent her day throwing paint at canvas and plucking away.  Perhaps a career in the music industry is in her future?  She's pretty level-headed, though, and wants to get some basic skills before leaving the security of the army for a career as fickle as music.  Although "Roadie" has got to be better than "Latrine Cleaner" . . . right?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Awesomeness Part 8

  Theta is steadily climing the military career track.  She can salute and be saluted.  Yes, saluting is a conversation option.  Somehow she manages to find time to work out but also party!  Being the proper celebrity she manages to make her appearances at local clubs and is trying very hard to make it to the parties of friends.  At one such party she ran into her son who is now older than she is.  They are still very close and even had a quick dance together while they caught up on the past few days.

  But sometimes the partying gets to be too much, and sometimes you feel bad about wasting a perfectly good opportunity.  And so she was prompted to revisit Egypt.  She made sure to get the most out of every last moment.  Pitching her tent in the desert, finally learning these local customs, going on missions and exploring the tombs!

  Unfortunately, those Egyptian pyramids can be quite dangerous.  Her working skills in altheticism and handiness have aided her well negotiating the traps, but did not prepare her for the angry mummy she encountered!

  She lost that fight by the way.  Still, returning home to Moonlit Shores she felt good about her trip.  In fact, the military has sent her to China to learn Martial Arts and just as soon as she recovers from her jetlag (2 days sim time) she'll be off on that expedition.  In the meantime she's taking her party time to relax.  Spacing out her nightclub appearances.  Enjoying her friends and her family while she can.  Because only I (and one very special confidant) know what her future brings and even that is sprinkled with a bit of random. Best she just take her extended life one sim day at a time.

  In case you were wondering, the option to move in has not yet come up with her pseudo-love-interest.  I'm hoping it does before she gets to be too old . . . .

Monday, March 14, 2011

Awesomeness Part 7

  When last we left Theta she was overindulging in her new culinary talents and her son Geo was just trying to get by.  And that is where we shall being.

  Being a celebrity Theta has been invited to many many parties.  She's attended maybe half.  Would be more if they'd quit being planned for while she's at work.  But, even at the parties she ate and ate and ate.

  Geo has since grown into a young adult (at this point about to be an adult) and moved away.  He still keeps in contact with his mother over the phone but refuses to visit.

  For no relevant reason here's a picture of a ghost that sped through the lot . . . maybe she died in a sinkhole.

  After Geo left Theta was feeling a bit lonely so she invited one of the friends she made in Paris to stay for the weekend.  They went out to the club and somehow the friend didn't make it back to the house . . . .

  I'll be honest.  Keeping Theta fat was a chore.  She had to eat ALL day long.  So she ended up getting skinny again.  I could have cheat-coded her back into the Create-A-Sim and made her normal state fat, but . . . here's a picture of her with butterflies!

  Through all of her partying and networking and appearances Theta has climbed her way from total unknown all the way to 4-star celebrity (one more star to go!), but some days she likes to get away from it all.  There's a little bar down the street from her old job that suits just fine.

  Since her house seemed so empty, and she was about to embark on a new career path, Theta moved into an apartment in the center of town.  The size is right, but the decor was all wrong.  So she tried her hand at redecorating, using the original plans as her base.

  As for her new job.  She's a big shot celebrity now so there was only one thing to do.  Join the army!  Elvis was the King and he served his country, why not her?

  She's loving it, by the way.  Works out all the time and treats herself to a nice massage after every session.  Usually free since she's a big shot and all.  One call she gets quite a bit from her agent is to go dancing at a specific club.  So she dresses herself up nice and heads out to cut a rug.  She does fall from time to time, but she's getting quite good and learning some new moves.  Of course the paparazzi aren't too far behind.  Unless they happen to get stuck in the elevator.

  On a more personal note Theta's found herself a new romantic interest.  A fellow soldier.  Isn't she lovely?

  So here she is.  Her son is aging, her love life is thriving and her new career is working out quite well.  If she can get her new lady-friend to move in (for some reason the option doesn't always come up . . . I think it's a glitch) they'll take a nice vacation together.  Perhaps to Egypt since she fatted her way through the last trip.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The greatest loss

  Last night around 11:30 our beloved son Elvis passed on.  I can't believe how empty the room feels without him, and I find myself still checking his spot to see if he's okay . . . . I hate hate hate having to talk about him in the past tense, but . . . . but.  I just finished his memorial page (it's something I do to cope) and it just doesn't feel like enough.  We have over 200 pictures of him and a couple of videos and it's not enough.  No amount of words can ever properly cover his life and what he meant to us.  HE WAS OUR SON!  Not "like a son" and certainly not "just a dog".  Never that. 

  Aaron was his father for a good 10 years or so before I ever came into the picture.  I knew that Elvis was first in his heart and never begrudged him that.  I understood and embraced.  I had no choice, really.  You know the feeling that you're the last person to get the memo?  That was me.  Aaron knew I was family long before I did and Elvis did as well.  Early on I spent a week at Aaron's (yeah, the secret's out, I lied, sue me) and Elvis would sleep snuggled up in my clothes pile.  Not on the bed as he would in the coming years, not on Aaron's pile of clothes.  Mine.  For a while he would remind me so much of JoJo it would make me cry.  I'd lay there on the bed crying and he'd come up to comfort me and I'd cry even harder, just holding on to him crying.

  When Aaron moved in with me the move was not easy on Elvis.  Every time we moved he thought we were going to leave him.  All he wanted was to be with his parents.  Once he realized he had a room and a yard he would calm down again and settle in.  Always had a yard for him to run and poop in.  And for all the years we never could find his poops.  Want to check for worms?  Too bad, Houdini-poops.  He'd drop his load then run full speed straight for the door.  For a while we had a couch-bed.  We intended to couch it during the day, but that never happened.  He claimed the underside as his own little condo.  He'd come out only to go outside and get his food.  He could chew on his feet as much as he wanted to under there and we'd never see it.

  When we first moved out here there was a little terrier next door.  He loved that little thing.  They'd sniff each other through the fence then Elvis would proceed to piss on his (her?) head.  It was like a game.  He'd pine for Gracie across the way.  He always loved the ladies.  When my sister had Sasha he would just whine and pine trying to get at her.  When my mom got Jet he would do the same. 

  There were times that were tough for him and he troopered through.  The year we had issues with Hunter Rental and he took the LONG walk around the neighborhood with his father.  The summer we went without electricity and we had to keep him cool with a squirt bottle and battery-powered fan.  He always let us take care of him.  Even as he aged and became unwell; blind, in pain and scared he always let us take care of him.  By all rights he should have lashed out, bitten us when we were trying to help.  He never did.  He recognized his parents and let us love and care for him.

  He had many talents.  He could nab a piece of bacon from your lips with the utmost delicacy.  In his prime he could sumersault off Aaron's lap.  He'd sit like a man watching movies and eating chips and salsa.  All we had to do was pop the top off a can of Mighty Dog and he'd take off with it, work out every last bit and come out clean.  No cuts from the sharp edges.

  I guess it's time to cover the sadness.  Anybody reading this will know that he hasn't been well for a while.  It's hard to tell when it started.  There was definitely a progression.  When his arthritis started getting bad and he couldn't really bend his head down we'd give him his water through a syringe and feed him on a plate we brought to him.  And his sight was so bad it had to be Alpo because that was the only food that had a strong enough smell that he knew it was something to eat.  He let us do this for him.  He let us hold him up to walk around so he could do his business and when he was unable to put forth even that much effort he let us lift and re-situate him so we could clean him.  He got an abscess on his hind leg that left a huge hole and he let us bandage it.  All without complaint and without lashing out.  We handled his seizures as best we could, but in the end . . . . his time came.  As hard and painful as it was I'm glad we were awake and here and able to sit with him and pet him and be with him.  He was not alone.  He was with his parents as he always was.

  I can't believe he's not laying behind me.  I can't believe that I won't ever here "you'll wake up the pup" or "we have to get back to him".  No more puppy dreams or puppy stretches or puppy yawns.  It doesn't feel real.  I know it is, but it doesn't feel like it.  We always had "ghost pig" with us whereever we went, I have to believe he will still be with us, but it just won't be the same.  It'll never be the same.  He was always there for us when we needed him and we rearranged our lives to be there for him when he needed us and I wouldn't give any of it back.  The sleeping on the floor, the whines, the extra laundry, the tears and fears and time limits.  None of it.  I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.  We both would.  Because he deserved all that and more.  Nothing I say could ever do him justice or make anyone understand who doesn't already.  He is the reason I want to bitch-slap anyone who's ever said "You don't know until you have a child".  No.  YOU don't understand.  HE WAS OUR SON.  People with human children go into it with the assumption that their kids will outlive them.  We went in knowing that would never be true.  That we would have to deal with this and you know what?!  We would do it all again because he was so much more. 

  I can't type anymore.  Even if I had more words in me it still wouldn't be enough.  He loved us, he humored us, he supported us and he was there when no one else was.  I believe he hung in long enough not only for Aaron to get his surgery, but also to reunite with his dad.  Because as much as he loved his mother he loved his father even more.  He had a helluvan extended family, human and furry alike, and he approached every last one of 'em with love.  When parents had to leave for an extended time he was a good boy for his grandfather (my dad) and he recognized his feline sisters just as easily as he had his mother.

  I guess just a bit more.  He's also the reason I laugh so hard at these germ-phobic health-nut parents of both human and furry children.  Elvis lived a long long time.  Out of 20-odd years only in the last couple did he have problems.  Before that he was as young and spry as he had ever been.  Up until he was 15 or 16 you'd swear he was still a puppy in his prime.  He never got his shots and his diet was 66% people food.  For a while he'd share a whole plate of bacon with me.  He enjoyed Twizzlers, french fries, pizza crust.  Anything we ate, he ate.  Even salsa.  I know, I know "OMG onions!"  He only got the liquid and still he thrived.  Rumor has it he even got chocolate a few times.  And he thrived.  It's not something I recommend, obviously, but my point is he enjoyed his life.  We didn't deny him because it was "the right thing to do".  We kept him involved in what we were doing (and eating) because he was our son and deserved to be included and until he slowed down on his own we never coddled him.  Treated him like a puppy and he lived like a puppy.

  Okay, I guess that's all for now.  I miss him so much already and hitting "publish" is just another reminder that he's really gone . . . .

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Awesomeness Part 6

  When we last left Theta she had just joined the Culinary career track at the Bistro around the corner from her house.  She's charged full speed ahead into mastering her cooking skill.  Why, every good mother can cook a good meal, right?  Of course!  Now, that's not to say she's actually cooking these delicious delicacies for Geo . . . in fact, most of what she makes is going right into her own belly.  Her agent has called her three times to go to the gym.  She's even randomly thinking of it herself.

  But who has time?!  Between her food-filled trip to China and working and raising her son, Theta is a very busy woman indeed.  No time for the gym, nosiree.  Why, she barely had time to learn the local customs (songs) in China between bites of egg roll and dim sum.

  If her job wasn't so close, she might not even get to it thanks to her new obsession.  Which is slowly, but surely, taking it's toll on her once fantastic figure.

  Geo, born a musical prodigy, has been excersizing his skills on the keyboard (piano . . .) and dreaming of the day he gets to embark on his own life adventure.  He never questions why he only gets to talk to his mother over meals, or how she never seems to age.  Instead he pours himself into homework and takes his keyboard to the park from time to time to hopefully save up a few simoleons of his own.  All in all he's well-behaved and well-adjusted and happy to just let the music take him away from it all.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Awesomeness Part 5

  Theta's specially created world was completed and she has been moved in, house and all.  She shall want for nothing in her new world.  She lost none of her job progress, travel perks, inventory.  Everything came along with her except her friends.  Here is her old house in it's new location.  You can see the Bistro practically in her back yard.

  In this new town (named "Moonlit Shores"; a cookie to anyone know catches the reference) it was time to go back to work.  This meant a babysitter for young Geo.  Thankfully the babysitter's of 3 are much more competant than the Nanny's of 2 and the house did not get burned down and Geo was not left to starve in his own filth.

  Now, this move brought a swift end to Theta's relationship with Jaames.  It also meant that he would never be in the life of his son.  Though Theta loves him dearly, taking care of Geo by herself has proven quite stressful.  Theta soon resorted to stuffing her face with convenience food.

  Not even a return trip to France (to collect relics for work) did much to stem her appetite.  Though, I must say, her new look is quite pretty.

  Upon her return it was not long before little Geo grew up from a slobbery little toddler

  Into a school-ready child.

  Theta soon after reached Level 10 of her science career and decided to combine her newfound love of food with her desire to appear like a good mother and joined the culinary career.  Remember, the Bistro is right behind her house so she'll always be nearby.  She'll learn how to make a plethora of delicious dishes.  Dishes she will, rest assured, taste test thoroughly.  Her scientific background provides her with plenty of farm fresh produce (including her beloved Life Fruit) and fresh caught fishies.  Nothing better than fresh ingredients to tempt the taste buds.