Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Art of almost

Round 33: January 2038 (Summer)
last update/Lauren's next update/next update

Abigail Carmody is 55, Jesse is 53 and Austin and Lauren are 17.
(Nick is 35, Mitchell is 19, Eddie is 18 and Catherine is 4)

Narrated by Jesse Carmody

We started the year on a sad note, when we lost our dog, Gambler.

He was very old but we’d had him since Austin and Lauren were tiny, so it was tough to finally lose him.

When Abigail suggested a vacation, I jumped at the chance. We last went away about five years ago and I’ve been itching to get away again.

We’re not ready for another dog yet but since we lost Gambler, the house doesn’t seem the same. We all needed a break.

Austin and Lauren were not so thrilled. Family holidays are kid stuff now, apparently.

They were actually expecting Abigail and I to leave them alone in the house.

Nice try but no way. They’re good kids but I don’t trust them that much.

Lauren would probably be okay on her own but Austin can talk her into anything and with us out of the house, it’d probably be a party.

Austin is basically exactly like I was at his age, so I know all too well what he’d get up to.

So despite the protests, we all headed off to Takemizu Village.

To their credit, Austin and Lauren seemed like they were in a fairly good mood and ready to try to enjoy the forced family time.

Abigail loved Takemizu and her enthusiasm must have been catching, because Lauren ended up having a good time too.

They both enjoyed learning all about the culture of the place and just soaking it all in.

Austin wasn't interested in much except the hot springs. It all smacked of education to him, so it lost major points in his book.

As for me, well, the food was great but it wasn’t really my idea of a fun holiday either.

I’m just not one for sight-seeing and that’s mostly what you do in Takemizu.

I would have preferred a more exciting destination. I could have gone surfing in Cape Elizabeth, or done the log roll in Three Lakes.

Still, I didn’t hate the place. It was a nice way for Abigail and I to reconnect, even if it wasn’t the ideal destination for both of us.

Austin and Lauren turn 17 this year, so it won’t be an issue again but if I had my time over, I’d probably discuss a room service limit!

Austin went nuts with it. He’d order one dinner in the early evening and then decide he was hungry again a few hours later and order some more.

Abigail was not happy at all when we got the bill at checkout. Room service is expensive enough but when you’re ordering extra meals, it really adds up!

It was only because she was so relaxed post-vacation that she didn’t go completely ballistic on him!

The weekend after we got back, Mitchell brought his girlfriend Dixie over. They’ve been dating almost a year now and Mitchell seems really happy with her.

We’ve met her many times before, obviously, but she’d never met Nick and his family, so we had one of our big get-togethers.

All these months later and Abigail and Dixie still haven’t really clicked very well. They don’t argue or anything but Abigail isn’t especially fond of Dixie.

Personally, I think she’s a great girl. She was very quiet to start with but we’re a big, loud family. She's opening more and more each time we see her.

I’m pretty sure she’s just a little shy but she does try to join in the conversation at the table.

Dixie seemed to really enjoy talking to Catherine this time. You don't need to worry about finding things to say with Catherine, because she's quite happy to fill any silences herself!

Mitchell is really thriving at Suffolk. He’s moved out of the dorms and into a private house with Tim and Lauren's boyfriend Eddie. They’re paying their own bills, taking care of the house and Mitchell’s cooking real meals for them just about every night.

I definitely wasn’t that responsible at 19. I can’t be relied upon to cook a decent meal now, let alone 30 years ago.

Mitchell doesn't think it's such a big deal but I'm pretty impressed. I’m very proud of him.

Abigail was mainly concerned about Mitchell’s grades. She wouldn’t have got to where she is today without her degree, so it’s really important to her that the kids go on to further education as well.

There’s no reason to worry about that with Mitchell though, at least so far. He’s got a 4.0 GPA and thinks he’ll be able to maintain it this coming semester.

Classes haven't even started yet, so I don't know why he's so sure about it. Our son does not suffer from a lack of confidence!

Lauren will be leaving for college next year. She wants to be a journalist like Abigail and she's already talking about possible majors, writing for the student newspaper and different career paths post-graduation. I think she’ll do really well, just like Mitchell.

Provided she can focus on her studies and less on her boyfriend, that is. The phone is glued to her ear even more than usual now that her boyfriend Eddie is living on campus.

I told myself I was going to be a “cool” dad when it came to my kids dating and Eddie does make that a little easier. I still worry about her, because I'm her dad but Eddie seems like a great guy. Abigail and I both really like him.

Eddie’s majoring in Drama but has no idea what he wants to do past that. But who does, at 18? I didn’t and neither did Abigail.

He's very good to Lauren, which is what counts for me.

Austin has decided not to go to college. Or really, college decided for him, because he applied and didn’t get in. He’s not too cut up about it though. Unlike Mitchell and Lauren, college was never something he was very passionate about.

Austin knows all his friends are going though and I think that was really the main reason he even applied.

Abigail’s trying to be okay but she's really not happy about it. She’s told him it’s more important than ever now that he decides what he wants to do.

He does, thankfully, know what he wants to do. He was tossing up between making a living off his paintings or becoming a photographer and he’s decided on the latter. He did a little research about it and he thinks he’d have a better chance getting into photography and made his decision based on that.

I don’t know how easy photography is going to be to break into either but at least he’s got something he’s aiming for. He’s figuring he can always just keep painting as a hobby, so I guess he can always sell those for extra cash too, if he needs it. Austin is getting pretty excited about next year, actually, which is nice to see.

Austin not going to college does mean Abigail and I will have him living in the house with us longer than we’d planned on. We’ve told him he can move into Mina’s old room and use his own money to fix it up to his liking.

He liked that idea a lot (as well he should, seeing it's bigger than our room!) and has promised he’ll contribute to the general household costs as well, as soon as he gets a job.

It means a change of plans for me and Abigail too. We’d considered downsizing once all the kids were out of the house but will probably stay put for another few years now.

So I guess we won’t be empty nesters as soon as we thought we would. Selfishly, it might be nice to have Austin at home with us a little longer but I’m still hoping he manages to stand on his own two feet before too long.

Outtake:Sarah and Nick should probably stand a little further apart before they toss that football around!

  • Title is from Art of Almost by Wilco.
  • Do teen hunger scores drop faster? I wasn't kidding about Austin and the room service! He and Lauren both seemed to get hungry really fast while on vacation. It's not something I've noticed at home but at home, they're always close to the fridge anyway.
  • There's a lot of head shaking and eye rolling when Abigail and Dixie talk. They unfortunately don't have many interests in common!
  • Lauren earned four scholarships, so she'll be off to Suffolk next January, so she'll be on campus with Eddie. Eddie rolled up the want to major in Drama, so when I do the career criteria on him, I'll have that as a guide too. If something perfect comes up that he needs another major for, I'll consider switching him.
  • Austin...well...he got two scholarships. He almost had three but his grades ended up dropping on the last day of the session and he lost his Scholar's Grant. I'm not as bummed about Austin not going as I would have been about Xavier though. Austin, despite having the want to go, never really seemed that invested in it. He doesn't have a career LTW, he never wants to skill and I think he'll be happier just going out and getting a job. So we'll see how he does next year. He'll still age up in January, along with the other kids in his birth year, obviously.


  1. It makes sense that Austin isn't going to university and it adds more dimension to the game as well, even if Abigail isn't happy

    1. Hopefully, if Austin sticks to his word next year, Abigail will get over it. ;) But yeah, if anyone was going to skip uni, it would be Austin. I do like to mix it up a bit sometimes and I haven't had a Sim skip uni since Dominic (and he was a real surprise, since his secondary is Knowledge).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. I agree that it makes all sorts of sense for Austin not to want to to go uni. He's got other priorities. :)

    Nice that they got to go on a family holiday, even if the teens weren't too thrilled.

    1. Looking at it now, I think I might have been a little disappointed if Austin had got in! It would go against just about everything he's done as a teen (and even as a kid).

      Well, at least Lauren had a good time on the trip. And Austin got to sample many of the new custom foods I downloaded from MTS the other day, so I'm sure he wasn't too bothered in the end, lol!

      Thanks for reading!

  3. College just isn't for everyone and photography is something he can be successful at without college. I'm interested to see how it all works out for him and how long it takes Abagail to get over it lol

    1. I think it was probably a relief to Austin to not get in. Even last round, he was not keen on going. He knows what he wants to do now, at least, which is one plus for Abigail. She'll be more satisfied once he's actually working, I think.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. I'm not surprised Austin opted out of college and he should be ok as long as he has a plan and knows he needs to be responsible.

    Jesse seems like the coolest dad for some reason, lol.

    1. We'll see how responsible he is! He can't be too irresponsible while he's still under his parents' roof, so it might be a good opportunity for Austin to prove himself to them.

      Jesse is a pretty cool dad. Abigail is laid back compared to some other parents in my hood but she's the one the kids need to worry about, of the two!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Oh boy. I hope Austin can make not going to college work for him or else I think Abigail might have his hide. ;)

    Isn't it weird when two sims just don't get along? I know in TS2, sims have topics of interest to discuss, but sometimes it just seems like two sims don't like one another for no good reason.

    1. Abigail will be breathing down Austin's neck trying to ensure he doesn't slack off! He's so lazy, like his dad.

      Abigail and Dixie were a bit of a mystery but you do get that sometimes with Sims! They're both very nice and it didn't look like they had too many divergent interests and yet they just didn't get along. Sometimes they just need a little time and sometimes they never seem to click!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. When Abigail sees that Austin can make it work without going to college I'm sure she's going to relax. At least he has a plan, which is more than some I know irl :)

    The family outing seemed like fun. I'm glad the kids had fun as well, it's not always fun having to go with your parents when your 17. And that picture of Abigail and Austin when checking out is just priceless!

    It's nice to see that Dixie gets along with Mitchell's famiy so well. I'm sure that if she makes Mitchell happy Abigail will come around.

    1. Hopefully, Austin can actually put his plan into action! Abigail won't be too happy until he's got a job.

      No, I remember going out with my parents when I was about 17 and praying no one I knew saw me, lol! Being in a foreign country, I guess that wasn't as much of a concern for Austin and Lauren. I love that pic of Austin and Abigail too. I took it from so many different angles!

      I'm hoping Abigail will come around on Dixie, seeing Mitchell seems so keen on her. I think she will, she just needs a bit more time to get to know her.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. I loved the vacation. LOL that Austin ordered so much room service. Typical teenaged boy to be hunger only a couple hours after eating. I’m glad everyone kinda had fun even though it wasn’t the ideal destination for everyone. I love Abigail’s outfit.

    Glad to see Dixie and Mitchell are still doing well. It’s too bad that she doesn’t click with Abigail but at least she gets along well with Jesse. I figured Austin wasn’t cut out for college but at least he has a plan. That’s more than I had at his age and I went to college!

    1. Yeah, and the hunger dropping was game play too (it was happening with Lauren as well but it was funnier to focus on Austin!) I remember my cousins eating a TON when they were Austin's age. It was unbelievable.

      Abigail's outfit is a new top from Bunhead Sims and the skirt is a really old item from (I think) XM Sims. I haven't used it in a long time!

      It just occurred to me last night while I was playing Mitchell at uni that Dixie took a while to warm up to him as well. So I think she just needs time before she can be herself around people. Being relatively outgoing, Abigail doesn't quite get that, I guess. Hopefully they get along better as they get to know each other.

      I'm going to make Austin wait until the job comes up on the computer, so we'll see how he goes with putting the plan into action. That's the only thing that will truly put Abigail's mind at ease, I think.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  8. Ay least Austin isn't broken up about not going to university. And I have a feeling that he'll do alright for himself as he gets older.

    I've noticed that teens, or at least mine in game, tend to get hungry faster while on vacation. Also grilling or ordering room service. I chalk it up to excitement. LOL With my real kids it never fails, when we go out to eat, if it McDonald's or if it's a steak house, they ALWAYS have to "use" the bath room. I think they just like checking them out. Kids are silly like that. LOL

    1. No, Austin was never thrilled about the idea of university anyway. He was just going along with it because everyone else was. I think he'll be happier now that he knows he's done with studying.

      Ah, so maybe it's a vacation thing? That makes a kind of sense to me. Like you say, it is kind of exciting to be away from home and to have all this new food at your disposal. Especially when you're not paying for it!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  9. It seemed to be that ALL my sims got hungry quicker on vacation. I chalk it us to Maxis trying to put my sims in the poorhouse. But then I don't go on vacations unless someone rolls a want, and no one has for a long time. Even though they certainly have no problem investing in foreign property. Silly sims.

    I had noted that it had been a long time since anyone skipped college once you mentioned it. And thank you for posting that new system for deciding on uni! Makes a lot of sense and I'll be stealing that too. :)

    1. You may be right about that. I didn't notice Jesse and Abigail's hunger dropping more quickly than usual but they might have been eating more filling food when they did eat. Maxis definitely likes to make those vacations expensive! Not just the food but accommodation - $700 a night for a cheap hotel room? I've stayed in some pretty nice places but I've never paid anything close to that! Crazy!

      Yeah, Dominic was the last to not go to college and that was about 10 years ago! The vast majority of my kids roll the want to go and they usually get in too. Dominic was a surprise...Austin, not so much! I'm glad you liked the new uni system. I think I'm really going to enjoy using it in my game too!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  10. Well, college isn't for everyone, so it's probably for the best that he didn't get in. Without the motivation, he might have flunked out!

    Lauren and Eddie seem pretty serious, so it's a good thing he gets along with Jesse. It's too bad about Abigail and Dixie, though!

    1. Yeah, I don't think Austin would have suddenly become a star student, if he did get into Suffolk. He's just not cut out for studying, I don't think.

      I'm surprised about Eddie and Lauren. She seemed to lose interest in poor old Xavier so quickly but so far so good with Eddie! I'm hoping Abigail just needs more time with Dixie, because Mitchell is very keen on her.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  11. How sweet that they took some vacation!
    I hope Abigail will learn to appreciate Dixie because she makes such a cute match with Mitchell!
    I'm nor surprised that Austin didn't opt for uni neither. It totally makes sense for him!

    1. It was about time Jesse and Abigail took a vacation. I think they've had the want for a long time now!

      It's funny about Abigail and Dixie. I think the only one of Nick's girlfriends she didn't like was Josie and they didn't last anyway. So it'll be interesting to see if she warms to Dixie eventually, if she and Mitchell last.

      I probably would have sent Austin to college if he got in but he didn't. And ultimately, it makes more sense for him not to go. Sometimes the game knows better than me!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!