And now we arrive at the last of the pre-made Pleasantview sims, the Burb family. Related to the Pleasant family, they've been looking for somewhere to live for a while now.

"I think this will do us." Jennifer said, looking at the small whitwashed building in front of them. "The master bedroom's a bit small though... how do you propose getting a double bed in there?"
"Get someone in to knock a wall down!" John responded. "There's that wasted bit at the top of the stairs; if we rebuild the wall there our bed will fit fine." After surveying the space John had mentioned she could see what he meant. So that's what they did. Lucy got the other bedroom next to the balcony.
Speaking of Lucy, she'd disappeared off to school. The family had moved in at 8am, and although Bluewater Primary was a bit of a distance and quicker by bus, she knew she could still walk it before the bell went. Jennifer wasn't 100% happy about her eight-year-old daughter crossing two main roads and the bridge over the river by herself, but at the same time she inderstood Lucy's dedication.
After hauling the beds into their new home, and arranging the settee, TV and computer desk where they wanted them, John started to prepare some food. All this effort builds up an appetite!
Lucy arrived home at 3pm.
"Dad, can you help me? We're learning about the SimCity Invasion of 1954 in school, but Mr. Wilson wasn't very specific with the details. Now I've got to write an essay on it." History hadn't been John's favourite school subject but he wasn't going to say no to Lucy just because of that.
"1954? I remember doing that at school too Lucy. There was a great deal of anti-alienism at the time; all the greenskins hid out in Strangetown." Pulling an old book off the shelf, John soon refreshed his memory on the subject and then spent over an hour with Lucy while she worked on her essay.
After Lucy had gone to bed, John and Jennifer were trying to decide on whether they should have another child. John was all for it, as being an only child himself he'd envied his friends who had siblings.
"Okay," Jennifer said, being just a little unsure. She'd got Daniel Pleasant as her brother, and look how he'd turned out! So, they tried, and as they dropped off to sleep Jennifer thought she heard the tinkle of chimes.
The next morning, while Jennifer was at work and Lucy at school, John dug up a patch of the garden and planted a few crab-apple trees. He'd always enjoyed gardening, and even a very small area could feed their family. The leaves the trees dropped in autumn would make valuable compost for the following year. The tomatoes went in, and John added the old newspapers to the compost bin. His mind wasn't just on the garden though; he was thinking about woohoo too! Whether this was with Jennifer or the woman who passed his house (Titania Summerdream) at that moment is unclear.
"Look Dad!" Lucy was very excited when she got off the school bus. "I got an A on my essay!" John was pleased too.
"That's brilliant sweetie!" he said, giving her a big hug. "Well done. Now, have you got homework tonight?"
"Yup, science this time."
John grimaced. "Don't look at me, I never understood that at school."
"It's okay Dad, I can manage this one." Lucy grinned, and went inside. She liked to do her homework the moment she got home. It saved on having to think about it later.
To celebrate Lucy's achievement, John cooked dinner that night. Well, I say cooked; it was more burnt. He still hadn't grasped that grilling hamburgers on the stove was rather different than on the BBQ.
"Dad, when are you going to learn?" Lucy asked, choking on her second bite of burger. Jennifer looked up at her husband.
"Just practise John. You'll make a decent one soon."
Jennifer was right. It took a few attempts, but eventually John DID manage to avoid burning the burgers. He savoured every bite of THAT batch!
Meanwhile, Jennifer was most definitely growing larger. It soon became obvious that a new family member was on the way, and she was placed on maternity leave. However, the bills didn't pay themselves, and more than once Jennifer was seen running out to the postbox so she could pay them!
Lucy had become interested in the computer too, and one night she discovered that she could chat online. John had checked that the person she was talking to was an actual friend, and promised Jennifer he would supervise her conversation, but he fell asleep on the settee. Luckily, Lucy didn't start chatting to a stranger!
"JOHN! JOOOOHN!" Jennifer was in the kitchen when her waters broke. "JOHN, THE BABY'S COMING!" John rushed downstairs, just in time to see his wife give birth to a healthy baby boy.
"What shall we call him?" Jennifer asked.
"Hmm... how about Laurence?" John suggested. Laurence it was.
The next birthday to be celebrated was Lucy's. She was outside on the balcony when the tingling sensation started, signalling the transition from childhood to teen. And what a teen! Despite her studious nature as a child, all Lucy wanted now was to have fun. And she started off in style by going down to the shopping centre to meet some people. Also she felt like freestyling for tips.
She wasn't too bad, to tell you the truth. Okay, she didn't earn much on her first time out, but a number of people came to watch, and most seemed to like what they were hearing. Better still, it improved her reputation.
Just as Lucy was wrapping up her performance and getting ready to leave, there was the sound of thunder as a shady figure swooped on to the lot on a broomstick. Lucy was intrigued, especially as the woman had just conjured a black cat out of thin air.
"Err... hi." she said, a little nervously. The woman appeared a good bit older than her, and had green skin to boot. "I'm Lucy. How did you do that?"
"Magic." the woman said, turning to the startled teen. "I'm a witch."
"Oooh." Lucy, although not being one of these kids who was immediately into all this magic stuff, wanted to hear more. "How do you get to be one?"
"Well, first..." the witch looked down her long pointed nose at Lucy, "You need to become friends with a witch. THEN we might consider granting you the power to become one yourself."
Being friends with a witch sounded pretty cool, even if she DID have green skin. Lucy thanked her, got her phone number (yes, witches DO have phones) and made her way home.
John was struggling to fix the TV (which had blown yet another fuse) when Lucy got in. Unfortunately, Laurence was crying for a bottle at the same time.
"Dad, let me do that. You go look after Laurence."
"Thanks Luce." John handed the screwdriver to Lucy, and made his way upstairs. Lucy started unscrewing the cover to the fuses when the screwdriver hit a live wire.
"ARGH!" Lucy didn't look too good after being shocked like that. Her hair was standing on end and when she looked down at herself she could see that there wasn't much left of her clothing! All she had left was some rather blackened undies - not a good look.
Before she had a chance to get in the shower, John handed her baby brother to her.
"Can you hold him Lucy, I'll be back in a minute. Actually..." John stuck his head round the door, "I've changed his nappy but he could do with a bath. You think you could manage that?"
Lucy sighed. "Okay Dad. I'll bath him."
"Knew I could count on you. Thanks!"
So, still in her raggedy underwear and black all over, Lucy bathed baby Laurence in the kitchen sink. "Thank goodness my friends can't see me now!" she thought to herself. "I'd never hear the end of it!"
Despite the downsides of baby-care, little Laurence was pretty cute. John loved playing with him. He was usually the one that fed him and changed nappies too. It wouldn't be long before he'd become a mischievous toddler.
It wasn't either. Lucy was the one who helped her little brother grow up. Now the hard work could commence.

So, will Lucy befriend the green-skinned witch? Will Laurence learn everything he needs to? Will the tomatoes grow and produce a decent harvest? W
 
 
After spending some time away from their family, Coral and Herb Oldie moved into a little house round the corner from the Calientes. It wasn't much to look at, but the addition of a comfy settee and a new bed went a long way towards making them feel at home. Herb wasted no time in making sure the fridge was filled too!
Before long, the doorbell went. The neighbours had come to say hello: Brandi Broke, Dina Caliente and Florence Delarosa. They all seemed nice enough, so Herb invited them in and started playing host by making drinks and his piece de resistance, lunch meat sandwiches! His cooking skills weren't the best, but he was a dab hand with a bread knife!
"Say, these aren't bad." Brandi commented after taking a bite of her sandwich and sitting down next to Herb. "Although you should really try grilled cheese; now THAT'S a flavour to contend with!"
Herb hadn't heard of this new delicacy, but resolved to try it some day. The talk soon turned to their respective families, whereupon Brandi told him of her new additions and how Beau had started school. Herb mentioned his granddaughters and how they were looking forward to college soon.
Night fell, and Florence started behaving like a child - catching fireflies and leaving the jars all over the kitchen. Coral loved the little glow-bugs as much as anyone, but felt they should be free, not cooped up. After their guests went, she spent some time releasing the insects from their glass prisons before going to bed.
The two of them settled in more as the week passed. With their modest savings they bought a bass for Coral and a telescope for Herb. Coral sounded terrible playing at first, but she gradually got better. After a while she tired of the sound she was making, and traded it in for a guitar. Now she was groovin'! She'd even play in her nightie!
Herb enjoyed the bit of stargazing, but with the colder weather coming he started using the telescope in another way. Coral had to tell him off more than once for spying on the neighbours! But then, Herb was often shocked by what he saw!
As Sunday draw to a close, the two of them reflected on their lives. They were happy in Pleasantview, back in contact with their adopted daughter and had forged a decent relationship with their granddaughters. Herb was now Lilith's best friend after Dirk, which for her was a good thing. Even if she didn't tell him everything, she needed a family member who definitely liked her. And they still didn't know about the new arrival!

Will Mary-Sue ever tell her adoptive parents about the new baby? Will Coral become a true Groovy Granny? Will Herb get his comeuppence for being a Peeping Tom? Stay tuned...
 
 
Not a very long post here, but then not a great deal happened. Well, until the very end of the week!

After his fling with Nina which left Cassandra furious at him, Don Lothario went home for yet another drink. He didn't bother with food, unless you count a can of instant meal food. I swear, that man is an alcoholic!
"ARGH! Vermin!" Don ended up stomping on umpteen cockroaches through the week; Cassandra kept venting her anger by kicking his dustbin over! This didn't really help matters, as all these dirty beasties brought serious bouts of flu with them. Don kept getting ill then recovering, then getting ill again then recovering again. Each bout of vermin = another bout of flu. If it weren't for his manly desire to deal with such stuff himself, the exterminator would've done a roaring trade there!
The repairman would've done well too. Don broke the shower while tinkering with it, and then got soaked a number of times trying to repair it. These did do wonders for his mechanical skills however, and he got promoted mid-week.
The weather was turning colder, but Don made sure the plants got the water they required all the same. No point having them die just as winter was drawing in, was there? They'd only have to be replaced come spring if so.
He was just going to bed on Sunday when the doorbell rang. Opening it, he found Nina Caliente shivering on the doorstep.
"I thought about your offer." she said. "Can I move in?"
"Of course you can!" he said, picking up her suitcase and taking it upstairs. Upon coming back down, he noticed her different (and boring) attire. "What's wrong honey? You don't look so hot."
"I don't know. I feel tired all the time, I'm constantly hungry and I swear I'm getting fat. The only thing I fit into is this awful brown thing; it does nothing for my complexion!"
"Hey, don't worry; a few more nights like that one we had the other night and you'll fit right back into your old stuff!" Secretly Don wasn't sure he liked this Nina as much as the other one, but seeing her so distressed tugged at what little warmth he possessed. "Look, how about you get a good night's sleep and we'll see what we can do in the morning?"
Nina agreed, but didn't feel up to having fun yet. Don let her have his bed, while he slept on the settee. There'd be time to move them both into bed soon.

Will Don break up completely with Cassandra? Will he make a halfway decent father to Nina's baby? Maybe...
 
 
It's the turn of the Caliente sisters this time, and for the record I've never played with them before!
The first thing that catches my attention is the urn on the table in the living area; who on closer inspection is Dina's late husband Michael Bachelor. I'm still not sure why Dina chose to keep him there, but if that makes her "happy"... Onto what actually happened:

"Don? Fancy joining me for the evening?" Nina was on the phone chatting up her best male friend.
"Sure! Though is it okay if I bring my friend along?"
"Yeah, the more the merrier!" Nina had assumed that Don's "friend" would be another man, which was fine by her. So imagine her surprise when Don arrived... with Cassandra Goth in tow.
"Hi Cass..." Although they weren't really friends, Nina greeted her out of courtesy, then followed both of them to the roof garden where the hot-tub and the bar was situated.
Night fell, and Cassandra was preparing to leave when she spotted Nina going over to Don. Horrified, she watched as her husband-to-be accepted a big smacker of a kiss; it was obvious that he preferred Nina's sultry appearance more than her more refined one. Still, she wasn't going to let THAT one rest - with a howl of rage she ran over and slapped Don round the face!
"How DARE you! With that... that SLUT!" Cassandra had never been so angry in her life.
"But... SHE kissed ME!" Don couldn't understand why Cassandra was so upset. He soon found out.
"You could've pushed her away like any normal engaged man! But no, you HAD to accept it, didn't you?" Cassandra stormed out of the house, vowing she'd get back at her fiancee. Whether she was still going to marry him after this incident she hadn't decided yet.
Don however didn't care.
"Thanks for that awesome time," he said in that smarmy manner of his while simultaneously looking at his watch. "Sorry girls, but I've got to work in the morning so must dash. See you soon no doubt." As he left too, Nina sighed. Maybe stealing men was going to be fun.
Dina didn't think much to her sister's antics, but knew that now they were both adults she wouldn't be able to stop her. She'd never managed to as a child after all! Besides, she was another one who needed to get up early.
The next few days passed quietly. Dina managed to get beyond the realms of cereal and macaroni cheese, and by Friday could whip up a decent chef salad. Her skills with the oven weren't quite as good, so there were a number of burnt offerings lying on the breakfast bar from time to time. What a pity Michael paid her a visit that evening!
Luckily, Dina had just put the serving dish down when her late husband jumped out. UN-luckily the fright made her have an accident on the kitchen floor! Nina was in bed, so to save time, Dina stripped off and took a sponge bath right there and then. What the neighbours thought though is anyone's guess! And yes, she DID clean the floor too!
Saturday dawned. Dina had left for work when Nina picked up the phone.
"Don? I really enjoyed our last little encounter. Want to come over again?" she asked in a playful tone. Don jumped at the chance. Little did they know that that visit was going to change their lives.
"Come on baby..." Nina was definitely in charge as she pulled Don into her bedroom. Although her sister had been the married one, she was now the one sleeping in the big double bed. After Michael died Dina hadn't liked the feeling of an empty half, so had gratefully accepted Nina's offer of swapsies.
As the local "Casanova", Don was normally in charge of these exchanges, but this time he submitted to Nina's advances. He hadn't realised how much of a tiger she was in the bedroom! Sure, Cassandra was a nice girl with a stable home (not to mention filthy rich) and yeah, she was passionate in her own way, but Nina? Hot, hot, HOT!
"Wow! You're amazing!" he breathed as they finished with their wild animal impressions two hours later. "Who needs a workout when they're with you?"
Nina growled. "You fancy doing it again sometime, sugar?" she asked. Don nodded.
"Oh, you bet! Say, I gots myself a great bed at my place too; you should come live with me. Then we can make wild passionate love like that every night!"
"I'll think about it." Nina was certainly smitten with Don, and with them both into romance in a BIG way it could be a lot more fun than here with her sister. However, she wasn't 100% sure yet. "Can I tell you tomorrow?"
"Of course." Don was thrilled that she hadn't said no yet. "I sure hope you say yes though." And with that, he left her to consider his offer.
Nina was still thinking about it when she started to feel strange. Or more to the point, sick. Maybe it was those burnt pancakes Dina had made for breakfast? Was it those awful vermin outside that had made her ill? Whatever it was, she found herself hunched over the loo more often than she would've liked. Thank goodness for not working that day!
She was still feeling off at dinnertime.
"Are you trying to poison me sis?" she asked, as another wave of nausea threatened to overtake her. Dina looked puzzled.
"Now why would I do that?"
"I don't know! Maybe YOU want Don for yourself and are trying to clear the way!"
"Oh don't be so silly Nina. Yes, I had an affair with him, but that was all it was - a fling. And you know I'm practically married to my job!" This part was true. Dina had spent the entire week working on getting a promotion. She HAD been looking for a new man, admittedly, but so far all the ones she'd found had been married.

It wasn't long before Nina's mystery illness was explained. Well, explained to most people; Nina was still in denial.
"Dina? What's wrong with me?" Nina knocked on her sister's door at 2am. Dina opened the door. One look told her all she needed to know.
"Sis, you're pregnant." Nina didn't believe her.
"I can't be!" Looking down at the small bump she added, "I'm just really sick... I must be! I was chucking up all the time, and now this!"
"Nina, were you even listening when Mum told us the facts of life? You know, where babies come from and all that?" Nina hadn't been listening at all; she'd been daydreaming about her boyfriend at the time, and whether he loved her as much as she did him. All that talk about icky babies was for those girls who wanted children, not girls like her who liked to play.
"Of course I was!" Dina raised her eyebrows.
"Then you'd know that everything you've been feeling lately is a symptom of pregnancy... you've got a baby growing inside you!"
Nina didn't want to hear this.
"I don't believe you! I'm just sick, that's all! This..." she indicated her growing belly, "...this is simply due to getting fat! I need more exercise! I need to be thin, otherwise no man will want me!" Dina knew she had failed. Her sister would learn the truth soon enough.
The following Sunday night, Nina packed her bags. She hadn't forgotten Don's offer, and she felt she couldn't live with her liar of a sister any more. Would Don welcome her with open arms, or would he be disgusted with her ugly fat body? She didn't care. At least he worked in a hospital, so would be able to help her get over this mystery illness.
Dina knew she would miss her sister's presence around the house, but vowed to find a new housemate, preferably a man. Until then, she'd keep busy earning money any way she could.

So, will Dina find a new man before long? How will Nina cope with a newborn? Will Don let her move in? The answer to the third question is already a "yes", but for the other two we'll have to wait to find out!
 
 
This time we enter the Dreamer residence, where Darren and Dirk carry on their lives after Darleen's untimely death.

"Dad, your paintings aren't going to cover all these bills! You need to get a proper job." Dirk loved his father's canvases but knew that they'd need a more steady income, at least for a time. He didn't want the Repo-man to pay a visit and take his one joy in life - the Playstation!
Darren sighed. "Okay son, I'll take a look later. Now you get off to school; don't want you neglecting your studies."
While Dirk caught the school bus to Verona Comprehensive over in the next borough, Darren picked up the newspaper. There wasn't much on offer, but a nice man named Rod Humble had just dropped off a package; when opened Darren found a computer. Hopefully he'd have better luck online.
It took perusing a few jobsites, but eventually Darren discovered what looked like an interesting career. Emailing his CV to the employer, he was offered a position in Oceanography. Okay, so messing about with fish was a lot different to messing about with a paintbrush, but if it kept their heads above water he was willing to do it. Anyway, Darren could still moonlight as an artist!
"Hey, cool career!" Dirk said on his return from school. He'd brought his friend Dustin over, who wasted no time in thrashing Dirk on SSX-3. He might have not had his mate's skills with a console controller, but pinball really hones a boy's reflexes!
"Dirk, I've been thinking," Darren said over dinner. "I know you miss your mum, and to be honest I don't think Darleen would want either of us to be unhappy..." His voice trailed off as he came to the difficult bit.
"Dad, what is it?" Dirk asked.
"Well... you know your friend Dustin lost his dad some years ago?" Dirk nodded. "I've been considering asking his mum Brandi to marry me."
Dirk's eyes widened. "Dad! Are you totally nuts?" he asked incredulously. "She's poorer than a church-mouse! You gotta find someone with money!"
"There's more to life than money, son. I love her, and I want to spend the rest of my life with her."
Dirk wasn't convinced. He loved the metallic smell of coins, even if they did make his fingers dirty. Having a woman who lived in a tiny place with barely enough room to swing a cat become his stepmother wasn't high on his list of priorities. Still, if it made his father happy...

"YES!" Brandi screamed the place down when Darren proposed the following day. He'd played it safe, inviting her over for drinks (now she was no longer pregnant it was safe for her to have whatever she liked!) before getting down on one knee. Aware of her large family and that it would become larger when he and Dirk moved in, Darren planned to save some cash from his job and buy a new house big enough for everyone. It was either that or build a second storey onto Brandi's place!

The prospect of becoming a stepbrother to Brandi's children took it's toll on Dirk. While pleased for his father, he wasn't too happy for himself, and it showed in his schoolwork. Instead of his grades remaining in the "A" range, they dropped to a "B" as he didn't feel like studying. The dart-board and the Playstation held more allure. Well, those and Lilith, whom he invited over for some fun! He was also wanting to go to college, and so took a part-time job in Journalism to start his savings. Yes, he'd get a §500 grant automatically just for going, but that wouldn't get him far. Time to work on some scholarships!

Autumn arrived, with its trees dropping their (albeit pretty coloured) leaves all over the lawn. Darren tried raking them up but his job prevented him from doing much more. Dirk helped out on Thursday after he got back from work, but by then the daylight was failing. As he got out the watering-can, a familiar figure appeared by the gravestone under the weeping willow. It was the ghost of Darleen!
She'd never approved of her son's relationship with the "bad girl of Pleasantview", aka Lilith Pleasant, and wasn't afraid to show her disdain. After floating about for a bit, she came across Dirk by the back door, intent on watering the geraniums...
"BOO!" Dirk jumped a mile in the air, his pulse racing. The last time he'd been that scared was when the kitchen caught fire six years ago! He'd woken up to find the place blackened and his mother gone. Darren had told him what happened: he'd left some toaster pastries in the oven, and Darleen had raced inside to find the stove in flames. She'd bravely tried to extinguish it, but had died when the fire spread to the counters either side. The two of them had buried her remains under her favourite tree, but neither had had any idea she'd return to haunt them!
Dirk was still struggling with his studies by the time the weekend arrived, so knew that for now at least, two scholarships were out (SimCity Scholars and the Young Entrepreneur). There was still time for those, but he wanted to get something NOW! His paintings looked like kids' pictures, and he couldn't play chess to save his life... what could he do?
To help him think, Dirk switched on the radio, tuning it into the College Rock station. To his surprise, he found his foot tapping, then he had an urge to dance.
Let's face it, to begin with he was terrible, falling over every time he tried a twirl, but before long he worked out moves that he COULD do! Shaking his booty soon became more appealing than SSX-3, and for the rest of the weekend he could be found upstairs in Darren's studio. Darren even joined him on occasion!
It took some hard work but soon Dirk got a phone call. The local dance instructor had seen him through the window and was very impressed. So impressed in fact, that she'd called to offer him the Tsang Footwork Award, which he would receive the day he moved to University. Dirk was delighted.

So, will Darren and Dirk move in with Brandi and her six children and extend the house? Or will they hire an architect and build a new place? One thing's for sure: expect a lot of loving next time!
 
 
"Don, you CAN'T say things like that!" Cassandra admonished during dinner on Monday evening. Although her father Mortimer had left the table, her younger brother Alexander was still eating, and listening intently to Don Lothario's tale of having fun in the open air.
"Whyever not?" Don asked. "Alex probably hears worse things at that school of his, and anyway he'll be a teenager soon!"
"That's beside the point. I don't want to hear stuff like that when there are children present." Cassandra said, knowing that Mortimer would've said the same. As Alexander cleared his plate from the table, she heard strains of Beethoven coming from the hallway. Since his retirement, her father had spent almost all his waking hours at the piano.
"Dad... I know you like tickling the ivories, but could you play something else for a bit?" she asked, on her way into the lounge. "I'm sick of Beethoven; maybe a little Mozart?" Mortimer ignored her, and carried on playing. He happened to like Beethoven!
Cassandra went over to the chessboard, got out the pieces and set up a game. She actually found playing by yourself more challenging than playing someone else, probably because you had to think of two strategies at once!
"Brr, brr... brr, brr..." the phone was ringing. Mortimer had put the loud pedal down on the piano, and Alexander had taken himself off to bed, so with a sigh Cassandra put away the chess pieces and went to answer it.
"Mum!!" It was Bella Goth on the other end. The last time any of the family had seen her was before she'd been abducted off of Don's roof. Bella didn't want to talk for too long as it was getting late, but gave Cassandra her phone number so she could call back sometime.
Alexander was the first to awaken the following morning. Cassandra had stayed up a little too long studying, and Mortimer, well he was still glued to the piano! After a quick bath, Alex shoved his glasses onto his nose, pulled on his very smart school uniform and slicked his hair back. He didn't care that he looked like a geek; they all did at Desiderata Private Academy!
That afternoon, Mortimer took a break from playing the piano to trim the bushes in the garden. He also started raking leaves, and discovered to his surprise that he rather enjoyed it!
Cassandra meanwhile had picked up the phone. Digging in her pocket for the scrap of paper she'd written her mother's number on, she dialled and invited Bella over for tea. She was sure Mortimer would be pleased to see Bella again, not to mention Alexander!
"Dad... will you help me with my maths homework?" Alexander asked. "I'm stuck on questions 3, 6 and 14." Mortimer had a head for figures, and readily agreed. Soon Alex had grasped long division and felt confident that in future he'd be able to manage alone. Just as he put down his pen, the doorbell rang. Bella had arrived!
Cassandra wasted no time in getting her dad downstairs. One look at Bella and he'd want to re-marry her. She wasn't wrong. Mortimer pulled Bella to one side, and immediately pulled out the rings! A chance phonecall had given him his lovely wife back! However, he noticed that she seemed VERY young... younger than she should be.
"Bella, how old are you?" he asked, lowering his voice so that Cassandra didn't hear him.
"How old should I be?" Bella asked playfully.
"Well, seeing as our daughter is approaching 30, I'd've expected you to be somewhere around 50-odd."
"But...I feel like 27!" Bella said. "Can't I be 27?" Mortimer knew he'd have to rectify this, and turned to the magic pot-plant in the corner (aka the SimBlender).
"Hey, I love my wife and all, but she's a bit young for an old codger like me. I'd feel a bit odd sleeping with someone younger than my own daughter! Is there anything you can do?"
In a flash of light coupled with a fanfare, young Bella turned into older Bella. She was now an elder like her husband. Bella herself wasn't too happy about it, but Mortimer was overjoyed. Okay, so she'd lost some of her good looks and was no longer wearing her tight red dress, but she was at least a good bit older than Cassandra! He'd have no problem in the bedroom now!
Wednesday passed in a haze of gardening, work and school. Alexander felt himself getting nearer to teenhood, and put all his efforts into studying hard. He was desperate to hit the top of the class before he grew up and went to the private grammar school associated with the Academy. Cassandra managed to snare a promotion, adding yet more simoleans to the already bloated bank account, and Bella would've retired had she not been in line for one herself!
Homework completed, Alexander crept upstairs to the telescope on the roof. It was a clear night and he had heard that Saturn was clearly visible if one knew where to look. Placing his little stool on the floor, he jammed his eye to the telescope and began gazing into the cosmos. Before long he had not only found Saturn, but had discovered a new star, netting him §500.
Cassandra had got tired of all the old newspapers lying about the house, and so put them into the compost bin, but there was one person about that night whom she HADN'T expected to see! A couple of dearly-departed family members were wandering about the grounds, and one of them had decided to say hello. Cassandra shrieked, jumped high in the air, dropped the newspaper and ran indoors. She hated it when the ghosts jumped out at her!
The next most exciting thing that occurred was Alexander's birthday on Thursday. Now a fresh-faced teenager whose clothes had caught up with the times a bit, his birthday present was a nice new telescope! He also got told over dinner that he was to be the heir to the estate when both Mortimer and Bella died, and Cassandra was asked to look after the place while he went to college.
Friday was a sad day. Mortimer had again been playing the piano all day, trying to fulfil his wish of hitting a high note (ie level 8 creativity) but had to break off as he was exhausted and went to bed. Waking up later on, he found a shadowy figure standing by the bed, wearing a pink lei and accompanied by two hula girls. It was Grimmy, come to collect him.
"It's my time?" Mortimer asked, a little upset that he hadn't managed his last wish. Grimmy nodded, and handed him a ghostly pina colada. The hula girls danced, and Mortimer decided that if they were going to be with him in the after-life then death wasn't all bad. Still in his pyjamas, he picked up his suitcase and faded from existance, leaving behind his cremated remains and rather a lot of cash. Cassandra was devastated.
So was Alexander, but as he hadn't seen the decent send-off his father had got he was in danger of a complete breakdown! He consoled himself by stargazing, and before long had achieved yet another logic point, which averted a call to the shrink.
To be honest, after all this the weekend was pretty uneventful. Bella brought home a funny-looking chap she thought might be a potential suitor for Cassandra, but Cass couldn't stand the sight of him! To be honest, I didn't think much of him either!

So, will Bella survive to see Alexander graduate from college? Will Cassandra find her perfect man or will she stick with Don? Will Alexander get his first kiss? Watch this space to find out.
 
 
This time we enter the home of the Pleasant family, where things aren't really that "pleasant" at all. Daniel is having it off with Kaylynn Langerak (the maid) while his wife Mary-Sue is at work, and the twins Angela and Lilith are permanently at each other's throats. In fact, Lilith seems to be angry at everyone!
The morning we arrive finds Lilith squabbling with Angela before school, which eventually involves the entire family. The twins physically fight, with Angela emerging victorious, just as the school bus pulls up outside. The car-pool for Mary-Sue also arrives, leaving the house empty apart from Daniel. He wants to work on his body skills, so changes into his tracksuit and prepares to get hot and sweaty on the exercise machine.
At 10am Kaylynn arrives, but there isn't much to do. She asks if Dan would like her to hang out, at which he abandons his workout in favour of kissing her, passionately! Will Daniel be able to hide the affair from his wife?
That afternoon, Angela brings Dustin home from school (pre-programmed), leaves her homework in her bedroom and proceeds to make out with him. Lilith is still upset from the morning's fighting, and after dumping her homework on Angela's bedroom floor she decided enough was enough.
"I've had it with this family!" she shouted to anyone who might be listening. "I'm leaving!" Without even stopping to grab her toothbrush she runs down the stairs and out the door, disappearing 100 or so yards down the road.
Mary-Sue feels that although none of the family get on with Lilith, the streets are no place for a daughter of theirs. Immediately she gets on the phone to the Police, begging them to find her.
"We'll do our best Ma'am, but we can't guarantee anything." the officer said on the phone, but they were successful. Within an hour a car pulled up outside, depositing Lilith on the pavement.
"I'm SO sorry sweetie," Daniel said, running out to Lilith. "I know we weren't getting on, but I hadn't realised you felt that bad. Forgive us?" Lilith nodded, although secretly she was still seething. If things didn't improve she may have no choice but to run away again.
"Oh honeyyyy...." came a laviscious voice. Kaylynn had come outside too and was angling for a kiss, possibly more. Daniel, unaware that Mary-Sue had also stepped outside went over to his lover.
"Dad..." Lilith had spotted Mary-Sue, and knew this wasn't going to be good.
"In a minute." Daniel pulled Kaylynn close and started making out with her. Mary-Sue flipped out, as any married Fortune Sim would do! Running straight over to the amorous couple, she slapped Daniel hard around the face, did the same to Kaylynn, then proceeded to fight her husband like the twins had done that morning. A large cloud of dust rose round them for a while, but eventually Daniel emerged victorious, stating that under no circumstances was Mary-Sue to fire their home help!
Lilith ran inside, not wanting to watch; Angela followed suit, but then Dustin whispered something in her ear. Nodding, she took his hand and pulled him into her parents' bedroom.
"Are you sure about this?" Dustin asked, as they relaxed on the bed. Despite his reputation as a bad boy he was a big softie really and didn't want to pressure Angela in any way.
"Of course I'm sure." Angela replied, pulling Dustin towards her and kissing him. "I've wanted to for a while, but I was waiting til YOU were ready too."
This was good enough for Dustin, and well, I think you can guess what happened next! Unfortunately for Angela, she was vaguely aware of what sounded like a lullaby as the two of them climbed out of bed before her parents found out!

After having a rather disturbed night, Angela was feeling decidedly odd on Friday morning. Mary-Sue took pity on her daughter and suggested she take the day off school. Over breakfast, Angela thought it might be best to confess all.
"Mum..." she said between mouthfuls. Mary-Sue looked up.
"What is it?" she asked.
"I made a mistake Mum. I think... I think I might be pregnant."
"Are you sure about this?" Mary-Sue asked. Angela shook her head.
"I just keep feeling sick, but I.. you know... did it. With Dustin. I can't help thinking that it's all related."
Mary-Sue really didn't know what to suggest. Without being sure one way or the other there was no simple course of action. Not to her, anyway.
"Was it just the once?" she asked Angela. Having had problems conceiving the twins she doubted that just one "woohoo" would be enough.
"Yes."
"You've probably just eaten something that didn't agree with you. See how you feel later on." Angela wasn't convinced, but agreed.
Sadly, Angela was proved right when she began showing a bump. Having left it too late to get the Morning After Pill, Mary-Sue decided on a new course of action.
"Listen, a baby will ruin your chances of getting a higher education. No point you wasting your good grades and that scholarship." she said. "I've got a plan. I'll pretend to be pregnant and Daniel and I will raise your baby as your brother or sister. That way the neighbours won't find out and you can go to college, get your degree and start your adult life unencumbered."
"But how am I meant to hide it?" Angela knew that going to school as she was would give the whole game away, not to mention the folks next door spotting her.
"Simple. You're to stay inside the house until the baby's born. We'll tell everyone you're not well and should be left undisturbed." Angela wasn't sure this was going to work, but knew her mother was right. A baby WOULD wreck her dreams of college and she'd have to work harder for a decent wage later in life. She agreed.

That afternoon, Lilith felt in need of some loving. Despite her terrible home life, she'd decided that her best chance of escape was to go to college, but for that she'd need better grades. Taking her courage in both hands, she went downstairs and approached Daniel for help with her homework. He was more interested in the TV and told her to go away. With a sinking feeling, Lilith trudged back upstairs knowing she was going to struggle.
Once she'd completed what she could, she made the decision to get the one person she could rely on over. Picking up the phone, she made a booty call to her boyfriend Dirk.
Thankfully, unlike her twin, Lilith DIDN'T hear anything upon finishing. Her sister might be allowed to remain at home while pregnant, but she knew that if she'd done the same she'd have been kicked out. Mum might ring the police for running away, but anything worse? Fat chance!
Saturday was a day of insults, shoves and general unpleasantness (pun not intended). The only quiet time was over breakfast, when Lilith mentioned that she'd done it too. Angela was a touch jealous; how could her sister escape the dreaded "P" when she hadn't? Mary-Sue was a bit non-plussed, but didn't comment. After all, why should she? She was staying home from work deliberately, pretending she was on maternity leave.

"Owww-owwww-owwww!" Angela hadn't long gone to bed on Sunday when the contractions kicked in, waking her up. "MUUUUUUUUM! It's starting!" Unfortunately Mary-Sue didn't hear her. The lounge was downstairs through two closed doors and the TV was yet again turned on loud. Lilith wasn't on hand either, having also gone to bed and was dead to the world.
Despite her lack of support, Angela seemed to cope remarkably well, delivering a healthy baby girl whom she named Coralie, after her maternal grandmother. Now she had to hand the child over to her parents, and forever refer to her as her baby sister.
"Congratulations." Mary-Sue said in a cold tone as Angela appeared downstairs with Coralie in her arms. "Now give her to me and go back to bed." Angela did so, but as she turned to leave Mary-Sue spoke again.
"And by the way, you're not to have any contact with her from here on in. I'm not having you bonding with her in any way."
Angela was stunned. She'd known she'd be handing Coralie over, but she hadn't expected this.
"But..." she started to say.
"But nothing." Mary-Sue interrupted. "You may have given birth to her, but from now on you're just her big sister who'll be going to college soon. I'm assuming you still WANT to go to college?" Angela nodded miserably. "Then go back to bed. You've got school in the morning, and I want to see you studying. Those grades won't stay up by themselves. You won't have time to look after Coralie so you leave her to me and your Dad. OK?"
Angela nodded again, and returned to her bedroom. No contact with her own child? Not even as a sister? She'd thought her Mum was being nice to her but now she wasn't so sure. For the first time in her life she had some sympathy for her twin, who'd never seen eye-to-eye with her mother.

So, at the end of a scandalous first week, what's next in store for this flimsy facade of a family? Will Daniel and Mary-Sue reconcile their differences? Will Angela be able to give Coralie up completely and go through college? Will Lilith get her grades high enough in time to go? Even I don't know at the moment!
 
 
Well, I had to start somewhere, and where better than with the Broke family; the first family I ever played when I installed Sims 2.
As I enter the house, the pre-programmed scenario starts and I've got a pregnant unemployed Brandi, teen Dustin who's more interested in his girlfriend than his schoolwork, and little Beau who won't stop playing with his xylophone.
Simple enough? Yeah... it WAS! A quick hop back to Old Pleasantview (PV) reminded me of what I wanted to do and off we went.
Between naps, toddler Beau managed to learn to walk, and was potty-trained pretty quickly. Dustin's part-time job kept the bills paid and with Brandi growing bigger by the day it was a good thing too!
Dustin wasn't going to be let off the hook so easily, though. Brandi knew that for him to keep his job (and hence the only source of income) he needed to pull his socks up a bit. Despite being permanently tired from being pregnant and running round after Beau all day she still managed to find a spare hour to help him with his homework.
Beau was (and still is) a happy kid, and grew up to a child after two days, leaving the crib for the new arrival. Brandi scraped together some of her savings to purchase a bed for her son, which was wedged into Dustin's room. The pinball machine had to be moved into the hallway. What Dustin thought of sharing his bedroom with his little brother was never recorded, but as he plans to move out soon he'll live with it for now.
Thursday night was hell. No two ways around it. Brandi, desperate for some adult company while Dustin was working, had invited Darren Dreamer to her house for coffee. However, her body had other ideas. Yes, she went into labour that night, a few hours after Dustin got home.
"I thought I was only carrying one!" she wailed, after giving birth to baby Oran and handing him to Dustin. "There's another one coming!"
A few moments later, baby Debbie came along. Brandi placed her on the floor and looked up at her eldest son with tears in her eyes. Surely she wasn't having TRIPLETS?
Sure enough, the next thing she knew was the birth of her fourth son, Webster. But she hadn't finished yet. A fourth child was coming! After what seemed like forever, little Alice joined the gang.
"Quads?? Holy Macaroni! You one fertile lady!" Darren had known Brandi was pregnant (the bump kinda gave it away) but he didn't think for one moment that she'd been carrying that many. Come to think of it, neither did I! 3% chance of quads and it happens just like that? My game seems to defy those odds!
With four babies and only enough spare cash for two cribs, Brandi had to make the decision to leave two on the floor. Somehow it ended up being the girls who got left. This wasn't Brandi's choice - it was the fact that unless Oran and Webster were moved no one could get into the bathroom! Unfortunately though, Alice and Debbie kept disturbing each other on the floor, and in desperation Brandi sold Dustin's pinball machine. Sorry Dustin, your sisters need a bed!
By the end of the week, the chaos had increased, due to all four babies turning into toddlers. Both Dustin and Beau had discovered the delights of the little stereo; Brandi joining the smustle on occasion. Dustin's grades had improved, and he was now thinking about going to college. Beau had also learnt to study, but due to only going to school for half the week he hadn't yet managed an A.
Brandi was barely coping just keeping the quads happy, clean and fed. Potty-training occcured only when she had the chance, and the other skills hadn't even been considered. Maybe next week will have a more positive outlook...