Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ball, Round 1 - Free To a Good Home

We first met Crystal Ball and her household in Ball - Introduction and Backstory. What had started out as a simple household of one woman and her dog for the TSR Chewy Ball: Stunt Double challenge had evolved into a chaotically full house with Crystal, her triplet daughters, and 5 dogs. Here's a brief look at them all to get you re-acquainted:

Our week with the Balls started out around midnight on Friday. Darice, Darla and Doreen had just celebrated their birthday the evening before and became children. Despite the fact that they had to start school early in the morning, they were all wide awake still despite the late hour, as was their mother Crystal. While Darla and Doreen found things to play with, Crystal headed outside to start replanting her garden since she had recently harvested most of the plants she'd had in her greenhouse. Darice headed outside to help her, watering the seeds after Crystal had planted them.

After finishing in the greenhouse, mother and daughter headed back inside and started working with Lulu and Dewey to teach them tricks they'll need for their jobs. Crystal started teaching Lulu how to play dead...

While Darice started teaching Dewey how to roll over.

Meanwhile, Darla and Doreen had both settled down at the activity table to play and work on skills. Doreen opted to play with the blocks, while Darla practiced her drawing skills.

The entire household stayed up all night, and in the morning the girls all boarded the bus for their first day at school. A few of the dogs headed off to work, and it turned out to be a good day for Luey, who earned a promotion through a chance card.

Meanwhile, Darice was faced with a tough decision on her first day of school, though she managed to make the right choice.

The late night training with Crystal paid off for Lulu, and she also came home from work later that day with a promotion.

Later that evening, Crystal invited the girls' father, Dan Druff over. He brought his oldest son Nathan along with him. Crystal wondered if Nathan knew that her daughters were his half-sisters, but decided that she wasn't going to be the one to tell him if he didn't know. She hadn't realized at the time of her brief affair with Dan, which left her pregnant with her triplets, that he was married and had a son, but she'd never managed to hold it against him when she subsequently found out. They remained friends, and though she still loved him, she kept things platonic between them these days, simply inviting him over now and then so he could get to know his daughters a bit. So, while Nathan went inside to hang out with the girls, Crystal stayed outside with Dan for a bit, quietly discussing the girls with him on the front porch, filling him in on how they'd been doing and assuring him that they were all fine and were not in need of anything. She then got to the point of her reason for inviting him over that evening, namely to see if he'd be interested in taking Luey home with him for his boys. She'd realized that she was going to have to give a couple of the dogs away if she ever hoped to breed one of Chewy's offspring to keep his bloodline going, and she knew that Dan's family would be able to give one of them a good home...if they were willing to take one of them. Dan was happy to agree, knowing that his boys had been wanting to get a dog since they'd moved into their new house.

Dan and Nathan stayed and visited for awhile, and then went home, taking Luey with them. Then, even though it was Friday night and they would have the whole weekend to work on it, Crystal decided to get the girls in the habit from the start of doing their homework each night after school. So, after letting them take naps, one by one she sat them down on the floor to teach them how to study and get through the work as quickly as possible. She promised to get them each a desk for doing their homework as soon as possible so they could work more comfortably than sitting on the floor.

The next day Crystal called up her friend Daphne Roper and invited her over. She knew that she had a young son and thought that they might like to have a dog for him, and knew that they would give Huey a good home should they agree to it. She asked Daphne about it when she got there, and while Daphne was quite willing to take Huey, she insisted on paying Crystal for him since she knew Crystal would be losing the income he earned at his job.

Crystal agreed, knowing that she couldn't afford to turn down the money, and after they had agreed on a price, Daphne went inside to meet Huey. He took to her right away, and she knew that he would be a good addition to their household.

Later that afternoon, Darla finished teaching Dewey how to roll over so she'd be able to get a promotion at her job.

Outside, unnoticed by any of them, Brittany Upsnott, who had recently graduated from Sim State University and moved into an apartment in neighboring Townie Valley, came by and stold their newspaper, just out of sheer meanness.

That evening, with Huey and Luey gone, Crystal called the pet adoption agency to see if she could get a mate for Dewey. They had a few adult male dogs to choose from, and after hearing their descriptions, she decided to adopt one named Grimalkin. A man from the agency brough Grimalkin over right away, and while he was inside introducing himself to Crystal and collecting the payment...

Grimalkin stayed out front, chasing his tail in the street next to the car.

Transaction completed, Crystal went out front to welcome Grimalkin to her home.

She took him out to the small side yard to meet Dewey, and was pleased to see that they seemed to get along well right away.

The next day, Dewey came home with a promotion, thanks to the training that Darice and Darla had given her...

Brittany Upsnott came by again to steal the paper...

and Darla and Doreen played chess together. Darla liked practicing her logic skills, and enjoyed playing with her sister, even though Doreen cheated a lot.

While they were playing, a man came by and offered Darla a membership to a lot just for people that liked to play games.

The next day was a busy one for the household. It started out not so well when Lulu made a bad decision at work that cost them a fair bit of money.

It was Chewy's birthday, though the event went largely unnoticed in the busy household.

Becoming an elder didn't slow him down, however, and it turned out to be a lucky birthday for him when he won an award at the awards show that morning, as well as securing a lucrative movie deal. He was also somewhat instrumental in helping uncover a plot by one of his rivals to rig the awards show and take his award for herself.

Crystal was unable to attend the show with Chewy as she'd already arranged for the Garden Club representatives to come by that day to inspect her garden. While she secretly hoped she might qualify for a coveted Wishing Well, she mostly just wanted to be accepted as a member of the club so she could get their discounts. After greeting them upon their arrival, she hurried to mop up a mess that one of the dogs had made on the front walk that the maid had missed.

In the end, the Garden Club liked her garden and landscaping well enough to offer her a substantial prize and membership to their club, but she didn't quite qualify for a Wishing Well. They told her they'd be happy to inspect her place again in the future and reconsider her for one though, and gave her a few tips on what she could do to improve.

Meanwhile at school, Doreen was offered a chance to pick the game for the afternoon recess period. She chose well and everyone had a good time.

That evening, with encouragement from Crystal, Dewey started sniffing flirtatiously with Grimalkin, eventually leading him out to one of the doghouses with her. Crystal smiled to herself when she peeked outside and saw the doghouse shaking, but was glad the girls were all busy with their homework upstairs and she didn't have to explain what was going on. She wasn't quite ready to have that talk with them yet, though she knew she'd have to eventually.

Crystal's early insistance that the girls all do their homework promptly every evening helped them to excel at their schoolwork right away, and by Tuesday, their third day of school, they all brought home A+ report cards. Crystal cheered enthusiastically for each of them, letting them know how proud she was of them.

Keeping up with the garden and the dogs during the day, making sure the girls all did their homework at night as well as cooking plenty of meals so there would always be leftovers in the fridge for them to eat when they got hungry didn't leave Crystal much time to work on her skills until late in the evening. She'd long since gotten used to keeping odd hours, however, so once the girls were all in bed, and the dogs were settled for the evening, she'd go to the bathroom and practiced speeches she'd probably never have to give to raise her Charisma. It wasn't long before she'd managed to master the skill.

Crystal had gotten Grimalkin a job in the security field a day or two after adopting him. He didn't last very long at it unfortunately, as a bad decision his second or third night cost him the job.

Wednesday evening, Dewey had her puppies. Crystal decided to name them Donald and Daisy.

Darice, who had been a rather studious sort ever since becoming a child, loved to read books about cleaning. She rarely ever actually did any cleaning, since they had a maid who took care of most of it, but she loved reading about it. Because of that, and because of helping Crystal in the garden occassionally, a lady came by the same evening the puppies were born to invite her to a special lot for nature lovers.

The next day, Crystal managed to find another security job for Grimalkin with another company.

On Thursday, while the girls were at school, she decided to try her hand at writing novels. Creativity was the only skill she still hadn't mastered, and she thought writing would be a good way to improve it.

She worked until the girls came home, then fixed them dinner and made sure they did their homework. The rest of the evening passed uneventfully, and with the arrival of Friday morning, our tale of a week in the life of the Balls comes to an end. It was a week of many changes for them, with even more changes yet to come as the girls will soon become teenagers, and Crystal will have to decide whether or not to keep Donald and Daisy or give them away so Dewey can have more puppies. Join us next time when we see how they will handle the changes and decisions that lie ahead of them.


Author's Notes: I was somewhat leery of coming back to this house, as I figured it would be rather chaotic with all the kids and dogs to keep up with. And it was pretty chaotic a lot of the time, but it also managed to be fairly boring to play for the most part. Just the normal routine of skilling, playing, doing homework...go to it all over again the next day. While I often do take screenshots of the chance cards while playing, normally I prefer to focus on what the family was doing instead of including or mentioning them in these posts. This time, however, they seemed to tell a lot of the story that was going on with the household this week, so I put them in.

While thinking of how to write their story this week, I realized that the situation with Dan and his sons presented a bit of a conundrum storywise. Technically, Crystal's daughters are older than Dan's sons with Misty, since I originally played this house before I ever played Dan and Misty, and thus Crystal's brief affair with Dan happened before he and Misty became a couple and so he wasn't really cheating on Misty at the time. I started playing the challenge that they were a part of after I stopped playing Crystal's house, and they started having babies together early on (you can read that story here). That challenge took quite awhile in sim time to play, so by the time I'd finished it, and moved Dan and Misty out to their own house, their oldest son had aged up to teenager, and their second son was already further along in the child stage than the triplets are. So, for story purposes, I decided that the best way to handle the skewed timelines between the two houses would be to posit that Dan and Misty were already married, and already had Nathan by the time he met Crystal and had a little dalliance with her. How prominent this bit of storyline becomes will likely depend largely on what happens in the future when I play the Druff household, and/or when I make it back to this house again.

All of the dogs here make a lot of puddles, and after several sim days of being grossed out seeing it covered in yellow puddles like this almost all of the time:

I decided to delete all of the concrete floor tiles and replaced them with a terrain paint that looks like closely set white paving stones and blended fairly well with the concrete sidewalk and doorstep (I neglected to get an after shot of the minor renovation however). Doing that allowed the puddles to dissipate on their own and saved the maid a lot of mopping, and saved me having to look at a nasty mess on the front walk all of the time. Not entirely sure why they always had to do their business on the walk, but I'm guessing it has to do with the flower beds that line the walk being in their way and keeping them from going onto the grass.

I wasn't really sure if Crystal's lot would be decorated enough to earn the wishing well when I called the garden club, but I gave it my best shot anyway. I don't know if the puddle that was still there when they showed up contributed to the comment about needing to tidy up or not. If it did, well, sorry garden club people, but 4 large dogs and a relatively small yard means there's going to be a lot of dog messes in the yard. And Crystal has too many other things to do to have any time to poop scoop. I did make sure she kept the leaves raked while they were there, and had kept Crystal up all night with the aid of motive cheats to make sure all of the garden plants had been weeded and talked up to thriving condition the night before. And she has that fountain that was originally a date gift from Dan I believe. I wasn't really too surprised when she didn't get the well, however. I just don't seem to have much luck with it. Getting her into the Club had been my main goal, however, and I achieved that at least. I may or may not have her try again for the Well in future.

Next up will be the Wieser household, with Bud Wieser, his alien son Castor, his zombie friend Luke Warm, and the new Misty Cupp. It should be an easier house to keep up with what everyone is doing at least, and hopefully something will happen, or I'll find something to do to make it interesting. See you all next time.