Friday Night

It couldn’t have been more than ten metres from the door to the hot tub. With muffled laughter the girls sprinted barefoot across the snow and scrambled into the steaming water. April sank down until the water reached her chin. Snowflakes landed on her head and melted, cold water trickling down her back. Mel unscrewed the lid from the wine bottle. “A toast to April!” she whispered and then, “Shit.” The glasses were still in the room. The four girls looked back to the motel, not wanting to move. “Does anyone mind just drinking from the bottle?”

There was a long pause until April reached for it. “I’m going first. It’s my birthday.” She took a drink. “Farewell teens, hello twenties!”

Chloe took the bottle from April. “Not quite what you’d expected, eh?”

April shrugged underwater, preferring to keep her shoulders warm. “I’d rather not drive in a blizzard.”

“Whatever. It’s not like you’re ever in a hurry to get home.”

“The Weather Network was way off with the forecast,” said Mel.

“There was a blizzard the night I was born. Mom couldn’t get to the hospital, Dad couldn’t get home in time. The neighbours delivered me.”

“Ooh, Milborough story time,” Kendra teased. “Was the creepy doctor there?”

“No idea. Probably. It’s not like anyone ever told me the whole story. When I got my licence I found out my birth certificate says I was born on the last day of March, but people insist I was born in April.”

“I have no idea how to respond to that,” Mel said. “More wine might help.”

Chloe passed her the bottle. “I can’t wait to meet your family. They can’t really be that bad.”

“Want to know why we’re staying at the Empire Hotel all weekend? Because my parents still don’t have a guest room or even a bedroom for me.” April gestured for the wine and took a long drink. “And no way am I staying with my brother. His kids are even more out of control than ever and his wife runs a sewing school out of their guest room. Family stories. Buzzkill.” April passed the bottle to Mel and ducked her head under the water for a moment, then resurfaced and gasped loudly. “Damn! Cold, cold, cold!”

Kendra shushed her. They didn’t want to get caught by other guests. “Let’s get back inside and order that pizza.” The others quickly agreed.

Ten metres suddenly seemed a large distance. April counted to three and they ran.

Saturday Night

There was still marking to do and lessons to plan but they’d fallen into a pattern of watching TV together every Saturday. He loved re-runs of Law and Order. She didn’t, but she couldn’t think of an alternative, so they watched Law and Order.

“Elizabeth,” he said and she thought fleetingly about how everyone seemed to choose the same day to stop calling her Liz, “you’re not even looking at the television.”

She looked to Anthony’s end of the sofa. “I have a slight headache.”

“It’s the commercials. They’re too loud. I’ll turn them down. That will help.” He grabbed the remote. She gave him a small smile. The programme restarted.  He exaggeratedly demonstrated that he was turning the volume up for her benefit, then looked back to the screen. They wouldn’t have to speak again for at least 7 minutes.

He called her Elizabeth. He said television. He was always Anthony, never Tony. Little things were annoying her. Like the sofa. It was beige. She didn’t choose it: it was there when she married Anthony and moved into his house. She couldn’t even blame the ex-wife for it. It came with the house when Anthony and Thérèse bought it. It still had a small stain where Rosey had spilt her orange juice one night when Elizabeth – Liz back then – was babysitting. She had always lived in furnished places, and brought very little to the house after the wedding: clothing mostly, her computer and a broken ceramic bird her mother gave her. Its head had been glued back on, badly. Elly said Elizabeth would understand when she had children of her own. Elizabeth had a son now, but she didn’t understand.

“Could we get a new sofa?”

Anthony held a finger to his lips.

They both turned when they heard the wail. Elizabeth preferred to wait in case James settled himself back to sleep, but Anthony was already on his feet. She couldn’t think of anything to do so she sat and blinked at the opposite wall until Anthony returned twenty minutes later.

“All better, but I missed the end of the show. What happened?”

“I wasn’t paying attention. Another one just started.”

“I’ve missed the first few minutes.”

“We could get one of those boxes that records TV, like a VCR but without tapes. Then you could rewind.”

“Elizabeth,” Anthony chided. “I'm sure those things are expensive and we were just talking about getting a new sofa.” He turned off the TV, stood and held out his hand to her. “It’s Saturday night,” he said hopefully. “How’s your headache?”

She touched her temple but couldn’t think of anything to say. It was Saturday night. They had their routine. She took his hand.

The Pattersims: The Ghost of Elly Patterson

Once again it is party time at my Sims' place.  They've invited the Pattersims, who have RSVP'd in force.  L-R: Mike, Elly, one of my Sims' twins, elder Liz dancing with unknown guest, elder Dee dancing with Robin, unknown guest dancing with Meredith.  (Why is Mike still an adult when his wife and younger sister are elders?  Is that the benefit of staying home writing all day while others go out and work for a living?)
Dance, dance, dance

Leave it to the Killer of Farley to bring down the mood by reminding everyone that John has died recently.  Thanks a lot, Apes.  Look -- Elly is heartbroken.  That's something you wouldn't expect if you'd read the strip.  Liz is unmoved by all the emotion.  She's probably just bitter that she's still unmarried.
Remember Dad?  Oh John! Liz as an elder

An aside: April has continued to put purple streaks in her hair, even as an adult.
April still has streaks

Elly has gone into the bathroom (cue plenty of toilet jokes) and was counting money when suddenly...
Elly's time has come  Elly hasn't felt this thin in years!
"Hey," thought-bubbles Elly, checking out her hand.  "I feel really skinny at last!"

A large black cloud begins to gather on the other side of the wall as the Pattersims and my primary Sim's husband (the old man on the right) hurry to the bathroom.
The black swirl indicates the arrival of a new guest. 

The Grim Reaper has arrived and he has come for Elly!  Elly's final thought-bubble indicates that she hasn't really enjoyed herself at this party, but then, when has Elly really enjoyed anything?
I have come for you, Elly.  Elly doesn't like this party very much.

Side note: see that little metal box on the kitchen floor next to elder Liz (in yellow)?  That's the urn for Elly's ashes, but I didn't spot it straight away.

The Pattersims mourn the loss of Elly and one of the party guests thinks about the telephone.  Meredith doesn't like the way the Grim Reaper keeps checking her out.  Oh Merrie, give him a chance -- you don't want to wind up alone like your Aunty Liz, do you?
All mourn Elly.  Meredith doesn't like the way Death checks her out.  April mourns.  Mike mourns. 

Liz keeps going with the mourning, even at the local pool (no, not the one where John died).  Mike has suddenly aged up to elder-hood and he and Dee listen to Liz saying something about a grave.  Adult Robin is listening to Meredith tell him something about her boobs watching Merrie beat her chest in despair over the loss of Elly.  Even April is saying something about a grave.  All this went over my head until I looked at these photos again and realized what they were saying: Elly hadn't been buried.  My bad.
Liz goes on and on.  Elder Liz, Mike and Dee  April has held up well

Ghosts in Sims3 tend to haunt things which had something to do with their death.  A drowned Sim will hang around the pool.  An electrocuted Sim might still be tinkering with the stereo.  And Elly, who died in the bathroom, now haunts the loos in my Sims' house.
Elly doesn't like the shower.

I mean, she isn't really a scary ghost and my Sim is non-plussed by her spectral presence, perhaps because she no longer has lungs to draw breath and therefore is a lot quieter.
Elly haunts the living room.

And the rest is silence: Elly has found the peace she sought for so long.  At last she can read a book.
At last!  Time to read!

Not that the chance to have eternity to herself prevents her from throwing a tantrum and causing the bathtub to levitate and twirl around the room.  I don't know what set her off this time.  Perhaps she found out that there's a porcelain April and a plush Farley but no plans for a collectible Elly.
Haunted shower.

I made my Sims look around the house and find Elly's ashes, which have now been deposited at the local cemetery and the bathroom furniture has stopped bouncing around.  I must remember to check out the community pool where John died in case his ashes are on the bottom of the pool and he's spending eternity ogling girls in bikinis.  Why should his heaven be their hell?

Elsewhere in town, a hybrid picnic springs up spontaneously.  That's young Meredith talking about her promotion while young John from the 1979 Pattersims listens.  Elder Liz is in the background and my primary Sim's husband is hanging around to see what happens.
Hybrid picnic

What do you get when the 2008 Pattersons meet the 1979 Pattersons?  I have no idea, but the day after the hybrid picnic I discovered that the Pattermanse was vacant, Liz, Robin and Meredith no longer have an address in town, Dee is living on her own and elder Mike and adult April have moved into this tiny train house on the corner, down the street from the Pattermanse.  It's completely unfurnished and there's just one pink flamingo in the front yard.  Mike answered the door when my Sim rang the bell, but wouldn't invite her in.  What has happened?  Where are the rest of the Pattersons?

Tiny Train House?


The Pattersims: Ageing and Dying

Deanna moved from adulthood to elder-hood yesterday:
Deanna blows out the candles  Deanna checks out the new her.

Guests include (L-R, first photo): no idea, Liz (in black dress), April (blowing horn), Elly (partially obscured by the wall), Mike (in suit), no idea, Deanna, John, Meredith (white trousers and noisemaker, applauding in second photo), my Sim (blue hair), no idea (Sim with long white hair), adult Robin.  In the second photo Deanna is checking out the change she has just experienced and a few other Sims are considering that John has probably said or done something inappropriate again.

Meredith and Pete dance

Everyone starts to dance at Deanna's party.  John is dancing with Robin on the left, Meredith and Pete (an NPC who used to be in love with my Sim) get funky in the middle and Elly dances with some unknown party guest on the right.  Yes, Elly dances!  I think she's having fun, too!  I guess there weren't any parrots for her to talk to at this party so she had to socialize with actual people.

Two days later my Sim's twins aged up from toddlers to children.  There was a party at one of the community pools.  Unfortunately, John died right at the end of the party, which was a bit of a downer, at least but most people were out of the pool by then.

John dies, ruining the birthday party.
I think John's last act is for his ghost to ogle a girl in a bikini.

Meredith mourns.  The Pattersims are indifferent to John's ghost.

The only Sim to mourn is Meredith.  The other Pattersims stand around and look on, indifferent to John's ghost.  That's Deanna in the blue just above the wading pool on the right, April in the pink behind her, and Elly with her head partially obscured by the palm tree.  The other Sims are members of my Sim's family and one random party guest.  Meredith was actually quite upset, especially compared to the disinterest of the others, and made a lot of noise wailing and crying.  The rest thanked us for a great party and went home.  John's ghost dissipated in a cloud of yellow mist and blew away.  John's obituary in the local paper the next day said that his family was too upset to speak, but had bought a new car with the insurance money.

Elly's roughly the same age as John, so her number must be up soon.


The Pattersims: 1979 Versions now Available!


Had enough of the Pattersons of the 21st century? Why not start over with the 1979 version? Place the 1979 family in a 21st century household and see what havoc ensues when the continuity goes out the window and characters begin to act like they would nearly 30 years later, but in their 1979 bodies! Wacky hijinks abound!!
The Pattersims in 1979
L-R: Nizzie, Phil, Elly, Mike, John
Click the links for headshots and full-length shots in their various outfits.
Elly Patterson
Age: Young Adult
Fitness: None
Weight: Normal
Traits: Neurotic, Over-emotional, Neat, Hot-Headed, Unflirty
Elly Patterson worries. She worries about her husband, her children, her decision to drop out of university to marry and become a mother, the laundry which never ends and whether she will ever get a moment's peace.
Outfits: Everday: plain top with 3/4-length sleeves and plain trousers.  Formal: Twin-set, pearl necklace, long skirt, hair pulled back.  Sleep Wear: cast-iron nightgown.  Athletic: jogging suit worth somewhere between $35 and $135.  Bathing suit: this one.

John Patterson
Gender: Male
Age: Young Adult
Fitness: Lanky
Weight: Husky
Traits: Childish, Loves The Outdoors, Heavy Sleeper, Handy, Inappropriate
Dr John Patterson, dentist, husband and father-of-two, is generally happy if he can manage to stay on his wife's good side. When she is ranting and raving about all the injustices she suffers as a stay-at-home-mother, though, he wonders if he ought to get a hobby to keep him out of her way. Perhaps a model train...
Outfits: Everyday: checked shirt and plaid trousers, just the sort to get Elly to rant about how he cannot dress properly.  Formal: tie and blazer, nice trousers.  Sleep Wear: checked pyjamas.  Athletic: basic jogging suit.  Swim wear: checked shorts - and glasses to check out the girls in the water.

Mike Patterson
Gender: Male
Age: Child
Fitness: Lanky
Weight: Thin
Traits: Mean Spirited, Absent-Minded, Excitable
Mike Patterson is six. He resents his baby sister for being cute. He is an average student with behavioural problems. He doesn't understand why his mother is so nasty sometimes, even when he's trying to be good. Mike has only one friend, Lawrence. 
Outfits: Everyday: Red striped shirt, brown trousers and red socks from the cover of I've Got the One-More-Washload Blues.  Formal wear: patterned vest over burgundy top, blue trousers.  Sleep Wear: rocked ship pyjamas.  Athletic: blue jogging suit.  Swim wear: Green striped shorts.

Lizzie Patterson
Gender: Female
Age: Toddler
Fitness: Lanky
Weight: Normal
Traits: Slob, Easily Impressed
Lizzie is the baby of the Patterson family, a position she expects to hold forever. Tormented by her brother at every opportunity, she clings to her mother for solace, even though she senses that her mother resents it. Her father loves to dress her up like a little doll. Lizzie fears that this will lead to some messed-up relationships in her future.
Outfits: Every day: pink overalls (duh) and yellow t-shirt.  Formal wear: pink swing top over pink trousers.  Sleep wear: pink baby doll.

Phil Richards
Age: Young Adult
Fitness: None
Weight: Normal
Traits: Artistic, Virtuoso, Charismatic, Flirty, Great Kisser
Phil Richards is a successful jazz trumpeter whose hard work and years of dedication to his art haven't made the slightest impression on his big sister, Elly Patterson, who is convinced that he is a lazy, commitment-phobic slob who wastes his life playing discordant trash instead of getting married and settling down like she did.
Outfits: Every day: pornstache with brown leather jacket over open-necked red striped shirt, black trousers. Formal: pornstache with black suit over open-necked red silk shirt.  Sleep wear: pornstache with white t-shirt and black banana hammock.  Athletic: pornstache with all-black athletic wear.  Swim wear: pornstache with mirror shades and green and black striped banana hammock.

And if you're going to download Phil, you might want to get:
Connie and Lawrence
Lawrence and Connie Poirier (1979 Version)

Also available, for your 2005 Pattersims or for the 1979 version (because who cares about continuity?!):
Jim and Iris
Jim and Iris Richards


The Pattersims - Part 4: A Birthday Party

My Sim threw a bithday party for her daughter and invited all the Pattersons.

Meredith and Deanna

Adult Meredith's Lips of Loveliness are too heavy for her to hold her head upright as she talks to her mother.  I think she's proud of her new shoes.

Elly accuses Liz of being a slob.
Elly accuses Liz of being a slob (the graphic is a T-shirt with something spilt down the front).  I didn't spin the camera around quickly enough to catch Elly waggling her finger at Liz, but I think it's obvious from her stance.  Also obvious is Liz yawning: she has heard it all before.

Liz and Elly aren't friends.
The outcome of Elly's behaviour: both Liz and Elly lose relationship points for each other.


The Pattersims Part 3 - The Characters Out and About

John and Robin at the Park
John and a slightly older Robin share a joke at the town park.

John checks out Liz
One of the truly awkward things about my Pattersims household is that it wouldn't allow me to make Mike and Liz young adult children of an adult John and Elly, so they were included just as roommates who happened to be siblings.  Mike's relationships to Dee and his kids are correct, but the game didn't accept John and Elly as the parents of Mike and Liz, although it let me create the characters by mixing John's and Elly's DNA (followed by some manual editing to tone down the unfunny giant honkers that created).  A result of this is that John tends to check out Liz at any given opportunity.  Click on the picture for a larger view: you can see the little plus signs appearing above their heads as John likes what he sees and Liz likes that he's looking.

Brain bleach.

Here's something nicer:
Picnic in the Park
April, Deanna and Robin are having a picnic in the park.  Deanna is telling Robin a story.  Isn't that sweet?

Mike was explaining something about the Pattermanse to my Sim.  Note the spontaneous palms-out gesture as he boasts about the size of the house and that he doesn't pay rent or mortgage for it because his parents pay for everything.

Elly is Miserable
Nothing, but nothing, will ever make Elly happy.

Elly hates books
Adult April and teenaged Robin roll their eyes while Elly rants to my Sim about how she hates books.

Three Generations
Three generations of Patterson women: Elly, adult April, teenaged Meredith with massive Lips of Loveliness.

Mike, Liz and April at a party
Mike, Liz and April dress up for a birthday party.

Another birthday party photo.  From L-R: miscellaneous character, Liz hitting on him, Deanna, miscellaneous character who has just been turned down by April, April, Robin

After a picnic: Mike, Meredith, Robin, April, Elly (now an elder Sim)

Mike and his laptop
Mike hard at work playing GTA4.

John at work.
John, now an elder Sim and still wearing his lab coat from work, also playing games.

Ophelia and Deanna
My Sim tells Deanna about her pregnancy.  Deanna is family-oriented and immediately asked if she could feel the bump.


The Pattersims Part 2 - The Characters at Home

Elly lectures April
Elly lectures a teenaged April while a pyjama'd Mike looks on (Patterson toes are not quite as weird here).  A bored Liz, looking for something to amuse her, is in the hallway beyond.  Check out the Patterbutt.  My Sim is on the right, watching the action.

Elly's love of books shines through
Elly positions herself with her back to the bookshelf, probably because she doesn't recognize it.  I couldn't find a Charlie Brown zigzag pattern for her sweater, so went with this as the next closest thing.

April and Farley
April with her propellor bun poses next to Farley the plush teddy.

Frugal Elly
Elly does the only thing which seems to make her Sim happy: counting her pennies.


The Pattersims Part 1 - The Pattermanse

Using the somewhat disproportionate floor plan once provided by Lynn Johnston, here is my take on the Pattermanse, room by room.
The Pattermanse - Lynn Johnston's stairless floor plan

Upstairs, as seen from the backyard.  In the immediate foreground is a glimpse of the downstairs family bathroom (at least that's what I assume is in the otherwise empty room off the rec room).  Centre left is Liz's room, with Liz in the (undecorated) upstairs hallway, then the en suite off Liz's room and the family bathroom.  In the hallway, to which I forgot to add wallpaper and carpets because I was so busy trying to figure out where to add a staircase, is Liz on the left and John in the centre.  Top left is a glimpse of the guest room, decorated for Mike, Dee and family.  Straight ahead is April's room with Elly going through the door, Mike standing inside and, directly in front of April, my Sim who is visiting them (with the long white hair).
Pattermanse - Family bathroom, April's room
Ground floor as seen from the backyard.  This is the master bedroom, currently occupied by John and Elly and previously by Grandpa Jim.  I assume that the blank room on the floor plan shown as being accessible only from this bedroom is another bathroom.  The large mirrors are inspired by the strip where Fugly Elly does her Hoop-ya! dance in front of a mirrored wardrobe.  The colour scheme comes from a strip where Elly tells John all about how she wants green carpets and matching wallpaper with rose accents.  In the background is the enormous rec room; toddler Robin can be seen playing all by himself, unsupervised, in the far left.  At the very top of the screen are glimpses of the laundry room, shown here as an exercise room in case the Pattersims want to improve their fitness and / or artistic skills, and John's workshop, which here serves as Mike's hidey-hole away from his family.
Master bedroom

The enormous rec room (refer to the floor plan -- that sofa is supposed to be wider than two vehicles, which threw out all the proportions of this room).  There are ceiling lights rendered here as objects floating in space because I'm choosing a walls-cut-away view.  The garage is empty in this picture, but a Bushwhacker and a minivan (for Mike & Dee's family) are parked in the driveway.  Come to think of it, I ought to add Elly's car and Liz's car...
Rec room

Ground floor: dining room and kitchen, with John making something to eat.
Kitchen and Dining room

Ground floor: living room with green stripey sofa in front of the window.
Living Room
Ground floor: conservatory / computer room as seen from inside and outside:
Computer room insideComputer room outside
Upstairs: Elizabeth's room, decorated in teal and lavender (naturally):
Elizabeth's teal and lavender bedroom

Upstairs: guest room as seen from the front of the house.  There's a double bed for Mike and Deanna, single bed for Meredith, crib for Robin, toy box, TV set and a plush teddy bear named Farley.
Guest Room


April Explains (Part 2)

This strip took slightly longer than I'd wanted because my 3-year-old thought it would be good to help Mummy and coloured in the initial sketches with orange crayon.  Gee, kids do the darndest things!

Anyway, it isn't so much as "April Explains" as "April muses".  There's a slight hint in there that John's note to her told her more than his note to Elly, which will have implications.  There are also two shout-outs to long-time readers.  One is about fashion and the other is about research.  Can you guess?