Alicia and Cameron Dreamer are 34; Lucas is 5; Nathan is 1
Ashley Pitts is 68; Allyn Pitts is 63
Previous updates here and here.
"We'll have a pool," said Alicia.
"You had a pool before," said Cameron. "You had this pool before."
"Yes, but now its going to be our pool."
She'd barely stopped grinning in the last week since they'd finalized the details. It had been no surprise that her father and stepmother were buying an apartment in the city. Uncle James had been trying to convince them to move there for years. And now, with Joshua going to college at the end of summer and Allyn recently retired, the time was right. They had no need for a four-bedroom house any more. It was still a big decision, though, as Alicia's father Ashley had been raised in the house himself. His grandparents had originally bought it when his mother was about 15, and it had been in the family ever since.
What was surprising, was that she and Cameron would be the next to raise their family in the house. The last year had been hard for them financially, as business had not picked up in Alicia's beauty saloon as much as she had hoped.
It had been closed too long, between her pregnancy and the move to the new premises. She needed to build up her customer base again, and it was happening, but it was happening too slowly. Meanwhile, they had two young children and they were struggling to meet their bills and the rent on their apartment. They had thought of moving to a smaller place, but their current apartment was furnished and they owned little more than their children's things and their model train set. Finding a cheaper place, furnished, was proving close to impossible. And that was when Dad had suggested they rent the family home after he and Allyn move out.
It would be ideal. Ashley and Allyn were decorating their new apartment from scratch, so the house would the rented out furnished. But there was no way that Alicia and Cameron could afford the rent on a place this size. Until Dad had told them how much he wanted them to pay.
"That can't be right!" said Alicia. It was less than what they were paying for the apartment.
"It's far too low," Cameron added.
"It's enough to cover the property taxes and so on," said Ashley.
"But you could get twice that much..."
"We don't need market rent," said Ashley. "I rather that the house stay in the family. And before you ask, I've asked around. None of your siblings or cousins are interested as far as I can see."
So it was settled. They would have the house.
"We'll also have a hot tub," said Cameron.
"The hot tub was a wedding gift to my grandparents," said Alicia. "Apparently Dad and Aunt Jami were conceived in there."
"Yeah, puts me right off, too."
Ashley and Allyn spent most of the summer packing up the house. It was amazing how much you accumulate over the years, and although the new apartment was spacious, it was still small compared to the house.
"You can leave stuff stored here if you like," said Alicia. "We've got plenty of room."
They ended up leaving some boxes in the attic. There were still things up there from Ashley's parents and grandparents, they realized. Some day, they'd have to sort it all out.
Then there was the apartment to prepare. It was a new building on the waterfront in Shady Grove, a suburb of Redwood City.
Set away from the central city, it was an area of upmarket houses and apartment buildings, but the shoreline had been nothing more than a stony, unattractive beach. It had undergone major redevelopment in the past few years - an embankment and marina had been built, and the waterfront was now a thriving residential and entertainment district. There was now a ferry to the central city, too.
The development had been Marla Centowski's final project before retiring from her job as City Planner. A long-time resident of the area, she was rightfully proud of it, as was her husband.
"The ferry's cut my commute time in half," said James, the day he and Marla had shown Ashley and Allyn around the new development. "I wish they'd done it years ago."
Even without the ferry, James had nowhere near as long a commute as Ashley had, from Richmond to the city hospital, where he still worked part-time in the emergency room. Just a short ferry trip sounded wonderful.
"What's up?" James asked Ashley, a few minutes later.
"As soon as I mentioned the commute, you were a million miles away."
He was right, Ashley realised. "I was just thinking about work. With Randy retiring, we need a new Chief of Staff. Unfortunately the current candidates don't look too promising."
"We're not here to worry about your work," Allyn scolded him.
The problem was, he couldn't stop worrying about his work. So much so that, even though he'd retired from the Chief of Staff position himself some years earlier, he'd continued to work part-time in the hospital emergency room. He knew that Allyn wanted him to give it up for good, all the more so now that she was retired too, and he wondered if maybe it really was time to give that some serious thought.
They took some time on the waterfront and had lunch outdoors at one of the new cafes, before spending the rest of the day looking at apartments.
By the time they left for home, Ashley and Allyn were convinced. They'd put in the down-payment on an apartment the same week.
"It's really beige, isn't it?" said Alicia.
Cameron nodded. "That's the way Allyn likes it. "True. We can get some cushions or pictures or something to brighten it up.""
"I'm not complaining," said Alicia. "I don't care what color it is... we have a house!"
The timing couldn't have been better for their boys. Lucas was in school now, loving every minute of it. He'd already started bringing friends home, and Alicia knew they'd make the most of the large yard and spacious house, just as she and her siblings had.
At one year old, Nathan was starting to walk and needed the extra space, too. He'd have his own bedroom here, instead of sharing with his parents.
Alicia also hoped that, now that they would have a bit more financial stability, Cameron might finally be able to leave the police force. He was never suited to the work, for all that it had seemed a good idea after high school. It was dangerous, too - he'd already come home beaten and bruised after an investigation gone wrong. To add insult to literal injury, their insurance hadn't covered all the time he needed off work to recover, leaving them even further out of pocket. He was now looking into work that he would enjoy, as a mechanic or appliance repairman - jobs that paid less than the police force, admittedly, but at least Cameron would be happier and safer.
"Do you think the apartment will be all beige, too?" he asked, taking another look around.
"If Allyn has her way, it will be."
Thankfully, there wasn't much left to do at the apartment, by the time Ashley and Allyn actually started living there. Most of the work had been done in the weeks before.
"Oh, wow," said Alicia, visiting a few days after the move. "It's all blue."
"That was your father's idea," said Allyn. "I'm probably going to get some cushions or pictures or something to tone it down."
The apartment was split over two floors, with a large balcony where Allyn had a glasshouse installed, since she no longer had a garden.
They had views of the marina and the building had a pool, and a gym on the ground floor, which Ashley had joined even before they moved in.
He'd always liked to start his morning with a jog or a workout, while Allyn preferred a much more relaxed start to the day.
She'd just picked up the paper when he walked in.
"Anything much happening in the world?" he asked.
"Just the usual- Oh, dear God!" she said suddenly.
"This," said Allyn, pointing to the newspaper. "You need to read this!"
Top Doctor Arrested on Child Pornography Charges...
Random sentences seemed to jump out at Ashley as he skimmed the article. Redwood City Hospital surgeon arrested following an anonymous tip-off... police seized computers and other items from his Richmond home... images of adolescent girls... candidate for Chief of Staff position...
"I've got to call Randy," he said, already halfway across the room to the phone. "He might not have seen this yet."
... because I'm evil and I love unexpected cliffhangers :)
Aside from that, a momentous occasion in the history of my hood - the family home of the first Green family is once again changing hands and being passed on to another generation. It was originally the Maxis Cape Cod Classic, although its undergone many renovations and redecorations since Helen and Chris Green moved in with their first two kids many sim-years (and a few r/l years) ago. And the first Pitts twins really were conceived in the hot tub, on their parents' wedding day :)
In its latest incarnation, it wound up all beige because that's Allyn's favourite colour, although I let in a bit more of Ashley's favourite blue in the apartment.
Shady Grove (named after the community lot on the waterfront) is part of a big redevelopment (as in, completely new hood layout) of Redwood City. I'll write a post about that soon, I've still got a little to finish and I want it complete for the screenshots.
Cameron's beating was a chance card... I doubt the police force would really dock your wages for messing up so I made it an insurance thing. Sure didn't help their financial position. With his tinkering OTH and low fitness, Cameron is much more suited to being a mechanic or the like, than a cop. I have a custom auto mechanic career that I want to get him in to, but it didn't come up on the computer this session. Hopefully next time...