Friday, August 31, 2012

1.2 - Cuddles and Cookbooks

Settling in.

Our cute little couple has arrived at their new cute little house and are excited to check out their new (cute) digs.

Simon goes to check out the back yard while Emma looks over the inside...

A tiny little living room with a bookcase, and, not much else ...

But hey, a real old fashioned wood fireplace!

An even tinier kitchen. About the same size as the one they had in their studio apartment.

But --  ugh! --  that ugly old wallpaper has GOT to GO!

"Quaint" is not the first word that comes to mind...

Upstairs, there's a little bare bones bedroom with an old antique brass bed.

"It'll have to do, I guess..."

Lets go see what Simon's found outside. 

Emma rounds the corner to see an odd sight - Simon's having a freak out moment ...

Simon thinking "Oh she's going to kill me for this one..."

Before Emma can even react, Simon blurts out ""I already know what you're going to say Emma, but we don't have money for new stuff ..."

That's when Emma sees what Simon's talking about and loses her cool.

"A skanky old washing machine - sitting outside. And a clothesline... seriously?!"

"This is like.... like... caveman days stuff Simon!  ... ugh!!"
(Simon points out that no, in fact, they did not have washing machines back then!!)

Emma realizes there's not going to be any getting around this one. They're flat broke. 

They sold everything they had to get here and Emma really pushed Simon into buying this house because of Kanoa's persuasive bargaining.

Simon had invested all their savings in this little place because she had wanted it and now she'd have to put up with this crappy setup.

They'd just have to make do...

Emma apologizes to Simon for blowing up and says she'll get used to the idea of doing laundry outside.

These two have suffered disagreements before about money and lifestyle. Emma's grown up a bit of a snob you see, but she's truly sorry and wants to embrace Simon's eco-friendly ideas.

They decide to set off to the library like they had previously planned.

.... On their 'retro' granny bikes.

(Simon, you look pretty dorky on that bike to be honest)

The library is only a few blocks away (as is pretty much everyting in this small town).

One thing about Appaloosa Plains... there are animals everywhere. Even the library has a horse hitching post for your favorite equestrian transportation needs!

Cat: "Dude, you left a big puddle back here, have some tact when at the library, maybe?"

Inside, the public library is completely packed. Apparently going to the library on a Sunday afternoon is absolutely the place to see and be seen around here...

True to "Country" stereotypes, Chuck Hobble is sporting the full getup.

The "locals" come in all flavors and types here in Appaloosa. Sporty beanie dude (Calvin Riffin) is a sports star of sorts for the Llamas, and Imogen Pelly is, well we're not sure - but she sure thinks highly of herself in mirror shades and maternity wear!

"Yer not from around here, are ya..."

Emma loves social attention, but the way everyone's staring at the 'new folks' is kinda creeping her out.

Bug-eyed cowboy kids and old ladies wearing really bad polyester. (Cornell Riffin and Vera Blackburn)

She asks the front desk where to find cooking and gardening instruction books. She's told they're upstairs in the children's book section. 

Uh, ok. That's odd.

This whole "Shabby Chic" look is going to take some getting used to here.

Finding the required books, Emma's ready to settle down with Simon for some quiet time and studying.

What an exciting way to spend your first day in a new town, right? 

After spending a few hours studying all sorts of books on fertilizers, pest control, organic cooking, food preservation and storage, etc., they decide to stretch their legs and walk across the street to one of the little local parks and meet some more crazy locals.

Old Hetty Lionheart, the crankiest crazy cat lady you'll ever meet. Looks like the cat wants to bury her in the litter box.

And here's Appaloosa's local budding rocker, Chandice - who thinks she's really something even though Emma's quite sure she's heard way better guitar playing in her circle of Simfest friends back in St. Claire...

Chandice does not seem to care about your new house Emma. She's giving you the duck face.

Simon has found a cute dog. He loves animals, its why he's studying to become a vet! The dog's collar says "Ralston" and Simon fusses over him and talks baby talk because of course animals love that, right?

Simon: "Aren't you the cutest wittle doggie woggie ... cute as a bug in a rug, why yes you are!"
Ralston: "Dude. Seriously. You shoulda let her take the cooking class, you tightwad."

Meanwhile, Emma has wandered over to the local grocery store which looks like it's right out of an old 50's movie. Well at least there's a coffee shop next door. 

Oh, and Jazlyn said you get a free packet of starter seeds when you turn in a coupon from the gardening book, so there's that!

"I'm going to start my veggie garden right away!"

Finally the big day of arrival has wound down to a close, and the couple returns to their new little home.

Simon checks the stove, all the windows, the faucets ... while Emma whips up some organic mac and cheese. Yum!

"I wonder how much is this thing going to cost to run every month..."

And then there's that odd habit of Simon's - staring anxiously out the window for awhile...

"Squirrel crossing? Really? Squirrels get crosswalks here??"

Since their boxes of stuff haven't arrived yet, there's not much to do after dinner but chat about their day while getting ready to tuck in for the night..

Simon makes up with Emma again, "It's been a stressful day Em, I'm sorry I got so uptight about money again. If you really want to take that cooking class, we can budget it in after I get my first paycheck."

"Ralston set me straight and said I was being a tightwad ..."

These two are like the epitome of Sim cuteness, are they not?

"Cuddles and Cookbooks" Awww.

And now for the kiss and make up part...

Pretty sure the kiss landed on the lips, not noses like usual...

Yeah yeah, we know what comes next!

"Wanna ... Woohoo?"

Heart Confetti and Bed covers dancing!

"Good Night Emma, I love you!"

"I love you too Simon ... but, um, honey ... Who's Ralston??"


Good Night you two crazy love birds.

Read on to Chapter 1.3 - "Putting Down Roots" HERE.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

1.1 - The Welcome Wagon

Simon and Emma stepped off the bus and immediately felt like they had stepped back in time.

"Welcome to Appaloosa Plains folks, have a nice stay!" said the bus driver in a twangy voice before pulling the double doors shut and driving off.

This was definitely a small town, almost deserted this early in the morning.

Yep, there's the wagon! (Out front of the Historic Society Building)

The couple walked across the street to check out a historic covered wagon and read about Appaloosa's colorful frontier settlers.

"This is pretty cool. We're like pioneers in a new land too... well, kinda..."

"I guess we'd better head over to the Parrott's place and meet them. They have the keys to the house and are expecting us" said a rather bored Emma. She'd rather go see their new place and meet up with their new neighbors.

The Parrotts, Kanoa specifically, was the old college pal Emma had looked up when they got the news about moving to Appaloosa Plains. She hadn't seen him for many years and he was a pretty wild guy back then, having come from Hawaii to major in business trading. Emma being a social butterfly, had attended a couple of his crazy parties but didn't really know a lot about him.

As luck would have it, Kanoa said there was a small empty 'guest house' attached to the unused horse pasture next to their house. It was part of their original farmstead but they were trying to sell it off. He would give them a 'super fly deal' on it if they wanted to fix the place up.

They laughed as they arrived in front of the Parrott's House on Bob-o-link Drive (what a name) to see this crazy "flock" out front...

The "Welcome Committee"

"Are you sure about this guy Emma?" Simon could see Kanoa in the front room, dancing to some super loud hip hop music and his usual worries started up again. Emma reassured him that Kanoa was cool, just a little wild and apparently still was from their college days.

"C'mon Simon, we can't back out now, we have to meet our new neighbors and they own the house we're staying in!"

(Sidenote: Emma got a cute haircut before they left St. Claire and was wearing it in pigtails hoping to "fit in" with the new town folk) 

So they rang the bell...

A rather sweaty Kanoa, wearing shades and a loud Hawaiian shirt, greeted them at the door ...

"Hey wassup people! C'mon in, I was just finishing my dance workout... lemme turn off the stereo"

Kanoa's wife and son came downstairs when they heard the doorbell.

Ethan and Jazlyn Parrott

The two spouses met and got to know one another...

Ah those awkward formality moments...

Emma learned that Jazlyn was expecting their second child, and explained that they had been waiting on starting a family due to Simon's extended biology schooling and having little money living in a cramped studio in the city.

"Yeah well be careful, there's something in the water here that makes women get preggers fast!"

... Emma looked a little stunned. She hoped Jazlyn was just kidding.

Jazlyn invited Emma into the family room to talk, and to gossip. Apparently that's the thing to do in a small town.

"Is it possible to grow a garden here and make a living?"

Emma explains to Jazlyn that they were intending to grow their own food and she wanted to make some money selling the extra produce.

"I worked at a flower shop and nursery so I have some basic skills but have never grown vegetables"

Jazlyn says that should be no problem at all in a country town like this, folks love to buy up organically local grown fruits and veggies!

"In fact, I happen to work at the local grocer's and can ask the manager about buying your stuff"

Meanwhile, the men were also meeting and getting to know one another...

"Hey man, welcome to town. If I didn't hit the city once a week, I'd probably go crazy here"

Simon asked Kanoa what he did for a living that took him away to the cities so often. Kanoa explained that he was into "Sales and overseas trading and shit like that" which seemed vague but Simon wasn't about to ask for more details.

Clearly a big talker, and a big spender from the looks of their fancy house...

Simon tried to impress Kanoa by launching into one of his conspiracy theories about the space program.

"It's all about power and politics and space suits!"

And then he told Kanoa all about his studies and herpetology which Kanoa feigned interest about...

"The rare yellow tailed rattlesnake is supposedly found right here in Appaloosa Plains!"

But Kanoa doesn't care about that, he just wants a party everyday with lots of dancing and fun, which this town is desperately short on in his opinion...

(Wow Simon, way to be obvious you're not interested in that, you nerd)

Finally Kanoa explains that living in a little town like this was a real drag, especially in his fast paced line of work, but it kept the Feds off his tail.

"Uh, yeah... I'm doing some side work here, layin' low, y'know what I mean?"

Then, surprisingly, Kanoa asks Simon if he's interested in getting in on a deal with him on shipping some Llamas down across the border...

"Hey dude, you're like, into animals and stuff, right?"

But Simon's creeped out by Kanoa's weird plans. Apparently only his own neurotic ideas are good ones...

"Uh, NO. Err, thanks but no thanks - I don't mess with risky investments..."

Kanoa cut things short at that point and dug the keys to the guest house out of his pocket and handed them over to Simon rather dismissively, explaining with a smirk that they could find their way out to the place, it was next door in the overgrown cow pasture...

So, Simon pulled Emma away from her gardening discussion with Jazlyn and said it was time for them to go. Emma was getting along a lot better with Jazlyn than Simon had with Kanoa, but said her goodbyes. Jazlyn promised to call her about the grocery deal, and Emma promised to stop by often so they could chat.

After they left, Emma excitedly asks Simon about taking a  local cooking class Jazlyn had told her about

She could clearly see Simon was in one of his 'worrying' moods and apparently talking to Kanoa hadn't helped.

Emma thinks: "Here we go again..."

"Honey, remember ... we agreed not to spend any simoleons on frivolous spending here in our new life. Especially since we're just getting here and settling in and I don't even have a paycheck coming in yet..."

"Yes, yes... of course dear, I know, I know..."

Simon reminds Emma that she had said she would check out some cook books and instructional guides from the library. Maybe they could go there together after they check out their new place?

"A cookbook... yeah. Ok. Right."

Emma's trying to keep her patience, which is hard when Simon gets on one of his frugality kicks. But its only their first day here, so she doesn't want to argue.

"Ok, ok Simon, I'll read some cookbooks. Maybe we can explore the town and meet some new people too!"

Simon nods and smiles. "Now lets go see this new house of ours!" (He's hoping its good since they'd spent all of their savings on it and were now completely broke)

They walked hand in hand down a little path through the 'cow pasture' Kanoa had described attached to his property. It was actually just a small field with wildflowers and a hayloft, and very charming.

And there, sitting quietly at the far end, was the cutest little bungalow style cottage...

A 1930's era shaker sided "bungalow"

What could be more charming than this?

Welcome Home Simon and Emma Twist!

Cuteness Overload!

Go HERE to read Chapter 2 - "Cuddles and Cookbooks"