Posted in My Sims 4 Challenges, Sims 4, The Travelers (Drifter #2)

Travelers 1.8 Waiting

7. Caleb’s Application for a Pen Pal < | >

Sometimes things happen for a reason. Other times, it seems completely random. I hadn’t quite decided what this pen pal project was going to be, but Caleb was so excited about it, he couldn’t even sit still.

Bright and early Monday morning, Caleb painstakingly filled out the questionnaire and folded it carefully into the front of his school planner. I tried to be as excited as he was, but a large part of me still worried. What if this all came to naught? How would Caleb take the let down if something went wrong?

Pasting a smile on my face, I packed Caleb’s and Ryder’s lunches and even remembered to give them to the correct kid before the two of them left for school. Ryder would have been confused by the extra sandwich I always packed for Caleb. That boy sure could eat, and he was ALWAYS hungry… so I made sure I kept lots of leftovers in the fridge, or I’m sure he would have burned the house down before now. I wondered what he was going to do for food once it was his turn to be the hero of the town. I knew he’d manage – just how many meals he would burn before he figured out how to cook was the part I didn’t know. I had tried to sit him down in front of the Cooking Channel, but his immediate thought was “food” .. not “how do I make it?” So that didn’t work out too well. He was just going to have to learn the hard way.

Again, with very little to do, I cleaned stuff that still didn’t need cleaning, and browsed on the web some (since the boys weren’t home to monopolize the computer, and Jared was napping). Finally, I gave up and went out collecting, even though we didn’t need the money. The garden easily supported our bills and then some. I could be comforted knowing I would leave a nice little nest egg for Ryder, even though none could go to Caleb. With the government contract, all he was allowed to start with are himself, his very important mailbox, a small survival kit, and his clothes.

For a while, I let myself think back to my start with just those things.. it had certainly been a rude shock. But then, I didn’t have much to begin with, and just having my own land had been so very inspirational to me. Having something that was mine and mine alone. I turned from my digging up yet another crystal and peered across the street at my house. Without me, that house wouldn’t exist. Without me or Jared, the kids wouldn’t be here. Had I made the right choice for my family? Only time would tell for sure.. but I felt that I’d done the best I could with what I’d been given. Hopefully Caleb would end up saying the same thing when he was my age.

I cut my gathering short as I noticed the school bus coming over around the bend in the road. Caleb and Ryder were, once again and always, the only kids on the bus, being that nobody else actually lived in the town. The next town over is where they went to school, bused each day miles down the road through varying picturesque countrysides. Both Ryder and Caleb bounced off the bus and headed indoors, not noticing that I was across the street. The bus driver waved, and I waved back politely. He drove off with a smile, and I crossed the road to get home.

“How did it go, Caleb?” I asked after pushing through the front door.

“Great! I was one of the only ones to sign up, so I should get matched pretty easily. I just have to wait for my first letter to arrive and then I get to write back as soon as I can. I wouldn’t want my pen pal to have to wait too long!” His sentences practically ran together he was talking so fast.

I smiled, and was about to say something else when he turned abruptly and headed towards the fridge. I knew that meant the conversation was over, at least for now, unless I wanted to try to decode “food in mouth” talk. Minding his manners would probably not occur to him with as excited as he was, so I avoided the issue and went out to start on the garden.

After his snack, Caleb joined me.. and not far behind him was Ryder, although he was more interested in the monkey bars than the plants. I thanked Caleb for helping again, and he smiled back.

“I’d better learn now, right? Before long I’ll be growing my own garden. Although I plan to be growing food, not flowers.” He said, wrinkling his nose at the Chrysanthemums I had made my living growing.

“That certainly makes sense. You do like food.” I smiled in reply, and went on weeding.

I tried not to tune him out, but all he could talk about was his new pen pals. Apparently he had signed up for more than one! He went on and on, wondering everything that could possibly be wondered about his new “friends”. I mumbled replies, and I don’t think he ever noticed that I was still hiding my worry over the whole thing. Hopefully Jared was right, and this was a good thing for Caleb. At the very least, it would get him writing. Simlish had never been his favorite class.

As the day drew to a close, I called Ryder back inside to clean up for dinner, and left Caleb with the last little bit of gardening. Dinner was a lively affair, as usual, with lots of jokes tossed back and forth between the boys. I approved a movie for the two of them, so long as they did their homework right after. Before I knew it, it was bedtime… and then the next day.. and the next.

Waiting had never been Caleb’s strong suit. Every day, he checked his email and the mailbox, never seeming sure where the letters might show up. Every day, his face looked more and more worried. I tried to tell him to be patient, that his pen pals might be very far away, but he still fretted. I guess I couldn’t blame him, but I tried to keep him positive. Secretly, I wondered if the whole thing had just fallen through. The mailbox remained, stubbornly, empty, and I hoped the letters were coming in their own time.. for Caleb’s sake.

.. To be continued..

Posted in My Sims 4 Challenges, Sims 4, The Travelers (Drifter #2)

Travelers 1.7 Caleb’s Application for a Pen Pal

6. The Question < | > 8. Waiting


Caleb Traveler

Select your age bracket:



High School Student for now, who knows what upon graduation.

If you selected “other,” please describe:

I will probably be a gardener like my mother, but I have no idea what the government contract will require me to do. I’m destined to build a house for the city of Simsville in an effort to rebuild the town. If I could pick what I would do, it would be something involved in food. I love food!

How many pen pals are you interested in acquiring?

One or two.. with earning money and building a house I will probably not have time for more than that!

What qualities do you seek in a pen pal?

I honestly don’t know how to reply to this. I guess it would have to be someone who can put up with my ramblings about food.

Do you have a desire to meet your pen pal face-to-face?

If it fits in with the travel restrictions placed on me by the city, I certainly would like to meet them. I do have to be careful about where I travel, though, being that I’m under contract by the city.

Please describe, in as much detail as possible, your reason for wanting to join the pen pal project:

I love meeting new people, and I think it would be fun to find someone from someplace else that might know some recipes I don’t know. Knowing that my letters are getting to travel around the world would just be so neat. When I heard about the pen pal project I just got so excited, and I had to join. My friends think I’m silly for wanting to write to someone who I don’t know, but I think that would be part of the fun – getting to know someone new.

Author’s Note: Caleb is a part of a Drifter Challenge, told in story form. He’s going to be “running” the second generation. He’s an outgoing, glutton, gregarious sim with a teenage aspiration of “Party Animal.” I have no way of knowing what trait he’ll roll for his adult trait as I’m enforcing a random trait roll for the challenge. He will be doing a fair bit of traveling, as I plan to have him visit the city festivals in search of new food recipes in the first half of the challenge, and then he has the Outdoor Enthusiast Aspiration to finish in the second half of his challenge (once his heir is child age). Caleb, obviously, doesn’t know this yet.. but I do. Personality wise, he’s very much into food, and loves meeting new people.. so a pen pal who might be able to talk recipe ideas would be ideal.. or at the very least, someone who can at least put up with him talking about food a lot. I will be weaving his letter-writing into his story. As for how many chapters his story will last, that I can’t say.. but I will say I’m very excited to write his story, since he’s such an interesting sim for a drifter challenge – (Come on, a person who loves food in a challenge that starts from basically starvation rations?! .. Perfect.) I do expect to be writing his generation for a while because I have a lot planned for him. The letters will begin to be sent before he actually takes over for his generation, in other words, while he is still a teen and will function as a bit of an interlude as he grows up.

6. The Question < | > 8. Waiting

Posted in My Sims 4 Challenges, Sims 4, The Travelers (Drifter #2)

Travelers 1.6 The Question

5. The Longest Days < | > 7. Caleb’s Application for a Pen Pal

It feels like it’s been forever since I last wrote. But it hasn’t. Not really.


Yesterday was Ryder’s first day at school. I expected more trouble from him, based on his past attitude about it, but he seemed resigned to the fact that he had to go. He certainly didn’t make a fuss about it, just quietly ate breakfast and gathered his schoolbooks and left to catch the bus. I barely even got to wave goodbye before he was gone, it was that fast.


I puttered around the house all morning, trying to find something to interest me.. but for a change, nothing was broken, nothing needed cleaning.. and the garden was waiting for Caleb’s help when he gets home from school.With nothing better to do, I talked with Jared for a while, then decided to go out collecting, even though we didn’t need the money.


By the time the boys got home from school, I was sweaty and dirty and really just wanted a nap.. but mothering waits for no-one. Ryder had apparently had too much fun on the playground, and came home wanting nothing more than a long soak in the bathtub, and Caleb just wanted to watch a movie. I needed him to work in the garden, but I agreed to let him watch one before he and I went outside.


While Ryder danced with Jared, Caleb and I finally headed outside to care for the unruly garden. Waiting until later to deal with the weeds and the bugs always seemed to make it take more time, but I tried to be okay with it. Despite being bored stiff (apparently the movie hadn’t been very good), Caleb soldiered on, learning to be a gardener in case that was what was in his future. He seemed to be picking up the skill fairly well under my tutelage, and I couldn’t be prouder.

But that was before he dropped a bit of a bombshell.


“Mom?” he asked tentatively while we gardened.

Surprised, I stopped for a moment, then answered, “What..? Should I be worried?”

“No!” He insisted.. but took a rather long pause before saying, “At least, I don’t think so.”

Now I really was worried. “What’s up?”

“Nothing big, really.” he paused again. “Or at least, nothing too big.”


Trying to be patient, I waited for him to continue. It was another two plants of weeding on his part before he felt ready to continue.

“Mom, this lady visited our Simlish class this afternoon. She was talking about this new project that has been set up, trying to get some kids to join.” He looked at me tentatively. “I’d really like to join.”

“Don’t you already have enough on your plate with the government contract?” I asked worriedly. “What kind of “project” is this?”

He took a deep breath, weeded a couple more plants then blurted out, “It’s a pen pal project.”

“A what?” I asked, surprised.

“Well, when you moved in, you said the only thing you had was a mailbox.. so.. I figured that mailbox had to be working, right?” He stopped gardening and looked at me, his face all hopeful.

“Of course it worked. How do you think I sell all the things I collect and harvest?” I replied, confused.

“Then I could use my mailbox to send letters!” He said, smiling. Then his face fell. “But we need parental permission to sign up…”

“Okay. Stop. What exactly are you asking?” I said, trying to wrap my head around his disjointed questions.

“Well, here’s how it works. There’s sims in other towns, other cities, some are kids, some are adults.. some might even be different races or kinds of sims… and they’re interested in writing to other sims. Like me. I would write letters to whichever sim I’m paired with, and they would write back. We would be pen pals. At least, that’s how the lady described it.”

“So you’d just be writing letters, not meeting them? You know we have restrictions placed on our travel with the contract, right?” I replied, still concerned.

“Of course, mom. I’d only meet them if it could be worked out within the restrictions, and not until I’m older. Right now I would just be writing letters to another sim.”


He looked so very hopeful, but tried to play it off. I hated to feel so negative about it, but the fact that it might be another adult sim made me worried. What if they were a bad influence? What if they wanted more than a few letters? I watered a couple of plants, then said, “So you could be writing to an adult or a child? Is there a way to pick one or the other? How do you get matched up?”

“That I’m not sure about. I know they use our profiles to pair us up. I don’t know if I could request another child. But I don’t think it should matter. Why would it? I’m just writing about my life and they write about theirs. Getting to know each other, like. I like meeting new people, and meeting someone from far away would be so exciting. Please say I can sign up? I have to put in my application next week if I’m going to do it.” His sentences almost ran together, he was so excited about it.

“Give me this weekend to think about it, then. And talk to your father about it, too. I’ll let you know Monday before school, okay? Now can we finish gardening, or what?” I laughed as lightly as possible, trying to bring back the companionable silence we had been gardening in before this came up.

His face fell, almost like he knew I was going to say no. “Alright, Mom. Monday, then.”

We went back to gardening, but now there was so much tension between us. I tried to relax, but thoughts and worries about his future and getting mixed up in this pen pal project kept intruding into my thoughts.


All day, it was all I could think about. While Caleb and I watched TV.


While I cooked dinner.


While the boys chatted excitedly about Ryder’s first day at school.


While we sat down to a lively family dinner.


While I read a story to Ryder before bed.


While I helped Caleb with his homework.


I tried to think about other things, but it seemed like it was impossible. Finally, the boys were asleep. I woke up Jared so I could talk to him about it. See what he thought of Caleb’s new idea.


I explained as best I could why I was worried about it.


Jared listened, and I could tell he was trying hard to be properly horrified by the possibility. But he just couldn’t do it.


“I think it’s a good thing, Keira. Let him meet new people. You know he’s always been drawn to strangers, ever since he was just a tot. It doesn’t mean he will be in any danger. Since the program is approved by the school, it must be safe for them. And we’ll be here to monitor things, make sure everything’s okay. We should let him do it.” He said decisively.


And then he went back to bed. Leaving me up, unable to sleep with my worries. My hopefully needless worries.

Eventually, I was able to sleep. It was going to be a long weekend.

5. The Longest Days < | > 7. Caleb’s Application for a Pen Pal

Posted in My Sims 4 Challenges, Sims 4, The Travelers (Drifter #2)

Travelers 1.5 The Longest Days

4. A Birthday for Caleb < | > 6. The Question

My day did not start out well. I had a defiant toddler and a broken sink. The sink I can fix.. the toddler.. not so much.


Tomorrow is Ryder’s birthday and he doesn’t seem to be interested in growing up and having to go off to school. All he wants to do is dance to the stereo and play with his toys.


I tried interesting him in some flash cards, but he refused and went right back to his dancing. At least he went potty on his own first!

Completely the opposite, Caleb practically skipped out the door for his first day of high school. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone quite so excited to go to school in my life. He made me promise to leave the garden alone until he got home from school, too. Apparently he was serious about wanting to learn to garden so he would be “ready” when it was his turn to move out. I still think he’s going to be in for a little bit of a surprise at how hard it is to start from nothing.. but at the very least, he was excited to do it.


Since I was forbidden the garden during the day, I had to come up with something else to do. The broken sink was high on the list of priorities, so I pulled out the stuff from my “junk drawer”, looking for the right part to stop the leaking. I was in luck, and managed to find a replacement washer for the leaky faucet.


Jared seemed willing to laze around the house, but I knew I had other things to do.. I just wasn’t used to waiting to take care of the garden. Perhaps Jared would watch Ryder while I went to check for salable collectibles in the neighborhood. He agreed, albeit reluctantly, and off I went.


After digging up some fossils and a couple of mysterious capsules, I got out my old fishing pole and checked to make sure it still worked.


I had bought Caleb one just like it, and if he was serious about trying to learn to fish before his “adventure”, I wanted to be ready to spend some time with him down by the creek.


When I finally got home, I was sweaty and smelly.. and I found Jared watching TV. Apparently he had abandoned watching a toddler who felt he should be able to play on his own. He did say he’d given Ryder a bath, though, which was a big help. It would have been nice if he’d cleaned up some of Ryder’s mess before he went for the TV, though.


Curious what Ryder might be up to, I peeked into the boys room and found him playing quietly with toys by the toy box. What a good boy. Despite the defiance, he really just wanted to be left alone to find his own things to do now that he felt he was a “big boy”. I, however, just felt a bit sad that both my boys were growing up so fast.

… Which reminded me. I still needed to bake a cake for Ryder’s family party tomorrow. I thought I’d make it something silly, like one that looked like a hamburger but was a cake instead. Perhaps I’d have time when the boys went to bed tonight.


I took a quick shower to wash off the grime of my collectible hunt, then cleaned up the stuff I found and sent it off to the parties interested in buying those things. Sometimes it amazed me how much money I could make from selling things that I dug up or grew myself.. but I was glad to have a job I could do from home. This allowed me to be as close as possible with my boys as they grew up.


I went to make some grilled cheese for when Caleb got home from school – I swear, that boy is always hungry.


… And wouldn’t you know it, but the stove broke. By the time I got it fixed, I barely had enough time to make the grilled cheese.


Caleb came home complaining about having to run laps in his gym class and not having enough time to shower, so he went right in and plopped himself down into a bath. So much for the grilled cheese! I put it away, knowing he would want some later, and I collected the gardening tools.


When he got out of the shower, he saw what I was working on, and apparently forgot all about food for a change. We hurried out to get the gardening done. Everything needed watering, as usual, and a few plants showed some bug damage, so we sprayed those, as well.

While we worked, he talked non-stop about his day at high school. Which teachers he liked, which ones he was sure he would hate, and which classes he had friends in. He talked about lunch-time the most, detailing the entire meal and who he ate it with.


After we finished gardening, he convinced me to take him for some evening fishing time. I brought out the new pole I got for him, and he was ecstatic. I think his main motivation was trying to catch fish to eat.. and I couldn’t help but laugh when I warned him he wasn’t likely to find dinner out there.


I was surprised, however, at how naturally he seemed to take to fishing. Before long, I caught a lemon that was floating by…


…and he had his first fish. It was a giant Tuna! His first question, of course, was whether I could cook it up for dinner. I agreed, reluctantly, and Caleb decided one fish was enough so we jogged back home.


The day wasn’t over, however, and I was quickly sidetracked by a broken TV that Jared insisted I fix right away. While still working on that, I noticed there was a stinky diaper in the house, and took a break to change it, since nobody else seemed interested.


By the time the diaper and the TV were taken care of, Caleb had already eaten the grilled cheese he’d found in the fridge and had gone to bed.


Ryder wasn’t far behind him, and I rejoiced at finally having a moment to bake Ryder’s cake. After it baked, I set up the candles on it and hid it at the back of the fridge. (Somewhere behind Caleb’s prize tuna…)

I gratefully climbed into bed beside my snoring husband and went to sleep.


Sometime in the middle of the night, I was woken by crying. Apparently Jared had forgotten to feed Ryder before tucking him in bed, and he went directly to his brother to try to get food. Caleb’s response was typical.. to head to the fridge to eat another grilled cheese, so I got up and fed Ryder. I figured since I was already up, I might as well have a snack with them, too. I doubted very seriously either would be getting back to sleep anytime soon. I was in for another long day, it seemed.


After a quick breakfast, I sat down to work on Ryder’s communication skills – something he’ll need when he starts kindergarten in a few days.


Caleb decided to work on his homework since he hadn’t had a chance to last night. I wish he’d told me he had homework to do because I would have nixed the fishing trip! I decided helping Caleb with his homework was more important than teaching Ryder to talk. We finished his homework with just minutes to go before his bus came.


We had decided to have Ryder’s birthday cake after Caleb came home from school, so I had a lot of time to kill. I had also promised to leave the garden for him to work on… so all that was left was for me to work on Ryder’s skills.


The problem was convincing Ryder that now was a good time to work on his skills. Sometimes he can be very recalcitrant when it comes to doing anything with us. He’d much rather spend the time on his own.


Eventually, I put grumpy down for his nap and spent some time cleaning the house. Then, I took a nap myself.


When I woke up, Caleb had just gotten home so we all gathered to sing happy birthday for Ryder. Ryder, of course, was in a hurry to get through the celebration so he could spend some time on his own.


After Ryder finished his cake, Caleb and I headed out to care for the garden. Ryder elected to work on homework for the first day of school tomorrow.


Before long, however, Caleb’s early morning caught up with him and he went to take a nap. I finished caring for the garden, then headed in to see what everyone else was up to and take a shower. Working in the garden is dirty stuff!


After letting Caleb sleep for a while, I woke him up so he wouldn’t get too far off schedule. He did have school the next day, after all. He managed to get in a shower and a movie before bed. I spent the next hour or so dismantling and getting the toddler stuff in the house ready for sale as well as putting together Ryder’s “big boy” bed.

By the time I had it put together, Ryder was ready to head to bed.. as was I. My nap had only gone so far.


I drifted off to sleep with concerns about Ryder’s first day of school – he still was insisting he didn’t want to go. Caleb had even talked to him about how exciting school was.. but Ryder was having none of it. I only hoped school itself would change his mind!

Author’s note: Ryder rolled “good” for his child trait. Hopefully it helps!

4. A Birthday for Caleb < | > 6. The Question

Posted in My Sims 4 Challenges, Sims 4, The Travelers (Drifter #2)

Travelers 1.4 A Birthday For Caleb

Time to Talk < | > The Longest Days

I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I felt that Caleb was now as excited about his future as I have been. The past few days, he’s talked about nothing else. Even the art projects he brought home from school were pictures of house ideas – each one more outlandish than the last. He seemed in no hurry to grow up, that’s for sure…. but at least I no longer had to worry about his reaction to the contract. Having it all out in the open really took a load off for me.

This morning, I woke up early with Jared, and we quietly had breakfast before the boys woke up. Caleb’s big day was coming, and I wanted to be prepared as possible. We discussed ideas, going back and forth, trying to figure out something that would be a memory that Caleb could always keep with him.


Perhaps it was because we were already eating, or maybe it was just because I’d just been thinking about it, but the restaurant popped into my head. It was perfect. I even arranged for care for Ryder, so he wouldn’t be in the way on Caleb’s big day. Ryder, the lucky tyke that he was, was scheduled for a playdate with a small friend from a local town’s daycare. We didn’t exactly have a daycare here in town, and since Jared and I both “worked” at home, we didn’t need daycare services often… but it was nice to know it was there for just these occasions.


For the rest of the week, Jared and I managed to be as inconspicuous as possible. As far as I could tell, Caleb had no idea what we had planned for his upcoming birthday. It was a big one, too.. which made it all the more important to make it memorable. We managed to act as if it were just another week. As usual, Ryder commanded the lion’s share of Jared and I’s attention. Between feedings and flash cards and blocks and the toys and the.. well, you get the idea.


Finally, the day arrived. I impatiently filled the day with gardening and teaching Ryder his thinking skills flashcards. The whole day seemed to just drag by. When Caleb finally got home from school, Ryder was already gone on his playdate (and hopefully behaving!)

As off-handedly as I could, I asked Caleb to put away his school stuff, that we had an errand to run. He complied, and Jared, Caleb and I piled into the van. I had already talked to the driver, and we were going to take a roundabout way to get to the restaurant instead of going straight there. Finally, we passed the turn-off that led towards the next town (the closest shopping areas to where we lived, and where we usually ran any errands). I saw Caleb’s eyes suddenly sharpen.

“Hey, Mom? Why are we going this way?” he asked, suddenly curious.

He knows! Or, at least suspects! My brain yelled at me. As calmly as I could, I answered, “You’ll see.” I saw Jared hiding a little smile and I silently willed him to keep it under wraps as much as possible.

After what seemed like forever, the car pulled into the restaurant. I noticed that they had updated the sign to read “Traveler’s Bar And Grille” in honor of our family’s rebuilding the town, and I wondered at the amount of people that were actually here. Considering our house was the only house in town… there seemed to be a lot of people here. I wondered if Jared had said something to someone about us coming here today.

“Mom??” Caleb exclaimed.

“Come, on, son.” I said, “Happy Birthday!”

Caleb bounded out of the van, and I saw the driver grinning at my son’s excitement. We hardly ever came to the restaurant, so being here was a big deal. I climbed out, and approached the host station.


“Travelers, party of 3.” I told the host, and he smiled, pulling out menus. “No need for those. Just bring us a big Pepperoni Pizza and some Creme Sodas.”

Caleb’s eyes widened as I mentioned his favorites, and he barely seemed to be able to contain himself in his excitement.

“Right this way.” the man said, and the three of us followed him. I noticed a lot of the restaurant’s patrons eyeing us curiously.

We sat at our table, and a grey-haired man and woman approached us.


“Hello, Travelers! We wanted to be a part of this special day, too, and congratulate Caleb. He’s grown so much lately. High School starts tomorrow, right, Caleb?” the man said.

Caleb answered before I could even think of a reply. “Yes! I’m so excited to meet my new teachers!” he said.

“I’m sure they’re all excited to meet such an important young man.” said the woman. “Your family’s heroism for this town has not gone unnoticed.”

“I’m sorry.. I don’t recognize the two of you.” I broke in.. wondering why these people seemed to be trying to join in our private celebration.

“Oh, dear. In our excitement to finally meet Caleb, we must have forgotten to introduce ourselves,” said the man, “We’re from the town government who holds your contract. We heard you and your family were coming to celebrate Caleb’s birthday, and we couldn’t resist coming to meet you ourselves.”


“Excuse me…” the waitress said. “Just the pizza and the creme sodas for ya’ll??”

“Oh, please sign us up for a big confetti birthday cake, too.” I said, smiling widely at Caleb.

“Really, Mom? A big cake.. just for us?!” he crowed, practically bouncing out of his chair in his excitement.

“Of course!” I replied, “It is an important celebration in honor of you today, after all.”

The conversation continued, until our food finally arrived (I had noticed a big crash nearby as what seemed to be the food meant for us fell on the floor and the kitchen staff had to start all over. I felt bad for them, but maybe that waitress should have been more careful!) I tried to drop hints that we had planned this to be a private celebration, but the man and the woman seemed oblivious, and I didn’t really want to be rude.. so they stayed.

“Hold on, can I please take a photo of you guys, with my phone, just to show I actually got to meet you?!” the woman said.

“I’ll duck out of the way… ” said the man, and, strangely, he proceeded to do just that.


“Thanks so much! It was great to finally meet such a famous family!” the woman said, and left with a pointed look at her companion. Apparently he either didn’t see it or he ignored it.. because right by us is where he stayed, talking up a storm about how lucky the town was that I had moved in and raised my family right here, building the first house back into this poor town. Caleb seemed to drink the attention right up, talking back animatedly, discussing how he was planning to build the best house they’d ever seen. They were little-kid ideas, but his heart was certainly in the right place. The man treated Caleb like a hero, and Caleb clearly noticed.


As the pizza and the Creme Sodas disappeared, I noticed the waitresses gathering with a big blue cake. Smiling, I nodded at them, and they brought the cake over. Confetti and streamers and horn-blowing accompanied what seemed like the entire restaurant’s cheers. We all sang Happy Birthday, and Caleb got ready to blow out the candles.


“Make a wish, honey!” I reminded him, and he paused just long enough to do just that. Internally, I wondered what he’d wished for. It was bad luck to tell, of course, but I still wished I knew. Knowing his most private of dreams would certainly be helpful… that way I could do whatever I could to help it happen. I assume most parents think the same way about their kids.


And then .. the moment was over. Caleb was a teenager. The whole restaurant cheered, and Caleb hurried to pull the extinguished candles out of the cake. The waitress handed us a big knife to cut up the cake, and people slowly returned to their own meals. All but that man. I wondered if he planned to stay the entire time we were here.


Since Caleb was “big” now, I let him cut the cake when he asked to, chuckling to myself at the huge piece he cut for himself.

“Are you sure you’re hungry enough for all that?” I asked him, trying not to burst out laughing.

“Of course I am, Mom!” Caleb answered. “Watch this!”

… And he proceeded to shovel the whole thing into his mouth, barely chewing each bite before the next one disappeared. Indeed, most of the cake went the way of this piece, and we had only a small fraction of the cake leftover to take home.


“I’ll save the rest for Ryder.” Caleb said, and finished off his fourth creme soda. “Ready to go, Mom? I’m sure Ryder is missing us!”

I smiled at the care Caleb showed for his younger brother, and Jared and I finished off our (much smaller) pieces of cake and prepared to leave.

“Sure thing, honey. The van should still be waiting for us, we can go pick him up now.”

We said our goodbyes to the strange government man, and to several other restaurant patrons who wanted to have their picture taken with Caleb, and we headed home into the approaching dusk.

Once home, Caleb put the cake in the fridge and went to take his bedtime bath… then, exhausted from a long day, he tucked himself into bed.

Even Ryder seemed ready for bed, too, and before I even had a chance to read him his customary story, he was sound asleep. I tucked both boys in and switched off the lights.


“So, what do you think, Jared? Was that a success, or what?” I asked as my husband and I got ready for bed.

“I think we can call it, that, yes.” he said, laughing. “I wonder what that man was thinking. He certainly had a lot to say, didn’t he??”

“That he did. I’m glad we’re planning to stay home for Ryder’s birthday in a few days. That was a lot of extra attention we got!”

“Agreed.” Jared replied, and we curled up into bed.

I slowly drifted off to sleep, wondering again what Caleb might have wished for so seriously before blowing out his candles…. and trying not to worry about Ryder growing up too soon, trying to be just like his big brother. You know, parent things. The stuff we all wonder as our children grow. … Maybe I’d bake Ryder a pink cake, since that was his favorite color, it seemed… Another day complete.. and a milestone reached for Caleb. High School ahead….

My thoughts droned on.. until finally sleep took me.

…. To be continued.

Author’s Note: I have no idea who those sims were who decided to join the Traveler’s celebration, but I felt the need to weave what seemed like paparazzi into the story. That man just never did go away, although most of the rest of the people they attracted did. I took my writing cues from the screenshots I had, and just wrote what came to mind. And – yes, I’m random-rolling every trait for this story.. and Caleb really did roll Glutton to go with his Outgoing from when he rolled his child trait. He also rolled the Party Animal aspiration.. which of course isn’t going to be worked on because he’s unplayable until he grows up, but it gives him the “Gregarious” trait.

Time to Talk < | > The Longest Days

Posted in My Sims 4 Challenges, Sims 4, The Travelers (Drifter #2)

Travelers 1.3 Time to Talk

A Surprise For Kiera < | > A Birthday For Caleb

Every day in parenting is an adventure.. and a lot of work, too. Some days it seemed too much work, but I always felt rewarded at the end of the day, no matter how tired I was.


Just yesterday, I spent all day harvesting our Chrysanthemums for sale at the farmer’s market in town, cleaning and repairing the bathroom, and spending time teaching Ryder the skills he will need as he grows.


Unfortunately, all of this work didn’t distract my mind from a dawning realization. With high school starting in a few days, it was time for Caleb to learn about his inheritance. I didn’t want to just spring it on him, I wanted him to be able to be prepared for the difficulties he would face. I didn’t know for sure what the contract on him would require (other than building the house, of course) – but I did know that it wouldn’t be easy. It certainly hadn’t been easy for me!


So.. with a heavy heart, I worked my way through Sunday’s chores, and planned to talk to Caleb before bed. Jared agreed to help out with Ryder so Caleb and I could have our talk outside on what I considered “my” bench.


Dinner was a quiet affair, and even Caleb seemed subdued, like he knew something was coming.

After dinner, I took his hand and led him out to the bench.

“I have a story to tell you, Caleb. It’s a good story, but one I’ve never told you before because you just weren’t big enough to understand. It starts out sad but gets so very much better.”


I could see Caleb’s shining green eyes watching me in the approaching dusk.

“You see.. when I was your age, my mother passed away very suddenly. Dad didn’t cope very well, and he became very distant and withdrawn. I had school, and my friends.. but I never really felt that I “had” my dad anymore. I went through high school almost on auto-pilot. I never really sat down and thought about what I wanted out of life. Somehow, I let everything just pass me by until it was too late. Just before I graduated, Dad died, too. I’m sure he felt that, since I was going to be grown up and move on with my life, that he had nothing left to live for. It just wasn’t true. I missed the dad I’d had in my childhood.. and I wished I had had the guts to say so while he was still alive.”


Caleb’s eyes had clouded and a frown touched his mouth.

“I tell you that.. to try and show you how hopeless I felt at the time. Nothing had gone right in my life for what seemed like a very long time. Then, everything changed. One night, while sitting around in the apartment I could no longer afford to live in, I saw a news featurette about a government program in Simsville. Apparently, the entire town had been decimated by tornadoes and flash flooding. Everyone who lived there had been forced to re-locate. The only thing left standing was a small restaurant.. almost like a beacon of hope. The town government had decided to try to sponsor people to move back in. They would provide the land and the contractors if someone would be willing to take the gamble on moving into what was, almost literally.. a ghost town. Since I had nothing to my name except my clothes and my high school diploma.. I felt that this could be a new start for me. Someplace fresh.. where people wouldn’t look at me with pity, knowing what had happened to my family.”


“So you moved?” Caleb broke into the story.

“Yes. I moved. Just me, the bits of survival gear the company gave me, a cellphone and a packet of information also from them.. and my suitcase. When I got here, all that there was was this bench, that mailbox.. and me.”

Caleb’s face had lit up. “What an adventure!” he crowed.

“Yes, it was that. I learned to fish, and garden, and finally, to dream. I built this house and this family from those moments out here in the desert, and I would do it again. But here’s where you come into the story.”

Sighing deeply, I braced myself for the fact that he might not be glad to get the same chance I had gotten. I thought to the tattered packet of information I had brought with me to this land and had kept in the back of my dresser all these years. There would be one of those waiting for Caleb, too. And it was time for me to find out whether he was willing to carry the dream forward.

“Caleb… this house was not built for you. Your destiny lies in building your own house, in taking the plunge to your own adventure.”

He merely looked confused, and I felt like I was completely flubbing the whole talk. Sighing again.. I tried to start over.

“You see, there’s a packet of information – a contract – waiting for you, as my firstborn. When you graduate high school, you are to move out like I did, following the guidelines in your information packet, and build your dream. Your firstborn will do the same thing.”

“Ewww.. kids. That means I have to find a girl, right mom?”


I laughed.

“Yes, I suppose it does. But you have a good many years before that happens. What do you think?”

“I think it’s awesome! I like being outdoors, and maybe you can start teaching me about the gardening and fishing, right? Do you think I could live here, like across the street? That would be way cool.”

I slowly let out the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.

“Well, yes, I suppose I could start teaching you those things. At least the basics. And – Caleb, I have no idea where the land that’s meant for you is. There are other neighborhoods that need houses in them, too. One that I know of is as green as this place is brown. There’s also a city.. and even rumors of a dark place.. with monsters.”


Caleb’s eyes lit up at that comment… “Monsters?!? Really? Could we go see them??”

Again, I had to laugh.

“No, I don’t think it’s the type of place you go to visit. I’m just saying… there’s more in this town than just this deserted street. Your land could be anywhere. But the best part is that it will be yours alone. Yours to dream up a house, yours to raise your family on. I made this choice to come here, knowing that the legacy I leave you with is a good one. You have a chance.. one that I thought I would never have.. but that, unbelievably, I was given. I don’t know what happens should you choose not to take the packet of information, but I doubt it’s a good thing.”

Concerned, I watched Caleb’s face. He thought about it for a long moment.

“Mom, I don’t know why I would be so silly as to not take it. I’ve heard rumors all the time in school about how you’re the hero this town was looking for. How nobody else was brave enough or crazy enough to try to build a house here.. but you did it. This is the best house, ever. Especially my monkey bars. You should be proud. I know I am! I don’t know how I’ll build a house like you did. But I do know that I’ll try. Wherever my land is.. ” he trailed off, watching my worried face.

“Don’t worry, Mom. I love a good adventure, and that’s what this is. Wait until my classmates hear that I get to build a house just like you!” He paused for a moment, then glanced towards the house.

“But…” He paused, thought for another moment, and then continued, “How come Ryder doesn’t get to build a house?” he asked, looking down.

“Because someone has to take care of this house.” I replied. “Although, if he chooses, he could take one of those contracts, too, I suppose. As far as I know, they never found anyone else to help build this town. This house could be sold just as easily for someone else to come live in… if anyone still wants to move back here.”

He thought about it, then said, “Well, that makes sense. I hope Ryder stays here. It would be cool to have him as a neighbor, I think, instead of some other smelly sim.” Caleb grinned at the thought. “When Ryder gets bigger, can I be the one to tell him he has to take care of this house? .. And tell him the story of you fishing and gardening your way to building it?”

I looked at him in surprise, “If you want to. I suppose you could be the one to tell him. But he doesn’t have to stay here, you know.”

“I know, Mom. But I want him to. Maybe if I asked nicely. Do you think?”

Again, I chuckled. The things this child came up with….

“Yes, I think if you asked he might stay. Just remember, he’s allowed to make his own choice just like you are. I’ll support you two no matter what you two decide.”

“There’s nothing to decide for me. I’m going to get my own adventure! And there might even be monsters!! Wait until I tell my friends…”


Quickly, before he could run off, I caught him into a big hug. He hugged me back, then squirmed away.

“I have to get ready for bed, Mom.” He cocked his head, listening to crying coming from our house. “And I think Ryder needs a bedtime story. I’ve already had mine!”

With a grin, he took off for the house.

I sat there for a while longer, just watching the moon rise. Then, hearing Ryder crying again, I got up to get back to the business of mothering. That had gone well… maybe too well. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned the monsters. Laughing briefly, I headed back into the house to read my youngest son to sleep.


To Be Continued…

A Surprise For Kiera < | > A Birthday For Caleb

Posted in My Sims 4 Challenges, Sims 4, The Travelers (Drifter #2)

Travelers 1.2 A Surprise For Kiera

A New Start For Keira <|> Time To Talk

I feel like my life has been so much better since I took the contract to build a house for the city. I could never have dreamed things would have changed so much in such a little time. I have a home of my own, a loving husband, and a growing son. He started elementary school today, and came home full of energy and stories of his day. He and I sat at the table having an after school snack and I listened to all the exciting things he learned at school (and the friends he made, of course!)


Later, even Jared joined in and we all watched a movie together in the newly decorated “living room”. It was so nice to spend some family time without me having to run around cleaning the house or working in the garden. (Luckily, Jared had taken care of most of that while I spent time with Caleb.)


A few days passed with more gardening and school and family time.. then the unexpected happened. I found out we had another nooboo on the way! I waited for Caleb to get home from school, worried that he might think he was being replaced. Jared, of course, was thrilled. (I think, mostly because he loves playing with toddlers!) .. But what would Caleb think??


To my surprise, Caleb was overjoyed at the thought of a little baby brother or sister, and eagerly watched my belly grow as he waited for their arrival. I think his preference was for a little brother, but he tried to be okay with both options.

Days turned into weeks, and before long the money I had made from gardening afforded us the ability to “finish” our home. I say it like that, because undoubtedly the children’s room will need to change as they grow. I included a photo of the interior designer’s mock-up with the walls removed, as well as two outside photos of our wonderful house.

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And yes… that’s Caleb’s other big surprise.. a set of Monkey Bars to practice on. He has struggled with the ones at school… so Jared agreed to help him learn at home so he wouldn’t embarrass himself at school.

The big gurus at the government had come by to take promotional shots and they all said how much they liked the house I had built. Apparently they were having trouble getting anyone else to take the contract to build houses in these empty towns! I wasn’t going to complain, because that left more space for the generations to come for my family.

One afternoon, Caleb didn’t come in after school.. and I worried terribly as to where he’d gone. Jared finally found the poor soul sound asleep on the very bench I used to camp on. Apparently he sat down to take a break from the monkey bars and simply nodded off!


Before we knew it, the time for the baby to be born had come. Of course, it was in the middle of the night.. so we ended up letting Caleb stay home and be a “big boy” while we hurried off to the hospital.


Before too long, we were back with our newest addition to the family. (Is it me, or does it seem to go faster with the second one??) Caleb had gotten what he REALLY wanted: a new baby brother. Jared and I named him Ryder, and tucked him safely into his little bassinet. I decided he would stay in the hall, right outside our bedroom door, so Caleb would be able to sleep all night without the baby waking him up, and we could hear him when he woke.


He adjusted easily to a sleeping schedule, though, and midnight feedings were far rarer than they had been with Caleb. Perhaps practice does make perfect.


Caleb, ever watchful when something needed doing, was really helping out around the house. He washed dishes and took out the trash, and spent time watching his brother, as well.


He didn’t neglect his monkey bars, however.. and soon the day came when he could make it all the way across! I was so proud of him, I immediately grabbed the camera and took the above shot as proof. Never let it be said that I wasn’t supportive of our boys!


That same week, Caleb surprised us again. Both with a new outfit and a mask that he made at school and with his shiny new A on his report card. All the studying he had been doing had really paid off.


Ryder was now learning to talk and walk.. and really enjoyed the time Caleb took out of his daily schedule to play with his brother. I was so proud of the two of them I felt I could burst. How had I gotten so lucky?


Day by day, Ryder grew up. He learned to put himself down for a nap while I gardened, and he finally figured out what the potty chair was for. Caleb didn’t mind having his little brother share his room, but he put his foot down at stinky diapers. (I can’t say as I blame him – all of us were happy when the potty training “stuck”.)


Ryder grew steadily, taking on new things on a daily basis. From stairs to climb to trying to “help” in the garden, I adored watching him grow up. Our little surprise was really fitting in with the family well.

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Each day felt like a blessing.. although there was that little worry in the back of my head. How would Caleb react when he found out about having to strike out on his own as soon as he graduated high school? I tried not to think about it, but I knew that soon I needed to sit him down and explain the contract. I thought it was a good thing for him, but would he agree? I didn’t want to just spring it on him as he graduated.. I wanted him to be aware of what was coming and more prepared for it than I had been. But when was the best time to tell him? Jared was little help, as he said that it was my decision. Was he old enough to know now? Or should I wait a little longer?

To be continued…

Author’s Note: No, Ryder was not strictly a surprise. I’m not running mods in my game, so I had to have them “try for baby”… but I like to think it was a GOOD surprise for Keira!

A New Start For Keira <|> Time To Talk

Posted in My Sims 4 Challenges, Sims 4, The Travelers (Drifter #2)

Travelers 1.1 A New Start For Keira

Introduction by the Author < | > A Surprise For Keira

Well, today’s the day. With both my parents gone before their time, and no other family to speak of, I have little to hold me to my home, and fewer options. Last week, on the news, they had a “human interest” piece on a series of mid-western towns that had been devastated by tornadoes. The only thing still standing was a small restaurant, and the people that had survived were understandably leery of moving back into the area. The local government was holding out a “carrot” for new settlers. A lifetime contract, if you will, to help rebuild the towns. I contacted the number listed, and spent much of my final teenage days in meetings and on the phone with the people sponsoring the contract. For a FREE plot of land, all I would have to do was build a house fitting their description – 2 bedroom 1 bath minimum and worth 30,000 simoleons. The design was left up to me, and they already had a contracting company ready for whatever I could dream up. The only catch seemed to be the stipulation that my first born.. and their first born.. and on down the line.. would be contracted to build their own house, as well. I tried not to get overwhelmed by the details… and I plunged ahead. I loved the idea of making a difference, of being able to leave a legacy behind when I was gone. Whether by bravery, stupidity, or fate itself – I was going for it. Everything was signed, sealed, and I was in the contracting company’s hired car with my meager possessions stuffed into one suitcase in the back. With a pre-paid cell phone, my suitcase, and myself.. I’m to be delivered to MY land. All mine. The excitement was unbearable, and the trip seemed to take forever.


With little more than good-luck wishes and the aforementioned suitcase and phone, they dropped me off on the side of the dusty road next to a mailbox. A mailbox with MY name – Keira Traveler – already on it. I had no money, no shelter, and nothing to eat.. but they had helpfully left me with some basic survival tools – gardening tools, a fishing pole, and mess kit to eat .. well.. whatever I could find. The task had never seemed so daunting as it did when the car pulled away from the curb. For a brief moment, I felt like crying in loneliness, but, thankfully, it passed. With that moment of weakness behind me, I headed to the stream I could see running behind my house .. and prepared to learn to fish. It couldn’t be THAT hard, right?


Hours later, having finally caught a few small fish… I figured I had enough for a snack courtesy of the grill at the “neighborhood” park. I eyed the plants in the planters there, hoping to see fruit, vegetables, or flowers that I could use to plant my own garden.. but they all appeared to need more time to grow. I had noticed a bunch of people walking down the sidewalks all day, eyeing me curiously, but I didn’t feel brave enough to meet new people just yet.


After my snack, I headed back for more fishing, and lo and behold.. I caught a cowplant berry. In the survival guide they had provided me with, I had made an earlier note about cowplants.. viable, growing baby plants could be sold for a nice chunk of change. So, abandoning the fishing trip, I went to see if this little berry would grow for me.


Amazingly, it did.. and I was able to purchase my first thing… a toilet. As you can see, it was none too soon.


Feeling much better… and finally with a real sense of hope, I watched the sun go down sitting on a sidewalk bench.. then curled up for a cold night of sleep.


The next day, things were definitely looking up. I managed to find some digsites with things to sell to the local traders. I spent a good portion of the day scrounging up what I could, along with more time with my fishing pole. By the end of the day, I had even found some flowers to plant in a garden of my very own.


As the days went by, I started to feel more at home, and even felt brave enough to meet some of the people who continued to walk by, curious as to who might have been silly enough to fall for this town contract. From most of the people, all I heard was amazement that I would be willing to “give up” my life to the town and this government contract. Very few seemed to even think that I might have actually wanted the chance I was being given.


Luckily, not every one thought that way, and I met some people who I could relate to.. even one man who I really liked – Jared. He was a colorful sort of person, and seemed to really support the choice I had made. As the days went by, he and I seemed to get closer and closer. I noticed him keeping track of my growing campsite, and he seemed genuinely thrilled for me when the first walls were finally put up.


I wasn’t stuck to eating just fish anymore, either. With the acquisition of a cooler, I was able to eat cereal, yogurt, or granola anytime I wanted without dipping into the things that I found to sell. I got a used futon, and some more plumbing for my growing “bathroom”. I can’t even tell you how great it felt to be able to keep myself and my campsite cleaned up with bathroom fixtures.


It was such a joy to see him, I would run after him any time I saw him walking by… even if I was just in my jammies. We could talk for hours.. although I rarely had that kind of time with my fishing, scrounging, and gardening taking up most of my time. Some days, I was even able to talk him into helping out around camp.

One day, I simply couldn’t wait any longer. I had to make a move since he seemed to be either too shy or too scared to make one of his own. He accepted my flirting, and, to my surprise, he even flirted back. He said he hadn’t made a move because he didn’t want to pressure me into a relationship he wasn’t sure I wanted. I quickly let him know that was definitely NOT the case, and planted a kiss on him that I hoped he wouldn’t forget any time soon.


More days passed, and Jared seemed to be spending more and more time at my camp. Finally, I asked him to move in. By that time, I had a bonafide garden and a bathroom, and felt I had a good start on building a home I hoped Jared could come to love, too.


Within a week of him moving in, I had convinced him to marry me… and we finally had a roof over our heads. I couldn’t have been happier. It wasn’t much of a house, not yet.. but I could really see the possibilities of my dreams coming true.


Jared helped around the house as much as he could, and even seemed to enjoy our daily gardening sessions. The chrysanthemums I had planted were really doing well, and were starting to really make some money. I had long since given up on a vegetable garden, because it simply didn’t make enough money to be worth it.

I finally was able to afford some decent appliances for our “kitchen”.. and I started teaching myself how to cook. I started small.. and even avoided using the oven until I felt confident that I wouldn’t set anything on fire.


Then.. one night.. after a day of feeling rather queasy, I took “THE” test. Jared was surprised, but as happy as I was to find out I was expecting. My pregnancy went by pretty quickly (it seemed) and before we knew it, Caleb was born. Jared seemed a little overwhelmed by the baby, so I did most the care and left Jared alone outside with the garden.


I can hardly wait for Caleb to grow up, if nothing else.. so he can start learning how to take care of himself. Juggling the baby, collecting, and gardening really is taking a toll on me. It led directly to:


How embarrassing. I did finally make it back to my bed, though.. and I vowed not to let it happen again. Before I knew it, my juggling act had a new participant.. Caleb. Instead of just laying in his crib, now he’s into everything. I’m barely able to find time for gardening, but luckily Jared seems to have settled into his role as a parent and is helping out with Caleb more. Caleb is such a Charmer… always a smile for everyone (unless he’s not getting his way!)


He quickly picks up the basics – walking talking, and pottying. Okay, so it wasn’t THAT quick.. but definitely appreciated as he really is starting to be his own person.

I also found the time to meet with the interior decorator and get the house really looking like a house. As I make money from gardening, I’ll decorate it some more to get to the right value for the contract, but I don’t think it’ll be too hard to get to. It’s a simple house, but simple is just fine with me. I don’t need anything too fancy, and the stucco exterior seems to fit really well with the environment.


I have to say, it’s great fun watching Caleb grow up. He loves to play and dance, and is always following me or Jared around. I’m afraid I take far too many pictures of him, but I’ll try to show only the best ones.

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Author’s Note: I know, I started a second drifter save, I’m completely crazy. And to blog BOTH of them? .. even crazier. I started this one while waiting for my new computer to arrive… and I think I’ve fallen in love with this little family.. or is it just the toddlers I love? Who knows. I also kinda wanted to try telling a story for this drifter save (the other one is just commentary-style).. whether that continues or not.. we’ll see. So far so good, though. 

Introduction by the Author < | > A Surprise For Keira