life lessons from the sims

I’ve played The Sims since TS1 came out in 2003.  I mostly play TS2, but I’ve dabbled in TS3, and may try TS4, just to see if it’s any good.  In my 12 years of playing this addicting game, I’ve learned a few things about real life:

1.  It’s way more expensive to rent than to buy.

In The Sims 2: Apartment Life, apartments were introduced to The Sims, and while they seemed cool at first, it’s very soon apparent that renting costs a friggin’ fortune.  For example, I have an apartment building that rents one bedroom, one bath apartments with garages and sparse furnishings for $2,382 – $3,270 a week.  A week!  You can get a small house in the game for less than $20,000 (the amount your sims start off with).  That means that in less than ten weeks, your sims will have spent the equivalent of a small home they could have bought if they had just spent the cash up front.

Yeah, this POS apartment is expensive AF. Not worth it.

I went through the same thing when I got my first apartment in the Navy, it was a two bedroom, 2.5 bath townhouse that we rented for about $1,800 a month.  We lived there for three years, and spent nearly $65,000 in rent!  Conversely, when my husband and I bought our first house, we put $80,000 down, and we still have that $80,000, because we’ll get it back (and then some) when we sell.

 

2.  Doing well in school tends to lead to an easier life.

In The Sims 2: University, sims can go to college for various degrees, and build skills that come in handy when they graduate and get jobs.  Additionally, young adult sims in college can get up to $1,200 per semester if they get straight As.  I’ve found this one to be true in life, as well.  Doing well in school means that a) you actually know the subject of your major, and b) grants, scholarships, and even financial aid are more readily available.  I’m on the GI Bill, I have to get good grades, or they won’t pay me!  Maybe it’s just my ego talking, but it was pretty sweet to receive an Academic Achievement Award when I graduated with my Bachelor’s for having a perfect 4.0.  It’s also way easier to justify not working when I’m totally earning my right to be a full-time student by kicking butt in school.

School’s not all cheerleaders and jocks, you slacker!

After college, sims have all these skills they’ve built that allow them the opportunity to take higher paying jobs, because they have the base skills needed to work them.  Climbing the career ladder is a lot faster when you start out ahead of the game!  I haven’t gone back to work yet (still working on my MBA), but I’m hoping that this is also true in real life and that I won’t end up answering phones or flipping burgers with my knowledge of business, human resources management, and project/program management.

 

3.  Kids grow up fast.

In The Sims 2, sims get pregnant, and 75 hours later, a baby appears.  After three days, the baby will grow into a toddler, who, after four days, grows into a child.  Eight days later, they become a teenager, and teens have 15 days to decide whether or not they want to go to college as a young adult, and spend 24 days doing that, or waiting until the 15 days are up and growing into an adult.  For 29 days, adult sims do adult sim things (like working in their jobs and making sim babies), until they retire as an elder.  Elders who had crappy lives can live as little as nine days, but if they had a very happy, fulfilling life, they can live up to 31 days!

This one I know is totally true.  I don’t have kids yet, but I’m going to be 30 this year, so a ton of my friends do.  Even just watching them grow up on Facebook is insane!  A friend of mine in Virginia has a three-year-old boy, and I swear, he was an infant like a week ago!  Kids I used to babysit are now graduating high school and college, and some of them even have kids!  A friend of mine who’s a Chief in the Navy has grandkids!  She’s not even old!  Granted, she has these adorable braces and long hair that make her look 12, but still!

You’ll miss this when he’s trying to cook and burning the kitchen down.

On the other side of it, planning for retirement is freaking impossible.  Most people don’t die in their 40s and 50s anymore, so I kind of understand why organizations are taking away 20-year pensions.  When my husband retires at 38, he’s got at least 30 or 40 years before he kicks it.  That being said, he’s obviously going to go back to work, but how long are we going to work?  If we work until we’re 60, and die at 80, we have to save for 20 years of living!  What if we die at 90?  What if we live to be 100??  How the hell is anyone supposed to plan for that??  Right now, we each have a TSP, and he has a pension coming.  It’s not enough.  We need Roth IRAs and 401Ks and 403Bs and all this other crap that I don’t even really understand what it is, but I’ll be damned if we’re old as hell and can’t take care of ourselves!  I don’t let my elder sims hang around their kids’ houses when they’re old, those cranky bastards go to a retirement home!  (No, really, it’s brilliant.  I made a cheap apartment complex for them that is a lot like a retirement home, so I don’t have to deal with their shit…)

Why can’t ACTUAL elders look this good??

 

4.  If you come from a family with money, you’re set.

I’m not much of a liberal, I agree with the Affordable Care Act, and I support gay marriage and I’m not racist, but sometimes I think that people totally overplay the “you came from a well-to-do family, your life must be easy” card.  They don’t.  It’s totally true.  I have some sim families that are on their fourth or fifth generation and holy crap are their lives easy.  They have all this cash lying around, all this nice stuff they didn’t have to save for weeks to buy, and I have a custom checkbook object I can use to have my sims send money to people, like their kids when they go to college, so they don’t have to live in a crappy dorm, or their kids again when they’ve graduated and need more cash to buy and furnish a house, or their kids again when they retire to the home and don’t need hundreds of thousands of simoleans to sit there and play chess.  Because of that, my “legacy” sims don’t have to get jobs right away, can afford nice beds that recharge that energy bar quick, and kitchen appliances that make healthy food so they aren’t hungry right after eating.  They can take vacations when life gets too boring, and have more time to spend on their hobbies, for no other reason other than they like to tinker, or paint, or whatever.

Maybe it doesn’t translate directly, but it sure as hell makes sense to me that money begets money, and if you come from a family that’s got it, you have a way better chance of making it yourself.

Oh, you mean you’re not rich enough to wear a top hat while drinking champagne at a translucent desk covered in money in front of a saltwater aquarium??

 

5.  Some relationships are not meant to be.

In The Sims 2, you can make sims who are just perfect for each other.  At least you think they are until you try to rustle up some romanticism and one of them goes “eww, no” in simlish with a big thought bubble that says “I ain’t into that.”

I’m not digging your scene, man…

There is nothing more obnoxious than creating sims who just aren’t right for each other, or when you want two kids who have been BFFS4LYFE to take their relationship down make out road, and find that one or both of them won’t have it.

The absolute worst though, is when one sim is head-over-heels in love with another sim, and that sim feels no love.  I know it’s just a video game, but that makes me so sad.  I console my sims.  I tell them I’ve been there (I have) and that it will get better (it will), even if I have to call that annoying matchmaker to find them the perfect partner.

Ahhh, I see in my crystal ball that you think I’m obnoxious and should eat a bag of dicks…

Sometimes, you just have to let it go.  If you try to hold on too tight to someone, you end up scaring the crap out of them, and becoming someone you hate – whoever the hell .38 Special was singing about in that song.

 

What lessons have video games taught you?  Share your wisdom in the comments!

help us help zoink!

So, we adopted this little puppy named Zoink…

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He’s the cutest boy in the world.  He was born in Los Angeles in January with Type II Congenital Lateral Elbow Luxation; or, in plain English, dislocated elbows.  He was brought to the Downy shelter up there, which is a high-kill shelter that Labradors and Friends Dog Rescue of San Diego works with to get dogs out, rehab, and re-home them.  I found out about Zoink because my friend agreed to foster him while he was getting medical treatment.  My friend is in the Navy, and she had duty one Saturday, and a five-hour watch.  She asked if we could watch him, and told us that if we wanted, and if he got along with Spud and Isis (our Chihuahuas), we could continue fostering him because her schedule changed and she wouldn’t be able to do it anymore.

I was hooked the moment I saw him.  He was SO TINY!  Five pounds and seven weeks old, he was the cutest thing I had ever seen:

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AND… he got along with the dogs.  Well, kind of.  He was smaller than they were, so they were okay with him because they were in charge, so I took that as a win.  That was on February 22nd, and he’s been with us ever since.

In March, Zoink had his first surgery to pull his elbows back into place and pin them there.  We visited him on March 9th to see how he was doing:

He ended up being cleared to go home, but his pins migrated a few days later, and he had to go BACK into surgery to fix them.  That time, he was at the animal hospital for a whole week before we could bring him home, and practice standing:

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Soon, he was out of his casts and into a tube sock that I cut down and slid over his legs to keep his elbows in:

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And soon, he was standing…

And then, on March 31st, he took his first steps by himself…

Now he’s 45 pounds of pocket-pit bull, and he’s still as cute as ever:

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Unfortunately, he’s still in pain, and he needs to get his elbows fused in order to relieve it.

I have set up a GoFundMe account: http://www.gofundme.com/h495x0 for donations.  This surgery is going to run us $10,000, and we could really use some help 😦

I also had some 2015 calendars made of Zoink growing up from about 7 weeks to 9 months, they’re really adorable and would make great gifts for any dog lovers you know!  If you want to purchase one (or more!) please use the form at the bottom of this post.

 

I hate to ask you all for help like this, but if you could find it in your heart to help our boy live a pain-free life, I would be eternally grateful.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

PS: Zoink has a Google+, a Facebook, and a YouTube channel, check him out for more!

i don’t have a problem with your opinion, i have a problem with how you came up with it…

Whoa, it’s been a minute.  Lots of schoolwork, graduating in February, I guess you can say I’ve been busy.

So whenever something political is all over the news, whether it be an election, a scandal, a shutdown, whatever, people come out of the woodwork with their opinions on this or that.  It’s come to my attention that there’s a lot of people who arrive at some conclusion and form opinions on stuff they know absolutely nothing about.  That scares me, because these people vote…

I consider myself politically moderate, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have really strong opinions, but I’ve learned in the past few years that while having really strong opinions is okay, you should probably make sure you know enough about the subject before forming an opinion on it!

The strength of your opinions should vary directly with your knowledge of the subject.

Now, it’s definitely possible to know a lot about something and not have an opinion on it, and it’s also clearly possible not to know anything about a subject and have an opinion on it (just look at the comments on any Politico Facebook post…), but I think the latter is the reason we’re having so many issues regarding the US government.  For crying out loud, have you seen some of the videos of Congressmen blithering on about the most ignorant, asinine stuff???  Check out this Daily Show clip of Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) on the floor of the Senate (starts around 2:20): Shutstorm 2013: America Sits on Its Balls – Colorful Analogies

“That is the best evidence yet that our Congress functions at a kindergarten level…”

Yes. Yes it is.

In the Age of Information (or, as I like to call it, the Age of Ignorance and Entitlement), there really isn’t an excuse for not doing your research before forming an opinion (or voting…).  However, biased and partisan media organizations – big and small – can make it difficult to determine what the truth is in a sea of embellished, skewed, slanted, and sometimes straight up incorrect information.

And it’s both sides doing this!  The uber-liberals are crying for more social programs to help people, but they don’t seem to have a ton of ideas on how to pay for it…  The extreme conservatives are stressing Second Amendment rights and personal responsibility when we have people with serious mental illness killing innocent bystanders and cancer victims declaring bankruptcy before finally dying of a terminal disease they couldn’t afford to treat.

Nobody likes being told what to do, but when you live in a nation of idiots (yes, there are a lot, even the idiots agree that we are a nation of idiots, they just don’t think they’re the idiots) who want everything both ways and would rather be on food stamps with an iPhone than off them without one, there comes a point when someone has to say “enough.  You’re pissing me off, and if you’re not going to do it yourself, then I’m going to do it for you.”

For example, the issue of the uninsured: there are many factors contributing to a person’s lack of insurance.  For me, it was because I was denied due to a pre-existing condition as a disabled veteran, and I could only work part-time due to school, and my employer didn’t offer healthcare options to part-time employees.  For others, they simply can’t afford it, even if they were able to get it.  There’s also the people who “live on the edge,” and feel that accidents and illness happen to other people, but not them, so they just don’t get it.

I compare the issue of health insurance to car insurance.  If you don’t have car insurance, and your car gets damaged in an accident, you can take it to a mechanic and say you can’t pay, but that mechanic is going to say “sucks to be you,” and not fix your car.  The issue of healthcare doesn’t work that way.  If you’re in an accident, are taken to the hospital with a life-threatening wound, and say you don’t have insurance, they still have to treat you.

So, I don’t have a problem with people who don’t want to get medical insurance, but you’d better not be seeking treatment when you can’t pay, because that has massive consequences.

For the people who want health insurance, but can’t get it, the ACA is awesome!  It’s affordable, all-inclusive, and you don’t have to worry that you might get into an accident and not be able to pay.

But you can’t get something for nothing, so yes, you have to pay, and yes, if you don’t have your own insurance, enrollment is mandatory, but that’s the only way this system works!  I am completely baffled by how both parties don’t seem to understand the concept of payment.  If conservative Republicans cut taxes the way they want, we would have a government, but no services!  How would you like to pay taxes to pay your representatives’ salaries, but not have roads, EMS, or utilities?  Does personal responsibility extend to those services??  On the other side is the liberal Democrats that want to take care of everyone, but don’t realize how much those programs cost – and are abused!

My point is: having an opinion is good, I may not agree with it, but I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong – unless it’s painfully obvious that you don’t have a clue what you’re taking about.

i don’t wanna sell my jeep!

I love this thing...

I love this thing…

 

I have this predicament that is twofold:

1. My Mum is coming to visit this summer, and the boy and I only have two-door cars, which makes going anywhere a huge pain in the butt.

2. We’ve been talking babies, and I need a car that a car seat will fit in, and that is safe.

😦

It makes the most sense that I buy a new car, since someone refuses to drive anything but a sports car, and as I’ll be the one with the baby most of the time.  A friend of ours did bring up a good point, however: why is he driving a car that I can barely get in and out of, it’s so low??  I brought this up to him and he said he kind of felt like a jerk, but not enough to get a higher car.  Seriously??

So now I’m faced with selling my beloved Wrangler, and just the thought of it makes me want to cry.  I love this car, it’s fun, it’s cool, and it is just so me!  Were I to go with my head, I would get a Toyota Rav4 and be done with it, but my heart keeps saying “get a Wrangler Unlimited, then you can have your Jeep and a back seat!” :/

2013 Rav4

I mean, it’s not a bad-looking car or anything, but it doesn’t really scream “fun and alternative,” and I’m trying to be as fun and alternative as I can be before I start getting told that I’m too old for that kind of stuff.  I just had an appointment to get my whole outer upper arm tattooed, for crying out loud!

But the Rav4 is the safest midsize SUV, tied with the Subaru Forester, and it just makes sense to get one for baby purposes.  That, and the Entune navigation system is pretty much everything I’d ever want with an in-dash system, it comes with Pandora!  The MyGig system in the Jeeps (if they even put them in as part of a package anymore, I wasn’t seeing it on the Jeep site just now…) is just kind of “meh”…

I was thinking about just putting my Jeep up on Craigslist for like $20,000, a few more grand than it’s worth, and then see what kind of offers I get on it, but then what if someone says “here’s $20k, I’m taking your car”?  Then I’d be stuck with no car, and this dilemma as to what car I should get next!

This sucks! 😦

I thought that maybe I’d just hold off for a couple more years, get through this summer, and maybe the next, then after the wedding, I can see if my ovaries are screaming for a Rav4 or if my heart is screaming for another Jeep.  With my luck, it’ll be both and I’ll explode.  But then I remembered that my Mum’s coming and how much of a pain in the butt it was to get the three of us anywhere last year.  Plus, I just got pre-approved through Navy Federal for a 1.49% car loan.  That is an awesome rate, and if I put the $20k from the Jeep towards a new Rav4 or another Jeep, I’d have less than $10k to finance…

So what do you all think I should do?  Do I hang on to the Wrangler I’ve got until I can put it off no more and get a “sensible” (bleah!) car?  Or do I trade it in for a 4-door Jeep that isn’t exactly the safest vehicle, but it’ll take a car seat?  Or, do I decide that now’s the time to grow up and get the Rav4, taking advantage of that awesome rate?