Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grace Haven: Intro

Hi--my name is Grace Haven.

You might think I look a little sad, but don't worry about it--that's just the way I look. I'm a bit on the shy side, so I'm not very good at making eye contact.

As you can see from the list below, I am a Bookworm, Family Oriented, Love the Outdoors, Neat, and a Perfectionist.

(That last trait is not necessarily a good thing--from others' point of view, as I've discovered.)

Of all of my traits, I'm most profoundly a Bookworm (I guess--more on this observation later). I read a lot, both in print and online, and I recently happened across a blog by a certain Ms. Gardenia Grower of Sunset Valley, detailing the Gardener/Angler/Cook Challenge that was offered by that town, which challenge Ms. Grower completed.

I was very moved by Ms. Grower's story, and most especially by her heartbreaking (to me, because I'm a real softy) admission that, though she had always wanted to have children, she had never found time to find a husband and have a family, or even to adopt.

So, I emailed Ms. Grower, and expressed my sympathies. I revealed to her that--though I was predominantly devoted to reading and scholarship--I secretly harbored a heartfelt wish to get married and have several children, and that I completely understood her pain. (All of my study partners at University would be horrified to hear me say such a thing.)

Imagine my surprise when Ms. Grower emailed me back! She informed me of a new Gardener/Angler/Cook Challenge from the town of Riverview. (It seems that the town of Sunset Valley has increased its productive population--read: "tax base"--so much by the influx of GAC Challenge contestants that the neighboring town of Riverview (which is suffering a real estate market downturn, as are so many towns these days) saw fit to offer its own GAC Challenge.)

Ms. Grower offered to sponsor me for the Challenge (which sponsorship consisted principally of helping me fill out the paperwork, and of some emotional support, of which I'm sorely in need, I admit). She was specifically interested in sponsoring someone who was book-learning oriented, so that she could determine how well that trait stacked up against her own natural traits (Green Thumb, Angler, Natural Cook) in the challenge.

Ms. Grower also adamantly made the point that she wanted me to finish the challenge as soon as possible and find a husband, get married, and have children. "I get a lot of letters and emails," she informed me sternly. "I could have sponsored anyone, but I'm sponsoring you specifically because you want for yourself the family I never had for myself."

I'm not exactly sure how I'm supposed to do the GAC Challenge and find a good prospect for a husband and the father of my children. The Challenge requires me to become a first-class gardener, angler, and cook (the Rules--which are extensive--are here). I have no innate talent in any of those areas, but I think I can learn pretty much anything from a book, and at least I really like being outdoors (and I like following rules).

That being said, I can't learn "finding-a-husband" from a book, so I'm kind of up a creek--to use some fishing lingo--in that department.

Anyway, I moved to Riverview, and purchased a small lot.

The location is nice--don't be put off by the transmission tower behind me in the picture below.

In the other direction, the view is pretty nice.

Just past my (non-existent) neighbor's yard is a bridge to the expensive part of town--the Island.

Just south of my lot are 2 uninhabited houses (again, the real estate market is pretty depressed in Riverview--no wonder the town's trying to recruit new residents!), and immediately south of those 2 houses is a community garden.

Here's a bird's-eye view looking south (my lot's in the lower lefthand corner):

and here's another bird's-eye view, looking north (my lot is in the upper righthand corner):

(I know--the 2 maps were probably overkill, but I think that's a result of my Perfectionist trait.)

See the "barbell" icon over to the right? That's the 24-hour gym, and that's where I'll have to shower and use the toilet until I can afford some plumbing equipment of my own.

My lot's pretty bare, but Ms. Grower has assured me that living outside will be enjoyable.

The first thing I did was to relocate the mailbox and trashcan,

which were occupying the corner of the lot where I want to put my plants (in the light of the streetlamp, I'll be able to garden at night if necessary).

I moved the mailbox and trashcan to the other side of the lot, near the bed and the refrigerator which--aside from a small stereo and one sprinkler--were all I bought to start out.

You may notice that everything I own is gray--it's my favorite color. (Actually, gray is kind of colorless--like me.)

After my initial purchases, I still had $9,260 of the budget of $16,000 available,

but once I start the challenge I lose use of the money. Oh, well--here goes nothing (and I do mean "nothing"!):

I emptied out the refrigerator and put all the food into my backpack to use as bait.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next time, to see how Grace spends the rest of her first day--she checks out her new neighborhood, faces the limits of her needs, and starts her study.


  1. In my initial trial run of the GAC challenge I used Perfectionist and it allowed her plants to gain a level. Like Peggy-Sue for example, plants a nice tomato, gets a very nice tomato plant and harvests very nice tomatoes. Gloria, with her perfectionist trait plants a nice tomato, gets a very nice tomato plant and harvests great tomatoes. Very useful.

  2. Intriguing--I picked Perfectionist because I couldn't get the LTW of Perfect Garden with just Neat, Family, Bookworm, and Loves the Outdoors. Sims Wiki (I think that's who it was) recommended Perfectionist as one of the traits that would make the Perfect Garden LTW available.

    I've prepared 6 posts for this blog so far, and I'll pay attention to see what happens in harvesting.

  3. Very interesting start Veil :) I'll be quite curious to see how Grace does with this. I've played a Perfectionist sim before, but she never did more than dabble in gardening, so I can't offer much insight there. Supposedly it takes them longer to do everything, though the results they get are supposed to be better than is usual.

    From what I've learned about Riverview, it looks like you picked an excellent location for Grace. She'll have quick and easy access to most of the things she'll need.

    As for learning...I know gardening, cooking and handiness can be learned from books, but I'm not sure about fishing. I don't recall that my sim that read the fishing books ever gained fishing skill from them...just knowledge of the types of fish out there and what baits to use for them. I wasn't seriously doing fishing with her though, so I maybe just didn't pay enough attention to whether she was gaining skill or not.

  4. Grace is actively fishing, because (1) I suspect you're right that a Sim doesn't gain skill from the bait books, (2) I think the bait books are a waste of time and money, anyway, (3) Grace needs Red Herring for fertilizer, and (4) the Amateur Ichthyologist sub-challenge requires one actually to catch each type of fish (not just learn the bait for them).

    Just by heading out to a fish-jumping location (there's a good one just across the bridge from Grace's lot) and trying out every type of bait she had in her inventory, Grace catches a good amount of fish every day (though a check of her skill journal reveals that she doesn't always guess right on bait--she just gets lucky; e.g., she still doesn't know that apple is the bait for minnow, though she's caught a dozen minnows).

    It's amazing how much help the community garden is. Too bad it doesn't have grapes--Grace lucked out and got a grape seed in her inventory once she reached Gardening Level 1 from reading, but I know that doesn't always happen (one of my Riverview test Sims got only apple, lettuce, and tomato seeds).

    Do you know anywhere in Riverview that there are grapevines?

    Grace hasn't done any collecting yet--it's amazing how much time it takes to meet guys! One of the reasons I didn't give her the Green Thumb trait was that I didn't want her to be able to satisfy her Social need by talking to plants--she's forced to talk to people (which is a good thing, because that's the only way she's going to find a husband!).