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Balance



Randy London is 67, Lyndsay London is 51. Amaya is 18, Selina is 13

July 2026


Randy London sighed as he turned into the street. Less than a week back at the hospital, and already the vacation felt like a very distant memory.


It wouldn't be so bad if he could actually leave work on time once in a while, especially when he had plans after work, but at least Ashley, of all people, would understand.

Hard to believe that, just a week ago, he'd been up in the mountains.


As his wife Lyndsay had said, there was no point in buying a luxury cabin in the mountains, if they didn't use it. And by 'use it', she didn't mean just driving up for the occasional weekend, but for actual family vacations. So, with school out for the summer, both Randy and Lyndsay had taken a couple of weeks off work to bring their daughters up here.

The cabin was in a great location, with the lake shore only a few steps down from their door...


... and plenty of opportunities to relax.




This hadn't stopped Lyndsay from keeping up her morning jogs, this time taking her daughters with her...


... and Selina learned some dances that were far departed from her usual ballet.


At his age, Randy preferred more sedate pastimes, though..


All in all, it had been a great couple of weeks.  Looking out at the lake the day they left, Randy decided that he'd have to bring his son Ryan and his family up here sometime soon.


Taking a vacation like this would have been unheard of when Ryan was growing up.  As it was, the boy had practically raised himself, with a succession of nannies and babysitters providing more attention than either of his work-obsessed parents. It had taken Randy until Ryan was in his teens to realise that this was no way to raise a child. His ex-wife never had.


Past history, Randy told himself, as he parked the car. No point in dwelling on it. He and Ryan had a good relationship now, and Randy had ample second chances, with Lyndsay and their daughters, and as a grandfather to Ryan's children. There was no point in beating himself up over it any more.

He tossed off his jacket as he walked through the door, looking around for Lyndsay and Ashley. He found them chatting in the lounge.


"Come here," said Randy, after greeting them. He beckoned to Ashley to follow. "I want to show you something I bought."
"It's his mid-life crisis," Lyndsay called after them.
"If I'm having a "mid-life" crisis at 67, then I'm going to do very well for myself," Randy called back as he opened the door to the garage.

"A pinball machine!" Ashley sounded equally confused, and delighted.


"Lyndsay made me keep it out here because of the noise," Randy said, turning the machine on. "Remember when these were the most high-tech games you could find?"
"We must have spent hours trying to beat these things," Ashley said.
"Here, have a go."


It wasn't so much the machine they'd been trying to beat, Randy mused, as he watched Ashley play. It was more a matter of outdoing each other. They'd been rivals in a lot more than just pinball, since then. All their working lives, they'd competed for the same jobs and the same promotions, culminating with Ashley winning the position of Chief of Staff of the city hospital. When he'd retired, Randy had succeeded him

Somehow, their friendship had survived it all, just as it had survived Randy's marriage to - and divorce from - Ashley's twin sister. It was fitting that Ashley should be the first person after Lyndsay to know about Randy's decision.

"Have you heard the rumor?" he asked.
"Which rumor?"
"The one about me retiring."
"I've been hearing that rumor for the last couple of years," Ashley said.


"This time it's true."
"Oh... " was all Ashley could think of to reply. He'd expected Randy to stay on as Chief of Staff for... well, a few more years, at least. He'd waited long enough for the position. Well over a decade had passed since both he and Ashley had competed for the top job in the hospital. Ashley had won it, and Randy had only taken over after his retirement.

"Are... are you sure?" Ashley added, after a moment.
"Very sure," said Randy. "I'm too old for this. The hours, the responsibility... someone else can have it. I don't want to be working right up to the day I die."


"The day you... Randy. you're only 67!"
"That gives me... what? Fifteen, Twenty years? More if I'm lucky, but who knows? Time's already moving too fast. Amaya's finished a year of college, Selina's in high school now... I want to enjoy the time with my family while I still have the energy to do it."


"Any idea who'll take over after you?" Ashley asked, as they walked back into the house.
"Not too sure yet," Randy said. "I've heard Joshua Ruben's name come up."
"He's a bit young, isn't he?"
"Maybe, but he's good at what he does."
"I've heard he's not the nicest person to work with, though."


"Some of the board members like that. It's efficient leadership - you're there to get things done, not make friends..."
"Surely you don't agree... ?"
"I never said that I did. And in any case, its up to the board, not me."
"You're on the board."
"Yes, I am, but I'm staying right out of this one. You might have had a clear choice of who would take your place, but I really have no idea."
----

Early the next Saturday morning, Lyndsay was in her office. Looking at the time yet again, she tried to type even faster, to finish the section of her report. 


A little voice in her head was already scolding her for working on the weekend... but no one else was up yet, so it didn't really count, did it?

Not entirely true, the little voice reminded her. Selina was up, practicing as she always did before starting her day.


It was one of those strange twists that life throws at you sometimes, that the daughter of Randy's second marriage should grow up as ballet-obsessed as his first wife had been.  Jami had become one of the best dancers and most famous figures Richmond had ever produced, an international superstar and household name.


Selina couldn't quite believe that her father had once been married to one of her idols, even after meeting her more than once at family occasions.  Lyndsay and Randy just hoped that, if their daughter did become a professional dancer like she wanted, she'd have a bit more balance in her life than Jami had.


In all honesty, Lyndsay thought, she couldn't judge Jami for her career obsession - she'd been much the same herself back when she met Randy, with a young daughter in foster care while she worked part-time and studied for a business degree.

Back then she'd told herself that she was working to give them both a better future, but she could have done that without giving the child up. Plenty of women did, in more difficult circumstances than hers. She could have studied part-time, she could have given up school completely and just worked her way up in a company. There were other ways besides leaving your child to be raised by someone else.

Fortunately, Amaya didn't seem to hold any ill will against her mother for it all.  As a child, coming back to live with Lyndsay after she'd married Randy, she was more delighted by the fairytale quality of it all.  She'd adored Randy, now her father by adoption, seeing him as the hero who'd come along and saved them from poverty and separation.

Well, that wasn't completely the truth. Lyndsay was never exactly impoverished, for starters. She'd had to watch her money, but she was living in a comfortable apartment she'd inherited from her parents with no rent or mortgage payments to worry about.  It was more that Randy, and his son Ryan, had saved  her from her own misguided values, as she saw them struggling to rebuild their relationship after years of Randy putting everything else before his son.

And speaking of which... She could hear Randy downstairs preparing breakfast.


Ryan and his family would already be on the way from Bluewater village, and there was a text on her phone from Amaya, saying she was just waiting for the train from the city, where she'd been staying with her boyfriend.

There were better things to do today than work on a report.  Shutting down the computer, Lyndsay headed down to her family.














----

Introducing a little more of my hood...

I decided I want to do more extended-family parties and pictures than just my Christmas ones, and this family is small enough to keep it simple.  You've already met Amaya at college (girlfriend of Lewis Gold, friend of Ivy Pitts), and I'll be doing an update on Ryan's family soon.

Randy, Ashley, Jami and James Centowski were roommates in college. Randy and Ashley both had the Chief of Staff LTW and their careers ran neck-to-neck through most of the game-years. I'm glad they were both able to fulfill it through Ashley's relatively early retirement. Randy and Jami never rolled a want to have a baby when they were together, and Ryan was an accident. They pretty much ignored him until he started running away as a teen. Randy rolled wants to improve their relationship, Jami just argued with him... *sigh*... the story developed from there. I wanted to include some pictures from back then in the update, but I couldn't find any good 'real' ones, and this has taken long enough without me doing the age-down-and-pose thing!

Lyndsay was formerly apartment townie Lyndsay Louie. I've never liked that townies have no family, so when one becomes playable in my hood, I search for other townies with the same last name that at least look similar, and give them a family connection.  In Lyndsay's case the only candidate was a child named Amaya Louie, so she became Lyndsay's daughter. 

This is also how Tosha and Angel Go became sisters. Angel was Jamie Centowski's first girlfriend, and as with most townie family members Tosha didn't become immediately playable. I just pulled her in for visits, until she eventually met Vivian Pitts. I also give townie family of playables priority as townie employees in my businesses... between that and the family occasions, they have a pretty good chance of striking up a relationship with a playable and becoming playable themselves at some point.

Randy was actually the first to benefit from this instant family policy - there was a townie woman named Mari London who I imagined was his sister, long before I had the means to actually create the relationship in the game. She's now married to Cory's brother Aaron.

Btw, in case you're wondering, Joshua is the highest sim in my hood in the medical career by a long shot - that makes him first in line for the Chief of Staff role, now that Randy rolled a retirement want.

8 comments:

  1. I loved reading this and looking at the great pictures, thank you! So far, I know Randy London only as the teenage townie he is by default, and Lyndsay Louie as the townie that - I think - was introduced to our games with the "Apartment Life" expansion.
    By all likelihood, they will never become playables in my megahood, but I very much like seeing what has become of them in your game.

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    1. Thanks. Randy became playable in my hood when he went to university with Jami, Lyndsay when she fell in love with him - she was a neighbour in building he and Ryan moved into. I think you're right that she came with Apartment Life, as she was originally wearing one of the social group townie outfits.

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  2. Good to meet another of your families! I'm looking forward to hearing about Ryan's branch of the family tree as well. They all seem like an interesting bunch.

    It kills me that Joshua is going to get to be Chief of Staff, considering how awful he is! I'm kind of hoping Ashley can sneak in there instead somehow. ;) But of course, it never seems to work out that way in real life either, does it?

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    1. Hmmmm... that's a thought! Ashley's already come out of retirement once (by rolling the want to enter the elder medical career, a couple of days after he retired) - maybe he'd even take his old job back. Might sound out how he feels about the idea... get him to quit the elder career and see if he rolls the want again. Beats Joshua getting it!

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  3. I like seeing a peek into the families at the back of the drama pool. It's nice to see that some Fortune sims understand that money isn't everything.

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    1. Yes, it is nice to have a family without the big dramas once in a while. I think the family secondaries helps with them being more balanced - part of the problem with Ryan's childhood was that it was before I had secondary aspirations in my game - Randy was fortune and Jami popularity, so neither of them too interested in their child

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  4. Ah so fun to see the London's on vacation, family gathering, and just going about their lives. I can't believe that Randy rolled the retirement want, he never did in my hood, and then died by ROS. And Joshua as Chief of Staff... man I guess it will be interesting to see it play out. They have a very nice home, and vacation home, don't the London's just seem like they'd be wealthy? Maybe from the last name? Nice to have Ashley pop in too, that was unexpected!

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  5. Yes, it does seem to suit Randy's family to be wealthy. He's one of the few really rich sims still in my hood, the first generation or two made a lot of money before I had mods to make things harder for them, but most of the fortunes have now been split between multiple children... Randy and Jami both still quite rich, along with Ben Green and, surprisingly, Ashley, who still lives relatively modestly because I just imagine that he would.

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Thanks for reading and commenting!