Sims 4 Overthinking: The Sunk Cost

By Bay Posted Friday Mar 24, 2023

Filed under: Epilogue, The Sims 12 comments

Alright, finally. The year is still 2001, where we’ve been stuck for the past three episodes. Why have we been sticking around a single year, you may ask? Well, mostly because of Kelly’s pregnancy. Not much really happens, in most cases, over a course of five years to a person. They might move, start a new job, get a dog, experience a breakup, but all of that can be explained and told very quickly. In our case, telling this particular story, the most important details are the things that happen to the house. If Kelly lived in the house, and had a plan for what to do when the baby was born, this would all fly by very quickly. Interpersonal drama is fun, but not the point of the series. The problem is, she and Michael don’t have a plan, not yet, anyway.

Their indecision has created a bottleneck of sorts. In a way, we have to zoom in. We need to see every little factor and decision along the way, because right now, the unknown is slowing us down. Babies change everything, and if Lorretta is honest with herself, that is exactly why she’s suddenly been working overtime on the house.

She would have been doing projects, sure, it’s her house and she needs to make it livable. We would have been looking at the alterations she’s making over the next three years while she slowly fixes it up. But, the looming possibility of a baby on the way has given her a time constraint. Kelly doesn’t want to stay with her because of the fumes, so Lorretta is doing everything in her power to get rid of them as quickly as possible, just in case. Kelly and her mom don’t have a good relationship, and Lorretta is trying not to kid herself about that, but, if they need somewhere…

Michael and her are working overtime to tackle the house, and Lorretta has hired a contractor to give her an estimate on the water damage upstairs. She had previously been procrastinating on that, since it will cost a lot of money, but she has motivation now.

As for cosmetic fixes, she and Michael are working on it anytime Lorretta isn’t at work or asleep. She realizes that the stairs have been painted, and underneath is the same hardwood as covers the rest of the downstairs. They try paint stripper in a corner to see if it works to take up the horrible ivory paint, and find it’s ruining the hardwood. Damn. Instead, they cut their losses and agree to just paint over it, it’s a shame, but it’s better than the color that’s currently there.

They choose black to match the trim in the rest of the house, since any attempt for brown would just look like it was pretending to be wood. Upstairs, they take the carpet out of the hallway, and paint the stairwell and hall to match the dining room. They do all this over the course of only two weeks. She asks him repeatedly if he needs a break, but Michael is enjoying the problem solving and doesn’t mind the nitty gritty of the work, so he assures her he doesn’t. Besides that, he really wants to impress the woman he’s hoping will be his mother-in-law one day.

Finally, it’s time to tackle the bedrooms. They take out all the carpets, and find more hardwood floors, however, many of them are badly water damaged. They take a few days to focus on removing the horrendous wood paneling, while they figure out what to do.

The contractor comes in and assesses the damage, and it’s not good news. It’s been forty years, at least, of letting the rot form, and the wood paneling over it created a sort of closed system. The water couldn’t escape, so every time it warmed up, it evaporated into vapor trapped in the wall, only to collect on a new surface when it cooled. Plus, it’s an exterior wall, meaning insulation needs replaced as well. Six feet of damage, at least, with needing a total replacement of drywall, insulation, and flooring.

Lorretta was prepared, but a little nauseous, looking at the estimate. She regrets not just selling the place when she had the chance, and briefly considers putting it on the market now…but no, she’d put work into it at this point. She is experiencing the sunk cost fallacy, and is self aware enough to know it, but not enough to let it go.

She has a few more contractors come in to shop prices, but they all say the same thing. Nearly an entire wall is toast, and so is her bank account.

Finally, she opts to a sort of compromise she feels will remove the sting a bit. She’d wanted to put carpets in the bedrooms, and by replacing the damaged floor in that room with a cheaper alternative to the hardwood, she can do that. It’s not long-run cheaper by any means, she still has to buy and install the carpets for the whole upstairs rather than just one area of hardwood, but it gives the illusion that she’s getting something out of it, rather than just cutting her losses. She hires the contractor she had the best feeling about, cheaper but not cheapest, and starts shopping for carpets.


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12 thoughts on “Sims 4 Overthinking: The Sunk Cost

  1. The Unforgiven says:

    Not the first time I’ve noticed this, but you have ‘Plus, it’s an exterior wall, meaning insulation needs replaced as well.’ You’re missing a ‘to be’. In there. It should read ‘Plus, it’s an exterior wall, meaning insulation needs to be replaced as well.’

    1. Randy says:

      Infinitive dropping has become a common trend in amateur (by which I mean “not for a major publisher”) writers in the last decade or so. I had thought it was simply a matter of improper writing, since—to me, at least—it sounds completely wrong spoken, but whether I just have only started hearing the people whose area/age/whatever demographic dialect started it, or it’s an instance of written language influencing spoken language (which is backwards to how it normally goes, but sometimes linguistics be that way), I’ve recently (in the past year) started hearing people say things with dropped infinitives in casual conversation. As someone with modern linguistic training, which makes me almost definitionally a descriptivist and an anti-prescriptivist, that means that Bay may technically be correct, at least in her own dialect.

      I mean, I’m also a grammar nazi who notices and secretly seethes at every dropped infinitive (and incorrect there/they’re/their and break/brake, and and and…), but I recognize that’s a me problem.

      1. Bay says:

        As a fellow anti prescriptivist who spends a lot of time defending ‘wrong’ language, thank you. Also, entirely correct, I drop my infinitives constantly. (When I wrote this and read it out loud to check for errors like I always do, it sounded entirely ‘right’ on my voice.) Funnily enough, a it’s a habit I picked up from my dad from when we talked. It’s why it happens so often here, my writing voice for the site is the same voice I used bantering with him, because that’s usually where my mind is when I’m writing for it.

        I don’t think I ever noticed it in his own writing, it was probably a vocal quirk, but it’s one I associate with talking with him so heavily it’s just sort of snuck into my writing, rather than just how I tend to talk.

        1. Peter H says:

          The “x needs fixed/cut/replaced/etc” without an infinitive is a common Western Pennsylvania dialect feature. See e.g.

          Interestingly it’s a non-stigmatized regionalism, so even people in the area who don’t otherwise have a Pittsburgh speech pattern do it. I grew up there and still use the “needs fixed” construction unconsciously, even though I moved away a decade ago.

          1. Randy says:

            Huh, that’s interesting. I think it might be creeping east, since I’m starting to hear it in eastern Pennsylvania.

            Also, now that I think of it, it may have popped up once or twice on the site as bits that got corrected in the comments. I think that Shamus probably had a more distinct formal writing vs. casual speech division in his mind, likely from a combination of going to school in an earlier time and having to occasionally write in a more formal manner for work at AW, which made him think of dropped infinitives as something in need of correction when writing but not when speaking. Since he mostly kept it off the site, all of us readers saw it as a mistake when one slipped through, so we pointed it out to him, and he changed it, keeping up the impression that dropped infinitives didn’t belong here.

            I’m only noticing it as okay and not a mistake because it’s Bay writing instead, and I’ve seen it happen a few times in this series already, leading me to think of it as part of Bay’s dialect, where I thought of it as a mistake in Shamus’s—a generational dialect difference, like the spreading of the cot/caught line—even though now you’re telling me it was natural for him, and he was forcing himself to add those infinitives back in. No, Bay, keep dropping infinitives, don’t let the prescriptivists win!

            Okay, that probably sounded funnier in my head, but seriously, this site was never very formal; so long as we can understand it, writing as you speak should be fine.

            1. Syal says:

              Here in Alaska it’s likewise becoming more common, I’ve heard “needs painted” or “needs fixed” from multiple people. Although I think the first one had moved here from Pennsylvania or somewhere near. That was… jeez, twelve years ago now. It’s definitely a dialect.

              1. Daimbert says:

                I think my issue with it from a grammatical standpoint is that it’s always going to look/sound like a mistake because grammatically you’d normally just use “needs replacing/fixing/whatevering”, and so there’d always be ambiguity as to whether you really wanted to use the “ing” form and made a mistake or meant to use it that way. And even descriptivists would have to agree that if a usage is ambiguous, it probably needs to be or will be resolved in some way.

                1. Syal says:

                  It’s not ambiguous. “It needs replaced” can’t mean anything other than “it needs replacing”.

                  1. Daimbert says:

                    The ambiguity is over whether the person MEANT to say “it needs replaced” or misspoke/mistyped instead of saying “it needs replacing”. Thus, people will always wonder if they should correct you or not. And it would be just as easy to simply say “it needs replacing” and avoid that, especially if they mean and imply the same thing and the latter is more common.

  2. Octal says:

    It’s been forty years, at least, of letting the rot form, and the wood paneling over it created a sort of closed system. The water couldn’t escape, so every time it warmed up, it evaporated into vapor trapped in the wall, only to collect on a new surface when it cooled. Plus, it’s an exterior wall, meaning insulation needs replaced as well. Six feet of damage, at least, with needing a total replacement of drywall, insulation, and flooring.

    Ouuuuuuch. Well, maybe they’re lucky it’s not even worse, after that long….

    1. Daimbert says:

      These parts of the story always remind me of watching “Love it or List It Vancouver” and hearing all the same sorts of complaints — with associated costs and tradeoffs of a renovation — when they open up the walls of the old houses they’re working on. Some of those cases make the ones here sound trivial.

      1. Richard says:

        I always find the concept of “opening up the walls” strange and confusing.
        Houses just aren’t built that way outside of North America (and possibly Australia?)

        Almost all the walls of my house (1969) are made of bricks and breezeblock – there’s exactly three internal walls in the entire house that are studwork and plasterboard (drywall), and they were all put up in a remodelling done in 2007.

        The house I grew up in is roughly the same age as the home in this story. Again, almost all the walls are brick, though it does have two, possibly three lath-and-plaster internal walls upstairs (went out of favour in the 1930s).
        You don’t poke lath and plaster if you can possibly help it, it starts getting fragile after a hundred years or so.

        This side of the pond, you open up floors.

        Occasionally you find lost mementos – it’s quite common to lift a floorboard to hide small important trinkets.

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