One of the older cliches in the arsenals of folk wisdom is the phrase "You can't cheat an honest man." What does it say about the Patterson family that they find themselves so thoroughly owned all the time, then? I'll tell you what it means: they aren't honest with themselves is what it means. Let's take the purchase of thew Tiny Train Money Pit as an example. You and I know that a pensioner isn't gonna have the money to both live on and keep his house from falling in on him. Not Johnny, though. He's too busy trying to figure out how to pull one over on his family to let that meaningless chunk of information ruin his day. Let's just say that George was a motivated seller in that he couldn't afford the upkeep on his place and would say anything to get out before doing the home-owner thing killed him. This means that John payed just enough above market value to think he was shortchanging Mr. Stibbs. Not only was he dishonest with his wife and child about the prospect and pace of moving, he was dishonest with himself about why. The noble sounding reasons he gave his family after the fact were lies that he convinced himself were true. When all is said and done, he bought the place for one reason alone: it has a huge, empty lot that can be used to set up a model train layout. His heedless refusal to steel himself to the prospect of inconvenient truths has backfired on him and his family but he doesn't even have enough integrity to admit that, like all victims of their own greed and stupidity, he cheated himself.