ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is the freebie for the January 2015 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the "Warming / Cooling Drinks" square in my 12-17-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

"Coffee Solves All These Problems"

Claire rose on Saturday morning
and put the coffee on, the rich smell
waking up body and brain alike
as she warmed her hands on the mug.

She drank one cup with breakfast,
black and sweet, her face reflecting
in the smooth surface of the coffee.
Then she had another while packing
the things she would need for the day.

Claire walked across campus
to what had been a student dorm
before Easy City bought it and turned it
into the Laguardia Residence Hall
for homeless veterans.

It gave them a place to stay and familiar company,
convenient to various stores and restaurants
plus the campus itself for those who wished to study.
The whole place was swarming with activity
as students helped make it more homey.

Horticulture majors dug in the raised beds
to plant herbs and flowers, or carried
houseplants up the front steps.

Other students brought boxes filled with books,
fragrant with the scent of paper and leather,
donated by various libraries and the campus bookstore.

On the way in, Claire crossed paths with Poindexter
lugging an enormous box with a picture
of a deep green slow cooker, plus a cookbook
balanced somewhat precariously on top.

"This is from Gumbo Ya-Ya,"
he said. "What are you bringing?"

"A French press," she said.
"It makes twelve cups of coffee.
The French club chipped in to buy it."

The students and various other benefactors
were trying to make sure that every common room
had something nice in it for the new residents.

Housefather Arturo Santos directed people
with the confidence of a traffic cop,
routing the veterans to bedrooms.

Housemother Edna Beauregard guided
the students bearing gifts to common rooms.

Claire helped Poindexter put down
the slow cooker and its cookbook in Suite 108,
then headed to her assigned location
around the corner in Suite 107.

Valentina, also known as Neon Girl, was already
in the bathroom left of the door, stocking it
with shaving equipment and men's cosmetics.
"Hi," she said. "I brought stuff to make the guys
more handsome, but looks like they don't need it!"

Two young men in wheelchairs, Holden
missing his left leg and Donjae missing both,
grinned and laughed at her remark.

A middle-aged man in a white t-shirt,
who introduced himself as Reno, was
dextrously cracking eggs in the kitchenette with
a super-gizmotronic arm evidently controlled by his mind.

"This coffee maker is from the French club,"
said Claire. "Thank you for your service."

"You're welcome, and thank you for your support,"
he replied. "We want to do all kinds of things,
but we're not in top shape, we're tired,
some of us feel a little low. Coffee
solves all these problems!"

A boy who looked no older
than Claire came into the suite,
led by a golden retriever in a sturdy harness.

"Watch your step," Poindexter warned
at the same time the men in wheelchairs
chorused, "Trip hazard, twelve o'clock!"
although the guide dog stopped short of it.

The three of them quickly dragged the luggage
out of the way so the new boy could enter,
the residents directing him toward a bedroom.

Claire recalled that the veteran housing program
intended to capitalize on their familiarity with
communal living and team bonding to foster
new ties that would give them a support network.
Hopefully some of them would later move
into an apartment or a house together.

She set up the French press while
Valentina measured the coffee and water.

"Wake up and smell the coffee!"
caroled the blind boy, Jaimeson, drawn back
into the kitchenette by the dark aroma.

Claire thought she could sense her gift working,
a subtle shift in luck that should help
improve life for this little household.

Poindexter gave her a discreet thumbs-up
to confirm it, which made her smile.

Coffee couldn't fix everything, nor could
her superpower, but they could definitely
make a lot of things better.

* * *


Housemother Edna Beauregard -- She has ruddy skin, short blonde hair, and blue eyes. She served in the Army for eight years, with two tours of duty, before retiring to raise a family. Now she works as the housemother at the Laguardia Residence Hall for veterans in Easy City. Edna collects army memorabilia and has a whole display case of toy soldiers.
Qualities: Master (+6) Organization, Expert (+4) Combat Veteran, Good (+2) Collector of Army Memorabilia, Good (+2) Mediation, Good (+2) Nurturing
Poor (-2) Nearsighted

Notice that Terramagne-America has allowed women in combat for a lot longer than our world has.

Housefather Arturo Santos -- He has tinted skin, gray hair, and brown eyes. He served in the Navy for twelve years, which is where he learned to cook for the masses. Now he works as the housemother at the Laguardia Residence Hall for veterans in Easy City. Arturo enjoys tinkering with things and repairing items rather than replacing them.
Qualities: Master (+6) Leadership, Expert (+4) De-Escalation, Good (+2) Galley Cook, Good (+2) Handyman, Good (+2) Honest
Poor (-2) Low Education

Reno Cardenas -- He has tinted skin, brown eyes, and black hair starting to go gray. His left arm is severed near the elbow, replaced by a super-gizmo that he can control with his mind. He served for twelve years in the Air Force. Now he lives in Suite 107a of the Laguardia Residence Hall in Easy City. Reno loves playing poker and other card games. He dislikes underground or windowless spaces.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Veteran Pilot, Good (+2) Card Games, Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Steady
Powers: Average (0) Super-Dexterity
Poor (-2) Claustrophobic

Holden Morrisett -- He has fair skin, blue eyes, and light brown hair. He is missing his left leg near the hip and uses a wheelchair. He served in the Marines for three and a half years prior to his injury. Now he lives in Suite 107b of the Laguardia Residence Hall in Easy City. He enjoys playing wheelchair basketball and memorizing the stats of other players.
Qualities: Good (+2) Marine Veteran, Good (+2) Followship, Good (+2) Honorable, Good (+2) Memory, Good (+2) Wheelchair Basketball
Poor (-2) Choosing His Own Path

Donjae Roberson -- He has brown skin, brown eyes, and very short black hair. Both legs were severed near the hips, so he uses a wheelchair. He served in the Navy for just over two years prior to his injury. Now he lives in Suite 107b of the Laguardia Residence Hall in Easy City. He enjoys playing wheelchair basketball and collecting basketball cards.
Qualities: Good (+2) Dependable, Good (+2) Leadership, Good (+2) Navy Veteran, Good (+2) Spatial Intelligence, Good (+2) Wheelchair Basketball
Poor (-2) Hates Flying

Jaimeson Tate -- He has brown skin, one brown eye, and nappy dark brown hair worn short on top and shaved at the sides. He is fully blind, his left eye missing and his right nonfunctional. He navigates with a guide dog, and wants to learn how to pinpoint people with his other senses. Prior to his injury, he served as an Army sniper, but it wasn't even a year before he was sent home with a medical discharge. Now he lives in Suite 107a of the Laguardia Residence Hall in Easy City. Jaimeson prefers playing dice to cards, and particularly excels at Pirate Dice.
Qualities: Good (+2) Dice Games, Good (+2) Keen Senses, Good (+2) Making Friends, Good (+2) Sense of Humor, Good (+2) Veteran Sniper
Poor (-2) Fully Blind

* * *

"We want to do a lot of stuff; we're not in great shape. We didn't get a good night's sleep. We're a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup."
-- Jerry Seinfeld

In our world, New Orleans is taking steps to get homeless veterans off the streets. There are ways you can help homeless and other veterans.

Houseplants, desk plants, flowers, and herbs can make people happier. Learn how to care for raised beds and houseplants.

Reading can make people happier too. Old books smell like home to many people, thus create a sense of security.

A French press can make up to 12 cups of coffee. Some people think it tastes better than coffee made in other ways.

See the 8.5 quart slow cooker and the cookbook. You can also find many crockpot recipes online.

Bread makers like this 3-pound model have several advantages.

Brewing coffee, baking bread, and simmering soup are among the smells that cheer people up.

Good cosmetics can boost confidence for men as well as women.

Easy City?

Date: 2015-01-17 10:28 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Darn, I was hoping there would be something similar in Urbanburg!

I like this. Then again, the idea of building community instead of moving like a single, isolated speck in a sea of strangers is probably one of my favorites, ever.

It's the whole scene, the image of a new apartment being filled and furnished, that appeals most, I think. I'd love to have the house down the street on my block, too.

Amen on the French Press, btw. Even though I don't drink it, there is a distinct difference in /smell/, too.

Re: Easy City?

Date: 2015-01-18 03:15 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Love my French press. It's a 20oz, which means that in theory I could get two reasonable-size servings out of it. In practice, it nicely fills my 16oz insulated mug (if I don't put the lid on).

Re: Easy City?

Date: 2015-01-18 09:01 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oh yes, French press, yes yes!

The one disadvantage to my thinking is that they're a little difficult to clean out well, esp. since the grounds should not go down the sink. I also use paper (Melitta) filters in a holder shaped like a funnel, only with a line- instead of point-shaped outflow at the bottom, in a flat base that will sit on the cup. That way I just throw them out, grounds and all. I'd compost them if I had any use for compost -- I have an apartment, no yard.

This also means I buy my coffee in two different grinds, because the French press takes a coarse grind and the filter a medium fine one.

Re: Easy City?

Date: 2015-01-18 09:07 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Nah, I live in one of just two apartments over a coffee shop/restaurant that closed shortly after I moved in, alas.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-18 03:40 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-18 06:51 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Even as a freak non-coffee-drinker, I can appreciate this. Especially since I don't have to smell it from the screen! :-)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-01-18 04:40 pm (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Sadly, American society does consider me a freak; as with many other types of prejudice, it's not so much in the overt expression as in the small details of everyday life. I've only encountered the overt version once -- the wide-eyed, "You don't drink COFFEE??!!!" in a tone of complete incredulity -- but look at the standard "hospitality" layouts at business meetings, in hotel rooms, etc. You're lucky to find tea at all, and if you do it's Lipton* and/or herbal blends, and in most hotel rooms your only option for hot water is to run it thru the coffee-maker, which yields coffee-flavored tea. :-(

Coincidentally, this came up in another one of my online communities last week, in the context of "things that make people feel excluded". Someone mentioned that the constant drumbeat of "writing is fueled by coffee" in her NaNoWriMo group felt as if she was continually being reminded that she didn't belong. I don't get that feeling exactly, but it is painfully obvious that American culture considers coffee-drinking to be a universal norm just as heterosexuality, good health, and neurotypicality are considered universal norms.

* Lipton in England isn't bad. Lipton in America is... not up to that standard. Oh, and if you're an iced-tea drinker, you want to avoid Gold Peak. Brewed Gold Peak is only mediocre, but if the restaurant makes it from concentrate, it's VILE -- the iced-tea equivalent of Bluebird orange juice.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-02-17 05:31 am (UTC)
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilfluff
For fun try being someone who enjoys neither coffee (at least as a drink, I like coffee flavored near anything else) nor tea. If I'm in the mood for a hot drink then it's cocoa. At work I can count on one hand the number of times there's been even one cocoa packet nestled in amongst the tea bags.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-09-09 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] book-worm5.livejournal.com
I realize this is from months ago, but I wanted to chime in as another non-coffee non-tea drinker, though I will occasionally try herbal blends if that's what's being served. Generally I stick to water, sometimes hot chocolate as you said. My work also has packets of apple cider mix sometimes, which I enjoy well enough.

As for the story itself, I'm enjoying this thread so far. Hopefully Claire's little boost will help these folks out.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-18 09:11 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a cream-colored yellow Labrador lying at the top of a staircase, one paw draped over the top step (mellow yellow)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I like this! Valentina's quip made me giggle, and the chorused trip hazard warning seems pitch perfect for veterans. That made me instantly like those two, though I can't tell if it's the obvious military aspect, the clue they've both clearly got, or what.

I don't know if it's Starfleet that's biased me this way (Trek fan since age 12 or so) but I seem to have a fondness for military types. I'm just realizing this. Hmm.

Awww golden guide dog! Golden guide dog doing exactly what they're supposed to do, too. :D The fact that Jaimison is paired with a golden retriever says something about him. Fair warning, I'm bringing my own experiences with guide dogs into play here. It takes a certain sort of personality to work with, say, a German shepherd versus a lab or a golden. Personally, I know I haven't got it! A shepherd (except for a few very marshmallowy exceptions) would metaphorically walk all over me. The fact that Jaimison has a golden (confident, friendly/social, known for silliness) says something about his personality. Is he more the easygoing type when he's not actively working with sniper skills?

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2015-01-18 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I did spot that when looking at the character sheet a second time. Yay! I can easily see that golden doubling as therapy dog too; goldens and labbies are great to have around when someone needs friendly fuzz therapy. :) The icon I used previously, for information's sake, is of my guide dog of eleven years, one dearly loved, much-missed mellow yellow lab. He was provider of snuggle and wag therapy for a few people himself over the years, including me.

Tangentially related, I hope nobody in that hall is allergic to dogs...! Oh double-coated breeds and their fur. :)

Now this really *is* unrelated. I've had the idea in my head forever that Valentina/Neon Girl could do something with her ability in a search and rescue vein, whether that's marking a path in an obvious way, sending up a neon flare, or something else. Maybe one of the veterans puts her onto that...? I may just have to prompt for this.

allergies vs communal living

Date: 2017-03-09 02:47 am (UTC)
callibr8: icon courtesy of Wyld_Dandelyon (Default)
From: [personal profile] callibr8
What kind of heat does the building have? Radiant heat is best for low-allergen situations, as well as usually being fairly energy-efficient. Oh, wait - this is Easy City, so it's the 'C' part of HVAC that will be the most challenging, right? In which case, they probably have some kind of per-unit A/C, sort of like hotels, maybe? That would avoid the problem of central air transmitting allergens, at least.

As for the common areas ... always-on HEPA and/or electrostatic filters for those areas - unless Terramagne has something better? Then there's the question of how to balance hard surfaces (easier to clean and less trapping of allergens) with comfort. Since I'd expect that janitorial jobs pay better wages there, I'd think that most buildings would get frequent and thorough cleanings with low-toxicity products...

That spurs yet another line of thought: the last few decades have seen a huge increase in severe allergies in our world. Do they have the same problem, or did they get on top of it sooner and avoid the over-sterilized environment which contributed to ours? Does the Aegis vaccine base address any of this? Have they debunked the vaccine-autism scare that has led to widespread under-immunization and its dire consequences here?

I'm going to stop there, before any more worms crawl out of the can in my brain. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-18 01:36 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
You can tell Seinfeld is from Back East. "Little cup" and "coffee" do not juxtapose in Cascadia. I once rejected an otherwise lovely 11.5oz cup for not being big enough. And I wasn't even born here! :)

Instantly recognised art imitating life, in the Big Easy also taking care of its vets. My Vet friends here are a little envious ... and hope it catches on.


Date: 2015-01-18 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Instantly recognised art imitating life, in the Big Easy also taking care of its vets. <<

I'm glad you made that connection. It was part of the inspiration for this poem, which is kind of a reward for civilized behavior. Good city, have a cookie. :D

>> My Vet friends here are a little envious ... and hope it catches on. <<

That's understandable. I hope it catches on too.

I think that getting people into a whole private apartment would be more costly and time-consuming, and that barracks don't offer the privacy that stressed-out people need. A residence hall -- and the retreat center out in the countryside -- seem like a reasonable compromise. Gathering people into small, stable clusters also encourages bonding so that they have a support network. There are also a few places within each facility for people who need a completely private unit.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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