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told she owned the line, but he said he only knew that she had been on board for the last four cruises, back to back.

As we left the dining room one evening I caught her eye and stopped to say hello. We chatted and I said, "I understand you've been on this ship for the last four cruises." She replied, "Yes, that' s true." I stated, "I don't understand" and she replied, without a pause, "It's cheaper than a nursing home."

So, there will be no nursing home in my future. When I get old and feeble, I am going to get on a Princess Cruise Ship. The average cost for a nursing home is $200 per day. I have checked on reservations at Princess and I can get a long term discount and senior discount price of $135 per day. That leaves $65 a day for:

1. Gratuities which will only be $10 per day.

2. I will have as many as 10 meals a day (of fantastic food, not institutional food) if I can waddle to the restaurant, or I can have room service (which means I can have breakfast in bed every day of the week).

3. Princess has as many as three swimming pools, a workout room, free washers and dryers, and shows every night.

4. They have free toothpaste and razors, and free soap and shampoo.

5. They will even treat you like a customer, not a patient. An extra $5 worth of tips will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.

6. I will get to meet new people every 7 or 14 days!

7. TV broken? Light bulb need changing? Need to have the mattress replaced? No problem! They will fix everything and apologize for your inconvenience.

8. Clean sheets and towels every day, and you don't even have to ask for them.

9. If you fall in the nursing home and break a hip you are on Medicare; if you fall and break a hip on the Princess ship they will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

10. There is always a doctor on board.

Now hold on for the best! Do you want to see South America, the Panama Canal, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, or name where you want to go? Princess will have a ship ready to go. So don't look for me in a nursing home, just call shore to ship.

PS: And don't forget, when you die, they just dump you over the side at no charge.

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[Collected on the Internet, 2004]

No nursing home for me! I'm checking into the Holiday Inn.

With the average cost for a nursing home per day reaching $188.00, there is a better way when we get old and feeble. I have already checked on reservations at the Holiday Inn. For a combined long-term stay discount and senior discount, it's $49.23 per night.

That leaves $138.77 a day for:

1. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in any restaurant I want, or room service.

2. Laundry, gratuities, and special TV movies.

Plus, they provide a swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge, washer, dryer, etc. Most have free toothpaste and razors, and all have free shampoo and soap. They treat you like a customer, not a patient. $5.00 worth of tips a day will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.

There is a city bus stop out front, and seniors ride free. The handicap bus will also pick you up (if you fake a decent limp).

To meet other nice people, call a church bus on Sundays.

For a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there. While you're at the airport, fly somewhere. Otherwise, the cash keeps building up.

It takes months to get into decent nursing homes. Holiday Inn will take your reservation today. And you are not stuck in one place forever, you can move from Inn to Inn, or even from city to city. Want to see Hawaii? They have a Holiday Inn there, too.

TV broken? Light bulbs need changing? Need a mattress replaced? No problem. They fix everything and apologize for the inconvenience.

The Inn has a night security person and daily room service. The maid checks if you are OK. If not, they will call the undertaker or an ambulance. If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip, and Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

And no worries about visits from family. They will always be glad to find you, and probably check in for a few days mini-vacation. The grandkids can use the pool. What more can you ask for?

So, when I reach the golden age I'll face it with a grin. Just forward all my emails to the Holiday Inn!"

Upon telling this story at a dinner with friends and too much red wine, we came up with even more benefits the Holiday Inn provides to retirees:

Most standard rooms have coffee makers, reclining chairs, and satellite TV all you need to enjoy a cozy afternoon. After a movie and a good nap, you can check on your children (free local phone calls), then take a stroll to the lounge or restaurant where you meet new and exotic people every day.

Many Holiday Inns even feature live entertainment on the weekends.

Often they have special offers, too, like the Kids Eat Free Program. You can invite your grandkids over after school to have a free dinner with you. Just tell them not to bring more than three friends. Pick a Holiday Inn where they allow pets, and your best friend can keep you company as well.

If you want to travel, but are a bit skittish about unfamiliar surroundings, at a Holiday Inn you'll always feel at home because wherever you go, the rooms all look the same.

And if you're getting a little absent-minded in your old days, you never have to worry about not finding your room your electronic key fits only one door and the helpful desk clerk is on duty 24/7.

Being perma-skeptics, we called a Holiday Inn to check this story out and are happy to report that they were positively giddy at the idea of us checking in for a year or more. They even offered to negotiate the rate (we could have easily knocked them down to $40 a night!).

See you at the Inn!

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[Collected on the Internet, 2003]

With the average cost for a Nursing Home per DAY reaching $188.00 there IS a BETTER way!

I have ascertained that I can get a nice enough room at the Holiday Inn for around $65.00 & that leaves $123.00 a day for beer, or wine, food, room service, laundry, gratuities, & special TV movies.

There is a swimming pool, an exercise room, a lounge, washer, dryer, etc. Most have free toothpaste & razors & all have free shampoo & soap.

Super 8 is even more economical as they offer a free breakfast each morning.

There may be a wait to get to that first floor room, but that's okay, it takes MONTHS to get into decent nursing homes.

There is a Senior bus, the handicap bus, if you can fake a believable limp, a church bus or van, cabs & a regular bus as well.

The Inn has security & if someone sees you drop over an ambulance is called for you & should you break a hip, the American way is to sue.

What more can one ask for?!

As a bonus they all have AARP & other senior discounts, so when I reach that point...

Help me keep my grin

And just check my old bones in...

into the nearest.........Holiday Inn!