Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 26, 2013

The land of palms

By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun

— Every day, as I take my walk around our little lagoon, I notice houses are rapidly being finished off, new owners are arriving, and the moving trucks abound. It is astonishing how fast the new homes are being built — it’s almost like the great builder in the sky is playing with Lego bricks.

What’s even more astounding is the landscaping — it is in a constant state of flux. One day I walk by a site and there are piles of debris, paving stones stacked for driveways and sidewalks, and a lot full of mud. The next day I go by, the pavers are laid and cleaned, the sod, shrubs, and mulch are in, and there are palm trees front and back.

My Wiki tells me there are about 2,600 species of tropical and subtropical monocotyledonous (this week’s big word) trees and shrubs in the palm family. It seems like The Isles at Palmer Ranch has them all — palmetto, royal, date, coconut, betel, etc., etc. A flatbed truck loaded with them arrives almost every day. They move them to specified locations by front-end loaders, stab them in the ground, and then they are off for another load. I guess, in addition to the huge citrus orchards, Florida must also have untold acres of palm tree nurseries.

Our homeowners’ association fees are huge compared to those we paid on Golden Pond. However, the fees include complete yard, sprinkling, and landscape maintenance, security system monitoring, basic cable, and membership in the community center (large heated pool, tennis, fitness center, post office, and social activities). About the only thing not provided is “Meals on Wheels.”

I am totally confused about where this part of Florida really is in the housing market. On the one hand, I read where there are still tons of homes with “under-water” mortgages, yet there is a boom in the building market and resale inventories are low. Sarasota has a very large and troublesome homeless population, yet, there are gobs of Gulf-front and island homes in the paper every day going for $1.5 to $12 million. The Little Woman (she dislikes that name) and I thank God every day for our blessings and the fact that we are maintaining the middle (as in middle-class) ground.

Overall, TLW and I are going to be happy here in our new nest and, if and when we ever make another move, it will be to “The Home.” At this point, let me interject a piece (author unknown) which I have kept in my “of little use to useless file” for a long time. The title is: “No Nursing Home For Me,” and it goes like this:

With the average cost of a nursing home reaching $198 per day, there is a better way to spend our savings, when we get old and feeble. I have already checked on reservations at the Holiday Inn for a combined long term stay discount and a senior discount. It comes to $52.27 per night, which leaves $145.73 a day for:

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in any restaurant we want, or room service. They will provide special TV movies, a swimming pool, workout room, lounge, and washer and dryer. Also most provide free toothpaste and they all have free shampoo and soap. They treat you like a customer, not a patient, and $5 in tips a day will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.

There is a 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 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 there, consider flying somewhere — otherwise the cash keeps building up.

It takes months to get into decent nursing homes. Holiday Inns will take reservations daily. 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 to see if you are OK. If not, they will call an ambulance or the undertaker. If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip repair and Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

And no worries about visits from the family. They will always be glad to come and will probably check in for a few days mini-vacation. The grandkids will love the pool.

What more could you ask for? So, I leave you with this:

When I reach the Golden Age, I’ll face it with a grin; Just forward all my email to: me@Holiday_Inn!

See ya...

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Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com