First let's repeat the mantra: if something is discounted, you did not earn the money you saved. You just failed to spend quite so much. And with that out of the way, a story of a promotion that combines a luxurious tropical vacation, would-be parents, a slightly inappropriate biological tie-in, and lots and lots of cocktails.

At the Westin Resort in Aruba, this is coral spawning season. And starting Tuesday, couples who stay at the Westin with an all-inclusive package and are "inspired by Aruba's coral mating ritual" through December 19, 2009, "and can prove they conceived during their stay," get a $300 'Conception Credit' towards a return visit to the resort in 2010. Along with the all-inclusive package is, this, according to the email press notice we were sent: "accommodations, three meals daily, unlimited drinks (yes, beer, wine and cocktails, too), a $25 dining credit for the resort's fine dining establishments, non-motorized water sports, tax and service fees and more."



Let's just assume that it will be no problem to "prove" when you conceived (a concept I believe most obstetricians would be leery of confirming with certainty -- do they require a dated ultrasound photo? A note from your nurse-midwife? An affidavit that you could just "feel it happening"? Your solemn vow you weren't "inspired" by copulating coral or other procreating creatures at any other time that month?). And let's think about "yes, beer, wine and cocktails, too," and wonder, who is all this free alcohol for? Is it for the wanna-be mama, who will wonder whether the six piña coladas she drank that fateful night were the source of little Coral's behavior problems for at least a decade? Or is it for the proud-papa-to-be, who perhaps isn't quite so sure he's ready to jump into parenthood quite yet?

Whatever the case, you'll be able to sooth your stresses with a return visit to Aruba when mama's belly button turns from "innie" or "outie" to "bulbous mass-ie" and papa's had a chance to let the impending life change sink in a bit.

At least it will be a great story to tell at the baby shower. Bottoms up!

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