Keys Vacation 2019 – Day 6

Remember when I said I wanted no surprises and no drama? That was just yesterday. I knew something was up when Mama groomed me this morning. She’s usually rather timid about it, because she never knows if I’ll be happy or not afterwards. Here’s the thing: I don’t like being on my back in her arms, getting my fur pulled out by that stupid comb. However, I always feel better (and prettier) when it’s over. Conclusion: sometimes I’m friendly about it, most of the time not. While getting groomed, I noticed everyone else was dressed nicely…uh oh. After getting groomed, Mama pulled out my harness, which I’ve never worn before, and said, I kid you not, “Surprise!”

Mama strapped the purple (of course!) harness on me – actually twice, to make sure it fit right. There was this awful ripping sound when she undid the harness to adjust it. That made me quiver. I was not pleased. She was lucky I was still in shock since she took me by surprise. She’ll pay later. 

We all trooped outside and my fears were confirmed. There, awaiting us, was not one but two tripods. Mama’s tripod with her big camera that I’m used to was in the middle of one of the tiki huts. Standing beside it was a smaller tripod that I didn’t recognize.  

While holding me in a death grip, Mama cooed to me and explained that today was the family photo shoot. For some odd reason (probably oxygen deprivation), I was intrigued. It was nice to be outside without that claustrophobic backpack. She started walking toward the dock, telling me that first I was going to have my own photo shoot. Hmmm…On the one hand, photo shoots mean lots of spoiling. On the other hand, we were now out from under the cool shade of the tiki huts. In case you’ve never been to Florida in the summer, let me give you a fast fact: the difference between shade and no shade is about twenty degrees. Mama put me down in front of a palm tree. While I was relieved the concrete wasn’t too hot on my footsies, I was worried that soon I would be roasting. Here’s two more fast facts: I’m black. Dark colors absorb more heat (I heard that during one of Little Girl’s science classes). 

So step into my paws for a minute: I’m in the wide open, sun beating down on me, water about six feet from me, as free as I’ve ever been outside with just a small rope between me and Mama (I’m reminded of Little Girl’s parasailing picture), a strong wind blowing behind me (which did help a little with the intense heat). Mama thought I was being so well behaved by sitting still, but in reality, I was trying to keep myself from being blown away like a tumbleweed (Mama’s told people I weigh only two and a half pounds). Then Big Rabbit lays down on the ground in front of me with that tripod I’ve never seen before, his phone sticking up on the end of it. Oh boy.

Then, just like that, it’s cooler and darker again as Mama whisks me away to the shade. Ahhh. Much more comfortable. She’s carrying on about how amazing and beautiful I am (all true). She puts me down, but this time it’s under the glorious shade of the tiki huts. I instantly realize there is no wind under here, and can move freely. I binky and race to the trees and shrubs that border our lot. Mama shrieks in surprise (not fun being caught off guard, is it?), but the small, shiny white landscape rocks slow me down. Darn. I’m up in the air again, being clutched to Mama’s chest. Yeah, those little ropes don’t really give you all that much peace of mind, do they? Again I think of my Little Girl suspended in the air above sharks based on the same idea. 

Mama cuddles me desperately, jabbering on about how devastated she’d be if she lost me. Oh, for goodness’ sake. I got maybe four feet away, and was still tethered. Besides, in a few hours it’ll be lunch time. If I wasn’t eaten by one of the neighbor’s dogs, or a hawk, or by that green brute I saw yesterday – I quickly glance around as much as I can with my one eye that isn’t smooshed against Mama’s chest – whew, no sign of it – I wouldn’t know what to do. My meals get delivered to me, with no effort (except maybe a not-so-subtle reminder when they’re late), and that’s the way I like it. Plus, someone’s got to keep an eye on Little Girl!

Big Rabbit is talking to Mama, trying to calm her. Her death grip on me loosens slightly and I can now move my head. She’s talking to me about not running off or something (I’m totally not paying attention). As she puts me down, I catch a whiff of something delicious, and spot it – my jackpot. Mama has one of my bowls on the tiki bar, and it’s loaded with goodies. Now why didn’t she lead with that? Oh, right, because when she does I pig out and don’t do what she wants. I guess she’s smarter than I give her credit for sometimes. Ok, let’s do this! 

Now that I’m properly motivated, I don’t even complain when she puts my bow in (yes, purple. At least I match). I’ve learned that when I cooperate (“pose and hold,” as Grampy would say), the photo shoots go by pretty quickly. Mama’s cheering me on from the sidelines, thrilled that I’m not bolting anywhere. She announces it’s family picture time. Sigh. My carrots better still be cold by the time this is over. At least Little Girl’s next to me now. We both cooperate and the photo shoot is finally declared over. Yes! Reward time!

My outdoor pen is set up under the other tiki hut. Not as good of a view as I’m used to, since Mama took over the best one for pictures, but all I care about right now is getting my goodie bowl. Ugh – Mama’s pulling on me, getting the harness off. I had totally forgotten it was on. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Oh, who cares. Where are my treats? Mama’s hand descends again but it isn’t holding my bowl. What now? I hop away in annoyance. There has been plenty of contact. Now it’s time to reward me. Something swings down and blocks one of my eyes. Mama fuses above me and tells me she’s just trying to get my bow. Oh. Fine, then. I hold still, the irritating bow gets removed, and my full sight is restored. Now…yes! Here it is! Attack! I close my eyes as I savor my first bite of crispy carrot that is thankfully still cold. Carrots and parsley and…yes! At the bottom a little feed. My favorite treats, all together. Excellent!

Later Mama climbed into my pen to pet me and show me some of the pictures. My eyes bulged when she showed me the first one, in front of the palm tree. I’ve included it below. The wind behind me really blew my mane out. It’s the embodiment of one of my nicknames from Mama: Puff of Fluff.

Tropical Bunny