Cedar Island – Day 1
Ow! I cry. Gosh darn, it Micron! You idjit!*
In Dog Training 101, one of the first bullet points to be emphasized is the need for consistency. Our relationship with our dog is at its best when expectations are clear, right?. Like, Ok Miss Puppy Dog, you can jump on the sofa when invited. See, it’s understood that a command is always given to provide this privilege.
But not so good is relying on vague understandings such as, Alrighty then Mister Spotted Dog, you can sit in my lap anytime you feel like, except when you smell like you rolled around in a rotting raccoon carcass. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Jager.
|Let us out! We want to come back in again.|
I’m fully aware of this canine mindset on Sunday evening as we settle down for our first overnight in the vacation rental. At home, the mighty Micron has full approval to be on our bed. Anytime and for any reason, no questions asked. He’s a beloved pet and we enjoy his company.
Two problems with the suite rental at Cedar Island, however. The primary issue at hand is respecting the owner’s request for no dogs on the bed and furniture. That is difficult to explain to Micron.
Here’s your dog bed, I tell him, pointing to the fluffy mat on the floor. Sleep tight, don’t let the bed fleas bite.** The big dog lies down and relaxes. All is well.
Until the crack of dawn shines through the curtains.
Hey Food Lady! Micron says. It’s morning again! I LOVE new days, don’t you? Hey, I need to go outside! Wake up wake up wake up!
And he jumps on the bed. This is the second of the two issues. It’s different than our bed at home; sitting much higher*** and I’m in a different spot than the dog brain’s Consistency Requirement allows to process. This realization hits me like a brick as a baseball mitt paw lands right on me.
By right on me, I mean he smacks me right in the tender eyeball. Yowza. This seeing-stars experience is enhanced as he tries to gain purchase on me while sliding back off the bed.
At the bathroom mirror, I’m assessing the damage to the money maker**** with a surprising amount of vanity that I usually don’t possess.
Are you ok? asks The Husband.
I think so, I call back. Just don’t be wearing a stained sleeveless t-shirt today, cuz folk will think I sassed you real good last night.
That’s not funny, he says.
It kinda is, I say.
And we begin Day One of vacation with dogs.
We rolled into the Pelican’s Rest vacation rental late on Sunday night, all of us road weary and exhausted from the long drive. Cedar Island is rather remote, so more stars in the sky than street lights by the quiet roads. I thought I saw water as we neared the suite, but couldn’t be sure. So, Monday morning I was ready to set my remaining eye on the local sights.
|Drawing the line in the sand, so to speak. Jager will not get
any closer to the water. This is him being brave. He wants
you to know that.
This place is just one wonderful surprise after another. The generous deck overlooks the bay, cool enough. But even better is that it’s gated so we can let the dogs roam and sun themselves without worrying about that random canine roaming that they are wont to do.
A large pool, a hot tub, a gas grill. Check, check and check. All private and just for us. And oh so quiet here. Laughing seagulls, lapping waves, the wind in the tops of the trees and some weird bird with a trill that sounds a little like an old fashioned ringing phone.
None of the golf carts of Myrtle Beach campgrounds or screaming kids. Or moms hollering for their kids. (A lingering memory of a campground is a love-lorn adolescent fella vigorously calling for his crush, Anastasia, in the deepest southern accent I’ve heard to date. That’s a full three . . . second. . . name, now.) No, we just had that one chick here cursing at her big yellow dog, but was only for a minute or two and then it stopped.
The price of this sans tourist environment? Well, the nearest grocery is about a half hour drive and it apparently took most of the restaurants with it. We’re gonna have to head out to get some basic essentials. The island’s convenience store nets us coffee, cereal and such miscellaneous and sundry items. And somehow we get out of there with about forty bucks hitting the credit card. So we decide to drive to neighboring Beaufort where rumor has it there’s a Piggly Wiggly.
But lunch first
We rely on the GPS to help us make the completely random decision of Snapperz Restaurant in Morehead City for lunch.
|Euka poses by the custom mosaic fireplace at
The server is looking at me funny, I say. I know I’m just being sensitive about this I-walked-into-a-door shiner I’m sporting , but still. I can see her watching us from the bar, obviously wondering if she should offer up the wine menu or if perhaps it was a reckless affair with a mango margarita that brought me to this state in the first place. I gotta come up with a better story than my dog stepped on my face.
We could get you an eyepatch, says My Favorite Kid. You could go with a pirate theme this week.
Say arrrr, says The Husband.
R, I say, not really feeling it. I need a parrot or a mojito or something. Although I’m kinda liking the eyepatch idea. That sounds just a little awesome. Yeah, I could growl my r’s effectively with a macaw, an eyepatch and a mojito, I think.
I dunno, maybe it requires rum.
But sadly none to be had this fine afternoon. So, later fortified with non-Yankee sweet tea, crab and shrimp cake burgers, all local seafood, we’re ready to see what’s what with this sea town of Morehead City.
|Greeting a young admirer as we depart
Attack of the 10 Foot Sea Spider
The Husband pulls into a parking lot near some piers. Whatcha got in mind for this stop? I ask.
You said you wanted a photo of Euka with the giant crab, he says.
Heh. Did I actually say that out loud? I wonder. I’ve been working from home some lately and it has me concerned that I’m turning somewhat feral, talking to myself and all. So yeah, time to switch on the internal filter, girl.
It’s true that I did want to introduce Euka to the giant Spider of the Sea, the inflatable version. We saw this eye-catching advertisement for an aquarium as we were driving to the restaurant earlier. This is a training opportunity, y’all — The Novel Object Exposure.
I’ve seen dogs raise their hackles and bark at a trash bag stuck to a chain link fence. And step back when encountering a helium-filled balloon floating at their eye level. There are some unnatural things that don’t make a clean process through a dog’s instinct driven noggin. A service pup in training needs some early exposure to help things along here.
This air infused bug is not only making an odd hissing sound brought on by the generator inflating the thing, but it’s swaying in the wind as well. Has Euka seen such a creature in her eight months of life? Of course not. I’ve been around a lot longer than her and I’ve never encountered a ten foot balloon crab either.
But we stroll to the sea monster like this is just another walk on a sunny day. No hint of confrontation, just la-la-la normal stuff here. My Favorite Kid has the leash so I can observe and direct if the puppy neurons click to a fight or flight response.
Or if this is just another photo op to satisfy the Food Lady. Which is where we end up. Euka barely gives the crab a sniff, can I chew on this?, and does a solid Sit between the slowly waving crab claws.
This event does not ruffle the courageous Euka one little bit. She’s more interested in the onlookers at our photo shoot. Two older gentlemen are waiting on the sidewalk for me to finish, like this is something that they see every day. I don’t know, maybe they do around here.
And we take it one step further. Well done, little girl.
|No prob. I can take this thing down.|
Down by the water, I know there’s an official seaworthy word for those things in the background sticking up from the pier. But I’m from landlocked Ohio and we don’t have such fancy stuff. But I do want to draw your attention to the fact that there’s a seagull sitting atop each one. And they’re each of them watching the dog with ill intent.
Imagine thought balloons over them with “Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.” like in Finding Nemo.*****
More salty dog adventures coming up. A stormy day, an enraged mud turtle, and I’m considering posting a photo of me on a horse. Still thinking that one through.
**A manner of speech, that. Micron doesn’t have fleas.
***I’m a tenuous five foot, three inches. Each night, I’m climbing into this behemoth bed in a manner reminiscent of a chubby Gollum scaling Mt. Doom. It’s not becoming.
****My face, the money maker. Sarcasm, folks.
*****Finding Nemo (2003). The scene is pretty much like Seagulls: Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. [repeatedly] Nigel: Oh would you just shut up? You’re rats with wings!
It was after writing this post, I recalled a dream I had that starred, for-real, a menacing giant crab. The fact that this dream occurred before vacation was more than a little interesting to me. So per usual, I brought it up with my Psychology/Sociology double major college grad and favorite kid for evaluation.
I like to think that my vivid, and sometimes disturbing, dreams are filled to brimming with symbolism. Elevators that are difficult to operate and never take me to my destination are obviously a clue that I should stop eating Chinese take-out so close to bedtime. But when consulting with my college grad, the usual response is something like That’s really messed up, Ma.
But I try again. So I’m at a beach, I tell him. with a friend, but I don’t remember who it was now. We’re wading out of the water and back to the beach when the surf rises and a two-story tall slow-motion wave appears behind us. I look back and through the water I see a giant crab, not walking towards us, but being pushed by the water our way.
My friend and I start to run, but the giant crab reaches out a claw and grabs me. The thing is pulling me towards his maw when I wake up. I can still feel my fear even thinking about it now. What d’ya think it means?
I see your problem, Ma, he says.
Really, I say. What?
You need slower friends, he says.
True story, y’all.