Well, it#8217;s all over. Martha, our four dogs and four cats and I all arrived safety Tuesday afternoon after many, many hours on the road and a short layover with family in North Carolina.

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 3, 2005

It was a fairly uneventful trip, all things considered.

The packing and loading in Florida went smoothly and the movers showed up as promised on Wednesday with our stuff. I spent several days thinking about those horror stories we have all heard where the customer’s furniture ends up in a warehouse someplace and they have to pay thousands of dollars to ransom it back. But we had used this company before and had a memorable move, so I was quickly able to dispel those thoughts.

A couple things did stand out for me, including nearly losing two of our dogs and my setting our new house ablaze.

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The first incident occurred within minutes of our arriving at our new home.

One-by-one we took the dogs, which had been riding for hours in the car, out and placed them in the fenced backyard.

We then unpacked a few things from the car, including the cats, and started putting things away.

Suddenly I heard my wife scream something like “Oh my God!” and I came running.

Two of the dogs had climbed up the staircase to the swimming pool deck and were walking around on the pool cover. Actually only one was walking around, the other one, a 15-year-old who barely gets around as it is, was up there lapping at the stagnant rain water that had collected on the cover.

I quickly ran to the back door and started trying to figure out how to open it. Having only been in the house a few minutes I had know idea which way to turn the deadbolt or where the lights were.

Finally I made my way to the backyard and ran the younger dog off by simply raising my voice at her. I had to reach for the other one and came up a foot or so short. Fortunately he chose this one time to listen to me and walked closer as I called his name. I was able to grab him and pull him to safety.

I immediately set about securing that staircase so they can’t do that again.

The next day, after the movers had left and the proverbial bomb went off in our house, I was rummaging around in the kitchen for a snack.

The only thing I could find was microwave popcorn. But that was OK, because the microwave had been unpacked and was sitting on the counter.

I removed the plastic wrap and placed the item in the oven. In doing so I noticed the platter that normally sits on the bottom of the unit was missing, and having no idea where it might be in the dozens of boxes strewn about the room, I decided to forge ahead.

I laid the bag of corn on the little spindle in the middle of the oven, closed the door and turned it on. The bag started spinning.

“Success,” I thought to myself.

While the corn cooked I turned my attention to preparing the coffee pot, which I found after about a 30-minute foray into the garage, for the next morning.

The next thing I knew the room was filling with thick white smoked that smelled very much like burning popcorn.

I turned toward the oven only to see that thick, white smoke pouring out from around the door.

“There’s a problem with the popcorn,” I surmised.

I immediately opened the oven door, removed the back, which was not mostly black and extremely hot, and carried it outside to the front porch.

Then I opened a few windows and placed a fan next to one to draw the offending smoke and smell outside.

Fortunately for us the only thing damaged in the incident was the popcorn.

And even though I still wanted a snack, and I knew where there were at least three more bags of corn, I gave up for the evening.

I didn’t see that it was necessary to push my luck. I think I’ll wait and see if we located the platter that goes inside the unit.

But, like I said earlier, it’s all over now. We are in our house and everybody is adjusting well. It will be sometime before everything is put away and the empty boxes are removed from the premises.

And it will probably be even longer before I learn where everything is located.

Douglas Grant is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact him at doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com