So, the Friday after Christmas, we were going to visit my brother and Maureen's brother and their families in Connecticut. We hoped to make a stop on the way to exchange some Christmas presents, so I urged Maureen to be ready to go by 11 a.m.

In fact, my not-a-morning-person spouse was ready and actually in the car at 10:38. Wow! Then she turned the car on. Oops! A little light on the dash came on to tell us the pressure in at least one of the tires (it was not specific) was low. Since it had been cold enough to freeze fire, that wasn't surprising. Off we went to the gas station for some air.

Dig out the quarters, turn on the air machine, check and fill the tires, notice the guy filling his gas tank who's wearing just a sweatshirt when it's 2 degrees out… Eventually, Maureen got back in the car. "I'm not sure if my tire gauge is right, or the gauge on the air machine," she said. The two readings were not in agreement. We drove the three miles back home to get another tire gauge from my car. Which had gone dead in the cold.

Luckily, I had bought Maureen a new tire gauge for Christmas, which was in the house. I brought it out, Maureen checked the tires, and had to let air out of three of them. The other one still needed air. Back to the gas station. Put air in the tire. And off we went, headed for the highway. We decided to skip our planned stop, since we were now half an hour behind schedule.

By the time we got to Topsham, we were hungry, so we stopped for lunch. Then on to 295 towards Portland. Where it was snowing. Not hard, but enough to reduce visibility and slow traffic. We got through the tolls at Hampton, N.H., and it was time for the driver to have a power nap. She's not a morning person, remember? And we were in her still-new-in-her-mind (actually a year old) car. I'm still waiting for her to put the first ding on before I drive it.

We pulled into the parking lot of the New Hampshire state liquor store so she could close her eyes for 10 minutes. It was now about 3 p.m.

Needless to say, we hit 495 just in time for the Friday afternoon rush hour, which moved right along, as it always does — not. Night was falling as I texted my sister-in-law to say that instead of the 5 p.m. arrival we originally planned, or the between 5 and 6 I had hoped for at mid-afternoon, we would be there between 6:30 and 7. That one was right: we showed up about 6:45.

Fortunately, they're used to eating a late dinner.

We did have a nice evening, followed by a less-than-stellar night. We were in the room of my younger nephew, who doesn't live at home anymore, probably because the bed that used to be his is so soft and jiggles every time you move. Neither of us slept well, which was a great setup for the drive to Maureen's brother's near New Haven. Light snow the whole way greased the road and slowed the traffic.

Again, we had a very pleasant evening, this time followed by a somewhat better night. We stayed in a motel.

Coming home New Year's Eve day, the weather was clear and cold. We made pretty good time and were glad to be back in our own beds.

Until we woke up New Year's Day to a power outage.