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Happy Day After the Day After Thanksgiving

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 26, 2005

Well, aside from the trouble I'm having activating an XM radio (with that ''it only takes one phone call'' on the promo channel mocking me) and the cold I picked up somewhere in the last couple of days, it has been a pretty good holiday weekend so far.

We left for western Pennsylvania early Thursday morning, fighting snow and icy roads much of the way. Still, we got there in a reasonable amount of time, and would have been there sooner if not for some confusing Mapquest directions. Then came a day of eating, relaxing, talking, playing Uno and Buzz Word and watching a lot of the Dallas-Denver game. Needless to say, there was also some dozing in there. And some of the chat came around to TV. Various family likes: ''Grey's Anatomy,'' ''Lost,'' "NCIS,'' ''Nip/Tuck,'' ''Kitchen Confidential,'' ''Arrested Development.'' It was a really good day.

We stayed in a Comfort Inn nearby and got there in time to watch most of ''Survivor.'' But we didn't. Had set the DVR for it at home, and that way we could watch it from the beginning. CBS obviously knew a lot of people would miss it, since they set up a streaming-video replay on Instead watched a bit of the West Virginia-Pittsburgh game, dozing off by halftime.

Up early for the ride back. Even though it was about 10 degrees out, it didn't feel as cold as the day before, when there was a whip of a wind. Also, the sun was out, the highways were mostly plowed, and we were home before noon. And THAT would have been sooner if we hadn't stopped at an understaffed, and seemingly unmotivated, McDonald's along the way.

Home again meant beginning the planning for Christmas shopping and decorations and such. Ventured forth in the early evening, when the madness had subsided a bit, and had a generally successful trip. The drawback: My steadily decreasing energy, which I blamed on short sleep but which by evening was obviously a severe cold. Hello, meds. Hello, tissues. Hello, pushing fluids.

But this morning we did get to ''Survivor,'' which is just entertaining enough. My wife in particular was waiting for Gary to drop a ''Big Fat Liar!'' on Judd about the immunity idol, and finally he did. Too bad he had waited until Tribal Council, when votes are pretty much locked in. Although, since every vote was for Gary except Gary's, the Judd revelation probably wouldn't have saved him. I'm getting increasingly annoyed with Stephenie, though. Although she was one of my favorites during her previous ''Survivor,'' she seems to be enjoying her new, strong-alliance status too much; she's forgetting that when it comes to council, she's still just one vote -- and the others can turn on her without warning. Gary sure didn't see a wipeout as big as the one that hit him.

And how about that Lydia? Quiet for so long, and now so bitter and snarky! Much more fun this way, of course.

Anyway, the tree is now in the living room (although it needs some sprucing up before decoration). I am hoping that my umpteenth call to XM has finally gotten results. My cold feels under control enough that I may go outdoors, at least briefly. Or, by tomorrow, will be able to put up the outside decorations.

And I hope your holiday was at least as good as mine.

(Postscript: The XM is working!)

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