After I did my homework, I would eat a Little Debbie Swiss roll and drink a Dr. Pepper. Then I would sit down and watch the afternoon cartoons/toy commercials: "Masters of The Universe," "Transformers" and "G.I. Joe." In that order, I think I can't quite remember.
These days, when I get home from work, I flip on the television and catch a few minutes of "The Simpsons." I rarely watch the whole thing because it's almost always one I've seen a million times.
I'll hang in there until Homer says something funny, then I'll turn it off and take a nap. Not a long one. Usually just 10 or 15 minutes. If I take one longer than that, I'm sluggish for the next hour. If I don't take one at all, I'm sluggish for the next hour. So a 10- to 15-minute nap is essential to making sure I don't stumble around my house bumping into things between 5:30 and 6:30.
When I was a kid, after cartoons, I'd usually go outside and play. I'd usually play with my cousin Jason. We'd play G.I. Joe, or we'd pretend to be superheroes. Sometimes we'd play sports, but usually we'd play superheroes.
It was probably my idea. I was really big on superheroes.
When I was little, my dad built my brother and me a clubhouse. It was really cool. When you're a little kid playing superheroes in your backyard, there's nothing better than having a clubhouse. A clubhouse can be a fortress, or a space ship, or your superhero girlfriend's apartment where you sometimes hang out after saving the world.
These days, following "The Simpsons," I go to the gym. I love going to the gym, and I hate going to the gym. Sometimes it's really easy I feel like I'm accomplishing a lot, and I think I can see new muscles popping up on my body overnight. Those are times I love going.
Other times it's really hard I have no idea what I'm doing, and some guy who's twice my size is standing in front of the only open treadmill so he can talk to some girl and show off the stupid barbed-wire tattoo encircling his abnormally large bicep. Those are the times I hate going.
After playing outside for an hour or so, my mom would usually call me in for dinner. Dinner at my house growing up was an exercise in familiarity. We had the same dishes every week: steak one night, pork chops one night, hamburgers one night, Lee's Famous Recipe one night and a random dish from a small rotation of backup meals, like salmon patties, chili or spaghetti.
My mom was a great cook and worked hard to make sure that my brother and I always had nutritious meals made up of foods that we enjoyed. And, with rare exceptions, we always ate as a family sometimes at the dinner table and sometimes on TV trays, but always together.
After the gym, I come home and fix myself something to eat. There for a while I used to eat out a lot, but I decided that was an irresponsible use of my money. So I started cooking for myself.
Usually I'll make myself something small and simple, like a hamburger or a sandwich or spaghetti, but every once in a while I'll try to recreate something my mother used to make. I'll try to make one of her side dishes, or I'll try to make my chili taste like hers used to.
It rarely works. I'll even call her and ask her exactly what her recipe is, but something always gets lost in the translation.
After my family finished dinner, I'd usually watch TV for a while. I had a lot of favorite TV shows when I was a kid. I liked "The Dukes of Hazzard," "The A-Team," "Mork and Mindy," "Knight Rider," "The Cosby Show," "Night Court" and "Three's Company."
After a few hours of television, I'd usually go to my room and either read comic books or draw. I really liked to draw. I'd usually try to draw my own comic books. It was pretty nerdy, but I look back now and recognize a need in me to try and create things a need that still exists today.
Around 10, my parents would remind me it was time for bed, and off I'd go.
Once I'm done with dinner these days, I'll sometimes sit down and watch a little TV. I try not to do that too much, though. I get frustrated with myself when I watch too much TV. So, instead, I'll try and read a little, or write. I'll still read comic books sometimes like I used to, because you can't take the nerd out of the boy.
My favorite nights are when it's nice outside. I'll sit on my front porch with a beer or a glass of wine and read until the sun goes down.
Lately, I've been spending my evenings with a young lady. I'm not getting as much reading done, and it's murder on my writing deadlines, but I can't deny the benefits.
Somewhere around 11, I usually decide I've accomplished enough and go to bed