Things have been pretty heavy around here the last week, so today I’m going to lighten things up by telling a few anecdotes from Maddie’s first road trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to see my family.

But first check out this photo of Maddie with her old man at her first Giants’ game!!!

                Go Giants!

Alrightee. On to the anecdotes…

1. Dudes will turn just about anything into a basketball. We ball up scratch paper and shoot it toward waste paper baskets, embarrass our wives by shooting everything short of a carton of eggs into the shopping cart, and even shoot M&Ms into our buddies’ mouths. I have done all of these and more, but this weekend I learned that some things should NEVER be used as basketballs. One such thing is a poopy diaper. Sure, after you change your kid’s diaper you may end up with a perfect basketball-like sphere in your hand, but it is important for men to remember that it is NOT a basketball, and I promise that from now on I will never again treat a poopy diaper like one. Seriously. In the meantime, I apologize to whoever’s job it is to clean the wall above the trash can in the men’s room of the rest stop just outside Gorman, and to the old man who had the misfortune to walk in just as the horrific splattering took place.

2. My Mother, perhaps miffed she didn’t win the Craziest Mother Award, did some campaigning for next year’s competition on Saturday. She flipped out when I came out of my room wearing flip-flops and jeans, then screamed that she wouldn’t go to lunch with the rest of the family until I changed into a pair of my 68-year-old father’s khaki pants and penny loafers. When I refused she snapped, “Well, that’s why your wife is going to leave you! Because you’re a slob! AND you’re fat!” Half an hour later she berated me at the restaurant for not wanting dessert. Good times. I’m totally going to need another appointment with my therapist, Dr. Jose Cuervo.

3. I got to spend time with my nephew, Spencer. Spencer thinks I’m the coolest and always wants to hang around me. Heather, however, is horrified by the way I treat him, but I contend that I’m simply treating him as big dudes are supposed to treat little dudes. Do us a favor and let us know who is right after reading the following story:

SCARY COW!!! MWAHAHAHAHA!!! About a year ago, when Spencer was two and a half, Heather and I went on vacation to Santa Barbara with my parents, sister, and her family. We all stayed in the same house which, as #2 above suggests, was not exactly as idyllic as an episode of “My Three Sons.” Anyhoo, after our first night there Spencer announced at breakfast that he’d had a nightmare about a scary cow. I tucked this information away in the darkest recesses of my brain, then, after Spencer went to bed that night, crouched next to his bedroom door and bellowed in my scariest Darth Vader voice, “SPENCER! THIS IS THE SCARY COW! I HAVE COME TO GET YOU!!!!” Spencer’s screams could be heard throughout all of Santa Barbara.

Okay. So that does sound a little psycho. But by the end of the trip Spencer was begging me to do the “Scary Cow” voice. I swear. So am I “Psycho Uncle Mike?” Or “Totally Awesome Uncle Mike?”