Last night, my wife, mother, stepfather, friend Zach, and I went to Umi in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside for my stepfather’s 50th birthday. My stepfather, Zach, and I got Umi’s Omikase seven course chef’s tasting. Would I do it again? I don’t know. Maybe if I was going to get the 11 course or Mr. Shu tasting menu. Otherwise I would go back but just get the regular dinner. Don’t get me wrong, the dinner was great, but I’m more of a been there done that type of person. The three things that really stood out was the house made soy sauce, the teriyaki cod which was the only fish I’ve ever eaten were the fish skin was the best part of the meal, and the final course of negri with five different types of fish with a different sauces on each. It was a little expensive but it was an experience I think we’ll all remember for a long time. The two people who didn’t have the omikase tasting ordered the teriyaki steak and salmon, which were both delicious.
It was an expensive night but I wanted to do something nice for my stepfather. I wanted him to know that he’s meant a lot to me over the years. He had a difficult job of becoming a stepfather and the invisible line they have to walk, which is to not try to take the place of the father but making the situation work. I don’t imagine anyone could have handled it better. You have been a big part of my life and I want to thank you for not fucking it up.
There is no stepfather’s day. Not many cards to say how I feel. There aren’t many are stories about incredible stepfather’s and the impact they have on a man’s life. They are usually stories about how they screwed a kid up and were jerks. That wasn’t my story. My story is about a man who was more of a friend and companion, someone who might not have always been the best influence in life, in terms, of sticking to my bedtime (we would typically play video games all night) or eating a proper dinnertime (he enjoyed eating around 11 or 12 pm). But he taught me about being your own boss by starting his own deck restoration and cleaning business, never quitting on things people said were impossible like running for lieutenant governor, not being afraid of the weird or different (sushi or rattlesnake, anyone?), or not forgetting what it’s like to act like a child. Maybe it was because my mother and father’s divorce happened before I was old enough to understand or witness the ramifications that sometimes scar children (my mother used to say that most people get married when they’re having a child but we got divorced). This probably causes kids to hold on to the scars and subsequently ruin the stepfather/stepmother relationship before it even starts. I guess I was fortunate in that respect.
Tonight was about figuring out a way to say thank you to a man who helped shaped my life. Thanks for everything and Happy Birthday, Ron.