You might have noticed that posting has been light of late (mostly here but also at in the past couple of days). My father passed away late Saturday night/early Sunday morning after a long decline from Alzheimer’s and related problems.

He was a proud Air Force veteran and successful business executive who loved his family, country and the outdoors.

Quick background on this “signs” story: When I was growing up, our house (which my mother still lives in) had a sump pump, like many do. It’s an area where the ground can get very damp and if a sump pump isn’t maintained, there will be problems.

I remember one time, probably back in the late 1970′s or so, coming home from vacation to find the basement to be knee-deep with water. I used to like to watch my dad fiddle with the sump pump, replace it when necessary, and check to make sure it was working properly on a daily basis. In other words, if story of the area of my dad’s life that concerns household machinery had been written by Herman Melville, my father would have been Captain Ahab and the sump pump would have been his “white whale.” I learned all of my sump pump tech skills from him.

On the other hand, the house I’ve now lived in with my family for about 15 years has a fairly dry basement, but we do have a sump pump. As a matter of fact, I replaced it last year and alerted Mystery Science Theater 3000 alum Mike Nelson that the old sump pump looked familiar:

I’m guessing that also closely resembles what Hillary’s email server looks like.

I hadn’t had much trouble with the new sump pump that I replaced that with, other than some tweaking here and there.

Okay, here’s the “signs” part: My dad passed away very early Sunday morning. Later in the morning, knowing my sister was coming over with other company (where we would talk about dad while watching Michigan State clinch a Final Four appearance — WOOT!), my wife suggested we serve a ham we had in the basement freezer. When I went downstairs to get it, I heard a loud buzzing sound and traced it to the laundry room. Looking at the corner of the room, the sump hole was full of water and the pump wasn’t working. I unplugged the pump, pulled it from the hole, drained it, let it cool down and then tried it again — and it worked.

A “sign” from my dad, or just a happy coincidence? In either case, it brought back great memories when they were needed most.

I’ll be back to as close to full speed as possible before too long (“full speed” for me defined as about 70 percent — I’m a big believer in not burning your reserves).

This spring, the weather watches and warnings we get on occasion might provide an opportunity for further tribute to my dad: I’ll pour a gin & tonic over the rocks and go stand in the driveway looking for tornadoes after ordering the rest of the family into the basement for safety… and to make sure the sump pump is working.


Update: In hindsight maybe I should have mentioned the sump pump in dad’s obituary, but it’s still not bad.


13 Responses to “A sign from the sump pump”

  1. joyannaadams on March 30th, 2015 4:18 pm

    I'd say that Dad was right on target in how to tell his son that, all lives end, but sump pumps (of love) go on forever. (Good thing Mr. Powers Knows my sense of humor)

    I'm sure I can speak for all the Powers that Be readers…in hopes that God is with you and yours in this time of grief at the loss of your dad.

    And your 70% is most others people's 110. Keep those pumping reserves ready for the next sign. We'll be here. …I'll bring buckets.

  2. ChapBix on March 30th, 2015 4:45 pm

    So sorry to hear of your father crossing over Saturday or Sunday. Having worked in long term care for over twenty years, I saw many folks pass over after suffering the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's Disease. You have a lasting memory of your father and the sump pump. And I also go outside to look for possible tornadoes during stormy weather. Generally, it is an exercise in futility. However, about three years ago we have had one come within 150' or less. Minimal damage here but trees uprooted on the other side of the street.

  3. Truesoldier__ on March 30th, 2015 5:40 pm

    Doug, my condolences on your father's passing. It is always hard to loose a loved one, but it is really hard when you have to see them go from that hero you worshiped growing up their health slowly deteriorating to a disease such as Alzheimer's. My grandfather lost his battle with Parkinson's back in the late 90's. It was so hard to see the guy that was the life of the party, funny, witty and always seeming to know the right thing to say at just the right moment get to the point where he barely knew where he was. Every now and then that glimmer would return to him and the witty banter would return, but it was always short lived.

    Here's to knowing that he is in a better place and smiled at you from above when you discovered the sump pump needed replacing.

  4. Granny617 on March 31st, 2015 12:36 pm

    Doug – my condolences also. But your sump pump story is the ultimate story of a loving son following in the footsteps of a loving father. I have lost both of my parents in the last six years and at times I get so darned lonely for them but then they send a little ray of sunshine via a "sump pump" and brighten my day and to let me know they are in a better place and watching over me. Hang in there – we will still be here awaiting your always spot on, witty posts.

  5. Doug on March 31st, 2015 8:36 pm

    Thanks everybody! I appreciate it!

  6. patti on April 1st, 2015 7:26 pm

    Very sorry for your loss, Doug.

  7. Angelavelez258 on April 6th, 2015 2:14 am

    I've been following you, I find your articles entertaining and Informative at the same time.

  8. Manage IT Services on April 28th, 2015 5:40 am

    Well, if you're a Christian, taking away a life is considered as a mortal sin, only God can decide if he'll take a life or letting it live.

  9. Yepi 12 on April 29th, 2015 9:08 am

    Just might be here

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  11. imoforpcs on May 2nd, 2017 3:38 pm
  12. O.S.I. on June 1st, 2017 8:07 pm

    Corrupt fascist contards keep the price of pickle's up to line they're pockets every time one opens a book.

  13. Roger on June 6th, 2017 5:02 pm

    Do you realize the people that post here might have serious comments that make sense?

    Ask someone that has had to replace a sump pump before you mock the topic.

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