Janice’s Heart Attack

women heart attack symptoms

When Janice asked me to call 911, I knew something was bad wrong. She never gets sick. She never goes to the doctor and she never asks for help. And, we never saw this coming.

It turns out that a woman’s heart attack symptoms are very different from what I learned in my years as a first aid responder. I was always taught to look for tingling in the left arm and pressure in the chest. She did not express any of that.

For a few weeks, she has been complaining of a sore wrist and both arms aching. We thought this was an injury from playing Wii sports. Her pain would usually go away by a simple massage or some tension on the wrist. The methods described on Lori Painter’s Inspire to act blog relieved the pain every time.

She also mentioned some middle back pain. Again this pain was relieved by massage.

I never realized that these were the known heart attack symptoms for women. When the ambulance driver told me she was having a hearty attack, I almost had one myself. It was the last thing I expected to hear.

When he said they were life flighting her to a trauma hospital, I was even more shocked. I realized it must be very serious.

She had already been at the hospital for 17 minutes by the time I got there according to the ER desk. I waited a bit but when I went to check on her, they had lost her int he computer system. Erlanger is a large hospital so it was impossible for me to find her without help.

A friend who works there suggested that she was probably in the Cath lab and told me where to go. I found a very helpful nurse along the way who was intrigued by the unusual name of Strawbridge. She was finally able to find Janice for me.

I got to see her for just a few seconds before she was whisked off to emergency bypass surgery. She had seven blockages that required three bypasses to correct.

I am going to have to learn more about how women present heart attack symptoms to that I will be more aware for the women in my life.

Broken Spark Plug

This made our trip home exciting
Scott and I had an eventful trip home from Wrenchfest.

The fun started early Sunday morning as we were pulling the trailer from Matt’s house where we slept to Neal’s to pick up the leftover parts Jeep. I was enjoying looking at all the old homes along the route as Matt narrated. He then pointed out the second house on the right which I commented as I drove past – “Hey that house has the same siding as Neal’s” Scott and Matt both quickly pointed out to me that is was Neal’s house and I really should have stopped there. Luckily I found an easy place to turn around and got the trailer positioned in the driveway.

The biggest challenge for loading the Jeep was that it had no brakes. No hydraulics due to broken rusted lines and no e brake due to no cables. After some careful consideration we hooked a tow strap to the hitch and got several guys to act as an anchor. I then drove the Jeep onto the trailer by quickly bumping it in and out of drive to control the speed. We got it loaded and strapped down with no more excitement.

After saying our goodbyes we got on the road around 11 am.

Just south of Elizabethtown, while climbing a steep grade, we heard a loud pop and then a loud sputtering sound. As I pulled to the shoulder I noted that the sound followed the engine speed like a bad exhaust leak. Scott jumped out in the pouring rain while I popped the hood. He noticed a broken bolt on the exhaust manifold and confirmed it must be a blown manifold gasket. We decided there was nothing we could do there on the side of the road in the rain and there was no harm in driving it further other than our ears so I pulled back onto the interstate while Scott found some ear plugs in the center console.

A few miles later we stopped at a truck stop for fuel and took a closer look at the engine under their canopy. Feeling around for the leak to make sure it was not melting something important, I noticed it was not coming from the obvious place where the bolt was broken, but below that. I kept feeling around until I found the escaping gases were coming from a mysterious round hole in the block. I thought some sort of EGR line had broken off although I did not remember there being any thing there.

After a bit more looking, we realized that the hole was the metal part of the spark plug and the ceramic part was still attached to the wire but embedded in the fender liner.

Realizing now that the gases coming out were not hot we drove on to look for a parts store. I almost always carry a tool bag but not this trip. My ratchet and plug wrench were home in the shop. Otherwise I would have stolen a plug form the Jeep to fill the hole.
Thirty miles down the road we found a Walmart. They not only had a tool kit with a plug wrench but the correct plug for the Suburban.

Armed with the proper implements, I quickly extracted the old plug base and installed a new plug. It started up and ran nice and quiet and smooth compared to the last 40 miles. We even got a break form the rain during the time it took to swap the plug.

Leaving the interstate for the back roads I had to drive slowly as there was often enough water to make the front of the Suburban hydroplane which is no fun with 5,000 lbs attached to the rear bumper. It took about 6 hours to make the trip that had taken 4.5 hours Friday night.

After dropping off Scott in Sparta, I head for Cleveland. I noticed lots of flooding as I passed through the nation’s largest sink hole called Grassy Cove, Tn. Coming up out of the sinkhole in the fog I got quite a shock as I hit a big rivulet of water coming across the road that was deep enough to shake the truck as I hit it.

As I started down off the plateau into Spring City I saw lots of blinking lights ahead. I thought there had been a wreck, but once it was my turn to go, I saw there was a rock slide blocking the down lane and it was being cleared away.

As I drove into Spring City I saw houses with water up to their porches. And I I turned to head south on US27 I drove through water that must have been six inches deep. I them decided to cross the Tennessee River at Watt Bar dam and head home on the interstate.

I finally made it home over nine hours after leaving Neal’s in KY. I parked the truck and trailer by the barn and went to bed glad to be home after a fun weekend.

Black Friday at Wooly’s Off Road

Jeep Cherokee off road at Wooly's off road
Jeep Cherokee off road at Wooly's off road

Last year my son Scott and I visited Wooly’s Off Road park near Lewisburg, Tn while our wives shopped on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Last year we took his mom’s Cherokee complete with street tires and Motives Makeup decals. We saw enough of the place to know we wanted to go back. It took us a year but we finally made it back to Wooly’s with our off road Jeep.

Playing on the rocks at Woolys
Playing on the rocks at Woolys

The trails at Wooly’s straight right out of the parking lot. There are also trails on both sides of the road. Unfortunately they don’t have maps available. There is a crude map on the wall where you check in but nothing to take with us. However the trails are really compact so you really can’t get very lost.

After playing around on the trails a while and exploring, we decided to tackle so of the more challenging obstacles. There is a nice rock climb right behind the barn. As I was going off the top of the climb we saw a couple of Wranglers. They told us about another rock climb near by so we headed over to try it out.

The trial we were on led us to a spot about a quarter way up the climb. It was a narrow trail that intersected at a 90 degree angle. As I tried to maneuver onto the rocks to head up the hill, I got hung up on a stump. I thought I could use it to pivot the back of the jeep down the hill an get the nose pointed up. However, that did not work and I ended up sliding sideways down the hill. After a few dozen back and forth movements while feeling very tippy, I finally got my Jeep pointed up the hill. However in the process, I managed to severely bend one of my newly installed ZJ lower control arms. With the aid of my front locker I made it up the climb relatively easily.

With the control arm bent we decided to take it easy the rest of the day. I went back down to the parking lot and it seemed to track straight so we headed across the street to the less rocky side of the park. I thought this would be a good time for Scott to get more experience behind the wheel.

It took him a few stall to get used to the clutch but after he did he got really good at maneuvering up and down the hills. At one place there are several paths up the same hill. Scott did three or four runs at progressively steeper climbs.

We then headed over to the part of the park where the old home place is located. There we found an old spring house.

Spring House
Spring House

Water trough
Water trough

We remembered a rock garden that we had tried in Janice’s street Jeep but did not go very far last year. It took us a while to find is because it had become over grown by weeds and briers.

Small Rock garden
Small Rock garden

This was a good place for Scott to learn where the tires were and how to place them on the rocks. He ran the course several times taking different lines.

Fun in the rocks
Fun in the rocks

It looked like fun so I decided to give it a run. We played around on some more trails before heading back to the trailer in the early afternoon.

We then decided to explore the south part of the park. With no map, it took us a while to find the right trails to connect to that part. Scott found a really fun climb between two trails. It had large rocks but with good access.

Scott climbing rocks
Scott climbing rocks

After running this climb several times using different lines, Scott noticed were running low of fuel. We took a long run around the perimeter of the park to make it back to the trailer. Even though there was still daylight left, we decided to pack up an go because we were very tired and there was now fuel station anywhere close.

There is still alot of trails that we never ran. A guide or a map would be a great help. Thinking back, we should have joined up with the two Wranglers and followed them around. But we did have a lot of fun just exploring on our own pace.

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Rich Dad Poor Dad – book review

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki – Review

While I have heard the principles of Rich Dad Poor Dad discussed in many places over the years, I had never actually read the book. I mostly assumed I already knew what it said. What Kiyoski calls arrogance that leads to ignorance.

I don’t remember what got me curious, but after reading a reference to Kiyosaki and Rich Dad Poor Dad, I wanted to know how it was that he had two dads. Eventually the curiosity got the best of me and I headed over to the book store and picked up a copy. I figured I could at least use it to impress my coaching clients since I did not really expect to learn anything about making money from this book.

Boy was I wrong! This book was a real epiphany for me. I have been having a lot of these lately. I suppose it is evidence of my becoming more in vibrational alignment with my virtual fortune as Ester Hicks would say.

So, if you are curious like I was about how he had two dads, I will let out that little secret. The “poor dad” was his actual father whom he lived with. His father was not exactly poor by most standards. He was a well paid educator with a good middle class job. The “rich dad” was the father of his best friend Mike. Mike’s dad was a businessman who was just starting his empire. While Mike’s dad probably had less to show for his efforts in the early days, his philosophy of life led him on great wealth.

Robert learned much about life from both men.

Looking at my own life and my mentors, I see that although my own father was very successful in his career as an engineer, he still had the philosophy of specialization offered by Robert’s poor dad. Even though my grandfather owned his own business, he was more of a solo artist and not really into the business building philosophy of Mike’s dad.

I was taught from a very early age that if you wanted something done right, you had to do it yourself. Over the years, I have become very good at several specialties such as engineering project management, workplace safety systems, and machinery maintenance. While I am good at managing a team, I have always had the idea that I could do everything better myself. When working on my own time, I prefer to work alone as I get more done.

From reading this book, I finally realize why so many “smart” kids do not do well financially and the C students become rich. The first reason is that the school systems focus on creating good employees. They create students who learn to follow the rules and don’t cause trouble. While I was a bit of an exception to the not causing trouble part of that as I became Valedictorian of my high school, I was better at conforming to the rules than breaking them.

The school systems do not teach financial skills. While I had plenty of courses on chemistry, physics, English, and mathematics, I never had a class on money management in high school. Even in college, I studied general economics and engineering economics, but I never really learned how wealth was created. I just learned how to be a good employee and help corporations make money from my engineering skills.

My formal education totally failed me in teaching me how to produce wealth.

I did once have the opportunity to learn about wealth, but I let that opportunity pass me by. I never realized what an opportunity it was until after reading this book. I remember that while I was in my freshman year at Ole Miss, I spent a lot of time with my Grandfather. He had what I would now call a benevolent sponsor. This man owned several businesses and thousands of acres of land in North Mississippi. He gave my granddad a shop to play in and work on his inventions.

He saw how I worked with my grandfather and seemed to like me. I did not realize at the time he was offering me an opportunity to learn like the one Mike’s dad gave Robert in the book. I totally missed what he was trying to give me.

In the book, Kiyosaki explains how he was groomed to understand the various aspects of businesses by working at various businesses owned my Mike’s dad. Often the work was without pay. The only reward was the education received. This is one of the principles taught in the book – “work to learn not for pay.” Kiyosaky goes on to describe how he took a series of jobs after college that taught him various skills that enabled him to build his business empire. Mike apparently did very well also in managing and continuing to grow his fathers businesses.

Kiyosaki learned the importance of education from his poor dad. He realized that lack of education is what holds most people back from great wealth. So thankfully for his readers, he has decided to build a business out of teaching people how to become rich or at least more financially aware.

As, I mentioned earlier, the primary concept that has been my big epiphany is that of using the skill of others to help me. As I learned more about business, I realized that there are skills that I just don’t have that I need to make money. I had set out to learn them but even though I am a fast learner, I will be too old to care by the time I learn all I need to know to do it all myself. I need to learn to take advantage of specialists who do know these things.

I have had to make some real emotional decisions as I realize that there are people much younger than me who already know what I need to know. Deciding that I can learn from these “young punks” is an ongoing struggle, but my previous spiritual work has prepaved the road for this. I have learned to value all people and not prejudge them based on some stereotype or other prejudice.

The most important concept I found in the book however is his redefining of an asset and a liability. In my corporate engineering work, I defined all capital and physical goods as assets. These were things that had tangible value and could be sold. I thought of my car and my boat and my house as assets. After all, I could list these as collateral for a loan.

Kiyosaki however defines an asset as something that brings in income. Houses, cars and boats cost money to maintain and operate so they are really liabilities.

Kiyosaki’s wealth building strategy is one of building assets. He continually adds to his collection of income producing items. He is not worried about saving for retirement as he continues to build a passive income generating system. He can now do what he enjoys which seems to be teaching. Naturally he has found a way to turn his love of teaching into an income producing system as well.

For a while, I worked with a client who was a house flipper. He would buy a run down house and we would fix it up together. Then he sold it. While this was a way to get income, in the end he had lost his asset by selling the house. Had he chosen to rent out the house he could have had a steady income. Or, had he traded up the property he could have continued to grow his business as explained in the book. This particular client eventually returned to his job as a truck driver and I got a bad taste for house flipping. I now see how he could have had much better results had we both had a better understanding of how the money system works.

In chapter eight, he covers the major obstacles to success and how to overcome them. While the list is familiar to anyone who has studied self help literature, his recommendations on how to deal with them hit me differently.

In the section on dealing with fear, he acknowledges that we all have fears. However, most of us never face them. Instead we avoid what we fear. We create protective systems to help us avoid what we fear. I saw this in the corporate world and thought it must be the right way to get ahead. However, as explained in the book, even the CEO of a major corporation is still an employee. A high paid employee, but still an employee. It takes a different mind set to be a business owner or investor.

Facing my fear of loosing money will be my biggest obstacle in implementing what I have learned in the book. I have gotten very good and minimizing risks in my career. At one time, one of my job duties was risk management. I got very good at eliminating risks for the company. However as Kiyosaki says, there is always risk. We just have to learn to manage the risk.

When I read that paragraph, I remember riding in the co driver seat of a rally race car. We were sliding toward a tree after my driver entered a corner just a little hot for the low traction conditions. After he recovered control of the car, he told me that rally racing was all about risk management. You had to go fast even if there was risk of sliding into a tree.

Another obstacle to success that Kiyosaki talks about is dealing with cynicism. In school, you don’t get to be valedictorian unless you are good at pleasing people. If teachers and principles like you, you will get better grades and get the benefit of the doubt when you make an occasional mistake. So I learned to take cynicism very seriously. I always wanted to be a perfectionist. I learned this both in school and at church. What I wanted was not important. I was here to make other people happy.

My recent spiritual awakening has reversed my perspective on this. Now that I have learned to love myself and understand that nothing is more important than that I feel good about myself, I can now face the cynics. Most of them have no idea what they are talking about anyway. He gives several examples in his book about how people have backed out of deals that could have made them a lot of money because they listened to a totally uninformed cynic. It is always easier to find potential fault in something than it is to actually build a system that works. I intend to work on creating my own systems from now on and see how they work. At least as soon as I get over that fear I just mentioned.

Another obstacle he addresses is laziness. He defines laziness in a different way than I have ever read before. He says people who busy themselves to avoid a task are lazy. He says people often find excuses not to do what would make them successful because they don’t have time due to too many tasks like mowing the yard and doing their jobs. Even though most people would see these people as busy and productive, he calls them lazy because they do not focus their efforts on income producing activity. They avoid what really needs to be done by focusing on menial tasks.

The most important concept I got from the book was to look at my assets. This weekend, I will be attending the Rich Dad Poor Dad stock trading seminar. Hopefully there I will learn how to do a better job of managing my stock portfolio. My son and I have started looking at rental property and I am always looking for more ways to start businesses.

I still believe my greatest assets are my skills and experience. I hope to be able to share those through my web site and classes that I plan to teach. I know I have a lot of knowledge that can be of benefit to others and I believe I can make a business out of sharing that knowledge with people who will benefit form it.

I have passed on my copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad to my older son. When he is done I have asked him to pass it to his younger brother. I hope our generation can be the one to break the cycle and they can become Rich Dads to their children.

Jeep Cherokee Stumble and Stall

Tire Rack

Yesterday, I traveled to Nashville to check out my son Will’s Jeep. He had called complaining of a severe stumble and stalling in traffic. I remembered that this was a problem when I bought this Jeep for him.

When I first arrived, his Jeep would not start. I was finally able to start the Jeep but it did not idle correctly.

I took it for a test drive and found that the idle air controller was sticking and allowing the engine to stall in traffic. Unless I was really alert when decelerating, the engine would stall.

I made my way back to his apartment and used carburettor cleaner to clean the idle air control circuit in the throttle body. After a few squirts the valve started controlling again and was able to catch the engine when it slowed down.

I noted that there was a lot of oil sludge in the throttle body so I checked the vent from the valve cover and found it partially stopped
up. The connection at the manifold was also clogged. I used the carb cleaner to clean the tube and the connection.

I never experienced the stumble but I suspected it was caused by the ECU connection. I removed the big connector from the ecu and wired down the connector. If I had had some contact cleaner handy, I would have sprayed the contacts before re-seating it. The folks at Hesco say there is a common failure of the ECU due to over tightening of the connector bolt. The circuit board cracks here or the threadsert pulls out of the board.

I put just a small amount of torque on the bolt as I tightened it back in place. We let the engine cool a bit and then took it for another test drive. It ran fine taking us to dinner and back. I hope this will cure it for a while.

I also showed Will how to do these checks himself if it does act up again.