12 Ways to Keep Your Vehicle Neat and Your Kids Entertained on a Road Trip

During a long drive to Alabama to avoid Hurricane Irma, my mom asked me if anyone had interest in writing a blog article for her company. Looking around the van my family traveled in, I came up with this idea:

Do you know the feeling when you come back from a road trip and your car is so messy?


Well, today I’m going to share with you some tricks for keeping your car clean and neat. I’m also going to share a few ways to keep your kids from driving you crazy during that long road trip. I made up these “hacks” that my family and I used on a road trip to make it as fun as possible. I hope that you will try these out and let us know how they work for you.

  1. If you have a van, some vans have a handlebar that goes up and down. I like to keep a stack of plastic Publix bags and I put one on the handlebar. This will avoid your kids asking you every minute “Mom! Can you throw this away!”.
  2. You always have to keep napkins in the car. These will become really handy. you never know when they will be needed.
  3. Always, you have to have pencils, pens, crayons, etc. in your car. If you have younger children, you might want to keep coloring books. If you have older children (they might also want coloring books too), then you should pack lined paper, colored paper, etc.
  4. DON’T KEEP PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES IN YOUR CAR! THEY CAN CAUSE CANCER! So the next time you go to a thrift store, buy a metal water bottle for 50 cents, fill it with water, and keep it in your car.
  5. Always keep hand sanitizer or baby wipes in your car. These will come very handy when you have snacks if you to eat in the car. Even if you don’t eat in the car, these will still become very handy.
  6. Always keep a pair of flip-flops in your car. This hack will become handy even when you’re not on the road trip. If I got a quarter every time my mom said that we would not need flip-flops, but then we needed flip-flops, I would be rich. All you need to do is go to Dollar Tree or Walmart and buy a pair of flip-flops to keep in the car for your kids.
  7. Always keep toothbrushes and toothpaste on your car. Or you can just keep breath mints in your car. Everyone appreciates fresh breath!
  8. Print out some activities to keep your kids occupied. At the family meeting before our last long road trip, we took the time to write up family “theme songs” that we all sing together when there is some sort of unhappiness. It’s a way to make fun out of mayhem.
  9. Some families (like mine) have a mini DVD player that you can hook up to a car and you can watch a movie. That comes in very handy to occupy your children.
  10. When you’re on a road trip, always bring electronics. Such as iPad, iPhone, laptop, phone, tablet, etc. to occupy your children.
  11. Keep blankets and pillows on your car so your children can sleep in the car ride. You might want to consider using melatonin so your kids will go to sleep faster. Hot Tip: Right now, Walgreens has a sale on melatonin.
  12. If you go to Barnes & Noble, you can find all sorts of neat things, like a lap desk. That’s where I got my lap desk. I bought it a long time ago so it might not be there anymore, but if it is, then you’re in luck. This is such a wonderful invention. It has foam balls where’re you would put it on your knee, and wood where you would write and stuff. Plus, it has a zipper where you can store stuff. Also, they come with cute designs. I have one that has cute owls with flowers.

Well, those were the 12 ways to keep your car efficient and neat in a road trip that I made up for you guys. Tell me what you think in the comments.

Forever peace, love, and hope!

Lucy Gould – 6th Grade

LaVilla School of the Arts

Authorial Bias: How It Shifts Your Perspective

When researching historical events, our view of the event is completely shaped by authorial bias. The author of the entry being researched will always try to portray his side in the better light, even if they lost the war at the cost of thousands of lives. Therefore, history is completely based off of authorial bias and how they choose to describe the event. Authorial bias effectively alters our perception of the event and who was the good vs. who was the bad.

One such archetype of authorial bias is the naming of the battle fought on October 10, 732 between Charles Martel’s Frankish army and Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi’s Umayyad Caliphate. The battle is commonly known as the Battle of Tours, named so by Charles Martel because he won the battle near the town of Tours, France.


A painting depicting the vicious Battle of Tours.

The battle is ultimately remembered for stopping Muslim expansion into Europe and setting the foundation for the prosperous Carolingian Empire, a huge win for Christians. However, the Muslims call the battle the Battle of the Palace of the Martyrs, because even though they lost 12,000 men and Al Ghafiqi himself, they still view the battle as a victory due to their religion. By classifying it as a battle of faith, the Muslims made the loss seem like it was a religious victory, for they elevated the dead to the status of martyrs. In Islamic belief, martyrs receive a special place in heaven, showing that their knowledge through faith made them view the battle as a spiritual success.

Another example of authorial bias determining our perception of historical events is the naming of the American Civil War. Soldiers and historians from the Union called the war the War of the Southern Rebellion, while members of the Confederacy called the war the War of Northern Aggression. A neutral reader could be quickly be swayed to either side by reading a partisan excerpt from a Union or Confederacy writer.


This Confederate statue has been subject to controversy.

The two sides were extremely polarized by ethical issues such as slavery and state’s rights. The fact that slavery (an ethical issue debated in America for centuries) was one of the triggers for the Civil War caused such a deep split between the North and the South that issues from the Civil War are still debated today. The debate over taking down Confederate-era statues over 150 years after the conclusion of the Civil War illustrates how authorial bias on both sides of the Civil War divided the country to the point where politicians still must debate the topic half a century after the last Civil War veteran died

An additional example of the choice of language affecting people’s view of events is the ongoing Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane broke numerous records, including the strongest to hit the US since 2004, the strongest in Texas since 1961, the wettest ever in the US, and is considered by many to be the worst disaster in Texas history. Many climate scientists claimed that the high amount of rain was due to the increasing global temperature, which is often considered a by-product of global warming. Scientists also predicted that up to thirty percent of Harvey’s rainfall could be due to human impact on the environment. Harvey was also aided by the six-inch seal level rise along the Texas Coast.


A NASA image of Harvey when it hit the US.

While the mainstream media has published dozens of articles over the past few days stating numerous reasons as to why Harvey is proof of climate change, there are still many climate change deniers who stubbornly insist that human interactions have little to no impact on Hurricane Harvey and global warming as a whole. When climate scientists say that increased temperatures led to Harvey’s intensity, global warming deniers refute those claims by saying that temperatures in Medieval times were higher. Climate change deniers also use the “science of attribution”, i.e. distinguishing climate change patterns from normal weather patterns. The language that media uses to describe climate change can be politicized in wake of natural disasters to influence the public’s opinion on global warming.

Ultimately, authorial bias has been the hidden factor that has influenced historical writings for all of civilization. Historians for all of time have used language and specific vocabulary that make their nation appear to be “the good guys”, changing our view of history today. Students must be sure when researching areas of history to use sources from both perspectives of conflicts in order to get a truly accurate depiction of the historical event, such as the impact of global warming on Hurricane Harvey’s severity. Choice of language when debating ethical issues can also be crucial in arguments such as the 19th-century slavery argument, which culminated in the bloodiest war in history that still divides Americans today over its memory.

Take a moment next time you read an article or hear a news clip to examine the perspective. It will certainly change your attitude, if not your life!

Jake Gould – Junior

Stanton High School (Jacksonville, FL)

Changing the World, One Project at a Time

In the country of Haiti, as many are aware, there are immense life challenges. Some have a tremendous amount of resources, while others have barely enough to survive. Sometimes all it takes is just a little perseverance to help make a difference.

After the wake left in the destruction from the earthquake, many were left homeless. The lack of building codes and structural integrity of the living spaces left little to no resistance to withstand the forces of Mother Nature. Daniel Meadows of Maxima, S.A. saw a need and went to work to help the community.

Gould Design, Inc. had the honor of working with One Mission Society and Maxima, S.A. and being a part of the first project that has ever used manufactured trusses in the country of Haiti.bon-repos-haiti-4
Daniel met with the GDI founder and they devised a plan to help make a difference.
truss-electricalThis resulted in manufactured trusses being built in Haiti that adhered to some of the strictest codes in the United States, the Miami-Dade section of the FBC.
masonry-blockThis project was called “Bon Repos” and was a giant relief to many families. You can learn more about the cause here.
rake-ladderThe project is many small structures centered around a main church/community center facility.
bon-repos-haiti-1Since trusses were a whole new ballgame to this country, a tremendous amount of collaboration and education had to take place.
construction-crewEducation was done via email and conference calls with the Project Manager and the field crew.
bottom-chord-bracingEducation took place about the difference between common and vaulted trusses.
truss-materialsFramers needed to understand what purlins were and how to install them.splice-plateHow to properly attach fascia to trusses.
fascia-applicationaligning-fasciaRake gables of concrete had to be expanded upon.
rake-gable-wallAs did the ladder framing attachment.
gable-laddersgable-ladder-framingSo did the “finish work” after the structural attachments to concrete structures.
stuccoTo handle the structural elements needing special attention, GDI partnered with Kent Bice of BBD Engineering & Design Firm, LLC
wood-beamKent advised on structural beams.
tie-beam-insetMr. Bice also handled the sealed engineering and purlin requirements spacing requirements to transfer lateral loads.
purlin-bracingAnd uplift requirements.hurricane-tiesmitek-platesThe difference between temporary and permanent bracing was explained.
peak-framingThe families were elated as they watched things progress.
grateful-familyThe construction crew worked tirelessly to be on schedule.
construction-progressbon-repos-haiti-5installing-plywoodThe children patiently and eagerly looked on.
community-parkWhen the project was finished, there was a tremendous ceremony expressing much gratitude.
bon-repos-haiti-3bon-repos-haiti-9bon-repos-haiti-8To participate in a project like this was truly an honor and GDI is grateful to have had the chance to make a contribution, however seemingly insignificant. Take a moment to be grateful for what you have. There are others not as fortunate.
Remember, it only takes one candle to cancel out darkness.

Big And Small, We Do It All

Here at Gould Design, Inc., one of the most valuable things our customers appreciate is our ability to handle any size, any difficulty job and do it correctly. From the simple garages and pole barns to the custom 10,000+ square foot house, all the way to the 100,000+ square foot assisted living facilities, we have a highly skilled design team in place to handle any type of design.

How can this be? How can a company that operates remotely, detached from its customers succeed in meeting their expectations? Professional Development and Protocols, that’s how. I will not take up space to relate on those topics. To answer these questions, refer to some earlier articles on Truss Designer Training, some of the tools used and on quality and quality assurance.

What I want to do today is highlight some of the projects that have been assigned to us and give you a better idea of some of the versatility we can perform and the level of confidence our customers have sending these types of projects to us in the first place.

On some of these, GDI provided trusses only. Others, trusses, and EWP. Still others, wall panels were included in addition to trusses and/or EWP.

Active Lifestyle Community – First Trusses Ever Built in Haiti



Assisted Living – Louisville, Kentucky



Apartment Building – Toronto, Ontario


Apartment Building – Halifax, Nova Scotia



Active Lifestyle Community – Louisville, Kentucky



Many thanks go out to our customers for providing these pictures. It is an honor to serve you!

If you are a manufacturer struggling to “do it all”, give us a call!

Testimonials on GDI

Sales: 276-492-8020

Administration: 502-741-9126

How the Principles of the Game of Chess Apply to Life and Business

The game of chess and the game of life are very much similar. Both require strategy. Both require planning ahead. Both require caution. Both will make-or-break your self-esteem unless you find a way to utilize patience and pay attention to the little things.


I have put together some things I have learned over my 15 years that may help you learn from my mistakes. Enjoy!

Do not make careless pawn moves. They cannot move back.

  • Think twice before taking action.

Do not “castle” if it brings your King into greater danger from attack in your chess game.

  • If you can develop something other than your last-ditch effort, your chances of success improve vastly.

After castling, keep a good pawn formation around your King.

  • Always protect your most valuable assets. Even if a defensive move, it’s always good to have a second line of defense.

If you only have one Bishop, always put your pawns on its opposite color in your chess game.

  • Taking a proactive approach can prevent the unexpected.

Trading pawn pieces is a good strategy when you are ahead in material or when under attack.

  • Only negotiate down from your original goal when it is a win-win situation.

If cramped for moving space, free your game by exchanging material in your chess game.

  • Take away some unnecessary “clutter” so you can use the best resources.

If your opponent is cramped, don’t let him get any freeing exchanges.

  • Always seek to empower yourself, not to put yourself at a disadvantage.

Study openings you are comfortable with in your chess game, at the experience level you excel at.

  • Use strategies you have mastery in.

Play over the entire games, not just the current opening.

  • Always have a plan, not one step ahead but a minimum of two. It really helps to have a whole setup.

Blitz chess is helpful in recognizing chess patterns. Play often.

  • Try to think of the quickest, most efficient direction leading to win-win.

Study annotated games and try to guess each move in your chess game.

  • Think like your opponent and practice empathy at the same time.

Stick with just a few openings with White and a few openings with Black.

  • Try to limit your adversary’s options.

Record your games and go over them, especially the games you lost.

  • Don’t repeat mistakes! Always learn from your failures.

Show your games to higher rated opponents and get feedback from them.

  • Ask experienced adults/teachers/mentors for advice.

Use chess computers and databases to help you study and play more.

  • Never limit your options or your mindfulness, build relationships with a wide variety of different personalities.

Everyone blunders. The champions just blunder less often in their chess game.

  • Everybody makes mistakes.

When it is not your move, look for tactics and combinations.

  • Pay attention to the ideas of others.

Always ask yourself, “Does my next move overlook something simple?”

  • Measure twice, cut once. Double check your plan of action to make sure it’s good.

Don’t make your own plans without the exclusion of the opponent’s threats.

  • Think about what your rival would do if you take action.

Watch out for captures by the retreat of an opponent’s piece in your chess game.

  • If your challenger fizzles, think about how you can learn from their shortcomings.

Do not focus on one sector of the board. View the whole board.

  • It’s just like the principle of meditation that encourages you to plan your whole day in advance. Think about the big picture.

Write down your move first before making that move – it helps avoid blunders.

  • Things always look different on paper than in our mind.

Try to solve chess puzzles with diagrams from books and magazines.

  • Use a variety of sources to help you succeed.

Watch your time and avoid time trouble in your chess game.

  • Think before you act.

Bishops are worth more than Knights except when they are pinned in.

  • It’s easier to retreat into isolation that to face up to our mistakes.

A Knight works better with a Bishop than another Knight in your chess game.

  • It’s more productive to use at least two different resources, giving you a variety of ways to overcome obstacles.

Have confidence in your chess game.

  • If you have a positive attitude, you will be a positive person. Whether you think you “can” or you “can’t”, you are right.

Play in as many rated events as you can.

  • If you want to achieve success, never close your mind to any option.

Always play for a win in your chess game.

  • Try your hardest at everything you do, otherwise, what’s the point?


Jake Gould

Junior at Stanton High School

Jacksonville, FL

Truss Manufacturers: Are You Providing All Your Client Wants to Buy?

There are many, many types of framing that go on out there, depending on which region you are selling to. A truss manufacturer’s job is to provide as many of those time-saving items to shorten field-application of the products. However, how do you know what they are? Are you asking the right questions?

Have you ever purchased a new car and noticed all the extra “add-ons” that are placed on the sales ticket? Does anyone ever NOT take at least a few of them?

There are numerous time-savers you could offer your customer as a line item option, such as:

  • Bracing lumber
  • Hip cats
  • Level returns
  • Shear panels
  • Hip gables
  • Gable ladders
  • Box framing
  • Parapet wall build-ins
  • Sheathed gables
  • Bearing blocks/scabs when required
  • etc.

You get the idea. I will not take space to relate more than these 10. The question posed today is: Are you providing all your client will buy?

This brings to mind one, in particular, I would like to share with you. The gable “Ladder Box” truss.


This truss is very useful in regions where you have seismic loads and also high wind zones. It provides the lateral resistance needed to withstand such forces.


The suggestion to you, Truss Manufacturer, is to begin to add in “Options” to your truss bid for some of the items above and any others your sales team can educate your customer on the need for. You will be shocked at how many times they will want you to supply them!

After all, your customer is building these in the field anyway, right?

The role of the sales team is one of education. The more education they have on what the customer needs and what the manufacturer can produce will equal a greater margin. Try adding in some options and watch your margins soar!

The Beauty of the Attic Truss

Recently a project came across our desk that was an unusual attic design. The architect had drawn in an attic condition that “stepped up and over the floor joists at one end of the building. In other words, the attic truss had no bottom chord!


The design was 2 mono trusses “sistered” together at a ridge girder over the attic space. The mono truss had to step up and over the depth of the floor joists that were weaved in between the roof trusses.


While the design at the end walls was fairly simple to accomplish, as the trusses tied back in the adjoining planes, it presented some challenges. As the ceiling condition transitioned, some of the trusses had to rest on the top chord of a girder and others had to hang into the bottom chord…of the same girder!


The girder itself had to leg down. Yuck!


At the other end of the building, the plan called for the floor depth being built into the dual-pitch attic truss.


The fun part was that the ceiling condition of the slope up to the attic ceiling height was to remain consistent throughout the entire building!


Sometimes, these attic design can be head-scratchers. On this particular design, the architect did a fabulous job anticipating everything and it all worked out beautifully. Ah yes, the beauty of the attic truss!

What types of unusual attic designs have you seen in your travels?

Feel free to submit your guest blog article to admin@goulddesigninc.com. We would be honored to share it with our readers!


Dr. Henry Cloud writes, in his book Integrity that integrity is “the courage to meet the demands of reality”. He expands on this further and defines character as the ability to:

  1. Establish and maintain trust
  2. See and face reality (oriented towards truth)
  3. Work in a way that brings results
  4. Embrace negative realities and solves them
  5. Cause growth and increase
  6. Achieve transcendence and meaning in life

Dr. Cloud argues that these characteristics must be functioning in order to fully utilize our gifts, talents, and abilities.

The starting point is to recognize and understand that everyone has deficiencies. No one is immune—not even that high performer that you are idolizing on LinkedIn, or whose books you pre-order. They too must work through their deficiencies to be that high performer. Most likely, it’s because they’ve put in this kind of behind the scenes effort that has propelled them to success.

How might they have done this?

Establishing and Maintaining Trust

This means that we will connect at an empathetic level. This goes beyond “win-win” in that I am saying I will continue to work towards your good, even if you don’t work towards mine. That doesn’t mean I will allow you to work against me unchecked, but it does mean that I will continue to work towards your welfare and growth as well.

See and Face reality

Dr. Cloud speaks about this in terms of how we orient ourselves, what we face. Picture the child who covers his head with his blanket because he’s afraid of the dark. He is deceiving himself on several levels, not least of which is the fact that he is creating a false reality, one that only exists in his head. He is not being truthful to himself about his fears or about the room around him. Only by opening his eyes, pulling his head from under the blanket, and staring into the dark corners of the room will he be able to conquer his fears… or else deal with the monster in the closet.

He also speaks about it in terms of a pursuit. We orient and then seek the truth about ourselves, others, and the world we live in. Do we seek the truth about ourselves? Do we want those things to be revealed for others to see? Think about how hard it is to admit that we made a mistake, that we don’t live up to someone else’s expectations. We don’t want the “truth” about us to be seen. We don’t want to “lose” the perception people have of us. Ironically, the value we would gain by admitting our faults would far outweigh any negative opinions that some might have of us at the time. This is another way that we don’t face reality.

If we are pursuing success, then we must face reality and embrace it. Success won’t be found under the blanket.

Work In A Way That Brings Results

It is often said (and I’ve said) that you can train skills, you can’t train character. This is actually more nuanced. You can’t train the character of those who don’t want to grow—they have to want it in order for it to work. Success is found not only in acquiring skills but by becoming the kind of person that can be successful and not fall apart under its demands.

This goes beyond hard work, but in being prepared, using resources effectively and efficiently (one way to do this is to say “no” often), the ability to execute plans, make difficult decisions, etc. This is done with the persistence to see it through and the ability to move easily past mistakes after absorbing their lessons.

Embrace the Negative

This is a hard one. Whether it’s that tough client, employee, boss, or circumstances we tend to avoid conflict and avoid pain. The immature person will use failure or a situation that negatively impacts them and deflect the blame to others. Embracing the negative means that we actively engage with and resolve whatever the problem is, instead of ignoring it or trying to make it someone else’s problem.

Cause Growth and Increase

One evidence of sound character is your growth and the things and people around you growing. This doesn’t mean that you don’t take risks. Growth is tied to risk. A farmer planting a field is taking a risk, the manufacturer building 100,000 widgets is taking a risk. But, without taking the risk, the reward (growth) is not possible. We should differentiate this from gambling.

Growth is best created by a disciplined approach. E.g. that farmer carefully considered the crops he would plant, how well they would grow in his geographic location, the time to plant, whether the conditions were favorable, and he worked tirelessly to maintain the field, and cultivate the crop as it grew towards harvest. If he didn’t do any of those things but didn’t have the discipline to see things out, the crop would have failed.

Achieve Transcendence and Meaning in Life

This could mean different things to different people. Dr. Cloud’s perspective is that this an overarching reality that informs how you move in the world. It’s ultimately about serving a purpose higher than our own.  It’s to see other people beyond how they might serve me, but how I might serve them.

At GDI, Inc. we are constantly reading and looking for ways that we might grow. This particular book will be re-read many times. It hurt at times but that was the point? I hope for you, the reader, much growth as you consider this summary of the book, and I would encourage you to pick up a copy sometime. Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Tim Hoke – Design Manager / Sales

Gould Design Inc.

Gable End Sheathing in MiTek

Are you aware that the MiTek software will allow you to sheath your gables in the software? Are you using this tool? Consider the value it could provide to your customer if you could provide this as an option on your quote sheet. Here are a few tips to consider about the sheathing feature.

Sheathing is most common in the application where it covers the entire gable face. Yet, there are jobs where this is not necessary. To ensure proper application, you will need to take a few extra steps.

Dimensions for Sheathing Placement

When designing partially sheathed gables where the sheathing is raised from the bottom chord, always add a vertical dimension from the bottom edge of the truss to the bottom of the sheathing. MiTek provides notes on the shop drawings that describe where the sheathing gets applied EXCEPT for this case where the sheathing is held up from the bottom chord.

  1. To add the vertical dimensions to the sheathing, you will need to add a horizontal reference line in Versa-Truss to represent the bottom limit of your sheathing.


  1. Then use the “add dimension” tool in Versa-Truss to add the vertical dimension.


Doing so will ensure your shop has the proper placement. After all, what is the point of a value-added feature for your client unless it is correct? Take the extra time to ensure your shop personnel can accurately apply the sheathing.

Ask your customer if this is something they want. I think you will be amazed when they say “I didn’t know you could do that!” After all, the application is happening anyway, why not do something to distinguish yourself from the competition?

Remember: It’s the little things that add the value for repeat sales!

Gould Design, Inc. Administration