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Book Arch

          I know this has nothing to do with Laundromats but it was a fun project for my daughters room.

            A few years ago we saw something similar in a store and she loved it and wanted one in her room. Sure, a simple task.


             Well it took me a couple of years for a few reasons.
   1- How to make it stable without damaging the books
    2- As a book lover, I prefer to hold and read a book over an electronic book any day. I have read hundreds of books in my life, so far, and I don’t plan on stopping, I had to get past the idea that I would destroy the book in the process.
    3- How to make it work and be stable.

           These are all things a teenager never thinks about but I did lay awake at night thinking about it.

                 Finally I came across a store that was literally giving the books away as they were closing down. So I loaded the car and took them home. This pile was actually stored under her bed for awhile and was really bugging her. I added more books that were left in a rental house and finally made the move.

               First step was to find a base that would work. I ended up cutting some pieces from an old TV mount.


               Next I drilled a couple of holes to connect the metal conduit through.


             The top arch was just a 4′ piece for conduit that I used a bender in the store to round the ends.


             For support I connected the upright pieces to the wall with some threaded rod and some heavy weight wall anchors.I just used the threaded part of the wall anchors and used 3″ screws into the wall studs.

               One of the hardest parts was lifting the loaded arch on to the uprights and sitting it in place. The holes in the books on this section were drilled closer to the edges so they would hang down and not hit the roof.

   The holes were drilled using a 1″ wood bit. The paperbacks were hard as they fluffed up a lot. I found by clamping the books together, drilling a few pages at a time and cleaning the bit a lot it worked OK. I did drill a small pilot hole through first so I could drill from both sides.


Another challenge was how to cover the connections. The uprights were filled up to the wall support and then the top arch was filled on the floor and lifted into place.

What I ended up doing was to cut some slots into some large, hardcover books and just slide them into place after everything was tight.



First I drilled the holes like normal and then used a reciprocation saw to do most of the cutting. 


          An oscillating saw helped finish up the corners.


              And there it is. It was actually in another room for a couple of months before we switched rooms. I did find that the books “settled” after a while as the fluffed up pages were compressed by the weight.




Not your normal project but t turned out great.



Ken Barrett

P.S. This is the link to starting your online business. Click Here

Episode 22 – Burn Your Boats, Not Your Bridges

Burn Your Boats, Not Your Bridges


           I wanted to share a story about the difference between burning your boats and bridges.

           I can only go into general terms but I believe I can still make the point in this video. It’s not one of my smoothest videos as I was trying to cover the points I wanted to make and skip over the specifics.  As you know I own some Laundromats and one of my stores has a Drop Off Service. People bring in their clothes and for a per pound rate we wash, dry, fold and package them for pickup.

          This particular situation involved a large order that was dropped off and my attendants agreed to the amount offered before getting all the weights done.

Here is the story….



It’s time for the Gentlemen to make a comeback.

It’s time for the Gentlemen to make a comeback.

     Last night I attended the Small Business Awards with my wife, three teenage daughters and two of my staff from the store.

It was a great event and ran very smoothly. The awards were held in the theatre at the Buckner Event Plaza in Anniston AL. The facility was built in 1930 and was closed when the former military base shutdown but it has been re-opened, freshened up but still has the charm of an old theatre. (including the red painted “NO SMOKING” sign on the marble mall in the men’s room. You know the ones that were made from the old paper stencils).


 After there was a reception at the attached banquet hall. It has some old charm as well, with hardwood floors and  steel railings. There was a 3 piece Jazz Band performing to provide entertainment.

 Congratulations to the winner of the Emerging Small Business of the Year, Cheaha Cheer and Tumble as well as to the other nominees and other awards.

      During the awards in the theatre each nominee was called to the stage to accept a plaque and have pictures taken. In some cases it was just one person and in other cases there were a number of people from the company.



   On the way home from the event my daughter made the comment that I was the only guy to stand to the side and let the women, that work in my store, go on the stage first and after the pictures I went down the stairs and offered a hand to help them down the stairs. They also liked how I went and got the car so they didn’t have to walk after the event.

     This opened up an opportunity for my wife and I to discuss the qualities to look for in a man and a number of other topics.

     To me it seems perfectly normal to let a lady go first, help them up or down the stairs, go and get the car, open and hold a door and many other things that men should do. Does this mean I think less of women or that they can’t open a door themselves? Absolutely not.  It’s just how I was raised and how a man should act.

     I believe that it is time for the Gentlemen to make a comeback. Hold the door for a lady, help her carry a package, go and get the car in the rain. And Ladies, allow a gentleman to do these things for you. They may not be there all the time but when they are accept these simple gestures as a sign of respect.

     And to all of the parents out there, these are simple principles to teach that help your children learn to respect women and even adults. I’ll always thank somebody’s child that holds a door for me at the mall.

     Finally to any guy that expects to impress my daughters… you better bring your A game because I’m setting the bar high and my daughters deserve no less.

 If you have any comments please post them below.



P.S. If you are interested in Online Marketing and Personal Development CLICK HERE

The Real Reason Behind Dating Shows.

  I’m trying to understand the people that would try out and appear on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette or any of the other spin off shows of that nature.

     My mid-teen daughter seems to have a fascination with these shows or maybe she just watches them when she gets her iPad taken away because she knows they drive me nuts.

     I’m sure many have the memories of grade school when you were playing any of the sports during school or, the best ones, at recess. They could be Red Rover, Baseball, Dodge ball, Frisbee Football or whatever other game was the flavor of the day.  Somebody decided who the team captains were and they worked their way through the crowd of hopefuls picking teams. Fortunately it didn’t take long and most people already knew the order they would get picked. Me being the smaller, nerdy type kid with glasses I was usually in the bottom third but in baseball I would always make sure to bring a glove as that guaranteed you a spot on a team.

     Are these new reality shows a version of the same selection process? A bunch of hopefuls try out and if all goes well they will be picked by the team captain and get to spend the rest of their life with somebody that picked them out of a crowd?  I can hear some of those arguments in the future, ‘You picked me baby and now you’re stuck with me!”

     So are the contestants on these shows the kids who were picked first in grade school and don’t think anybody else could possibly beat them at this or any other competition. If so why are they single and on a dating show?

     Or are these the ones that were picked at the bottom and they feel this is their only chance at finding someone?

     Maybe none of these contestants got to play pickup sports in school or at recess because they have grown up in the age when these were considered too violent and nobody was allowed to be picked last or feel bad.

     I’m glad that I was able to suffer the effects of being picked last for a team at recess in Grade 5.

Some lessons are best learned as a kid.

If you have any comments please post them below.


Ken Barrett

P.S You can find this and my other comments at

P.P.S Live your dreams now? Check it out Here

Souths Best Robotics Competition at Auburn Arena

The finals for the Souths BEST Robotics Competition are being held this weekend at Auburn Arena in Auburn Alabama. This competition helps expose kids to engineering in a fun way.
They build the robots to a certain spec and are judged on a bunch of things from how fast and accurate they can move blocks to the school spirit.
Teamwork, engineering, construction and troubleshooting all add to the experience.
These are your future engineers. If you school is not involved ask why.

If you have any comments please post them below.


Play Safe

Cooking Games For Girls- Day 2

Does anybody else find that thing are busy every night and on the nights that nobody is supposed to be anywhere you have that moment of panic that you forgot something?

Part of the reason that we started Cooking Games For Girls was to let them trade back some of the time we spend hauling them around. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t mind at all and thanks to the almighty Google we have a family calendar to keep track of where everybody should be. Add in the phones that also send you a text telling you when to leave and it all goes smooth. We haven’t forgot a kid anywhere in weeks.

Scheduling the days they cook may be somewhat fluid as well. Tonight is Day 2. A simple recipe made by Mom before that requires minimum cooking and some fridge time. This one comes courtesy of Pinterest. One of my favorite sites for food ideas.

Click Here For The Recipe

Soon the girls will find some Pinterest sites and then the dinners should get interesting.

We need to incorporate The Boy into the mix too but with Basketball practice, games and work he may need to learn the Quick and Easy Meals.   

Well, it’s supper time.

If you have any comments please post them below.


Play Safe


Cooking Games For Girls

Our kids are all teenagers and it is our job to get them ready for the real world. Looking at Facebook, other social media and hearing conversations of teenagers it would seem that very few are ready for the world.

Back in the day I lived on a farm and didn’t realize initially that stuff I thought was fun as a kid like cutting grass, riding hay wagons and stacking hay was actually work. Then I started to get paid for it and thought ” This is a good deal.” I get to drive a tractor and get paid for it. It was cool that because the other guys were stronger and could stack hay better so I got to drive. That eventually changed but it was still ok. And yes I did have to walk a quarter of a mile to catch the bus and, as I showed my wife on our trip there last year, it was uphill both ways.

It’s time to introduce cooking games for girls which is our latest plan to help our “adults in kids bodies”. They each get a different day of the week to make supper. This includes making a shopping list on the weekend so they have what they need. We handed out the cookbooks on the weekend and said “Let’s go”. Tonight is the first meal. I was already asked “If it’s horrible do we still have to eat it?”. That would be a Yes, because that’s what’s for supper and they will have to eat yours too.

I will be providing support to make sure we still have a house to eat supper in and not spending time in the emergency room.

If you have any comments please post them below.


Stay tuned and Play Safe.


BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) Robot Competitions.

Today was the regional Championships for the BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) Robot Competitions.

Hope Academy in Talladega Al , where our son goes to school, placed second and will be headed to Auburn University in December for the South’s Best Competition.

It was tough job for the Judges to score but they did a great job.

Congratulations to all of the competing teams.

If you have any comments please post them below.


Play Safe


Anybody have any teen drivers?

Recently my oldest received his license and was off to the races. That should be just a cool old phase but sometimes it’s a little too accurate.

Sure we explained about wasting gas, driving too much and speeding up too fast. How do I know? It could be from all of the gas I wasted when I was a teenager. Stopping in to the gas station to get $1.42 in gas because that’s all I could find in the astray. I even went so far as to move the distributor cap on my old “70 GMC pickup to try and get better mileage on the highway. I had to move it back to drive in town as it would barely run otherwise. Did it make a difference? Probably not but it was worth a try to get to the city.

As I explain to the kids that sure I might have driven a little fast and been a bit of an idiot at times but there was a lot less people on the road (and less police) and I was driving a truck that I bought and had to pay all the bills on. If I smashed it up I was walking or worse….riding the school bus.

Fast forward to now and there are a ton of changes. More people on the road, more police, cell phones to call the police with and what every kids loves….technology and satellites. And also he is behind the wheel of my truck.

After a couple of weeks of suspecting he was driving around too much, jumping on the gas and being an idiot, the last one was confirmed by another parent at the school, we did the old school methods of following him to school, driving him once in a while and seeing if the truck moved while he was at work.

 Then life started getting in the way so it was time to make a move. Hello GPS tracker.

Click here for more details.

About a week after the simple installation and setup we asked a few questions about where he was driving, Was he going straight to school and staying there? Was he driving around when he was on break at work? Of course the answers were no, yeah a bit etc.

Once we dealt with those issues it was time to lay out some rules. Routes to work and school, speeding, acceleration and breaking too fast.

Now we have a good understanding of the cause and effect of driving my truck. If the daily report card I get emailed is bad he gets to take it to the coach and explain why he won’t be playing this week.  Nobody else can push the pedals while he’s driving.

There are some other advantages. If someone calls saying he was driving bad or he cut them off we can check and see if he was even in the area at the time.

If you have teen drivers and want to help them be responsible behind the wheel CLICK HERE for more information.

Leave some comments below about how you help your teens learn to drive safe.

If you have any comments please post them below.


Play Safe