A Cell Phone Tether Story
Hi! My name is Andy Gorman and I have been in the Heavy Construction Business for the past 20 years. In that time, I have had three major cell phone accidents resulting in the loss or destruction of each one. My replacements for these phones have cost me over $850.00!
- I was building a water run off retention tank for NW Pipe in Portland, Oregon. As I was stripping the forms off after framing and pouring a large concrete three bayed water retention tank using the wier system, my cell phone flipped out of my pocket as I was crossing a stream of ground water while my arms were loaded with lumber. Just by chance, as I leapt over that stream, my cell phone took flight up out of my pocket and splashed, then submerged itself in about one foot of water. I had to drop my load of materials I was carrying, and then fish my cell phone/Nextell radio out of the water. Needless to say, that little accident cost me a few hundred bucks to replace!
- I was working in our equipment yard on an asphalt roller and as I was just finishing servicing it, the secretary- bookkeeper came out of the office and asked to have the roller moved, as it was blocking her vehicle. As I was trying to hurry, I was bending over picking up tools and as I was climbing up on the Asphalt roller, my phone took flight again, unbeknownst to me, and landed on the ground while climbing up the steps to get on this machine. I checked to make sure it was safe to move the roller after I started it up, and as you saw in the video, I knew I was in trouble when the roller bounced over something! Needless to say that phone doesn't ring anymore. There went another few hundred bucks to replace that one too!
- Last April, I had a gall bladder attack and later that month I had it removed surgically. Have you ever heard of Murphy's Law? Well just a few days after my surgery, I was at home recuperating, when all of a sudden my septic tank backed up.
In Oregon this year we had record snows. There was snow on the ground and the yard was flooding. I have installed many septic tanks during my career, but at this time, I still had open wounds from my surgery so there wasn't much I could do about it at that time.
I had to give myself a few days to heal up before I tackled that messy job so I wouldn't get infected.
After I felt well enough to fix this problem, I arranged for a septic pumping truck to come out and pump out the tank. After the tank was emptied, we were able to discover what was causing the problem.
Now, I have to take you back to a year ago during the summer time. I was out mowing the yard one day, and as I was mowing over the top of the septic tank, I felt the ground starting to give away from underneath me. I have a large commercial self propelled lawn mower-(X-Mark). Fortunatley, I have sensitive feet, and when I felt the ground giving way, I basically levitated and let the mower pull me away from any potential disaster. This means I didn't even get my shoes dirty!
I decided that I was not going to fish that big 4'x4' concrete lid out from the bottom of the tank; I figured it could just live down there. So I went and got a piece of 1/2" steel plate and put it over the tank to act as a lid. I will never fall through that!
What had happened was that the septic tank lid had caved into the tank which had approximately 18 inches of dirt on top of the lid (the ree-bar had rusted out of the concrete lid.) The lid fell to the bottom of the tank. When that happened, unbeknownst to me, it had broken off the baffle that is inside the tank that lets the water run out, but leaves the solids in the tank to break down.
This means that the solids in the tank were flowing right on out the distribution line and plugged up the system. So to make a long story short, I rebuilt the baffle, grouted it in, and had my pipes jetted out to remove the clogs.
Ok, the system should work again! Now, my pretty little wife who has already done two loads of laundry, a load of dishes, and taken a shower had already started filling up the tank, meaning there is already water in the bottom of the tank. I was just finishing up this project as it was a Saturday in March of 2009, and I was trying to beat a rain storm that was coming in and it was darned cold outside! Just as I was putting that 4' x 4' x 1/2" thick steel lid back in place, (rememeber that the tank is 18" below ground level, my feet are on the grass 18" above the tank, therefore I have to bend over farther than normal to gently place this lid down) I was gently lowering the lid into place, and this is when I noticed watching my cell phone slip out of my pocket and slide in between my shoes and go splash!
Now, if this doesn't make you cuss, what does? All I could do was drop the lid, take my ball cap off of my bald head, place it over my heart and give the cell phone it's last rights. With a few added phrases....I go in the house, wash my hands, jump in the pickup truck and drive to the cell phone store and buy another phone!
While driving towards that store is when I got to thinking... "This is never going to happen again!" I am thinking to myself, while chewing on my Copenhagen, that I have got to tie this phone on to me somehow!
This new phone cost me $250.00! Plus I had to sign a two year agreement, and I nearly wore out my trigger finger punching in all of the lost names and phone numbers I had on the old phone. That was a lot of danged work and took days to do. Some of the numbers took me 6 months to recover!
In this recessionary time, I really didn't have the $250.00 dollars to spend. While I was at the Sprint Cell Phone Store, I inquired about some kind of a strap or something I could buy so I wouldn't lose another one. They gave me some kind of cheap, plastic cell phone holder to clip to my pants pocket or belt.
Now, I am like a bull in a china closet. I use my body to move things; pushing, pulling, lifting, shoveling, whatever. Gosh, I have even scrubbed the phone off my hip by brushing the wall as I am making the corner to get into the bathroom before. (Man on a Mission!)
With me being a heavy equipment operator, I have snapped the phone off of my belt just from jumping in and out of track hoes, dumptrucks, graders, rollers, etc. Nevertheless, if I am operating equipment, I generally can't hear the darn thing ring or the radio tones when someone beeps me if I have it on my hip. So I have to have it in my front shirt pocket to be functional for me.
My phone on my hip is not an option for me. Putting my phone on a strap and having it hang around my neck doesn't work for me either. I work outside, in the dirt, in the asphalt, in the concrete, in confined places, (manholes), etc. The strap would get dirty, irritate my skin, and look bad. The phone could slip out of my pocket and still fall into the concrete mud if I was on my hands and knees finishing the concrete. I'd still have a mess!
Every place I looked for a strap or something that would be functional and practical was not really applicable. I never really found a strap that would attach to my phone!
This is when I came up with the idea of making a retractable gadget like the janitors used to wear on their hip to carry their keys back in the 70's when I was just a kid in school.
The more I got to thinking about this idea, the more I liked it! So I built myself a proto-type and wore it from March until July of this year. Then I decided I liked it so well, and everyone was commenting on how handy the unit is and how impressed they were, that I decided to take this idea to market.
There are several different uses for this item. I have had great luck with mine and I know you will have great luck with yours! Have fun with it!
Remember The Golden Rule #2:
"Be smarter than the equipment you are working with!"