It’s garbage day in Waldwick and Kevin Kiernan’s wife is mad at him again.
Garbage is strewn all over the lawn and the lids for the family’s four garbage cans are nowhere to be seen.
Kiernan has tried everything to combat the elements and animals that regularly knock over his cans. He’s put cinderblocks on the lids, tied the lids down with cord and even set up a night-vision camera at his home on Douglas Street to catch the raccoons in action.
"My wife threw me out of the bedroom and said, ‘You’re on the couch!’ " Kiernan said in an interview on Monday, Feb. 6. "She said, ‘Figure it out because I’m not dealing with this every day’."
Kiernan, a manager at New Rochelle (N.Y.) Chevrolet, has lived in the borough for 10 years with his wife, Melissa, and their three kids. He refers to himself as a "MacGyver," alluding to a television series in the ‘90s whose lead character, Angus MacGyver, improvised solutions to problems using common items.
So Kiernan got to work and seven prototypes later, had his solution. It’s called The Last Lid, and it’s a fabric replacement for a traditional garbage can cover.
The fabric lid attaches around the side of the can with Velcro, has holes for the handles and a clip that fits around one of the handles, so that it won’t fall off after the garbage is thrown into the truck.
Kiernan described the fabric as a "durable polyester," similar to something you would find on an awning.
"It works great," Kiernan said. "My garbage hasn’t been touched in months."
Executives at ABC thought so, too, and are featuring the Waldwick family on the reality show "Shark Tank" at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17.
Kiernan said he was up late watching reruns of the show when he got the idea to send the show his invention.
"And the rest is history," he said.
"Shark Tank" puts inventors and entrepreneurs in front of a panel of five investors, or "sharks," to pitch their ideas.
"The Sharks" are typically multi-millionaires or billionaires who, after hearing the pitch, will either agree to fund production of the invention with their own money for a piece of the pie or, if they don’t like the idea, rip it to shreds on national television.
The ideas pitched on the show range from useful to bordering on the absurd. Previous episodes have featured a perfume that smells like money, a website on which people can plan their own funeral, a product called "Man Candles" with scents like bacon, a poker room and draft beer, and custom-made bobble heads.
"It’s just been a whirlwind and a great experience," Kiernan said about his time on the show. "I would do it again."
The Last Lid is merely Kiernan’s latest invention. He’s also invented a product called the Pint Pit – an ice cream holder that solves the problem of handling cold, sticky containers – and the Freedom Tee, a shirt designed in honor of those who died on 9/11, which Kiernan sells to raise money for charities.
In all, Kiernan says he owns five patents, with The Last Lid being "one of the biggest ones."
"It fits a demographic," Kiernan said. "I’m solving a common household problem."
While things have worked out for the best at home – Kiernan comes home to a happy wife who no longer has to chase down garbage can lids – his fate on the show remained a mystery.
"You will have to tune in to find out," Kiernan teased.