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Rock down to Electric Ave

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

A couple of years back, I took a big tumble into Tygart Creek. In a desperate bid to save my phone – and the interviews recorded on it – and worried dropping it in a bag of rice wasn’t enough, I went in search of an industrial grade desiccant. Tony James, at James Do-It-Best Hardware in Olive Hill, did his best to help me out, digging deep into his storeroom to find me a product and giving it to me at no charge. It was a bright spot on what had become a bad day with the tumble. A simple act of kindness that I really appreciated. 

Though the desiccant ultimately wasn’t enough to save my phone, I swore to myself that whenever possible I’d patronize his store for my hardware needs. It’s a promise that, with a few exceptions, I’ve stuck to. Some recent events have made that a little more difficult for me, though. Not because of anything Tony or his staff did, but because of my own sense of embarrassment. 

Humility is a virtue though, or so I’ve heard, so let me go ahead and humiliate myself. 

We recently had an outlet go bad in the kitchen. Simple fix, right? I thought so, and went into James Do-It-Best to grab a GFCI outlet replacement. The staff helped me find what I needed. I purchased it. I went home. And… I got the wrong color. I grabbed “ivory” instead of “white.” I was going to go ahead and use it, but that move was vetoed by my better (smarter) partner. So, it was back to the store for an exchange. 

This is where things got interesting. The right color in hand, I flipped the breaker labeled “kitchen outlets above counter,” but I learned a long time ago not to trust other folks’ labeling. I clipped one end of my circuit tester to the hot wire, and touched the end of the probe to the other wire. Not only was it still hot, it was carrying enough juice to blow the light bulb in my circuit tester. I wasn’t going to be using that again. But after Nicole flipped the other breaker labeled for kitchen outlets, I went ahead with my repair. That wasn’t the correct breaker either though. So, hooking the outlet to hot wires, I blew out the brand new outlet and received a nasty shock in the process. 

Back to the hardware store I went, to purchase yet another outlet. In a rush to get out of the store and on to my next assignment though, I didn’t pay close enough attention and – wouldn’t you know it – I not only grabbed the wrong color again, I grabbed the wrong amperage. I didn’t discover this, though, until I’d disconnected everything again and pulled the outlet out of the box. 

Now I need to go back to Tony’s store again, and exchange yet another outlet because I grabbed the wrong color. It’s frustrating, and more than a little embarrassing. And humbling. 

I’m beginning to understand why folks less pig-headed, and more intelligent, than me hire this kind of work out. But third time’s the charm, right? I sure hope so. 

If not, though, I know the folks at James Do-It-Best have me covered. (I just hope they aren’t laughing too much at me behind my back.) 

Jeremy D Wells can be reached at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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