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Even my aches have aches.

It was a great relief to finish the academic year at Campbell University Divinity School, with the major downside being all the homework — as in work on our home — that awaited me when classes ended.

One of several overdue projects has been the replacement of all the flexible ductwork connecting our heating and air conditioning systems to those nifty little vents in the floor (downstairs) or ceiling (upstairs). The construction grade stuff the contractor used when our house was built 20 years ago has been falling apart, hence the need for an upgrade.

Last week I thanked God for a spell of cooler weather and spent a good part of two days crawling around the attic with the help of one of our students. Unfortunately, he could not follow me under the house, where fallen insulation hangs like Spanish moss and gives the cramped space the look of a pink swamp.

I spent eight hours under there yesterday, most of it crawling on my belly or twisted into some unnatural position while straining to reach through drain lines to cut an old pipe away or tape and tie a new one into its place. Samuel helped me some. While he was under the house a major thunderstorm blew through and left two inches of water under one corner of the house: to complete one duct, I had to lie in it.

Did I mention that I really prefer being clean to being caked with mud, dust, and insulation?

Now aware of the drainage problem, I have another project to complete, but before I can get to it, there remains at least another day of labor to finish replacing the duct work. The insulation needs to be replaced or shored up, too, and every water pipe in the house needs to be replaced. I’m leaving those jobs to the professionals.

For one summer during my high school years, I worked a swing-shift in the spinning mill where my father and several other family members spent the majority of their working years, and that was more than enough incentive for me to get a college education.

I don’t mind getting nasty and doing hard work every now and then — some things just have to be done. I salute those do the dirty work that makes life better for the rest of us, and I think I’ll stop complaining about Campbell’s expectation that divinity school professors dress in a coat and tie.

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