Saturday, July 24, 2010

The 2x4 Obsession

Stack of timber

We're going to Ireland next week for a few days and we're working hard in the meantime to get walls plastered and primed here in the Gingerbread House. This flurry of activity is necessary because all of my male relatives will grill us on how far we've progressed in our renovation efforts. When I'm in Ireland without the Gingerbread Husband, I'm made aware of how completely inadequate my reports are. I can tell them what we've been doing but they're not really interested in our success stories, they want to know about the disasters. And they want to fix them.

Strangely, though, all the DIY suggestions involve 2x4s. A 2x4 is a plank of wood that's 2 inches deep and 4 inches wide - in Ireland it's pronounced a "toobefore". Apparently it's like a cup of tea in DIY terms: it cures all ills. If your floor is wobbly, just shore it up with 2x4s and pour a few gallons of liquid concrete on it. Instable wall? Tack a stack of 2x4s to it and cover it with plasterboard. Leaking toilet? Just take a 2x4 and ... oh, dear. You get the idea. I don't know much about DIY and I usually just do what I'm told, so I'm not sure if I'm passing on this valued advice as it was given. In any case, there's always a piece of timber somewhere in the mix.

While many Germans prefer to leave DIYing to the experts, there's a thriving DIY culture in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Sure, you can call in a trained professional, but it's ever so much more fun to give it a lash yourself. Naturally, it's all the more exciting if you can do it by using materials not specifically designated for the task - hence the love of the plank of wood, I guess. Right now we're faced with half-finished electrical wiring and a waterpipe that's causing me sleepless nights, but I have no doubt that some well-meaning uncle or cousin will set me right with some nifty solution that involves ...
... you've guessed it ...
a 2x4.

1 comment:

rainsford said...

It's worth pointing out that a 2x4 (and the almost-as-useful 2x1,) is not actually 2 inches by 4 inches, as everything has been metric for about 30 years in Ireland. However, it's much cooler to say 2x4, than 50mm x 100mm It just doesn't roll off the tongue as easily.