the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Final Chapter of the “Closet Trilogy”


Narrator:  Tonight on the HGTV, it’s “Design on a Dime!”  Let’s meet today’s couple, Neil Kramer and Sophia Lansky.   Their problem:  limited closet space.

Sophia:  There just isn’t enough room to fit all our clothes.

Neil:  And all your shoes.  Who needs so many shoes?

Sophia shoots him a look.

Narrator:  In order to get more closet space, some friends suggested that Neil and Sophia use professionals.  For instance, blogger Two Roads made this comment:

Call a California Closet designer and let them do it. It was the best thing I did and I doubled the amount of space in my closet without lifting a hammer. It is worth every penny and since they know what they are doing there is no headache worrying about measurements and parts and such.

Of course, Neil is too cheap to go the route of asking a professional.  That’s why he is on “Design on a Dime!”

Neil:  Did you see how expensive California Closets are?!  For the same price, we could just rent another apartment for our clothes!

Narrator:  Being a cheapstake, Neil went to Home Depot and bought a “closet kit,” but when he returned home, he realized that he was totally clueless on what to do next — and didn’t have any tools.

Blogger Rhea thinks this lack of building skill is part of the Jewish tradition, like keeping kosher and kvetching. 

Here in Boston a lot of the carpenters are Irish or Italian. My Jewish friend thought it would be nice to employ a Jewish carpenter. So this guy named, I don’t know, Marvin Rosenberg or something, comes in to install the new kitchen counter. Can you imagine a carpenter with that name? Do I have to tell you he was lousy at it. Yup, Jewish men are accountants, professors and writers. Forget power tools.

Neil:  I have no idea where this stereotype comes from, since I know quite a few handy Jewish men.  Even Jesus was a carpenter. 

Sophia:  Jesus could also walk on water.  You can hardly swim.

Neil shoots Sophia a look.

Narrator:  Desperate to put up the shelves for cheap, Neil turned to Sophia’s friend, Leo.   Several hours later, after installing the shelves, Leo became a hit with women around the world.   Blogger Tatyana said:

Nothing’s sexier than a man named Leo with a hammer in his hands…does he have a phone?

Today, Sophia and Neil started putting their clothes back into the closet. 

Neil:  I was very proud of what I had accomplished.

Sophia:  Even though you really didn’t do anything other than serve us apple juice.

Narrator:  And then, as Sophia was hanging a cute little floral print skirt, the entire top shelf gave way.  Half her clothes fell on her head.

Sophia:  So, there we were holding up up the remainder of the shelf to make sure the entire wall didn’t collapse on her head, when Neil runs off.  And where was he going?  To get help?  No…

Neil:  I went to get my camera so I could take a photo for the blog!  (I never made it to the camera, though.  Sophia selfishly demanded my help)

Narrator:  Luckily, Sophia was able to fix the problem.  Leo had installed it wrong.  Sophia had to take the shelf down and reinstall the brackets correctly.

Neil:  And I brought Sophia some apple juice.

Narrator:  And now Sophia is very happy with her new closet.   And Neil… well, he is another cheap guy getting away with murder on “Design on a Dime.” 


  1. Bonez

    Oh man that sucks! At least Sophia can’t yell at you for doing a bad job. (Although she can for running to get the camera)

  2. Michele

    Dang. I’d have liked to see that picture.

  3. better safe than sorry

    i have a gf that does everything, she’s my inspiration so i guess leo is sophia’s inspiration. i see nothing wrong with that.

  4. Tatyana

    wait, wait: “Sophia is very happy with HER new closet”?

  5. V-Grrrl

    He may not get my jokes or share my sense of humor, but by God, I’m glad I’m married to an engineer.

    BTW, Neil, forget the apple juice. The hammer-wielding types would probably prefer a cold beer (Belgian, of course).

  6. Rhea

    I always associate apple juice with children.

  7. ms. sizzle

    thank goodness there is a happy ending to this tale. 🙂

  8. fringes

    I love Mott’s apple juice! I’d take that over beer any day. It mixes much better with the vodka.

  9. deezee

    between a photo for your readers and your separated wife’s head (whose name is probably on the lease of that apartment)?…

    okay, you made the right choice.

    funny post…I see a new sitcom possibility, the modern day version of I Love Lucy, “Life with Sophia.” You two even have the ethnic element going for you. Get pitching!

  10. teahouseblossom

    Yeah, where’s the photo? Dying to see it!

    And Asian men are even less handy around the house than Jewish men. My Boy can’t even hang blinds. He once asked me, “Should I hire a contractor to help me with that?”

  11. Charming, but single

    Have you never watched “Design on a Dime”? Because if they’d come, they would have spent $1000 fixing your closet while you and Sophia were “banned” from the house.

    This sounds more like “Weekend Warriors.”

    Dude, get your HGTV shows straight … ;P

  12. KentuckyCritter

    Forget “I Love Lucy”., Lucy was an’s more like the “Honeymooner’s”… Alice was a “take no shit” woman and you didn’t see that much back then (hence, I LOVED the show and HATED Lucy)…

    Alice aka Sophia: Ralph(Rick!) Forget the camera and get your ass in here! NOW! Didn’t I tell you not to have Norton (Leo) hang this damn thing!

  13. deezee

    Hey, I’m defending my I Love Lucy pitch. I said the modern version, not the rehash.

    ‘LIfe With Sophia’ would be all Neil and Sophia. They need not borrow from the past. They have enough spit and vinegar and dousings of syrup to keep the action alive for seasons.

    Neil, I hear your 3D future calling…

  14. Sandra Dee

    That was hilarious! I know several carpenters — even Jesus. Too much!

    Thanks for the laugh. I’ll be back more often!

  15. Churlita

    I’m glad you two worked it out. Maybe we gave you bad advice. You should probably just have had Sophia do it so that it would have been done right the first time.

  16. Becky

    See, but now you can BOTH can disparage Leo’s workmanship. Even if he’s a nice guy, blah blah blah.

    The other way? You’d be standing in front of the cannon, man.

  17. Postmodern Sass

    It’s a well known fact, well known to anyone who’s ever been married, that is, that the surest route to divorce is hanging wallpaper together. You and Sophia have survived your closet issues. Don’t tempt fate. The entire Internet is rooting for you, you know.

  18. KentuckyCritter

    *hands Deezee a cup of java and grins*

    I have a tendacy to irritate people at times…think it could be my big mouth?

  19. sandra

    Is it weird that I’ve never met you and I’m REALLY happy this worked, largely because I’ve been wanting you and Sophia to get back together officially since I started reading your blog?

  20. Two Roads

    You live by the ocean and you can’t swim? Don’t give me – but I grew up in NYC excuse either!

  21. CrankMama

    We all have our gifts.. at least you brought apple juice (& charm) to bear on the problem.

    I have my own closet too 🙂 you are a good hubsy pie.

  22. Margaret

    but you didn’t get away with murder because you bought cheap, lightweight shelving that would not kill anyone… so sometimes it’s OK to be cheap.

  23. mrsmogul

    HAHA! We have a walk in closet and LOADS of storage space. I even have a closet for SPONGES ALONE!

  24. brooke

    You better pray things work out between you two, cause there’s not a woman alive who will sleep with a cheap guy who can’t hang shelves.

    Well, I won’t anyway.

  25. Mist 1

    Apple juice? She’s a keeper. Seriously, women on the market these days want vodka and stuff. She’s a bargain.

  26. JanePoe (aka Deborah)

    This Neil character is very lucky to have such a smart, handy wife who can install brackets correctly while staving off the effects of closet-related head injuries. However, the Sophia character is very lucky to have such a compassionate husband who keeps blood sugars & hydration needs in check with careful & thoughtful adminstering of apple juice. What a team! much peace to you both, JP

  27. Blitz Krieg

    So many shoes? I hope there are more than I saw in the photo. Neil, you would never want to meet my wife, “Imelda”.

  28. V-Grrrl

    Mrs Mogul needs to tell us more about having a whole closet just for sponges…

    She must have many sponge-worthy peeps.

  29. Megan

    Thank you, thank you, for making me laugh this morning! This is hysterical.

  30. 2nd Pearl Past the Post

    And how is it that Ikea wasn’t your first choice?
    (gulping blink, hoping there are no Ikea haters there)

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