the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: DIY

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.” 

How the Advice of Bloggers Saved My Ass

Thank you for your advice on not doing it myself. Once I actually looked inside the closet, I realized that I had absolutely NO IDEA how to remove and reposition the old installation, not to mention putting up these new shelves and rods, even though the guy at Home Depot said it was “relatively easy.” Is it so wrong that I’m a lover, not a builder?

Luckily, Sophia’s friend Leo knows how to do most handy things… and, lucky for me – he was home bored. Sophia helped as his assistant as he did all the hard work… we bought him some sushi for dinner… my role was pretty much reduced to serving apple juice… and 7 hours later — ta-dah! — MORE CLOSET SPACE!






Update: A cool NY Times article about “closet-starved” folk in New York City. (thanks Pam)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Neilochka Girls

Making a Plan at Hot n’ Tot


After much thought, I realize that my frustrations lately haven’t really been about writing every day for NaBloPoMo, but about — surprise, surprise — moving back with Sophia.   Since she’s come back from New York, it has been very nice being together, but NOT exactly the way I fantasized.   I visualized us running down to the beach every morning hand-in-hand and with as little clothes as possible,  then skinny-dipping in the Pacific Ocean while eating homemade breakfast burritos in the surf.  Sadly, we’re still having the same exact issues we had the LAST time we lived together.

One of our arguments is always about “our stuff” and our limited closet space.   It is an especially loaded subject now because it is still not clear whether I am here for good, or just for the the short term.  Who knows — maybe me moving back before we resolved things was a bad idea.  We’ll see.

But we have matured… a bit.   Here’s my evidence:  Over lunch today at the Hot’ n Tot restaurant, we decided to be proactive and make a plan.  Rather than fighting, why not BUILD extra shelves in the closet?

Can we actually build new shelves?  Will we survive?  Will I be able to walk into Home Depot without getting hives?  Will someone get injured by a falling hammer?  Stay tuned!



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