the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Movin’ On Up

Yesterday, Chac commented on an old post about relationships and astrology:

Aquarius woman here…  OK – I think you may want to look at the ascendant signs (your outward masks) and your moon signs (emotional behaviors) before totally giving up. Your sun sign is how you see yourself – your ego, if you will. So, here is my point: My ego is Aquarius. My outward appearance is Libra. My moon is Scorpio. Lots of sex, inner-conflict and intellectual sparring. Basically, a female version of Bronte’s Heathcliff. My poor, poor boyfriend… I’ll bet you are just a bit more curious about Sophia’s other signs now – you should be 🙂

Do I understand what she wrote?  Not at all.  But maybe the stars are the best explanation for the tiff I had yesterday with… uh, Sandy.  (I promised… uh, Sandy, that I wouldn’t talk about her without her permission, so for now, I will be using the name… uh, Sandy, as a stand-in for… uh, Sandy).

Please point me to a book or blog where a writer does a good job in capturing in words a marital tiff.   I’ve mentioned this before.  I am hopeless.  I have no skill in describing those irritating little marital tiffs.  Just writing the dialogue wouldn’t make any sense.  It wasn’t an all out fight.  In fact, we had a nice day at a friend’s “Memorial Weekend” BBQ.  When we got home, Sandy asked me to pick up some saucepan that I had washed earlier (and put it on the floor to air-dry).  I got upset, raised my voice, said something sarcastic and it all went downhill from that.

So, the fun ended and back I went to my “bachelor” apartment. 

I don’t particularly like my apartment.  It’s one of those separated man’s limbo-land apartments. All the really nice stuff is back at Sandy’s.   My couch has crumbs under the pillows.  My computer table is a bridge table.   After living in a home with a “woman’s touch,” this apartment just seems drab.  So… utilitarian.  Women seem to know where to put everything so it looks nice.  Like flowers.

Sometimes Sandy and I joke about starting an online “home-shopping” website for separated men.  With one click of the button, they can order everything they need for their new “bachelor pad” — a couch, a bed, a TV, a lamp, a vacuum, and a toaster — and they’ll be all ready to live their new miserable lives.

But I don’t sit and wallow, especially on a holiday weekend.  If my apartment looks bad, it’s my own fault.  I’m creative.  I can change things.  So, today, I undertook the process of Bachelor Pad Home Makeover.  Today, in a few hours, I’ve already turned my apartment from a depressing dump into a place where I can bring a classy one night stand who says to me, “What a nice apartment.  Which way to the bedroom?”

I took some architectural photographs to show the process of my one day home re-design:


The first step was to kick out my roommates.  While they can be a fun bunch who like to party, I’m getting too old for this “dorm living.”


I’m also noticing that many of the more “high maintenance” Los Angeles women (you know the type)  refuse to f**k when there are other men, women, and children looking on in the bedroom.   Talk about prudes!   So, adios, roomies!  Remember to take your stuff from the fridge!


Once my roommates were kicked out, it was time to paint.


I’m a firm believer that the exterior of a home says as much about you as the interior.


Always have a plan… whether it is in home renovation or life itself!

The results:




Who’s living it up now… uh, Sandy?


  1. Roberta

    I watch a lot of home decorating/makeover shows.
    It’s like porn, for women.

    ‘Ooh, if only I could get it like that.’

    Hours and endless hours of watching this stuff. From the vantage point of my couch, I dream I’m living the life.

  2. better safe than sorry

    i don’t know about your choice of colour, white for a man, you may as well have gone pink. and your new exwife, “sandy”, sounds lovely;)

  3. Michele

    Rock it, baby, just keep on rockin it.

  4. ashbloem

    It’s amazing what a little coat of paint can do!

  5. modigli

    W O W ! What a transformation! I think Oprah might fire Nate now, and bring you onto the show, Neil! 🙂

  6. DebR

    Wow, your talents know no bounds! 🙂

    BTW, my sun sign is Pisces and my Ascendant sign is Aquarius, so evidently I’m incompatible with myself!

  7. eeekat

    …reminds me of the house in “sleeper”….

  8. Mel

    She is gonna kick your candy ass for this.

  9. Denise

    My condo needs some redecorating…when are you available to go research wallcoverings???

  10. jackt

    I didn’t realize you had a dock. I’ll be right over with the yacht. Maybe you can redecorate that as well.

  11. The Retropolitan

    I did the same thing after my girlfriend and I broke up, except all I had was a Swiffer and my own tears.

    Which the Swiffer was surprisingly good at soaking up.

  12. chantel

    For astrological research I refer to a book, “How to spot a bastard by their star sign.” It’s a good book. As a Virgo, I’m known to be anal retentive and a nag – it would be appropriate.

    Maybe you can get a job on that home makeover show now?

  13. cruisin-mom

    I’m joining JackT on the yacht

  14. Tatyana

    I’m hopeless. One look at the plan, and I knew instantly whose pad it was.

    Don’t remember names of people or their phone numbers, but the plans, oh, plans I remember if wake me up in the middle of the night.


  15. Tatyana

    An afterthought.
    Am I guessing it right that ..uh, Sandy has tripped over the air-drying pot on the floor?

  16. Neil

    Tatyana — You’re good! Out of the thousands of plans online, you picked the exact one!

  17. Tatyana

    I told you: it’s hopeless. My friends avoid inviting me out: I close my eyes, do some mental shuffling and tell the manager how to improve his layout and reupholster his banquets.

    Work follows me everywhere.

  18. Stefanie

    Wait, by Sandy do you mean Sophia? I’m confused? Because Sophia is the ex right? And Sandy sounds a little like Sophia but it’s not Sophia. But close. Hmmm…this is a stumper.

  19. serena

    Ah, Neil. You continue to perplex and amuse me post after post. I’m glad you have someone like, uh, Sandy in your life.

  20. Paris Parfait

    You are hysterical! I needed a good laugh, after writing a sad story this weekend. Thank you and uh, Sandy.

  21. Tara

    Won’t the saucepans air-drying on the floor clash with all that white?

  22. Dagny

    Once Jack has brought the yacht over, I think you need to throw a party. Of course with all that white in there, you might want to be careful about the invite list — or don’t serve red wine. Not that I know anything about this.

    Oh, and I only watch the home decorating shows if there is a cute guy on the show. There is nothing sexier than a goodlooking guy who knows how to build stuff, but it has to be part of an overall decorating theme. “The New Yankee Workshop” just never did it for me.

  23. Mari

    Cool, I’m loving the magic you worked with the space there. It really ‘opened up’, lol.

    About the astrology- I’m not a cynic at all, but doesn’t that whole thing about accuracy in the heavens (ask any astronomer what they think about astrology and they’ll laugh), kind of throw the whole thing out of the window?

    I think it’s really cute when men do “supposedly” ‘girly’ things like that, though, I, despite not realy believeing it, do it when I’m moping about my love life; here’s the programme I use:

    There’s quite a cool little love chart on (only works if you know your birth times), which has simple explanations of all the different astrological aspects in your chart and how they affect your relationship and it’s interactive too, with little pop up windows everytime you click a place in your chart.

  24. ms. sizzle

    that website for bachelors? brilliant. i am not even going near the whole argument with. . .uh, sandy.

    😉 sizz

  25. Mike F

    No No No- all wrong.

    When men decorate they use things like a Death Star Subwoofer or a Wagon Wheel Coffee Table and cinder block book shelves not something from Architectural Digest.

  26. femme_despoir

    oooo…she’s not gonna like this, neil, dahlink.

  27. Bre

    Look out Ty…

  28. wordgirl

    So much can be done to a home with a little paint, some fresh curtains and a truckload of MDF. I’m awarding you the Anne Sullivan “Miracle Worker” award for home improvement. That said, pots don’t dry any better on the floor than they do on a drying rack.

  29. justrun

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier (’cause I know you’re all about the cheap and easy) to just pick up the saucepan?

    Just sayin’.

  30. V-Grrrl

    All it needs is an arrangement of red flowers on the white mantel…..

  31. AscenderRisesAbove

    Thoroughly enjoyed the photos

  32. sac

    Pick up some Cheever for highly accurate writing on suburban marital strife. Can’t think of any more recent writers who do that subject well, although there must be some.

  33. Pam

    Wow – this made me feel worse than I did. I’m afraid I’m a single female…living in a bachelor pad! It’s not quite that bad, but I need a makeover for sure (actually, I just need my house torched, and a new one put up).

    And…regarding capturing words in a maritial tiff – for those of us in the south, no one can do that quite like Tennessee Williams.

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