But Which Way Are Their Heads Pointing?

We have a system in our renovations around here – I make the design decisions and Jim does all the work.  It works out pretty well that way.  For me anyway.

A big problem with this is that I have a total lack of ability to visualize ANYTHING.  Jim will have a great idea and describe it to me in vivid detail, and he’s rewarded with a vacant look on my face.  This most recently happened when it came time to make a decision about the shelves which are going into our new walk-in pantry.

Jim’s going to build several individual open cabinet-style sets of shelves and put them side by side around the perimeter of the pantry.  Like this.


He’s going to trim out the seams between the units with a vertical piece of MDF with a nice routed edge on it.  He’s also going to put a piece of trim across the front edge of each shelf for extra stability.  That piece of trim is going to have the top edge rounded over.

Now, here is the decision Jim needed…he needed to know exactly how I wanted the front edge of the shelves and the back edge of the vertical trim to meet. As he did his best to explain the various ways that this could be done, I could feel his words skidding through my brain without stopping, while a little niggling part of my brain was telling me to go find some chocolate. He would pause after explaining an option and wait for my response, which was always some variation of “But what exactly will it look like where the shelf touches the trim?”

Our 18-year-old was listening to this exchange and finally said, “Mom, this is like the conversation you had with Mamaw one time about the space shuttle and she kept asking you, “But which way are their heads pointing?” ”


Apparently a few years back, I had been talking on the phone with my mom and we were discussing the space shuttle on the launch pad. (Don’t ask me why – I have no idea.) She wanted to know if the astronauts’ heads were pointing up or down at lift off. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Well, they’re not pointing up or down. They’re strapped into their seats, so they’re lying flat on their backs.”

Mom: “But which way are their heads pointing?”

Me: “Well, they’re just laying on their backs, so they’re kind of pointing out to the side.”

Mom: “But are their heads pointing up or down?”


Mom: “But which way are their heads pointing?”

I could NOT get her to visualize what I was trying to tell her, and I think she forever wondered whether the astronauts’ heads were pointing up or down. And I think we have a new catch phrase at our house – whenever I just can’t visualize something and I keep asking the same question over and over, I’m going to hear, “But which way are their heads pointing?”

So apparently my mother passed on the lack-of-visualization gene to me. Jim finally decided it was time for a visual aid and he built a cool little prototype of my choices.

Choice #1 – the back edge of the trim lies flat on the front edge of the shelf

Shelf Choice 1

(Pay no attention to the pile of balloons in the background – I will explain that in another post.)

Choice #2 – the trim is recessed just slightly into the front edge of the shelf

Shelf Choice 2

And the winner was…Choice #2!

It was just a personal preference, but I really liked the look of the trim recessed slightly. So I was able to give Jim a decision and he was able to go on his merry way and begin building the base for the cabinets.

What do you think? Did I make the right decision? Take a vote in my poll!


About donnahuebsch

I'm a wife, a mom to an unschooling teenager, an animal lover, an artsy craftsy kind of person, & a DIYer. We're embarking on our BIGGEST do-it-yourself project yet - renovating an entire house!
This entry was posted in DIY, Family, Renovation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to But Which Way Are Their Heads Pointing?

  1. Cea says:

    We had the same deal: I did the what does it look like stuff, and spouse did the how does it work. It worked surprisingly well, although he never did understand why I wanted him to tag along to all the tile stores so he could have veto rights. The conversation went like this:
    Me: What about these?
    Him: Sure
    Me: Or are these nicer?
    Him: Well, either
    Gee thanks.

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