Change of Plans

CHANGE OF PLANS • 09.01.16

I love a good plan.

When I was 11, I decided I was going to college at Duke.
When I was 16, I decided I was going to study graphic design.
When I was 20, I decided I was going to work for a magazine.

(I did, I did, and I do.)


When Z and I moved to Winston-Salem in the summer of 2014, we had a plan, naturally.

When Z was 24, he would begin his final semester of college.
When Z was 25, he would graduate and begin applying for jobs.
When Z was 26, he would have a career in law enforcement.

(He did, he did, and he does.)


So the story goes.

We map out our lives – our days, our years – anticipating what is to come, working to achieve our dreams. We want to move forward, we want to know what comes next. We create timelines, create down payment accounts, create lists of saved house searches.

Sometimes, however, the universe has a different plan.

Sometimes, however, there is no such thing as a house on an acre or two of land that is not a fixer-upper.


Did I mention that I love a good change of plans?

Faced with the decision to give up our dream for land in order to purchase a move-in ready home, give up our dream for a non-fixer-upper in order to purchase a home on a couple of acres, or scrap the entire plan and build our own house, we did what any reasonable couple would do.

What if we moved into a downtown loft?

It was never part of the plan.

Yet here we are, nearly a month into this new chapter, living out a new dream, creating countless new memories. We find ourselves falling more in love with the city each day amidst the exposed brick walls of a refurbished tobacco plant, the same tobacco plant where both of my grandfathers worked a lifetime before I existed.

It was always part of the plan.

And what a good plan it's turned out to be.

Different But Same


A smile crosses his face as he realizes I’ve walked through the door from work. He stretches his arms out, pulls me in close, and speaks four simple words.

How was your day?

We fall into a familiar routine as I begin to talk about my world: high-resolution files, all-things CMYK, this month’s magazine cover.

We go to press next week and I’m still waiting on this one image… not to mention we’re trying to resolve a color-matching issue with the printer. Too much magenta, not enough cyan! Also, I read a manuscript draft of an article that’s slated to run later this year and I may or may not have casually sobbed at my desk.

He listens, nods, supports, sympathizes. While his print production skills may not extend beyond the realm of Microsoft Paint, he understands the language. Spot colors and dpi and pdf/x, all packaged into 200+ pages that are read by a million people each month.

But enough about me… how was your day?

Our cadence continues, roles reversed, as he begins to talk about his world: arrest warrants, homicides, lights and sirens.

Did I tell you that I did CPR on a guy at the hospital earlier this week? It’s a lot different than the training dummies! The guy was stable when I left, fortunately. I got in my first foot chase today – jumped a fence and everything before I caught him. Also, I was subpoenaed for that assault case I told you about, so I have to go to court tomorrow.

I listen, nod, support, sympathize… and eventually, interrupt.

I’ll never again have the most impressive work-day story, will I?

We both grin. The wrong shade of teal is a big deal in my universe, and I’m often frustrated when traffic turns my 45-minute commute into an hour. Yet I married a man whose former job required him to create a will and designate a power of attorney when he was still a teenager, whose current job requires him to wear a bulletproof vest.

In all things, perspective.


The stark contrast between our jobs, our lives, is not lost on me.

I catch typos; he catches criminals.
I preflight and ship; he protects and serves.
I review bluelines; he is the blue line.

Yet, somehow, it works. My world of FPO and SWOP mixed with his world of FTO and SWAT, our dinner conversations intertwined amidst tales of outside front covers and officers (both OFC, mind you).

I may never again have the most impressive work-day story.

But I have him – the opportunity to support him as this new chapter of his life unfolds, the blessing of being supported by him as I continue to do the work I always dreamed of doing. Two different people, two different passions, but the same desire to see the other succeed.

Plus, despite all our differences, we both carry a couple of extra magazines wherever we go.