by Judith Hennessey
Long time, no blog for me. I’ve missed my writing, and I know we are all so tired of blaming Covid but it did change many things for most of us. In 2019 I had written my first really big food story, “Tequila and Dessert: The Decadent Duo,” for Dine and Unwind. This Santa Fe magazine was a really beautiful food and beverage publication that allowed restaurants and chefs to showcase their talent. Shortly after the tequila story was published, I was hired as a full-time staff writer. I was over the moon. I had been writing travel stories for a long time but the culinary scene in Santa Fe had captured my full attention. It was my dream job. And perfect timing. My husband Tim is a homebuilder in Missouri, and he and I had just designed a new home in Santa Fe and bought a gorgeous lot there. I felt so incredibly blessed. I had always wanted to live at least part time in the “Land of Enchantment.” Everything seemed to be falling in place.
January of 2020 was a busy and exciting time. We broke ground on our property and I pitched a story revolving around corn to my editor at Dine and Unwind. She loved it. I was just starting to research the history of maize and set up interviews with local chefs when Covid broke out. We all know what happened next. Complete lockdown, many businesses shut their doors for good, including Dine and Unwind. It was devastating, heartbreaking, and all so surreal. Life as we knew it ceased to exist.
Fortunately, our build moved forward and was surprisingly quick. But our plan of Tim flying back and forth from Missouri to New Mexico became too risky since he had just recovered from a serious case of pneumonia. I also had a few health issues that left me vulnerable to illness. So, we started driving back and forth. After about 2 months it became too time consuming and exhausting for Tim. He could not run his projects in St. Louis and be in Santa Fe too. It became clear that we needed to either hire a project manager (which was not remotely in the budget) or we could rent a place nearby and I could run the project. I had designed and built two homes with Tim, one before we were married, and another ten years later. I understood the process of building and enjoyed watching each step as lines on paper became walls, rooms, and spaces for doors and windows.
But this was different. It was a very complicated build on the side of a mountain with a strict ACC (Architectural Control Committee) breathing down our necks. Plus sub-contractors who did not speak English. It was “building impossible”. But Tim convinced me I could do it. The house was already framed in and the roofers were about to start. He assured me that he would be there to check on all the technical stuff that scared the crap out of me, like plumbing and electric. I was still dubious, as this was a huge investment. I trusted him 150% but wasn’t so sure about my own capabilities. He argued that I knew more than I gave myself credit for and with the miracle of technology, I could FaceTime him with all of my questions.
Guess who got the job?
I have a new-found respect for my husband as a new home builder. For me, it was like herding cats, in English, when they only understood Spanish. Not my dream job. But the miracle is that we did indeed build our dream house.