Sometime in August 2016, long…long…long ago.
I was working three jobs and going to film school just trying to make it. Running on barely enough sleep for two years was taking its toll. I was desperate. Sitting around waiting for film gigs to happen was killing me.
I had some downtime one afternoon, so I logged into monster.com to apply for anything and everything that I could. Qualified, or not. EVERYTHING. At the time I was living with the biggest mistake of my life, and he had been applying everywhere as well for months, and nothing. I applied to everything I could as fast as I could.
The next day I got two calls. Comcast, and Strock. Telephone operator,and construction assistant. No idea, but I needed the interview practice. First up was Trey @ Strock.
I went into the interview knowing nothing at all about construction. Literally NOTHING. Trey and Pat asked about my experience…ummm I’m a bike delivery driver. And I will work as hard as I can. I figured the interview was over. It was not. Trey asked me a lot of questions. Would I be willing to learn, and retain what I learned? Would I be willing to jump in wherever needed. I remember telling him I knew how to operate a few power tools so if he needed me to build something it may take me a bit but, I would figure it out.
I think at that moment I saw it in Treys eyes. That look of yep. This is the one. I was not cocky about it at all, I just knew that there was a connection at the I’ll do whatever and get it done.
Trey sent me home with two books to read to bring back to him the next Monday. SO, am I hired? ‘We will talk Monday’
I took the books back Monday. He asked if I was still interested in the job…’Yes, but these have nothing to do with construction’ (they were his Sandler Sales books) and he said ‘well. That will come to you in time.’
I had a new job, knowing nothing about it. Hired purely on my work ethic, and willingness to jump into anything. I started work, and the school of Trey right away.
Trey would send me home with books to read every week, as soon as I finished one he would give me another. I started out assisting Trey, with drawings, estimates, typing contracts, sales calls. I was learning a ton, but all from books-I couldn’t wrap my head around everything without seeing it in action. So two days a week Trey sent me out on ride alongs with Thomas. To see the projects that I had helped sale, and work on in action. Everything changed for me.
I loved seeing and doing everything and seeing it all come together. I was hooked. This was no longer just a job to make it by, this was something that changed me, changed the way I looked at everything, changed everything about me.
I was in the most horrible ‘relationship’ possible. Trey & Thomas helped me to realize that, and reevaluate my self worth. I had an apartment on my own, and really just lost my way. I was working 9-5, and then home. Alone. For the first time in YEARS. Going stir crazy being alone, and not having to work 24/7. I had a little breakdown. It was a lot. My family dynamic was changing massively, things I always thought were, suddenly weren’t.
It was February, I had just spent Christmas in New York with Trey & Thomas and Thomas’ family. It was nice. Nice to be included, nice to have fun, nice to be a ‘part’ of a family. That’s really what work was like. It wasn’t ‘work’ it was more like a small weird family.
Thomas and I became good good friends. We have very very eerily similar childhoods. Both of our dads left for other women out of the blue. Both have hard working moms that did what they had to. So really we were all good good friends. I was like Trey and Thomas’ adopted child they never wanted or knew they needed. Trey taught me so so much that I don’t even know where to start. Thomas, just terrorized me, and made me laugh, and think. Trey would teach you, Thomas just expected you to do it right the first time.
So that February I felt comfortable saying ‘I need help. I can’t be alone’ one night at dinner with Trey and Thomas. It was an emotional night getting everything off my chest. It felt good.
Trey said well. I don’t like roommates, but you can stay in the back bedroom for six months and get yourself together.
So, I moved back home with my parents. Or so it felt.
For 6 months I was family, we were as Trey always said…
‘the Three Amigos’
In July we were all going to go on a kayak camping trip. Before it was time to go Trey said no. He wanted Thomas and I to go but he wasn’t camping. We had a great time. Came home, and that’s the very first day any of us noticed anything wrong with Trey. He had been working in the yard, and almost passed out. A month later as I was moving out and planning to help my friend film his movie Thomas rushed Trey to the hospital as I was leaving for Columbia.
I ended up turning around and headed to the hospital, I just had a feeling I needed to be there. I knew Thomas would be going insane. I sat in the waiting room waiting to hear anything. Thomas came out knowing nothing. They were going to do some imaging. We sat there for hours. I sent and got food. As soon as I got back they asked Thomas to go back and see Trey.
I sat there in the lobby holding bags of food. Not knowing anything. Thomas came out first white as a ghost. All he said was ‘they think it may be cancer’
I don’t think Thomas said anything else that night. As soon as we got home he asked me to stay with Trey so he could go get Treys prescriptions filled.
He left. And Trey and I sat in total silence in the living room. It was an odd odd time. Trey told me if I needed to go to Columbia I could go ahead. I just remember saying ‘I’m not going anywhere’.
I don’t really remember the next few days or weeks. It was a whirlwind. Things happened so fast, and changed even quicker.
Thomas was not well. He was holding it together but, I knew he was falling apart. As soon as chemo started everything changed almost instantly. We would stay up for a couple hours after Trey went to bed to clean and disinfect everything. Biscuit had to leave, Trey couldn’t be around the chickens too much. He started staying home pretty often. It was all weighing down Thomas. His stress levels were insane, but he wanted to handle everything so that Trey didn’t have to be bothered. I always admired the love they had for one another. Thomas was doing everything he could to protect Trey from any stress.
We would come home from work and Thomas would go to his room to try to get himself under control, and I’d go visit with Trey snd tell him about the day. We would eat celery. That became a daily thing. Thomas would make dinner, outside so there were no smells, and Trey and I would talk, snack, and watch you tube.
I would go shopping with Trey at Best Buy, or Home Depot so Thomas could stay home and decompress. I know everything was really hitting Thomas hard. I never left because I knew he couldn’t handle it all alone.
They really had become family.
And then, 2020.
January 13. Our first day back to work. A pretty normal day. We stopped by the grocery store for dinner. Thomas wanted a cold Pepsi, and bubble gum. Which was weird. He said he was feeling funny. We stopped by to see my friends new house for ten minutes. And then I look over and Thomas is frozen, slowly sliding down the wall onto the floor. I didn’t know what was going on. CALL 911 is all o remember.
He wasn’t breathing, and turning blue. The paramedics showed up, and off he was. I jumped in the car and called Trey while racing to the hospital.
I don’t remember much. I felt like I just lost my best friend. I didn’t know what to do.
While Thomas was still asleep Trey got emotional. We were talking and he told me if I was going to leave then I needed to go now. He didn’t know how they would get through this. But they would. He didn’t want me to do anything to upset Thomas…. I point blank said I was not going anywhere. He and Thomas were family, and is do what I had to to take care of everyone. We had been taking care of Trey for 2 years. He and I could take care of Thomas.
He cried. All he said is ‘I don’t know what I’ll be able to do for Thomas’ Trey was scared. Something I had never seen before. I told him we would get it. We would be good. He then said ‘promise me you’ll always be there for him’.
‘Of course’ I said without thinking, or hesitating. We decided I would stay the night sleeping on the foot of the bed in ICU. I ended up staying every night in the hospital unless Thomas’ sister was there. Trey didn’t want him to be alone. Ever.