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Doran's Journal - 7 August 1997

Our money problems have been straightened out... for the time being.

This morning when I arrived to work, Tim, one of my coworkers, asked me if we had figured out our money problem. Tim was at Cray last night when Christine and I were trying to figure out the paycheck problem so that is how he knew about it. Tim also recommended mentioning the problem to our manager Bill, if I had not already.

Shortly after this, I walked down to Bill's office. Surprisingly, he was there. I told him Tim had recommended I mention everything to him. He said he appreciated my doing so and asked me to keep in touch with him about it. He said, "We'll make sure they pay the service charges."

After I got back from Bill's office, I called Christine and told her what happened and that she should talk to her boss. Later, she did talk to her manager and while we were at lunch, she got paged by Vickie, the payroll representative in Mountain View, California. Vickie was going to FedEx a check covering Christine's pay and the service fees today. We would have the money by tomorrow. We were both pretty happy her manager could pull some strings to speed up that process.

This morning, I finished up another module of the backup monitoring system I've been working on. Before I knew it, it was lunchtime. Christine had mentioned that her manager would be taking her out to lunch today (free food!) so I thought maybe I'd see if I could get together with one of my coworkers and go down to the Off-Line Cafe with them.

I ran into Tim in the hall and asked him what he was doing for lunch. He said he was going out to his trains for a little while and would be picking up some "junk food" on the way out. I said that sounded like fun. Shortly after, Christine announced to both Tim and I that she was not going to be going to lunch with her manager. Tim subsequently invited her along. Dan, another one of my coworkers, also came along.

We rode in Tim's new white Taurus wagon east on I-94 over the St. Croix River to Hudson, Wisconsin where we stopped and had lunch at Taco Bell. The four of us had some good conversations during this time. It was while we were at Taco Bell that Christine was paged and called to listen to her voice mail from Vickie from the payphone in the lobby.

Then we drove about four miles south to the site of the St. Croix Railroad.

Tim told me before that his father passed on an interest in miniature trains to him when he was seven years old. He has been involved in the St. Croix Railroad, a club for train hobbyists, for several years since he came to the U.S. from England in the late 1980s. He is now the secretary and newsletter editor for the club.

Nine acres of land was donated to the club some time ago. On the land lies a thick lush forest and rolling hills. And now, there's several miles of small-gauge railroad track on it as well. I don't remember exactly how many trains were there- I counted appropximately 20 miniature train engines along with miscellaneous train cars. There were two turntables and a large enginehouse under construction.

Tim pulled out a diesel-powered locomotive pulling three cars and started it up. Dan, Christine, and I each picked a car and hopped on as Tim manned the locomotive. Our trip took us through two tunnels, under and over several bridges, and through a very beautiful forest. The club is a non-profit organization that has groups visit all the time. They ask for a one-dollar donation from visitors and that helps supply them with the funds they use to build and maintain this playground.

We will have to go out there again with our camera and get some pictures. It was a lot of fun.