Dear Santa…

2012-11-25 18:41:19.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

Dear Santa-

Has it been a year already? It seems like just yesterday that I was writing you our Christmas List for 2011 and yet, here we find ourselves heading towards Christmas 2012 and here I am writing you once again. This will be my sixth letter to you; that’s nearly one letter for each year I have been working up here. So, this isn’t my first go at this whole letter writing thing to you and I have been checking off each itemized item on my SOP for writing this list:

1. Hand Written note by November 1 – DONE
2. Email note by Thanksgiving – DONE
3. A preliminary New Hampshire forecast for Christmas night – DONE (emailed it to you today)
4. A reminder on my Google Calendar/Task List for a follow up forecast for the days leading up to December 25th – ADDED and WAITING…
5. Our list posted on our Observer Comments page as a failsafe – DONE (after I post this)

So, have we been good lil’ Weather Observers again this year? I like to think that we acted kindly and respectfully to all our interns, guests, friends, families and pets (Marty Kitty). Speaking of Marty, he is eagerly waiting your return – you guys must have some sort of connection I can’t comprehend – maybe it’s a special treat or food you give him. Thankfully you have stopped giving him toys because he has way too many of those.When you arrive at NH State Parks Sherman Adams Building, you will find that it is pretty much like you remember it last year. So, you should have no problem finding the “chimney”, the milk, and cookies for making a quick in and out.

So once again, if it is not too much trouble; could you get us one or more of the following?

1. Observatory Memberships – Not for the observers but for other boys and girls on your list around the world. Since we are membership supported, these gifts would be the gifts that keep giving over the year. And this year, when you give a gift membership, you receive a FREE limited edition Observatory ornament for you and the misses to enjoy (or re-gift if you so choose).

2. Gift Donations – This will help lighten your bag of toys and help us out in the long term.

3. Edutrips – Again, not for the observers but for the other boys and girls on your list around the world. This gives us the gift of funding and in return, someone on your list gets the opportunity to stay and learn on top of the Northeast’s highest peak. Plus, it gives me someone new to talk to and interact with. And since I know you and the misses anniversary is around this time, you might want to reserve a spot. You’ve come up in the past on one of these so it’s time to come up and visit in a non-professional capacity once again.

4. Eastern Mountain Sports Equipment – Again, not for us as they have provided us with everything we need to stay warm and dry up here. This is a recommendation if you plan on using EMS for gifts for others on your list. If you use the link I provided, you give them a gift and us a gift as a percentage of your purchase will go towards helping us out as well.

5. Office Supplies – We work like an office, so anything you can send that will cut costs for us is great: mechanical pencils, refill lead (0.5mm), pens, printer paper, etc. The only exception is Post-it Note pads since the past few years you’ve gone a bit overboard with these and I think we have more than I will ever be able to use in my time here.

6. Batteries – Preferably AAA, AA or D’s as our headlamps, flashlights and rescue/research equipment use these.

7. Gift cards – We go shopping for food weekly at Hannaford, Shaw’s or Walmart; but Lowes, Home Depot, or anywhere else in North Conway is fine. Well, you know what’s here.

8. Sporting Equipment – Can you ever have enough sporting equipment? We always prefer foam types to lower the risk of breaking anything on us or around us. But we will take any kind of sports “toys.” I think topping the list this year are plastic toboggan sleds since we are running a bit low this year. And the cheaper the better since these don’t tend to last us a whole winter with all the ice we have to run them down on.

9. Calendars – We need at least one to keep track of the days up here. Keep them “clean” for the public to view like nature scenes or humorous ones. Plus, if you buy it from our online shop, it gives us a calendar and financial support (two birds, one stone).

10. Board Games – To keep us entertained as a group from time to time. We already love playing Cranium, Apples to Apples, Things, Scrabble, and Loaded Questions. So if you know of any others like these, I know we’d love them. The more offbeat, the better it seems.

11. Candles – Preferably the soy-based, large jar type or tumblers like the ones from Soyfire for example. They liven up our living quarters and make it feel more like home.

12. Candy and gum – Since I know you eat a lot of cookies and sweets, I know you can relate. Can we ever really have enough?

13. A mini-pliers set – Our IT staff has requested this as we don’t have a set like this in our ICU (Instrument Care Unit).

14. Pillows – We want to provide our overnight guests with some added comfort, so we are looking to replace our current stock of old pillows with some newer, fuller, Hypoallergenic polyester fiber filled pillows. They don’t need to be top of the line, just something better than some that we have currently.

15.A 3 step stool/ladder – Our old wood ladder in the pantry is showing it’s age and is starting to mimic Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. So something a bit more sturdy would be very much appreciated by the staff and especially our summit volunteers.

16.A cordless drill – Our current cordless drill no longer holds a charge, so a new drill, or at minimum, a new battery set, would help us in our outdoor instrument work.

17. Snow – the more the better! So far, this season has been below average. So some of the white stuff would make not only us happy but also all our surrounding ski resorts and winter activity industries happy.

18. Surprise us yet again! – Sometimes the coolest gifts are the ones we didn’t think we needed.

That’s about it Santa. Remember that we don’t mind second hand items so long as they are in good, clean and usable condition. This helps out the environment and extends the life on perfectly usable stuff. We are really not picky and are just thankful for anything. Also, if you want a particular type of cookie and drink, like last year, you can post your preferences in our forums or on our Facebook page. We will try once again to keep the plate full, but you’ve had our volunteers cooking, it’s hard to pass up sometimes; so delicious!

Since it will be my shift up for Christmas once again this year, I will ensure that everything is in order for your arrival: a clear deck and path to the door, well greased doors, deiced stairs, clean living quarters, decorated Christmas tree (maybe a real one for a change?), and a full plate of cookies next to a glass of milk/nog/soy (but not Soy Nog; have you had that? Whoa…). And I will keep you posted on the forecast leading up to and on the night of your arrival. Safe travel and see you then.

Thanks and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays-


Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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