2013-11-26 14:12:46.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist
How are you? It is wild to think that another year is gone and we quickly find ourselves barreling towards Christmas 2013 with me writing you once again. This will be my seventh letter to you; that’s nearly one letter for each year I have been working up here. So, going over our five point checklist, I think we have accomplished nearly all of your requirements:
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 yesterday)
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 prior to Thanksgiving as a failsafe – DONE (after I post this)
So, which list (naughty or nice) do I think we deserve to be on this year? I like to think that we acted kindly and respectfully to all our interns, guests, friends, families and pets (Marty Kitty). Marty sends his regards – he’s looking forward to the special treats, litter and food you bring 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 the freshly baked cookies for you; making for a quick in and out.
So once again, of 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). And, if you and the misses upgrade to a higher level, you’ll receive a free pair of Vermont-made Darn Tough socks – a great compliment for those new boots we sent you.
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 of year, 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. Or, if you are pressed for time like you were last year, you could also sign up for a day trip as an alternative.
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. Off the top of my head, I know we really need a new pair of scissors. The only exception, similar to last year, are 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 in a new soccer ball as ours is looking a little worn out. Also near the top – 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. Plastic Pitchers – While four of them would be ideal, even one or two would help out since our current containers are getting a little worn out with years of continuous use.
14. A Push Shovel – We get A LOT of snow up here and have to shovel the exits daily. So, this type of shovel helps out tremendously. But, any type of snow shovel you can provide is useful to us.
15. A bagless vacuum – The one up here currently is like pushing a cube up a hill and looks like a duct tape homage to the former vacuum it once was. I know this item would not only be appreciated by the summit staff but very much appreciated by our summit volunteers.
16. A 7 or 8-quart Oval Slow Cooker – Our current 4-quart Crock Pot is great when our groups are small, but when we have large overnight groups up, we need something with a larger capacity to ensure everyone gets a hearty portion plus some for seconds. While I know they make fancy programmable types of slow cookers, the key thing we are aiming for is size in this instance – the bigger the better!
17. Industrial strength tape – like gaffers tape or Gorilla Tape because when winds are howling and something needs a quick fix, it’s always useful to have a really strong tape when you need it.
18. Wii remote – We like to play ‘Wii Sports’ against each other and occasional guests. However, we only have one remote, so playing group games is near impossible. So, one to three of these would help tremendously (and we are fine with used items).
19. A screwdriver set – while we have screwdrivers up here, it is an eclectic mix with many of them worn down. While life may be like a box of chocolates, it is also similar to our screwdriver drawer as you never know what you’re going to get.
20. A precision screwdriver set – not every project requires a large screwdriver so these would come in handy on the smaller and finer details on the summit.
21. Avocent SwitchView IP 1020 for remote server support – I honestly have no idea what this is, but our IT Observer says it’s important and needed. He even said a ‘used but working’ variant would be just fine.
22. Another item on our IT Observers list is a pair of Ethernet ports; either a Cisco Catalyst 2960C-12PC-L – 12 Ethernet 10/100 ports with PoE and 2 SFP-based Gigabit Ethernet ports or a Cisco Catalyst 3560G-48PS – 48 Ethernet 10/100/1000 ports with PoE and 4 SFP-based Gigabit Ethernet ports. Used but working is once again fine, but if in doubt, maybe have one of your elf’s give him a call just to be on the safe side.
23. A streaming Netflix subscription – After a long day/night of work, it is nice to unwind with a movie.
24. Snow – the more the better! So far this seasons snow pack has been up and down. So some of the white stuff would make not only us happy but also all our surrounding ski resorts and winter activity industries happy.
25. Surprise us yet again! – Sometimes the coolest gifts are the ones you didn’t think you 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 of 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 of 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!
I, unfortunately, will not be up this year to greet you. However, I will ensure that the other shift has everything 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 another real one like last year?), and a full plate of cookies next to a glass of milk/nog/soy. And we will keep you posted on the forecast leading up to and on the night of your arrival. Safe travels and we look forward to seeing you yet again.
Thanks and have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays –
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist