Obs Life Off-Summit, Part 2: Cherish Every Moment, Everywhere and be Persistent
2017-10-21 17:09:11.000 – Caleb Meute, Weather Observer / Meteorologist
For me, Mount Washington was the place I could go where extreme weather would never miss me. Growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania, I was cursed by the “Weather Man” curse. All too frequently, storms would be heading for my town and a last second shift in the track would leave me wearing sunglasses and a frown. Then college happened and there were too many aspiring meteorologists in a small area, and the trend continued.
I was the typical meteorologist “wannabe” growing up, fascinated by all storms and driven to understand them and experience as many as possible. When I was young, I remember learning about Mount Washington and the extreme weather that bombards the summit. Throughout my early years, I did projects on the mountain, and even made speeches on the extreme weather it receives in my speech classes. Naturally, I applied for an internship. I did not get the internship at first, so I applied again and again (literally maybe 3 years in a row – jerks…). Two years after I graduated from college I decided to apply again, and this time they gave me a chance. I worked as an intern in the summer of 2014 and I did not feel like driving back to Pennsylvania after its completion, so I stayed on for the fall internship. Lucky for me I ended up being hired on a temporary basis for the following winter! IT WAS AWESOME, then I tore my ACL and Mike fired me… I like to give Mike a hard time for that one. I was not actually fired, but obviously I could not continue to work on the summit with a torn ACL so I returned to Pennsylvania. To summarize my time back in Pennsylvania:
Got a job knocking on doors
Got a new job not knocking on doors
Fell in love with the legendary Molly Ervin. She fell in love with me. It was awesome!
Saw an opening on Mike’s shift for night Weather Observer / Meteorologist
Applied w/ a lot of encouragement from my awesome gal
Was hired by the bully who fired me! Redemption was now spelled: M-I-K-E
Started working here! Unfortunately I was commuting once a week 9+ hours to and from the summit to Pennsylvania.
SO Molly and I Moved to Burlington, VT together which is where we currently reside.
Life story complete!
Now to actually discuss my Obs life off-summit; which is incredibly rewarding but not always easy! To start things off, I have to bring attention to the fact that Molly encouraged me to apply despite knowing that we would unfortunately be away from each other for a week at a time. She moved with me to Vermont, knowing that it would be a new start, and she would be on her own in a new state every other week. She has absolutely taken everything in stride since our move, a little over a year ago and I am so blessed and grateful to have her in my life and on this journey together.
Mike stated in the previous blog, “The week on/week off routine gives the word schedule a new meaning, although any summit staffer would refer to it as more of a lifestyle than a schedule” (Carmon, 3 days ago). People who I meet or friends that I have not seen in a while immediately learn and understand that “schedule” is given a new meaning when they try to set up plans to hang out. It seems like every event (concerts, weddings, parties, etc.) typically falls on a week that my shift will be working on the summit. I happen to love my job which is the reason these conflicts don’t bother me too much but there is certainly a balance that I have had to learn and adapt to my way of life. My concept of time has truly changed since I began work for the summit. Time FLIES when jumping between a week away from civilization and a week where you jump right back into the mix. I love being on the summit, so the weeks go very fast. I also love being home and with friends and family, so my off weeks pass bye in the blink of an eye! This creates a fast-forward lifestyle and one that really makes you cherish all of the little things and develop an appreciation for every aspect of your life. Working nights by myself has also really made me appreciate being around people and every new person that I meet and each interaction that I have while off summit has become extremely worthwhile to me.
The way that I handle this seemingly complex lifestyle is actually pretty simple. When it comes to being with Molly on my off weeks, I try and cherish every second with her because I know that after a week I will be away again. The little things like taking her to work and picking her up, eating meals together or sharing the same friends gives us that much more time together. That may seem dreadful for others who are in relationships, but for us it is perfect.
People who are close to me all understand how ridiculous the concept is for me to work nights by myself because they know how much I talk, and how much I like being around people. I compensate in a two birds/one stone mechanism because I also need to make money on my off weeks. I drive for Uber and literally spend many of my days picking up strangers and talking their ears off as I take them to a destination. Recently I began working for WCAX CBS 3 in Burlington as a fill-in meteorologist. So far, I have only gone into the station for training and practice with the green screen but I am hoping to be able to go live soon. My ultimate goal is to get into broadcasting once I leave the Observatory (Could be a while). This set up is perfect though because I can gain broadcasting experience while also working my job on the summit!
I was apprehensive when leaving Pennsylvania, but working on Mount Washington and living in this beautiful region has been a truly remarkable experience. My time spent with Molly and friends hiking in the Green Mountains, kayaking on Lake Champlain, exploring Burlington and going to every brewery in Vermont on my off weeks has been an incredible adventure and one that we will never forget. It is pretty neat to be able to work your dream job and at the same time complement it with your dream life surrounded by great people!
Caleb Meute, Weather Observer / Meteorologist