Recently, I got to go on a little mini vacation with a few members of a writing organization I happen to be a part of. The founder of this science fiction writing group put together a little retreat for up to 10 people to get out of our home offices and go away to the mountains to write for a weekend. It sounded like a dream come true, and I signed up without hesitating, even though I had no idea what I was getting into. The place we were renting was that of another member of our organization, who bought an old farm house and turned into a modern Airbnb with a few months of renovations back in the spring. As we were doing this retreat in the middle of winter, I was nervous about the house. Old farmhouses this far north can be notoriously drafty and cold. I would have to make sure to pack extra sweaters and my favorite house slippers. But when I got there, I found the total opposite. Not only was the place very warm, but the house was set up so everyone could be comfortable no matter their preference thanks to heat pumps. The house was situated with three different reading and relaxing areas, each with its own heat pump. Then there was another heat pump for each bedroom. I thought heat pumps were phased out this far north, but apparently the newer models can operate as low as 17 degrees. These ductless mini split HVAC units are a wonder; maybe I’ll even get one for my condo.