Last winter, we took a week’s skiing vacation.  We were trying to save money, so our package deal was on the lower end as far as cost.  It included ski lift fees, meals at the main lodge and a  one-room log cabin to accommodate the four of us.  We drove up and arrived in late morning.  We wanted to take advantage of the great skiing weather, so we dumped our gear in the cabin and headed for the slopes.  After a day of skiing and a filling meal at the lodge, we returned to our cabin exhausted.  The cabin was freezing and we immediately looked for the thermostat.  We were shocked to discover there was no heating system in the cabin.  The only source of heat was the fireplace stacked with logs.  Neither my husband nor I had ever operated a fireplace, but we knew from friends that they can be complicated and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.  There is the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if the fireplace is not vented correctly or hasn’t been properly cleaned, and there is also the very real possibility of fire.  We had our two children with us and were not willing to take a chance.  Fortunately, the cabin was equipped with plenty of blankets so we just all piled together under them, fully-clothed, and tried to sleep as best we could.  The next morning, after a hearty breakfast at the lodge, we headed straight into town to the nearest home supply store.  We purchased a portable space heater that the store clerk assured us would be sufficient to heat the cabin, and he was right.  The rest of our vacation was wonderful – the slopes all day, great meals and a warm and cozy cabin for the night.