Heard in a Gilmore Girls Episode

Have you heard?! Gilmore Girls is coming back for a revival season – an 8th season. I’m so excited that I can barely contain myself. It’ll be a mini season (about 4 episodes), but it’s better than nothing. Here’s a fun fact for you: the show started in 2000, and at the time I was the same age (15) as Rory Gilmore (the daughter). Almost 16 years later, I’m still watching the show. But now, when I watch season one, I’m almost as old as Lorelai (the mother, who was 32 when the show started). HAAAA. Whatever, I’ll love Gilmore Girls forever and ever.

dragonfly inn

Lorelai and Rory dreaming about The Dragonfly Inn in Season 1. Source: http://gilmoregirls.wikia.com/wiki/Dragonfly_Inn

While re-watching a Season 4 episode (“Chicken or Beef?“), I noticed a perfect preservation line to go along with Preservation Month and #thisplacematters. Lorelai and Sookie are standing on the porch of the Dragonfly Inn, taking it all in before restoration commences. Lorelai says to Sookie:

Just sometimes, it hits me. This place had a long history before us, has a long future after us. I keep thinking it’s apart of our lives, but, really, it’s the reverse. For a little while. . .I don’t know. . .it’s like we’re apart of its life.

And that is why preservation is important. Happy Preservation Month!

p.s. Join the UVM Historic Preservation Alumni Association for a behind scenes tour of a local rehabilitation project.

For the Love of Painting

A historic house is sure to come into your life with paint problems. Whether it’s too many layers, peeling paint, cracking paint, lead paint or wallpaper + paint, you are going to have some quality time to spend with your house. If you bought a historic (or old) house, you probably expected and/or wanted some hands-on repair work. However, some people, preservationists included, find no delight in painting. On the other hand, I love painting.

[Sidebar] If you are a Gilmore Girls fan, you will recall an exchange from the episode, That Damn Donna Reed, in which Lorelai convinces Luke to paint his diner:

LORELAI: Ok, how about this? I’ll help you because I love to paint.

LUKE: You do?

LORELAI: Yes I do.

LUKE: You love it?

LORELAI: I want to marry it.

LUKE: You have strange passions.

RORY: She likes washing dishes too. She’s multifaceted abnormal.

LORELAI: Ah come on, we’ll drink a couple of beers and we’ll sing some painting songs.

LUKE: Painting songs?

LORELAI: Yeah painting songs like, um…you know the songs that goes, um…’Grab your brush and grab your rollers, all you kids and all you bowlers, we’re going paintin’ today’. Say yes or there’s another verse.

I do like washing dishes, but I do not have painting songs, or at least not that I would admit. Gilmore Girls often plays in the background while I paint, if I’m not in the mood for some good country music or a Billy Joel/Bruce Springsteen combination.

Entertainment aside, why do I love to paint? Is there anything more satisfying than physical labor that results in a beautiful, personalized transformation on something you own?

If you’re like me and have a house that hasn’t been painted in the past 40 or 80 years (not kidding), you know it’s time to show the house some love. Cleaning the walls, scraping, sanding, plaster repairs, priming many coats and finally painting: when else will you be this close to the walls and ceilings of your house for such an extended period of time? Prep work for painting is not my favorite part, but it’s a necessary evil in order to get to the fun part: COLOR.

It is a labor of love. It’s a source of pride. I feel as though I’m communing with my house and getting to know its quirks: where the hairline cracks are in the plaster, where the pictures have been hung, how the ceiling meets the wall, where splashes of the first coat of paint remain on the edge of the door trim, how the walls look at all times of day. While that first or second layer of primer hides the brush strokes from the original paint, it’s easy to imagine someone lovingly painting the walls before me. A change, even one as simple as paint color, is refreshing in a building.

Painting takes a lot of time, particularly when the walls and ceiling need more than one coat of primer and more than one coat of paint. But, the end result is always worth it. Suddenly the house looks like it belongs to us, as opposed to looking like we simply moved in and set down our belongings. A new coat of paint brings new life to the house, as we begin the next chapter of volume of its history.

House painting = maintenance = care = preservation = love.

Having Izzy watch me paint is helpful throughout the long process.

Are you still so sure that you don’t like to paint? Or do you love to paint?

p.s. Next week, I’ll follow up on the Paint Chatter post about the specific paint problems in my house.

Do Not Believe Everything You Hear on TV

Do not believe everything you hear on TV: that probably goes without saying, right? And there are a lot of intelligent shows out there, so it’s annoying when those shows get their facts incorrect. As much as it pains me to criticize my absolute favorite show in existence – Gilmore Girls – I have to. (If you are not a fan of Gilmore Girls, sorry! Please pardon my obsession.)

Quick background: the show centers on the relationship of mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, with a colorful cast of characters in the fictional, idealistic small town of Stars Hollow, CT. Lorelai is a single mother who had Rory when she was 16, and has since worked her way up to managing a historic inn in the town. Come Season 4, Lorelai and her business partner, Sookie, are working towards opening their own inn, which will be a renovation of another historic inn, The Dragonfly. The characters are portrayed as intelligent and witty (as well as entertaining). A fun bit of trivia: much of Gilmore Girls is filmed on the Hollywood back lot called “Midwest Street”, built in the mid 1940s for movies such as Saratoga Trunk. (That fact explains the look of the streetscape and even the interiors of the houses.)

My criticism for Gilmore Girls occurs in Season 4, Episode 4, “Chicken or Beef?”.  In this episode, Lorelai is planning to start construction on The Dragonfly the following Monday, until she receives a letter from Taylor Doose (who is pretty much every official in town, but in particular, he is involved with the Stars Hollow Historical Preservation Society). A “cease and desist” letter orders Lorelai and Sookie to stop work on The Dragonfly, a historic building in town, until the proper permits have been followed. It read as:

“Dear Lorelai Gilmore, it has come to the attention of the Stars Hollow Historical Preservation Society that you and Miss Sookie St. James intend to commence construction on the Dragonfly Inn. Any proposed renovations must be submitted, discussed, and approved by the Stars Hollow Historical Preservation Society. We must therefore ask that all work halt until such time that this procedure has been followed. Thank you, and have a historical day.” [Lorelai:] Is he kidding?

That part makes sense, of course. However, the exchange between Lorelai and Taylor makes a mockery out of proper procedures.

LORELAI: Listen, Taylor, while I have you here, um, I received this letter in the mail, and I’m having kind of a blond day, and I wonder if you could explain this to me.
TAYLOR: Well, it says you have to get approval before you can start construction on the inn.
LORELAI: That’s what I thought it said. Well, I have to tell you, Taylor, I’m a little concerned because we have a construction crew coming Monday, so. . .yikes.
TAYLOR: Well, the Dragonfly is a historical building, Lorelai.
LORELAI: Yeah, but the whole town is a historical building, Taylor. I mean, George Washington ate, slept, or blew his nose all over the damn place.
TAYLOR: He only blew his nose in the park. You’ve read the sign.
LORELAI: Taylor, that inn needs love. It’s falling down. Sookie and I have no intention of ruining its historical aspect. We’d just like some running water.
TAYLOR: Running water was not always historical.
LORELAI: You’re not seriously telling me I can’t put in running water?
TAYLOR: I’m just telling you, there are rules and they have to be followed.
LORELAI: Fine. What do I have to do to get the Historical Preservation Society’s stamp of approval?
TAYLOR: Well, a formal presentation is necessary.
LORELAI: Uh-huh. When?
TAYLOR: Uh, any town function or gathering is open to a presentation, Lorelai.
LORELAI: Okay, so, like, the town meeting tonight?
TAYLOR: If you like.
LORELAI: The town meeting it is.

I find it hard to believe that a well regarded businesswoman who is highly involved in town affairs and has already operated a historic inn would not know the proper procedures to follow. As if getting permits for a historic building is something extra and annoying. I’m sure I’ve seen this episode more times than you care to know, but it didn’t really bother me until just the other day. And then this part, when the Preservation Society was taking their walk-through of the property really made preservation look ridiculous:

TAYLOR: Lorelai, consultation, please.
TAYLOR: This porch is falling apart.
LORELAI: I know.
TAYLOR: It’s got live termites.
LORELAI: Big, fat ones.
TAYLOR: It’s a safety hazard.
LORELAI: It’s the first thing to go.
TAYLOR: To go? This porch can’t go.
LORELAI: I’m sorry, Taylor. You just said it’s falling apart.
TAYLOR: I didn’t tell you to tear it down. It’s historical. It has to stay.
LORELAI: No, no, the porch is not historical, Taylor. It was added in 1980.
LORELAI: So it’s a 23-year-old porch. Unless you think Kate Hudson is historical, it’s not historical.
TAYLOR: Not now, but how do you think we get historical 200-year-old structures if we tear ’em down when they’re just 23?
LORELAI: Uh, it’s rotting away.
TAYLOR: Which just means that your guests can’t walk on it.
LORELAI: So they should hover over it?
TAYLOR: No, you could build a bridge over it, using appropriate materials, of course.
LORELAI: A bridge?
TAYLOR: Or you could build a transparent Lucite porch over this porch, so people could walk on the Lucite porch and see the old porch underneath the new porch.
LORELAI: Build a clear plastic porch over the rotting wood porch?
TAYLOR: With the proper permits, of course, and those are hard to come by.

Seriously? Let’s just spread the false idea that nothing can ever be demolished and that we save absolutely everything, historic or not, safe or not.

Historic preservation gets a bad enough reputation as it is; we don’t need false information being spewed to the millions of people watching television because the show writers were too lazy to get their facts straight. Granted, TV is always exaggerated and this conversation could have happened between some people, but, still. I found it disheartening that my favorite show bashed historic preservation.

What do you think?

Trivia: The Dragonfly Inn, the building, was used in the 1970s as the Waltons’ home. Note: You can find the transcript and these pulled quotes here. See images of the set of The Dragonfly.

Do any of your favorite shows bash historic preservation? I imagine medical professionals must be infuriated by all of the misinformation given to the audiences, especially to those of us whose only basis for medical knowledge is excessive watching of Scrubs. But, see my point? It would be nice if media meant for the masses could be accurate.

I have this mug. See? I told you I was obsessed. It can't be helped.