Living in Gwendom: The Milk War of Attrition

There are five grownups living in Gwendom right now. Four of them own cars. All of them drink milk daily – two in their coffee, one with oatmeal, two with cold cereal.

We have not had milk for 10 days.

It is the Milk War of Attrition. Who will break first?

I’ve bought milk twice in the last three weeks, which is two times as much milk as Matt and I have ever drunk in that same period of time in the last seven years. I work, and I do not have a car. Despite that, I have carried milk home 10 miles from downtown twice, just to rest easy knowing I’d have my 2 percent in the morning in my coffee.

I’m no hero. But I do like my milk in my coffee.

Gwen has taken to cleaning out the refrigerator on a daily basis. She throws out obscure items, and leaves the rotting ones. The items she tosses almost always came from her daughter-in-law, Ann. The rotting ones? From Gwen. The turkey-sitting-in-a-cooler-melting-for-three-days? Yeah, that got a spot in the fridge. The Whole Foods rotisserie chicken? Gone.

Since the pitching started, Ann stopped going to the grocery.

Ann is the other person in the house who takes milk in her coffee. She prefers skim milk. Alas, since the Milk War began, I’ve caught her using whipped cream and vanilla ice cream as substitutes for skim milk.

She’s the hero in the house. Vanilla ice cream in your coffee? It’s brilliant. In another life she could have been a Venetian, she’d have thrived in the 21-year siege of Candia. She clearly is willing to do what it takes to win the war.

Before the siege began, though, I’d have said Gwen was the hero. The woman who has never drunk anything but low fat milk had picked up oat milk, almond milk, and 2 percent in one grocery trip. That is caring. That is the kind of demonstration of love I can get behind (even if the oat milk was hidden behind the sad, sad sloppy joes).

Each night of the war, I’ve opened the refrigerator doors before bed, ostensibly to fill my water glass, but really I’ve been checking on the milk situation. Each night I’ve had a tactical meeting in my head with me, myself, and I about whether or not tomorrow is the morning I call a truce, borrow a car, and go to the grocery at 6:00 a.m., so I can have milk in my coffee.

So far, my three generals have told me not to break. Stand firm. Although one had an interesting idea: Amazon Fresh.

Does Amazon Fresh work out here in the wilds of Potomac?


Alicia Amling View All →

Recovering journalist who discovered a life outside of news leaves you time for things like getting angry, cooking and traveling. Plus, hopefully, writing. I’m a wife, dog mom and Washingtonian.

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