As of tomorrow, Kenji is completely off Prednisone.

[Sometimes the most breaking news can be captured in one line only.]

The last time Kenji tried cutting back on Prednisone - we're talking spring 2013 here - resulted in a terrible flaming up of graft-versus-host-disease in various parts of his body. Kenji responded so badly to the absence of his least favorite drug, that he had no choice but to start his intake again in the summer of that year.
And now it's autumn 2014 and Kenji is finally back on 0 milligrams again. Let's just see how it goes.


Less than half of a day left: autumn break is almost over. And I wonder what's left of me. Every day I've counted the hours. First till lunch, then till dinner and eventually until the boys were in bed and I could unwind for an hour or so before I hit the sack as well. I knew from the start that this holiday would be one without a backup plan. I knew I had no choice but to hang in there.
I planned a super busy week before autumn break began and I have an equally busy one ahead of me. In between I could take time off work and rely on my improvisational skills - I mean, I've winged it before and assumed that I could easily fly solo for ten days. Except solo turned out to be almost-completely-solo, since Kenji could barely pitch in. That's life. His, and mine.

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A guaranteed awkward schoolyard moment: when asked if Little Brother has already started his swimming lessons, I have to say no. And in Little Brother's case, that is sort of accepted: he is five and - considering the standard - only a year behind. Big Brother still has to learn how to swim as well, at a point where the majority of his classmates not only have their basic swimming diploma, but have by now finished the entire course (for the Dutch readers: most of them have A and B, some even A, B and C at the age of six). In Amsterdam, you enroll your kid at four and join the club as soon as you can.

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"I think I've figured out what the problem is. Actually, it's not 'the problem' but more 'the case'. But the case is - in our case - often problematic. We're not moving beyond the bare necessities because that is all we have time and energy for." Kenji's analysis couldn't be more to the point. We seem to be stuck in clean underwear for everybody, full lunch boxes, making money to pay the bills on time, and showing up at hospital appointments. All without any doubt very useful, but not very realistic. Because there is more to life - and I'm not even hinting at the things we would like to add to the above. Whenever something extra comes up, like Little Brother's invitation to a birthday party, we have to pull I don't know how many strings to make it work. The trivial things - buying a present (which in this area means spending ten euros on Lego for Little Brother's five year-old classmate...), transport to and from the party, making sure the other boy is looked after - take up tons of energy. And that *insert all your favorite swearwords here* flu shot only made things worse.

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On a sunny morning in September, I took the ferry to Ingrid's new place. Ingrid showed me the final proofs of her book (that I edited last spring) and told me to save the date for her book launch on 12 October, which I obviously jotted down on the spot.
However what I hadn't taken in account was the timing of this year's flu shot, or in particular, its side effects... I was looking forward to Ingrid's party a lot, but after Friday afternoon all I could think of was my bed. I popped one paracetamol after the other and made myself huge mugs of strong black coffee. "Next time, we're handling this another way. Having four people around the house, who feel miserable like hell all at the same time, is totally inefficient", Kenji states. "I pray I will be the only one who'll need the shot then, because it's unfair indeed that you and the boys have to go through this."

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