[IMGCAP(1)]It’s that time of year again—of short days, cold temps, and yikes, companions that turn from being your sweet and sensitive soul mate into a human size gremlin that you mistakenly fed after midnight. If you have no job, no children, and a big budget, call your travel agent immediately and secure a villa in the Caribbean. Stay there until April 16 and do not leave forwarding information. No further action is needed.

On the other hand, if you do have children, a job, and no budget, the experts at BKR International suggest 10 simple ways to nurture your CPA spouse during busy season.

1. Avoid allowing your CPA to make any big financial or life decisions during this time. Otherwise, come spring, you may find yourself the owner of a 90-inch flat screen for every room, a litter of designer puppies, or a minor sports team.

2. Make yourself scarce when they first arrive home at night. Take the kids and go to the gym, your mom’s, or even a bar where smoking is prohibited. If that’s not possible, hide out for at least a half hour in a room that your spouse is unlikely to visit, i.e., laundry room, sewing room, room with kitty litter box, etc.

3. Leave a glass of your spouse’s favorite libation sitting on the counter. This could now possibly extend to certain plant derivatives if you live in Colorado. Just be sure it is caffeine-free.

4. Place your CPA’s favorite meal in the oven on “warm.” Make sure it is a meal you have made (or ordered) before that they really enjoy. You can safely serve the same meal for weeks at a time because they will not remember from one day to the next what they ate. IMPORTANT: This is not the time to experiment with a new recipe.

5. Write a little note saying how much you (and the kids, if relevant) love them and appreciate how hard they are working and how you miss spending time together. Have the kids draw hearts, stars, stick figures or animals on the note but do not include any numbers in any form.

6. After they’ve been fed and “watered,” you can all come out slowly and calmly and begin to engage in light conversation.  This is a time for good news only and for a short period of time. You can tell how long is too long by the glazed look in their eyes. This is not the time for the kids (or you) to cry, complain, or attempt to solve the world’s problems. And never begin your conversation with, “We need to talk…”

7. Field all calls from relatives, friends and other potentially annoying pro bono clients who will want to challenge your CPA about their tax refund after talking with their hairdresser, dog walker, or other “expert” who got a lot more money back than they did.

8. After you’ve snuggled together on the couch, turn over the remote without a fight. You’ll only need to put up with their favorite channel (which likely isn’t yours) for about 90 seconds before they are sound asleep and you can watch whatever you want.

9. Don’t be alarmed if your CPA yells out strange phrases in their sleep like, “It’s not deductible,” or “I can’t sign that.” They are most likely replaying their day meeting with clients in their dreams. It’s harmless. Earplugs will help.

10. Take heart! With a little preparation, good humor, and patience, this too shall pass and you will soon get back your warm and wonderful spouse, with hopefully a big fat bonus with which you can enjoy the spring, summer, fall and holiday season, except for maybe a little blip from August 15 to October 15, but let’s not worry about that now…

This post is intended as a humor piece. Maureen Schwartz is the executive director of BKR International, a global accounting association of more than 150 independent accounting and business advisory firms in over 300 offices and 75 countries. More information is available at www.bkr.com.