This month, we present a treat for the spouses out there who are dealing with the often upside-down lives of the work-at-homer. Here are the 10 telltale signs you're living with a homebased business owner. Give your honey this list for a laugh (and hope he or she forgives you for your foibles).
1. You often go to sleep alone at midnight and wake up at five a.m.-both times finding the other side of the bed equally empty.
2. In the middle of the night you hear someone negotiating with an operator to place that call to London, rummaging through the fridge, or watching E! for that elusive "burst of creative juices."
3. At 10 a.m., your mate is walking around the house in a telephone headset and a pair of skivvies.
4. While he insists he works during the day, if you need an update on that day's General Hospital or the latest freaks on The Jerry Springer Show, your work-at-home mate has more information than he could have possibly gleaned from the latest issues of TV Guide or Soap Opera Digest.
5. For tax and benefits purposes, she calls you her "administrative assistant" and the kids her "admin-lets"-even in social settings.
6. It's not all bad: You call him your "live-in"-the full-time au pair for the times you want to head out with your girlfriends and leave the kids behind.
7. She corrects you when you call your house your home, insisting (again, for tax reasons) that you call it the "corporate headquarters."
8. When you head to the grocery store for some food-and a yellow highlighter your work-at-home spouse has requested-he reminds you to save the receipt and log the miles as business travel.
9. During passionate moments (portable phone close at hand, of course), she'll occasionally stop, blurt out, "Hold that thought," grab a pen and paper, and jot an inspirational note or reminder to herself.
10. Come noon, someone's finally sleeping in your bed-stockpiling some more midnight oil for the next evening's work.
Journalist and author Jeff Zbar has worked from home since the 1980s. He writes about home business, teleworking, marketing, communications and other SOHO issues.