The bad news is, we're under 300 W-hr for the first time -- 297 is the actual number. 250, of course, is the lower limit of survivability (at least without pulling Opportunity-style Deep Sleep tricks).
The worse news is, they don't need rover drivers today. So I sit down with Tara Estlin, who's had bad luck with missing shadow shifts and stuff lately, and we work through the MI mosaic we sent last time, making sure she knows it like the back of her hand.
I'm going to have her write a simplified version of it herself, when she interrupts me. "I might need to leave a bit later," she says apologetically. "I have a sick cat ...."
Worse than merely sick, as it turns out. Tara's beloved fourteen-year-old Ripley -- the runt of the litter, but as feisty as her namesake from Alien -- is coming to the end of her days. She's got kidney problems, and she's ... she's not well. And Tara's barely keeping it together as the words tumble out of her.
Well, if there's one person around here who's going to understand about that ... I tell her about my own too-recent experiences with Jake and Zenobia, and as gently as I can, I encourage her to go home and spend some time with Ripley. I don't remember much about what I was doing at work the weeks they died, but I remember clearly the time I took off from work to spend with them toward the end. It's like gold in my hand.
"I don't know," she says, "your time is so valuable ...."
"My time is valuable," I agree quietly. "Right now, Ripley's time is even more valuable."
Tara goes home.
 This was a hard post to revisit, having just recently lost another cat (Indiana). Life goes on, though, you know: Tara recently got another cat, whom she adores. And I know I will, too. Not yet, though. Not yet.