Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Maybe you remember that Mom used to work at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art here in Kansas City, but even though she worked there for more than a year, she was always just a temporary employee.  So when the Plains Indians exhibit ended last January, Mom's boss said he couldn't keep her on between exhibits, the way he usually did.  He talked like he would hire her back for the next special exhibit in February, but he didn't.  Which meant that Mom didn't have a job anymore.

She applied for some other jobs, but she didn't get hired.  Then she wrote a book of inspirational cat stories as a freelance writer.  Mom is not a very religious person, so she ended up not liking to write the stories, but she finally finished the book.  I think if she had written stories about dogs, it would have been better, but the editor people wanted cat stories, so that's what she had to write.

Anyway, after that, Mom applied to lots and lots of places, like maybe 20 or 25.  She had a couple of interviews, but she didn't get hired.  Then she got a call from Noodles & Co., and they wanted to interview her.  And the very next day after the woman from Noodles called, a man called from Toys R Us, but it turned out that Toys R Us paid about a dollar less per hour than Noodles, plus it was lots farther to drive.  So when the Noodles people offered Mom a job, she snatched it up.

Mom's official title is "Noodles Ambassador," which means she is mainly supposed to greet people and take their orders and also take their money.  Mom has a whole list of other things she is supposed to do, including:  wipe off all the tables and chairs every morning, cut up and wrap the rice crispy treats, wrap the cookies (chocolate chunk and snickerdoodles), clean and restock the bathrooms, restock the condiment station, restock the bottled drink station, bus the tables, wipe off the tables after they are bussed, take food out to customers' tables, bag up to-go orders, wrap silverware, plus anything else the manager asks Mom to do.

Mom in her official Noodles outfit

This is the first time Mom ever worked in the food business, so it is a totally different sort of job for her.  Mom likes her hours because she works from 10:00 to 2:00 on Monday through Friday, and she doesn't have to work in the evenings or on the weekends.  Also, she is almost always busy, so the time goes by fast.  And she doesn't get sleepy or bored, like she did sometimes while she was standing around at the art gallery.

It turns out that a lot of people around here have never eaten in a Noodles restaurant, so when Mom says she works there, they say "What is it?" or "Is it a pasta factory?"  Other people have eaten at Noodles and know all about it.  Some people eat there every week or more than once a week.

Japanese Pan Noodles

So now I will tell you about Noodles & Co.  It was founded in 1995, and the idea was to provide fresh, healthy food, made to order and served quickly.  But instead of being a "fast food" restaurant, it is called "fast casual."  The chairman and CEO is a man named Kevin Reddy.  He started out cooking burgers at a McDonald's when he was a teenager.  Later, he got into the business and management end of McDonald's.  From there, he moved on to be the COO of Chipotle.  He helped Chipotle grow from 13 locations to 420 in 7 years' time.  Mr. Reddy was hired as president of Noodles in 2005 and has since moved up to his current position.  There are currently more than 380 Noodles locations in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

Macaroni and Cheese

When you eat at Noodles, you can choose from a variety of pasta dishes, salads, soups, and sandwiches that are based on food from many different places such as Asia, Italy, and America.  You can order a dish the way it is usually made, or you can add meat, change the vegetables, garnishes, or types of noodles.

The sign-in screen on the computer

When Mom first started working at Noodles, she thought she would never learn to use the cash register very well because there are so many buttons you can click on to indicate the customers' choices.  But she is getting better, and sometimes she can go a whole day without making any major mistakes!

A lot of days, Mom eats lunch at Noodles after her shift ends.  She can get 70% off her meal, so it ends up being really cheap.  Mom has tried many of the dishes that the restaurant offers, and some of her favorites are Pad Thai, Japanese Pan Noodles, and Stroganoff (with tofu instead of steak).

Pad Thai

Sadly, Mom does not usually bring doggy boxes home for us doggies.  Except that last Friday Mom brought home some spaghetti and meatballs.  She started eating it and then she decided she didn't like the meatballs.  Also, there wasn't enough sauce to suit her.  So Mom started putting the meatballs in the garbage disposal, and Latifa grabbed one of them and ran off with it.  Tristan tried to get it away from her, but she guarded it very fiercely until she had finished eating it.  Meanwhile, Mom got rid of the rest of the meatballs and opened a jar of spaghetti sauce to make the spaghetti more the way she likes it.

Chicken Caesar Sandwich

Anyway, we dogs and cats don't like having Mom gone so long every day, but it's really not as long as she was gone when she worked at the art gallery.  And I guess it is worth having her gone if it means she is making extra money to buy dog food!

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