Well usually we keep our gardens pretty curse-free* but in your case I'll make the exception. Thanks!!
I went through the first interview this afternoon with the owner of the firm. I think it went really well and he indicated they are looking for someone with my skillset (bascially someone who really wants to work on cutting edge tech). I told him about why I'm looking for something else and he completely understood. In fact, most of his workers are coming for the same reason, so they have focused their work on government contracts so we can't be off shored as easily.
Next step is 'technical interview' with 2 of their technical dudes. I've asked my friend for some pointers.
Benefits sounds ok but I don't have all the details. No 401k until next year. 100% covered on healthcare premiums, but it's probabaly not HSA eligible. Vacation is basically a "take off what you want as long as you bill a certain amount of hours to the client" arrangement. Very flexible.
No discussion on salary, but its a W2 position. I did mentioned I'm being offered a promotion but the direction is wrong and that's why I'm leaving now. So he knows I'm desired.
I'm feeling very good about this.
* except during rose pruning time....