I met with 4 contractors, 3 recommended by my architect (though she hasn't actually worked with one of them), and the other a contact through my sister-in-law. I ended up asking all of them to bid the job--I was aiming for 3, thinking that one would drop out because of scheduling, or that I'd have a negative reaction to one of them. I liked 2 of them a good bit, in terms of the impression they made (for what good that does me for picking a competent contractor), one made a good impression but just seemed young and with less experience running his own firm. The fourth was the type that doesn't let you finish a sentence and spent some time telling me "I don't think you want to pay for that" (re: lots of job supervision)--which is not completely true. I'm willing to pay some extra for good supervision of the subs and other workers, but not some premium price for someone to sit there all day every day. She didn't seem to put the weight on "taking care of the customer's home and belongings" that I'd like. But she's experienced and "bottom line oriented", so the bid should be a good marker.
Most of them want to come back with some of their subs before preparing a bid--the one who didn't climbed into the attic and determined that the wall to be removed is load-bearing and the roof trusses change direction there. Let's add some $$$ to the basic idea of what this kitchen renovation will cost.
In between contractor interviews, I think I got in a couple of days of work. Sort of.
This week is database testing in Denver: the weekend was spent at GaFilk. (More on that later.) And now I seem to have a cold--probably picked it up at GaFilk or even earlier, as the incubation time is too short to have gotten it on the packed airplane out. I will try not to give this to any of my fellow testers...