How A Pile Of Puke Helped Me Hold A Trade

Some days seem longer than others. Today was one of the long ones.

It started with my 6 year old daughter slapping the side of my sleeping face and telling me to “wake up.” Normally this is a cute, but after a cold weekend on a frozen river in central Maine “smelting” with college friends, I was hurting. “Wake up Mommy first,” I said. (Note: My wife, Judy, is 8 months pregnant and miserable.)

After Judy expressed her displeasure with me by banging the shit out of the pots and pans in the kitchen while she prepared my daughter’s breakfast, thereby disallowing me the luxury of extra sleep, I woke up. I walked into the next room and turned on my screens. The futures were gapping down a bunch. “Finally!” I found myself thinking. I immediately felt a pang of guilt as I realized the market was only gapping down because Gaddafi is a dick. The guilt eased as I decided that wanting a little stock market volatility wasn’t the same as wanting protesters in the mideast to be slaughtered.

Gaddafi is (was) a dick.

Look, as it sometimes happens in this business, what’s good for me is often bad for some, okay, maybe millions, of people.

That doesn’t make me a bad person. Hating handicapped parking spaces might though… they’re always empty. Seriously.

Anyway, I decided that it would be a tough day for support buys. We’ve been going up for what seems like forever, when we turn down for real, could take at least a few days for buyers to show up again. But then I always have difficulty shorting into a gap down. I decided to just chill out, take it easy, and let my long weekend wear off. My wife yelled up the stairs that they were leaving. They were going to have a “mother and daughter” type day. My kid is off from school all week. I said goodbye and the market opened.

Along with my friends at HCPG, I was watching SQM for a support trade at $53. When it opened there, I knew it was going to have to trade lower if I was going to get involved. It made a quick move down to $52.25 and started to bounce. Two minutes into the bounce, at 9:38 a ton of volume went off and I decided to give it a whirl. I picked some up at $52.57, put my stop just below the low of the day, and waited for the sweet money to hit me in the face.

The stock complied moving upwards very smoothly. I didn’t even curse once while I watched its ascent. From downstairs, I heard the backdoor swing open and then splashing sounds and some grunting. My wife was letting it all loose on the kitchen floor. “Hey, I’m trying to trade up here, for chrissakes!” No response… not even the customary “Fuck you” that such insensitivities should elicit. I moved my stop up to breakeven and went downstairs to “help.”

There she was, crumpled against the downstairs toilet, saying goodbye to breakfast. She told me to go check on our daughter out in the car. Now, I had seriously crawled out of bed and started to trade. Since I don’t turn the heat up in the house past 60 nowadays, I sit in a chair wrapped in a blanket my grandmother knit me when I was 13. So yeah, it’s over 20 years old and, well, colorful. I was also sporting the pajamas my daughter had given me for Valentine’s day (think hearts) and slippers.

I approached the car. She was drawing. She didn’t see me coming, but just in case she happened to look up, I decided to do the mock tip toe with a crazy look on my face. Heart pajamas, slippers, funny blanket, mock tip toe, crazy face… Of course, that’s when I saw my neighbor walking his dog in my direction. “Hi Jeff,” I waved. He gave me a strange look. He couldn’t have seen my daughter in the car.

People must wonder what I do all day.

I opened my daughter’s door. She didn’t even look up. “Daddy, I need a brown pencil.”

Back inside, my wife was brushing her teeth. I grabbed a brown pencil and gave it to her. I gave her a hug and apologized for getting her pregnant again. I also reminded her that women used to have many more kids back in the 50s and that if we didn’t have a boy this time, she’d be having another in about a year. She left unamused.

My SQM trade was working out despite all the hubbub in the house. I nearly sold some into S2 at $53.14 but given the severe bounce overtaking the ag stocks like CF, MOS and AGU, I decided to hold it a bit longer. I took off half at $53.36 and then the last half when the stock got rejected by the 20 ema on the 5 minute chart. My average exit was $53.42, for an 85 cent profit.

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Insomnia, Gold, and Delusions of Grandeur

Two days ago, at 12:30 am a gigantic beech tree crashed through my house trapping my wife and two daughters against their beds. Amazingly, though only a couple of feet away, I was unharmed. The tree had knocked out the power and so I couldn’t see anything but I heard their screams and I knew they were hurt.

A few weeks back, I had a guy come to look at the tree and he told me to cut it down. “It’s full of ants,” he said. But we got busy getting the house rented for August and so we put it off. I figured I’d just do it in the fall before the winter when the heavy snow could pull it down. The immediate guilt caused by this decision was complete.

Sure it looks pretty, but a Beech Tree nearly killed my family.

I stumbled through the room, or what was left of it, even trying without success to lift the tree off the bed. The hole in the roof was letting the rain in. Rainwater on my bed, on my bedroom floor. I had to get help. The kids were crying but my wife was quiet and unresponsive. The phone was knocked out and I had no idea where the cell was. I had a hard time even getting out the front door. There were no neighbors within a quarter mile. The summer people all left. I decided to head out to the main road and try to flag down a car.

At least, this is what was running through my head last night as I lay awake in bed not able to fall back asleep.

What do YOU do when your thoughts spin out of control in the middle of the night?

I walked downstairs, switched on the kitchen light and rifled through a stack of business cards. I found the tree guy’s card, and put it on the counter with a note for my wife, “Call tomorrow.”

I was hungry. I made some toast. There was no way I was going to fall back to sleep so I went upstairs to my office and turned on the computer. Reflexively, I switched on my broker and Esignal and then started to surf around.

I “pointed my browser” at Twitter (quick parenthetical rant: seriously, whoever came up with such an expression. no one in the history of internet “surfing” has ever “pointed their browser” at anything) and noticed that Barry Ritholz had tweeted 4 minutes earlier. “Huh,” I thought, “maybe Barry is up too. Maybe he can’t sleep.”

I clicked on the link in his tweet. It was some bajillion word post on rebalancing the housing market. No pictures, nothing. I scrolled to the end. It was signed, “Governor Elizabeth A. Duke.” This confused the fuck out of me.

“Jesus, Barry Ritholz has fucking Governors writing posts to his blog and tweeting them at 1:00am? Dude has power,” I thought.

I thought about Joshy sitting across from Barry in Barry’s huge office. Gigantic gold-plated desk…animal heads on the wall, etc. Barry is angry that Joshy is closing in on his Twitter follower lead. Barry stands up and calmly tells Joshy that he’s pulling the plug on him. He’s going to support this upstart Dinosaur Trader now.

“No one knows who he is,” Barry would explain to Josh. “He’s mysterious. Plus, I love Dinosaurs. He’s gonna be a star…”

I quickly fantasized about being on CNBC. Balding, nervous and sexually cowed by Courtney Reagan… no… by Sylvia Wadhwa. I’m terrified of her. Can you imagine what she could do to a man? I’d love to be sexually brutalized by her… I imagine the email I’d shoot off to Joshy now that I’d be in charge. “Hey, get a few posts up on The Mixtape or I’m considering removing the page. Just not getting enough traffic there to support the bandwidth costs.” This made me smile.

Silvia Wadwha would sexually destroy me.

Someone else in my stream posted a horrifying story about an 11 year old girl who was bullied by an entire network of underground hacker types. She had posted suggestive and taunting videos and now the hackers were getting their revenge on her family. I watched one video where she’s crying and her father comes to her side and starts yelling at the entire internet. He’s yelling at the anonymous rage that’s attacking his daughter and he’s got no fucking shot. This depressed me.

Jessi Slaughter and her Dad

Why are we letting our kids go? Don’t buy your kid a phone people. Beware popular culture.

I took a peek at gold which was back over $1900. In fact, it was up near the old highs trading between $1915 and $1916. I didn’t want to trade, it was 1am for chrissakes, but I couldn’t help myself. I figured if this thing traded over $1916 it was definitely going to pop to a new high. So I bought, $1915.70. Seconds later it was trading over $1920. I sold and immediately shut my computer down.

In the next room, my family was sleeping soundly. No tree. No crazy anonymous internet gangs. No gold. I lay down, me and my thoughts.

I worried that I’d wake up to find $GC_F trading over $2000. I mused about how 20 minutes earlier I was poorer somehow but I was actually happier. Now I was laying here worried that I fucked up a trade. I worried about 11 year old kids posting suggestive internet videos. I wondered if any of them were awake, posting videos, getting into trouble while maybe their parents were passed out drunk in the next room.

I worried… I worried…

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