The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)


We've bike, ran, and walked hundreds of miles around this city. Every day it's go-go-go, and every day Brock says "Man! I can't wait for school to start up so I can relax!"

Well, Tuesday was BROCK'S DAY. Yes, I relinquished my title of Omnipotent Leader/Map-Holder and let him do what he wanted to do, at the pace he determined!

Our day began with a tour of the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Yes mom, I know you're seething with jealousy right now. But the interesting thing is...the floor of the CBOE hasn't been open to the public since 9/11. So how did we get in you ask? Connections, baby :) Remember the guy we met on the CTA to the Baha'i temple? Well, he's worked at the CBOE since '77 and when he said he'd give us a tour...he was serious! :) Kevin G. Kennedy is his name, but everybody calls him KGK (on the floor, all the traders wear these big name badges with their initials on them). And I'm not kidding when I say that he one of the most vivacious people I've ever met. He talks to everyone and everyone knows him! "What up KGK?" "KGK, how you doin?" "Yo, KGK!" Talk about the most popular guy on the floor!

Anyway, he showed us all around the entire place and gave us a real insider's look to how the whole operation functions. A lot of it went way over our heads (the guy is brilliant), but it was still so fascinating to see this incredibly complex system that man made up. He told us, with a gleam in his eye, about the "good old days" when, before the computer boom, there were runners for each trader and people were screaming and getting into fistfights and the place was just mayhem.

He taught us about the "sign language" that traders use when they trade with another person on the opposite side of the floor. It was so cool! Despite being in a place with hundreds of people yelling and screaming at each other, you can have a complete conversation with somebody 20 feet away from you and make a multi-million dollar trade.

One of the things that surprsied us about the floor how young some of the traders were! Seriously, they couldn't have been a year or two older than Brock. If it's something he wanted to pursue, it would totally possible to do so (especially since Brock is getting one of the "golden" degrees: math). What a fun job that would be! All the traders are friends and each day is dynamic and different. Plus, if there ever was a He-Man Woman Hater's Club, the CBOE is it! I counted maybe two girls down there while we were touring. If I were a guy, I'd think that'd be really fun. All boys, all the time, all engaged in a competitive atmosphere.

Anyway, it truly was an incredible thing to see and we were so grateful to KGK for giving us the chance to see it! He was the nicest guy. I made him homemade mint Oreo truffles as a thank-you :)

After the CBOE, we had a very mediocre lunch at Giordano's...which is supposed to have awesome Chicago-style pizza. Blah. Maybe I'm being a little unfair to it, but what can I say? I have high expectations. Especially after eating at Pizzeria Uno! (We're going back this Saturday to cap off our Chicago adventure and I am beyond excited.) Not only that, but the service at Giordano's sucked too. You know you're at a bad Chicago pizza joint when it makes you long for Brick Oven.

While the pizza settled in my stomach, I came to a sudden realization: I was tired.

Not just "my feet hurt" tired. Not even "I need a nap" tired. I was "we've been running around for two months straight and I've hit the wall" tired! So, even though it was only 1:00, we went home and spent the rest of the entire day reading in our apartment! We even watched TV for the first time since we've been here! Crazy.

Didn't I take a nap, you ask? Isn't that what tired people do? Well guys, I'm an odd one. (News of the century, I know.) All throughout the bike home, I couldn't wait till my head hit the pillow, but then as soon as I got home . . . I didn't feel like it!

Instead, I finished reading an awesome book called No Opportunity Wasted. If you ever need a book to re-energize you and inspire you to achieve your dreams/do something crazy, head straight to Barnes & Noble and buy this! This book made me realize that, for a good long time now, I've suffocated the childlike spirit inside me and let my inhibitions determine what I do. Not cool. I wrote down a "list for life" that includes everything from reading James Joyce's Ulysses to bungee jumping off a 760 ft. bridge in Switzerland. (Remember James Bond in "Goldeneye?" Yeah. That one.) I really do feel like I've unearthed a part of me that I forgot about. I guess I got caught up in excuses...I'm married. I have responsibilites now. I can't afford it. I'm too scared to do that. I don't have time. This book inspired me to shed those excuses and live a little! I am not going through this life having never seen the Earth from outer space. Or not having run with the bulls in Pamplona. Or not having gone on a shark dive, or slept in a hammock in the Amazon jungle, or having volunteered in a third world country, or having anonymously helped make someone's dream a reality.


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