When Smelling, er, Selling, a House, You Don't Want a Whiff of Wildlife

It's the secret fear of every resident who's selling a house: the last-minute catastrophe that sours the deal.

Greg Horbachevsky's move from the Southland to Wisconsin was just a few days away when his dog Ebby confronted a skunk in the side yard.

It wasn't the first time.

"She got sprayed a couple of years ago," Horbachevsky said, "and it took us two weeks to get the smell out of the carpet. We had three fans blowing day and night. I'd come home from work and wonder, 'Is the monster [the smell] still in there?' "

If Ebby were sprayed again, would Horbachevsky have to put the buyers -- and their baby -- up in a hotel for two or more weeks?

Luckily, Ebby had been trained since then. Horbachevsky's wife, Mary, yelled "Home!" and Ebby raced to the front door of the house.

Good (still sweet-smelling) girl!

Only in L.A. -- The Movie! Yes, with the help of readers, I've put together all the elements for a sure box-office hit (see accompanying).

It'll have:

* Greed (contributed by Barbara Fabian).

* Sex in strange places (from Jim Vines).

* Violence (from Sandie Phillips).

* Wicked furnishings (from a reader too shy to sign the letter).

And more: Just to close the deal, I'm throwing in the ad that Nicki Resnikoff saw for a wedding gown with a "Satan" bodice.

And the plot of my movie? With those elements, who needs a plot?

Navigating L.A.: Mention was made here of 95-year-old Edna Mae Babcock's poetic formula for remembering the sequence of streets in downtown L.A.:

From Main we Spring

To Broadway

Over the Hill to Olive

Wouldn't it be Grand

If we could Hope

To pick a Flower

on Figueroa?

"When I showed this to my husband," Annette Gude wrote afterward, "his comment was, 'That's your saying.' "

Gude explained: "You must understand, I always thought it was my grandmother's." Now she wonders who did write the ditty, adding, "My time dates back to 1938."

Well, one thing's for sure. It doesn't predate 1877, because there was no Grand Avenue before then. The street was called Charity. Folks there had the name changed that year because they didn't like being kidded about "living on Charity."

miscelLAny: The Saddleback Valley News wrote that a Lake Forest resident "came across a suspicious Ford Explorer in the parking lot" inhabited by "a man sleeping with his mouth wide open." I fail to see why anyone would deem the gentleman suspicious. I'm told I sleep in that position all the time in the living room, and I'm a law-abiding person.

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LA-TIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012 and by e-mail at steve.harvey@latimes.com.

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