thanks. that's a "before" pic of the wiring, which has all since been replaced. there were so many shorts that it was shocking my wife on the door handle when I brought it home.
my buddy and I couldn't figure it out, until we noticed she was not wearing shoes.
in the 2nd pic, you see two runs of wiring going away from the relay to the front of the frig. one is to the thermostat, and one to the light. I'd rather not mess with a 60 yr old relay, so I figure the light remains the easy way to move around the controller, and the main power cord through the controller, then set the thermostat to its coldest setting so always on.