As the cables are arranged now you should be able to start with no problems.
It is common for people to over torque the carburetor flanges trying to stop vacuum leaks. It only make them worse so they keep tightening and end up with what you found.
As for your vacuum ports, turn the carburetor over, one or more should be below the throttle plates. This is manifold vacuum. One or more will come out above the throttle plates this is ported vacuum.
The ported vacuum is used for various emissions controls. If you are lucky there should be a sticker under the hood that gives the proper routing of the vacuum hoses. If not, a web search will give you lots of schematics.
Keep at it. You will get all worked out.