Sleeping through your first cook is pretty ambitious. Some people get the hang of long burning, no-tend fires right away, and some people don't.
Get over to www.virtualweberbullet.com
and see what you can learn. You'll get great information on venting, fire building, etc. PM Jim Minion and get advice. He's been doing this as long as anyone. He catered the brisket at Jesus' Bar Mitzvah.
Quit being so difficult and get yourself a Maverick ET-73. It will make your life a lot easier. It will also help keep the top on the smoker where it belongs. There's an eyelet kit that lets you thread the leads in very neatly. Unfortunately, you probably can't do either the thermometer or the eyelet kit by this weekend.
It's been a long time since I used a WSM, but the least troublesome fires I built involved at least some briquette. Try "Rancher" from Home Depot. Mix in five or six hardwood chunks with the coal. Don't worry about soaking or any special prep.
You're going to want to pack the fire pan pretty well, rather than just pouring the charcoal and chunk in willy-nilly. Shaking the fire-pan got the pieces to fit together as well as trying to build a mosaic.
Water in the water pan is optional. Since you're not going to be peeking or fooling around with the smoker much, it's not all that important unless the weather's really dry. For awhile everyone and his mom was filling the pan with sand, but I think that's gone passe. The current trendoid set up is a clay flower-pot base that just fits. Soak it well before using. No matter what -- wrap the water pan in aluminum foil before cooking anything.
Light the fire "Minion Method" style.
Good luck. You're going to need it.