Re: I feel like a newb - discussing grommets and water
what kind of hookah are you getting? *all the grommets usually come in place where they're supposed to go when you get a new one. there should be 3 for a 1 hose hookah, one for the downstem (largest), one for the bowl (middle), and one for the hose (smallest).
as for the water level, the stem usually comes off of the vase so you can fill it with water, so you dont need to worry about trying to fill it from the top of the stem where the bowl goes.
the water level, like mentioned above, should be about 1" - 1.5" above where the stem sits in the vase...i've had it higher than that and it works fine too, but you risk getting water in the hose depending on the hookah design and just how high your water level is.