Well anyways...instead of letting this thread trail off I'll update it now for future searches.
Got my Holley in the mail as well as spacers and other gear, ordered quick change kit for secondary tune and I am absolutely thrilled with the new carb which was flawless other than needing cam position, pump arm, throttle blade, and choke adjustments! After much tightening and making sure of proper intake manifold, vacuum tubing and carb installation, I fired it up and she runs great!
Only problem was my gauge was still showing that intermittent drop off of vacuum pressure...Aargh!
as you can imagine I was very freaked out to see the gauge doing that still so I grabbed the gauge to bring it closer to my face and the pressure went up.......so I put the gauge back where it was and the pressure dropped.......and again I did this a couple more times to verify that all along my problem was a failing mityvac handpump vacuum gauge that doesn't like being held in a certain position due to the needle valve under the trigger release.
So...in conclusion, I would say if you're going to start getting into mechanics (which I recently did), always always always give attention to the most simplest things first first first. probably starting by making sure you are dressed before you leave the house.
Post Script: Ya'll would have loved to have been there when I had to give my wife the update ya'll just got. (She was amazingly understanding, but boy did I feel dumb.)
Here's some pics of the outcome. (Sound of one person clapping slowly).