Sorry to hear you lost your items.
The NPP (No Parallax Point) is forward of the gold ring some millimeters but should be set up and tested and proven using one of the various methods. (It is not the nodal point you are looking for, this miss information has been around for far too long!) The grid or grill method yields good results after spending a good amount of time testing. Once correct, stitching will be almost perfect everytime using Panoweaver. You should always accept that the NPP can move depending on directional light fall into the lens. Tilting the lens up 4 or 5 degrees will completely close the Zenith but as a result will open the Nadir a little more. This though, is not an issue because you are going to either cap or patch the Nadir tripod anyway.
The upshot is you must get the NPP set up correctly for results to come much more easily.
Posting results showing all faults helps me give better advise in setting up correctly. Seeing the nadir/down tile of the panorama with tripod in place also helps a great deal.